How To Prepare Your Skin For A Spray Tan

To get a beautiful even bronze from your spray tan without any streaks or patches it’s important to prep your skin properly before application. Here’s the best prep routine which applies whether you are going to a tanning booth or self-tanning at home.

How to prepare your skin for a spray tan – 4 steps

If you are doing it at home remember to check the spray label for specific instructions on preparing your skin. But the following steps will generally apply to most types and brands of tan sprays.

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliating is a must if you want to avoid uneven patches of spray tan and unsightly streaks that make it obvious you got a fake tan.

Clearing away the excess oils and layer of dead skin cells from your skin ensures the tan will spread evenly and last longer. It’s like painting on a clean smooth slate.

If you are going to a tanning booth you have to exfoliate your entire body. If you are using a home spray tan then you just need to exfoliate only where you’ll apply it.

You can exfoliate using a loofah or a scrub made from baking soda or sea salt. Do not use an oil-based scrub. The oil will form a barrier between your skin and the spray tan, preventing a dark even bronze.

2. Skip Makeup and Moisturisers

The morning before you get a spray tan, do not put on heavy makeup especially if it’s oil-based. It will interfere with the tan. Just before you apply the tan, either at home or spray tan booth, remove all makeup.

Also go slow on moisturisers. In fact you should completely avoid moisturizing for 24 hours before getting a tan spray. Most moisturizers leave a layer of product on your skin which can prevent proper even tanning.

Leave the moisturisers for after when they will help you retain your tan for longer.

If you absolutely have to moisturize, use a light oil-free cream or lotion. Apply it before you go to bed on the night before to give it time to absorb into your skin where it will not interfere with the spray tan.

3. Shave

The night before you get the spray tan, shave or wax your legs and any application areas with too much hair.

This is not to make the tan absorb better or more evenly (you can still get a good spray tan without shaving). It’s to ensure you don’t have to shave soon after getting the spray tan.

Shaving after tanning will fade away your tan more quickly.

If you need to shave afterwards wait around 4-8 hours for the tan to set in. Then try to shave as few times as you can; maybe once every couple of days. Use a new good quality razor and don’t press too hard onto the skin.

Waxing is off the table. It takes some skin with it which will leave you with unsightly patches on your skin.

4. Hydrate and Eat well

It’s important to hydrate and nourish your skin from the inside. This will ensure your skin is in the best condition for tanning. A spray tan won’t do much for dull dry skin.

If you want your skin to look like a 2-week vacation at the Bahamas after getting a spray tan eat lots of fruits and vegetables (they contain plenty of vitamins and antioxidants for your skin) and drink plenty of water and fluids.

After Tanning

The most important thing to do after a spray tan or tanning bed is to avoid a shower for 4-8 hours. Your tan is still setting in and contact with water could cause ugly patches and streaks. It’s best to let the tan rest overnight.

To make sure your tan lasts as long as possible, moisturize frequently but not with oil-based moisturisers. The oils can react with the tan and fade it away.

Also remember to keep shaving to a minimum and definitely no waxing.

You may also want to avoid spending too much time in the swimming pool. The chlorine will fade your tan.

If you go outside make sure you apply sunscreen as usual. Your spray tan doesn’t contain any UV protection. You should also carry baby powder with you to reduce sweating which can cause streaking.