The Secret to a Perfect Spray Tan

The Secret to a Perfect Spray Tan

Fake it ’til you bake it

Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s time to trade your parka for a hairnet and goggles if you don’t want to look like the abominable snowman coming out of hibernation for swimsuit season. A spray tan can go one of two ways: good, and horribly catastrophic. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to successfully get and maintain that faux glow, taking the mess and stress out of the equation.

Pre Tan

  1. Exfoliate

Spray tans last as long as your top layer of skin does. Therefore, it’s important to get rid of any dead skin so the tanning solution soaks into new, healthy skin. It’s best to exfoliate with a body scrub, or even a DIY solution like baking soda or brown sugar. Be sure to rinse well, and apply moisturizer to soothe your skin all before even stepping foot in the tanning booth. This is also the best time to shave your legs, etc. as the exfoliating effects of shaving can take off some of your spray tan.

  1. Deep Clean

Make sure that you are completely makeup-free before getting your spray tan. Not only does this ensure that the tanning solution will make even contact with your skin, but this also helps you feel a little fresher when you have to endure the sticky sensation for the next 4 to 6 hours. Additionally, it’s best to make sure you wash off your deodorant from the day, as this can act as a barrier to the solution, resulting in very white underarms.

  1. Prime Time

Many tanning salons offer spray tan priming lotions. These help extend the life of your tan by locking in moisture. They are especially useful on your legs and arms since these are where you want your tan to last the longest. If you don’t want to purchase a specific primer, just be sure to apply your usual body lotion and facial moisturizer immediately before your tan.

  1. Loose Clothing

It’s best to wear loose fitting clothing and open shoes. Clothes that are tight fitting can rub off some of the solution when you get dressed after the tan. Avoid tight underwire bras, tight waistbands, and even socks. Opt for a loose fitting t-shirt (remember it may get slightly stained and have a chemical-y smell until after a few washes), shorts, and open shoes such as flip-flops to minimize rubbing post-tan.

  1. Follow the rules (like this is the rule of all rules)

    Be sure to wear the hair net, and any eye protection provided. If you have long hair, it’s best to tie it up in a bun and also wear a headband to keep any shorter hairs inside the hairnet.

    Post Tan

  2. Don’t shower until time’s up

Be sure to let the tan fully absorb. Most tanning solutions require 4 to 6 hours before showering, and this goes for washing your face as well. The longer the solution stays on your skin, the deeper your tan will be. If you get a spray tan late at night, it’s often best to let it absorb overnight and shower in the morning. Simply sleep in a loose fitting t-shirt and pants to minimize the chance of the spray tan getting rubbed off or staining your sheets.

     7.  Moisturize

Make sure to apply moisturizer daily (twice daily if you’re up to the challenge) to extend the life of your tan. This keeps skin hydrated, slowing the process in which your skin dries and sheds your precious glow.


Do you have any other pointers for getting a spray tan? Comment below!


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