What to Do Before and After a Spray Tan

What to Do Before and After a Spray Tan

While sun rays give a natural tan to the skin, using spray tans is a great alternative. It ensures that you get a beautiful bronze tan without staying outdoors and exposing your skin to harmful ultraviolet radiation. While natural tan lasts for many days, how long do spray tans last depends upon several factors.

Let’s understand what tan sprays are, their benefits, and what measures we can take to make them last for longer.

What Are Spray Tans?

Spray tans are cosmetic products that give tan to the skin without exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It is also popular as sunless tanning or self-tanning. 

They are specially formulated with dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as an active ingredient. As they are sprayed on the skin, it turns bronze, mimicking natural tan. Usually, the result becomes noticeable after a few hours of spray tan application and lasts for several days to weeks.

How long spray tans last depends on how well you care about it, including pre and post-care. Besides, factors like skin health and skin complexion also contribute to its longevity. 

Spray tan has become a popular choice these days as it gives the desired results without staying under the sun for hours. Thus, it decreases the risks associated with prolonged sun exposure, like sunburn and cancer. 

Life Of Spray Tan Based On Shade

Life of spray tan based on shade

Usually, spray tans are promoted with the fact that they last for up to 10 days; however, this is not the case when you are looking for varying shades. 

For instance, if you want to achieve a light tan shade, it will last up to five days. Likewise, medium and dark shades can stay on the skin for 7 to 8 and up to 10 days, respectively. 

The intensity of tan depends upon the concentration of DHA, the active component in the tanning solution. The solution that promises to give a darker tan contains more DHA. 

Apart from this, how well you care for your skin before and after getting tan also determines how long the spray tan lasts. 

What to Do Before and After a Spray Tan?

Perfect tan can be achieved when you prep the skin perfectly. Making a little effort can help you get the desired results. 

A- Things To Do Before Getting Spray Tan

  1. Skin exfoliation– One of the common problems of artificial tan is getting streaks and flakes. It happens due to the presence of dead skin cells. Therefore, using body scrubs, dry brushes, or loofah for at least three days before getting tan makes things easier. 
    However, it is advised not to use any chemical exfoliant that contains retinol or glycolic or oil-based products that create a barrier, disallowing the tanning solution to get absorbed into the skin.
  1. Avoid waxing: Even though having smooth, tanned skin is alluring, waxing just 24 hours before getting spray tan will not help achieve the right results. It will leave an uneven tint because waxing opens the pores, leaving them larger than before. When the pores close over time, the tan will look streaked.
  2. Take a shower at least 8 hours before: Waiting for at least 8 hours after showering to get a spray tan ensures great results. This gap will allow the skin to resume its post-shower pH balance.  
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothes: When you head for your appointment, make sure to wear loose clothes and shoes to avoid getting tan lines. It will prevent friction and the development of unwanted tan lines. 
  4. Remove makeup: Get rid of makeup from the skin before getting spray tan. Use an oil-free wipe to remove it and allow the skin to dry before the spray tan is misted.

B- Things To Do After Getting Spray Tan

Even though the provider will tell you about spray tan aftercare, here are the things that you should be prepared for mentally.

  1. Wear loose-fitting clothes: When spray tan is in mind, loose-fitting clothes should be there too. You should not wear tight clothes immediately (for 24 hours) after coming from the appointment, as it takes time for the tan to develop. Friction on the skin due to tight clothes can lead to streaky and flaky tan. 
  2. Do not wash: Once you have received the spray tan, wait for at least six to eight hours to take a shower. Give the skin some time to absorb the solution, let DHA do its work, and develop the perfect brown bronze for the skin. 
  3. Take shower precautions: Spending too much time in the shower can fade the fresh tan color fast. Likewise, using hot water for the shower and using scrubs and soaps can also result in the same. So, all you need is to take a maximum of five minutes in water and come out without using any soap, exfoliant, or cleanser. 
  4. Avoid oil-based products: Oil-based products are a complete NO when you have an artificial tan. While initially, they can create a barrier, preventing the skin from absorbing the tan solution, later, they can prevent the skin from retaining the product. 
  5. Exfoliate after three days: Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells and fades to a fresh tan color. Therefore, wait for at least 2 to 3 days and gently use a mild exfoliator over the skin to keep things maintained. 
  6. Hair removal: To remove your hair, shave gently and use slow and even strokes to prevent accidental exfoliation. It will ensure no fading due to shaving. 
  7. Use self-tanner: Plenty of self-tanners are available on the market, and you can use any of them to extend the life of your spray tan. It will help extend the depth of the spray tan for a few more days. 
  8. Use highlighter: Highlighters are used to pop up the tan color. You can use it on cheekbones and collarbones to define the stunning tan more beautifully. 

What Should Be Avoided To Help Spray Tan Last Longer?

avoided to help spray tan last longer

Avoid using products that interact with the skin directly. Your provider will give some lotions that go well with tanned skin and retain the color for a long time. Stick to them.

Sweating is another problem that can cause patchiness over freshly tanned skin. In such cases, apply baby powder, as it contains mild ingredients that do not cause any harm. You can apply baby powder in sweat-prone areas such as the underarms, inner elbows, back of knees, and under the butt. 


Now that we know how long spray tans last, especially when you take proper pre and post-aftercare, they become the safest option. With the right maintenance, you can last the result of your spray tan for up to 10 days and flaunt the beautiful bronze skin. 

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