You were prepped and ready for your spray tan appointment, but now that the spray tan artist is gone – what’s next? Most of my clients are super focused on getting ready for their spray tan appointment; they tend to forget that there are things to keep in mind afterwards too. Don’t worry; if this is you, it happens all the time. After your session, with your skin still moist from the spray tan solution, the only thing on your mind is: When will this tan be ready? There’s no way you want to ruin your new golden look, but a streak here or a smudge there are very possible if you’re not careful. When can you take a shower? You shaved before your spray tan, but is there an issue with shaving again tomorrow? We will answer these questions and more for you below. We are going to give you a quick list of things you should definitely avoid within the first several hours of your spray tan.
This one’s a biggie – honestly – it’s probably the single most important thing to remember within the first few hours of getting spray tanned: Moisture is now the enemy. Just to be clear, it’s all things wet. Avoid this after your spray tan as much as possible! We’re not going to sugar coat anything here, do everything you can to stay dry – especially within those first few hours. Carry an umbrella for those surprise rain showers, no sweating, no crying, no swimming, and no water gun fights! We mean it!
Spray tan solutions have two main components: a cosmetic bronzer and the active ingredients for tanning. The cosmetic bronzer is really just there to help the spray tan artist keep track of where they’ve sprayed you and to keep the tan looking smooth and even. The active ingredients for tanning are clear and bind to your skin. As they dry, they begin tanning your skin. Any moisture that disturbs them drying will cause your spray tan to become irregular. All spray tan solutions vary in their recommended drying times so be sure to ask your spray tan artist what they recommend. A rule of thumb is to wait at least 12 hours before interacting with any moisture.
During these first 12 hours, try your best to stay as dry as possible. Things like working up a sweat at the gym, jumping in the pool for a swim, and even taking a shower should be avoided at all costs after your spray tan.
2. Skin-to-Skin Contact
Right after your spray tan, your skin will glisten due to the moisture from the spray tan solution. You’ll have a liquid cosmetic bronzer coating your entire body and it’ll instantly make you look dark. (Don’t worry; this isn’t the final look of your spray tan.) Once the cosmetic bronzer starts to dry you’ll still feel that your skin will feel almost tacky. This is partly the liquid cosmetic bronzer and the active ingredients that are bonding to your skin. This not-moist-but-a-little-tacky feeling on your skin can last a few hours. Honestly, after the first 30 minutes or so you’ll forget all about it. This is why we’re bringing up the skin-to-skin contact.
While this tacky feeling is on your skin; both the cosmetic bronzer and the active ingredients can be transferred with skin-to-skin contact. Giving your bestie a huge hug right after a spray tan is probably not the best idea if you’re not wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Not only will your spray tan appear smudged, but your bestie may have a nice ring of tanner around his or her neck!
The spray tan will not only transfer from a spray tanned person to a non-spray tanned person. The spray tan solution can transfer onto parts of your body that you weren’t intending to spray tan as well. If you planned not to spray tan the palms of your hands, be sure to cover up any part of your body that your hands may come into contact with so that the spray tan doesn’t transfer.
Oh yeah, here’s one for all the mommy’s out there with breastfeeding babies. If you decide to get a spray tan (and why wouldn’t you!?), try to have a plan for feeding your little munchkin. Spray tan solution will definitely transfer onto your baby – while funny, this may not make you too happy! You may consider leaving a bra-like barrier/nipple sticker on your breast while spray tanning. This will definitely leave an interesting tan line on you, but that’s definitely worth not messing up your sweet baby’s face or more importantly, feeding schedule!
3. Contact with Important Fabrics
It’s not just skin that will absorb the spray tan solution during this drying period. Anything your bare skin comes into contact with has the potential to absorb some of the spray tan solution. This doesn’t only include your clothing; you should consider things like your bedsheets, the seats in your car, the couches in your living room, and even the chairs you’ll be sitting in for dinner. For best results, you’ll want to remain in dark loose fitting clothing that’ll keep you cool for as long as possible before your first shower. If that’s not doable, consider placing a cool dark sheet between you and anything you’ll be coming into contact with until your first shower.
Leading up to your spray tan exfoliating is a big part of your routine. This rule changes after the spray tan is actually on your body. Once you’ve waited the recommended time before your first shower (usually about 12 hours) your spray tan will last longer if you limit the amount of exfoliating you do. The cosmetic bronzer will almost completely wash away during that first shower and you’ll be left with the active ingredients which have bonded to your skin. These active ingredients remain on the top most layer of your skin and don’t go any further. Since exfoliating removes the top most layers of your skin, any exfoliating you do over the next few days will drastically reduce the amount of time the spray tan lasts on your body. So in order to have your spray tan last for as long as possible, your exfoliating routines should be placed on hold.
While shaving and waxing are not direct actions you take to exfoliate yourself, these activities definitely have similar affects. Do your best to avoid these after your spray tan. Shaving and waxing both remove the top layers of your skin (this is partly why your skin always feels so soft and smooth afterwards) so you will want to limit these activities during the 6-10 days of your spray tan for best results. Continuing to shave and wax will not only cause the spray tan to fade quickly, unless you shave and wax your entire body, you will have color mismatches. For example, if you shave your legs frequently after your spray tan, your legs will appear lighter than an area of your body that you don’t frequently shave like your cleavage. This isn’t a huge deal, but definitely something to keep in mind.
5. Perfumes and Lotions
I know I feel weird leaving the house without first misting on perfume and/or using some moisturizing lotions. The thing is, misting yourself right after your spray tan will cause patches of your spray tan solution to come right off during the drying phase. After the drying phase, using products that contain alcohol like perfume, acne creams, and some lotions will cause your spray tan to fade away more quickly than it would otherwise. For me, there’s no way that I’d go a whole week without perfumes or other lotions, but I try to use items that don’t have alcohol as a primary ingredient on my skin.
Now that we’ve covered the very basics of things to avoid right after your spray tan you are well on your way to a long lasting, flawless (and harmless) glow. Here are the top 5 NO-NO’s right after your next spray tan:
- Moisture – No!
- Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact – No!
- Contact with Delicate, Expensive or Beloved Fabrics – No!
- Exfoliating – No!
- Immediate Application of Perfumes and Lotions – No!
Ever heard the phrase, ‘Patience is a Virtue’? Well, I’m pretty sure they were talking about post spray tan care, because I mean, what else? Give your spray tan the time it needs to really sink into your skin and develop because as you’ll see, it really can make all the difference in your outcome.
Any other ideas on things to avoid immediately after a spray tan? Share some ideas in the comment section.
Interested in learning more about the do’s and don’ts of all things spray tanning? Head over to our most inclusive article The Ultimate Spray Tanning Guide for all the goods!