Ultimate Spray Tanning Guide
Skin

The Ultimate Spray Tanning Guide for Beginners

Welcome to Amber and Fawn! Whether you’re a professional searching for the best products, a client searching for ways to maximize your tan, or just a spray tan fan, you’ve come to the right place! We are so happy to share the basics, how-to’s, and all our little tips and tricks with you in this spray tanning guide!

First, let us set the scene! The big event is next week and you want to look your absolute best.  You’ve been planning on going to this thing for months now and it’s finally around the corner.  You have the perfect dress and shoes to wear, you know the exact look you’re going for with your hair and makeup, and you even went all out and booked yourself a spray tan.  The spray tan artist has sent you a confirmation e-mail and you’re all set for your spray tan, sweet.  But now what?  How do you get yourself ready?  What should you expect before, during, and after the spray tan?  What can or can’t you do?  Starting to stress a little because you just need some easy to follow spray tan tips?

Ok, don’t worry; this spray tan appointment is going to be a great experience.  If you’re reading this guide maybe it’s because it’s your first spray tan. Maybe it’s just been a while since your last one.  Or, maybe you don’t know too many people who have had a spray tan, but you’ve heard it’s a great way to add a perfect glow to your skin. Whatever the reason, we’re glad you’re here!  This spray tanning guide is filled with dozens of expert tips and tricks to help you get the best spray tan possible. 

Here at Amber and Fawn we’ve been involved in the beauty industry in one way or another since 2009 and we have been giving and receiving spray tans since 2011. This spray tanning guide has been made possible because of years of trial-and-error, streak filled spray tans, and even a few ruined outfits.  We are excited to share this spray tanning guide with you so that you don’t have to go through the same stuff we did!

Here is what this spray tanning guide will cover:

  • What is Spray Tanning
  • What’s in a Spray Tan Solution
  • Things to Talk about with Your Spray Tan Artist
  • Stuff You’ll Need for the Best Spray Tan Results
  • The Steps to Prep for a Spray Tan
  • What to Wear for a Spray Tan
  • Do this Right After Your Spray Tan
  • Do Not Do this Right After Your Spray Tan
  • How to Make Your Spray Tan Last
  • Quick Spray Tanning Lessons

What is Spray Tanning?

Let’s jump right into this spray tanning guide. Spray tanning is a process used by professionals in the beauty industry that will temporarily tan your skin without the need for exposure to harmful UV rays.  There are generally two ways to get a spray tan:  1) a spray tan artist and 2) a spray tan booth. 

If you’re using a spray tan artist, the basic components of a spray tan will include spray tan solution, a spray tan machine,a 3/spray tan tent, and a spray tan artist. The spray tan solution is selected based on the desired color and the current color of your skin. This solution is poured into a spray tan machine. This machine usually includes a handheld device for the spray tan artist to use.  This handheld device is attached to a spray tan machine that blows air to the handheld device.  As the air rushes through the handheld device, the spray tan solution gets sucked up into a nozzle and is released as a mist. This mist contains various ingredients such as color changing agents, moisturizers, and sometimes even vitamins and minerals for your skin.  The spray tan tent keeps this mist contained. It also ensures that it doesn’t end up in any unwanted surfaces of the room.  The spray tan artist will ensure that your body is coated evenly with the spray tan solution.  The artist will ask you to move and change your body’s position. This is to make sure that you have a uniform color distribution.

If you’re using a spray tan booth, the basic components will include spray tan solution, a 6/spray tan booth, and an employee from the spray tan salon.  A spray tan solution is selected based on the desired color and the current color of your skin.  This solution is poured into the spray tan booth by the salon’s employee for your use.  You’ll step inside of the spray tan booth and you’ll be asked to stand in a specific position. Hands up for example.  Fans inside of the spray tan booth will start and air will begin to blow on you through little nozzles all over the spray tan booth.  A few moments later a fine mist will be released from these same nozzles and will begin to coat your entire body.  In some machines the nozzles will move while you stand still, in others the mist will be paused while you change position, and in others the mist will spray you from multiple sides at the same time.  When the mist is complete, the spray tan booth will blow some more air on you to help dry you off.

What’s in Spray Tan Solution?

The most common active ingredient in spray tan solutions is called dihydroxycacetone (DHA) which bonds to your skin and begins the bronzing process. Generally, the higher the concentration of DHA (4%, 6%, etc.) the darker the tan will be on your skin.  DHA is colorless, cool right? Once it bonds to your skin it begins to change the tone of your skin a few hours after the application. Another common ingredient in many spray tan solutions is erythulose.  This is also colorless and is used primarily to extend the life of your spray tan. Erythulose also helps keep your skin from looking orange.  Some spray tan solutions also include a cosmetic bronzer that is visible to the eye. This bronzer is what you’ll see on your skin as the mist is applied to your skin, but it’s not what the finished tan will look like. It’s only temporary.  This bronzer is used to keep an eye on the uniformity of the spray tan’s application and to make sure that there aren’t any unsprayed patches on your skin.  The rest of the ingredients will vary by brand, but may include water, aloe, and other similar items.

A quick spray tanning tip about these bronzing ingredients.  While the DHA and erythulose are clear when they go on, you want to be aware of the contact you make with other people.  There’s nothing worse than giving your best friend a big hug right after a spray tan and having a nice tan develop on her neck in the shape of your arm. Oh and that cosmetic bronzer, that’s the stuff that’ll ruin your brand new white cloth couch! Probably best not to sit on it right after your spray tan.  We will talk more about these items in the What to Wear and the Do Not Do this Right Away sections below of this spray tanning guide.

Things to Talk about with Your Spray Tan Artist

This one’s a biggie.  Why?  Because this person will be changing the color of the skin on your entire body for the next 7-10 days.  You know you are super specific when you are ordering your Venti Soy Sugar Free Caramel Macchiato with Two Splendas, an Additional Shot of Espresso, and Extra Sugar Free Caramel.  How long did it take you to get your favorite order just right?  Taking a few minutes to talk to your spray tan artist will be a huge help! Otherwise they are going to use their best judgement and hope they get it right.  Most of the time they will, but it sure is a better experience if you can share what you’re thinking and what you’re looking for with the spray tan.

When you’re done with the small chit-chat or even in your response to the confirmation e-mail, use this part of the spray tanning guide for some ideas on what to talk about:

Is this your first time getting a spray tan?

If this is your first time, it would be a good idea to let the spray tan artist know so that they can give you as much information as possible.  They’ll be able to provide you with a general list of preparation steps and will likely have multiple spray tan solutions that they can explain to you. They may even have some before and after pictures in a portfolio that they can show you.  If you’re a regular spray tanner, cool, but it’s still ok to ask questions.  There are dozens of products available for spray tanning and this artist may be using some equipment or products that you may not be familiar with.

What spray tan color are you looking for – really?

You’d be surprised at how often this isn’t talked about.  Yes, even by you guys who are reading this spray tanning guide! You know you’re getting a spray tan to give you an instant tan. The spray tan artist knows that you’re getting a spray tan to give you an instant tan… it’s not a big secret between you two.  Soooo… talk about it.  It’s ok.  As a matter of fact, it may even help you get the look you’re going for!  Who would’ve thought?!?!

Generally speaking, the level of darkness is determined by the amount of DHA in the spray tan solution.  While each spray tan solution brand can be different, the amount of DHA in the solution will correspond to a specific name or blend for each solution. The names will be something like:  Light, Medium, Dark, and Ultra Dark. These names range from the least amount of DHA to the most.  So what does Medium or Ultra Dark mean?  Your current skin tone will have a lot to do with the amount of DHA eventually selected by you and the spray tan artist, but here are some of the basics:

  • If you’re looking for just a “glow” you’ll want to start with Light. 
  • When you’re looking for a “noticeable tan, but nothing too dramatic”, you’ll want to select Medium.
  • If you’re looking for the “just got back from a week at the beach” look, you’ll want Dark.
  • And when you want the “body building stage competition”, then you’ll want Ultra Dark.

What’s expected and needed during the spray tan?

If you are going to have the spray tan artist come to you, then they will be bringing a collection of equipment. At a minimum, they’ll have multiple spray tan solutions, a spray tan machine, and a 10/spray tan tent.  Many spray tan artists will have additional equipment that could include 11/fans, 12/lighting equipment, barrier creams, and foot pads.  You’ll want to ask things about:

  • How much space and how many outlets will they need?  This’ll help you select the appropriate spot at your place for them to use.
  • How much time will they need?  This’ll help with your planning.
  • How loud will it be?  This would be good for you to know if you have children, pets, or other similar items to consider.
  • Do they have a preference for where to set up?  Depending on your city/state, there may be some places that are more conducive to setting up the spray tan area. Think of places like a garage, basement, master bathroom, etc.

If you are going to a spray tan salon, then the types of questions will be different for the expectations and needs.  In this case, you’ll want to ask about things like:

  • How much time will it take?  This’ll still be an important question for your planning.
  • Is there a waiting area in the salon?  This would be important to know if you plan on going to the salon with other people.
  • Is there a private area in the spray tan booth’s location?  This will help you understand how much space you’ll have to get ready for the tan. It will help you understand the room you have when the spray tan is complete.  This might also be important to you if you will be arriving with young children that you’d like to keep at your side.

Are you looking for any additional treatments during your spray tan?

While you’re getting your spray tan, you may be interested in some additional treatments for your skin.  This will usually be at an upcharge, but it may be worth considering.  Each spray tan artist will have their own specialty and collection of items in their kit. Here are some basic items you can ask about:

  • PH Spray – Usually done before a spray tan. This will prep the skin so that it’s ready to accept the spray tan solution.
  • Double Pass – Usually done during the spray tan. This will give you a second coating of spray tan solution across your entire body.
  • Moisturizing Spray – Usually done after the spray tan. This will help the spray tan last a little longer and will moisturize your skin at the same time.

Stuff You’ll Need for the Best Spray Tan Results

Time for some shopping!  While all of the items on this part of the spray tanning guide are not absolutely required, they will help give you the best spray tan results possible. Since there are quite a few items on this list, we’ve broken them up into three different sections:  Before, During, and After the spray tan.  We like to think of this part of the spray tanning guide as our little 15/spray tan tips cheat sheet.

1. Before the Spray Tan

  • Exfoliating Scrub: You’ll want to find an exfoliating scrub that agrees with your skin type. You will want to use it on your entire body.  There are numerous scrubs available that can be selected based on your specific skin care needs. You really have a lot of great options to choose from such as an everyday scrub, all natural scrub, scrubs for sensitive skin or you can go with a tried and true DIY exfoliating scrub using ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with 1 cup of body wash.
  • Exfoliating Glove: An exfoliating glove or dry brush will help with the exfoliating process. You can even use it with an exfoliating scrub.
  • Shaving Supplies:  Having the parts of your body that you normally shave freshly shaved is important.  If you normally shave your arm pits, legs, arms – whatever – you want to keep in mind that shaving within the first few days of a spray tan will be discouraged.  So using a fresh razor and a shaving cream that’s high in moisturizers would be a good idea.  Personally I like using a 5 blade razor and a deep moisturizing conditioner in lieu of shaving cream.
  • PH Balancing Wipes and Gels: To help with neutralizing the chemistry of your skin in order for the spray tan solution to be absorbed evenly and fully, using PH balancing wipes or PH balancing spray can be a beneficial spray tanning primer.

During the Spray Tan

  • Barrier Cream:  Barrier creams are designed for use on the parts of your skin that tend to just suck up the most spray tan solution.  These areas are generally your hands (palms, knuckles, fingers), elbows, feet (ball, heel, toes), and knees.  Putting barrier creams on these areas will keep you from having a beautiful tan with super dark elbows, hands, feet, and knees.  Definitely, not a good look!
  • Foot Pads: Foot pads stick to the soles of your feet while you’re getting the spray tan.  Whether you’re in a booth or with a spray tan artist there’s a good chance that some extra spray tan solution will end up sitting on the floor where you’re standing. While a good barrier cream is a great idea, there’s not much even some of the best barrier creams can do. Especially if you’re just standing in spray tan solution.  To keep the soles of your feet from looking like you were just squishing tomatoes for hours, I recommend standing on a damp towel during your spray tan.
  • Shower Cap:  A simple shower cap will help keep your hair out of the way during a spray tanning session.  While it’s unlikely, keeping your hair tucked into a shower cap may also prevent any reactions between your hair and the spray tan solution.
  • Nose Plugs:  If your sensitive to the ingredients in spray tan solution or you just don’t like the smell, a cheap little pair of nose plugs will do the trick.
  • Nail Polish:  To keep any spray tan solution from landing on your nails (acrylic, real, or whatever) you may want to paint your nails with a clear coat of nail polish.
  • Soft Cotton Cloth or Flannel Cloth: A soft, gentle blotting cloth is always handy to wipe away excess spray tan solution. It can also be used to blot dry yourself.

After the Spray Tan

  • Spray Tan Body Wash: To have the longest lasting tan, you may want to consider skipping the body wash. You may consider utilizing a very gentle cleanser for use the first week of your spray tan.
  • Spray Tan Lotion: Tan extending moisturizers are great to use after the spray tan, They can help keep the spray tan looking even and smooth for as long as two weeks.

The Steps to Prep for Your Spray Tan

In order to get the best results from your next spray tan, you’ll want to spend some time preparing your body beforehand.  Taking the time to prepare your body’s skin will help ensure that the spray tan will be even and reduce the chances of “splotchyness”. Here are our best spray tanning guide prepping tips for your next spray tan:

1. Exfoliate

The day before your spray tan appointment you’ll want to take your time in the shower exfoliating your skin.  You’ll want to use an exfoliating body scrub in conjunction with a dry brush or exfoliating gloves for best results.  When choosing an exfoliating body scrub, whether it’s an everyday scrub, all natural scrub or a scrub for sensitive skin,  you’ll want to use one that you’ve used before and know won’t irritate your skin. The best body scrub is the one that you know works well for you and your skin type.  It’s best to not try and experiment with new body scrubs that may cause skin irritation before a spray tan. Some ointments or oils can cause the spray tan solution to wear off and look splotchy. You can check out our favorite body scrub for your skin needs or just toss some baking soda into your favorite body wash for an easy DIY body polish. I will typically recommend using about ¼ cup of baking soda with every cup of body wash.  Using a dry brush prior to your shower or an exfoliating glove while using the body scrub will help to make your skin as smooth as possible.  There are many different exfoliating tools available. It’s important that you pay attention to your individual skincare needs when selecting one.  You’ll want to make sure that you exfoliate your body evenly and pay extra attention to your hands, elbows, knees, and feet.  These areas tend to have more dry skin when compared to the rest of your body.  It’s the additional dry skin in these areas that will absorb extra spray tan solution and give you a darker color than the rest of your body.

2. Moisturize

When we are done exfoliating we want to make sure that we don’t let our skin dry out right away.  The time of year, where you are located, or even your skin type will play a big role in how fast your skin will begin to get dry.  To make sure that your skin stays nice and smooth you’ll want to choose a good moisturizer for your skin.  It’s best to go with a moisturizer you know and trust so that you don’t get any weird skin irritation but again you have so many options depending on your skin care needs. Consider using a daily moisturizer, ultra-deep moisturizer, or if you’re really dry, an intensive care body lotion. In my experience the best way to apply moisturizer is in the shower, prior to drying off. This allows the moisturizer to penetrate the skin during its most absorbent stage. Please note that this moisturizing is best done right after you finish exfoliating (step 1 above) on the day before your spray tan.

3. Wax

If your preferred method of hair removal is waxing, you’ll want to be sure that you do all of your waxing at least a day or two before your spray tan appointment.  It is highly discouraged to do any waxing after your spray tan.  Simply put, waxing will most likely remove the spray tan right off of your skin.  Not a good look!

4. Shave

If your preferred method of hair removal is shaving, then it’s best to have all of your shaving done the day before your spray tan.  A quick spray tanning tip, shaving acts like an exfoliating process and certain shaving creams can act as great moisturizers.  However, since shaving acts like an exfoliating process you’ll want to limit the amount of shaving that you do right after your spray tan.  Using a fresh razor along with a shaving cream that’s high in moisturizer the day before your spray tan to shave your arms, legs, arm pits, and anything else that you normally shave the day before.  Personally, I tend to reach for a 5 blade razor and a moisturizing conditioner instead of traditional shaving cream however, this is purely personal preference.

5. Nail Polish

A lot of people have mentioned to me that spray tanning solution will often make their nails (real and acrylic) dull or even turn tan after a spray tan.  I found that using a clear nail polish was a very easy way to keep this from happening.  Another easy solution that I found was using baby wipes to wipe off the spray tan solution from nails.

5. Exercise

I’m not saying you need to rearrange your exercise routine around your spray tan appointment, but activities that cause you to perspire and involve a lot of movement in snug fitting clothes will reduce the lifespan and evenness of your spray tan.  So if you can get a good bit of your cardio done the day before or even the morning of your spray tan then you will definitely prolong the spray tan’s look.

Things to Avoid Before your Next Spray Tan

Just as important as the things you should do to prepare for your next spray tan are the things you should avoid before your spray tan.  This part of the spray tanning guide shares some tips of things to avoid before your next spray tan:

1. Deodorant

Do not use deodorant before your spray tan.  Ideally, you’d be able to bathe right before your spray tan appointment and get your spray tan before applying any deodorant.  If that’s not possible, you’ll want to use baby wipes to remove your deodorant.  Most deodorants will act like a repellent to the spray tan solution. You will be left with an untanned ring in your armpit where your deodorant once was.

2. Moisturizer

Do not use any moisturizer before your spray tan.  All of your moisturizing should be done the day before your spray tan.  Don’t worry, you’ll be encouraged to moisturize after your spray tan. It’s just that any moisturizer that’s on your skin before your spray tan may make the spray tan absorb unevenly.  If you absolutely have to have moisturizer on then your best bet will be to use a ph balancing wipe to remove as much as possible right before your spray tan.

3. Makeup

Do not have any makeup on before your spray tan.  Ok, some of you guys are probably wondering if I’m serious.  Well, I am.  It’s not that makeup will somehow ruin your spray tan, but any makeup you are wearing will be in direct contact with your skin.  This means that the makeup will act as a barrier between your skin and the spray tan solution.  If you are wearing makeup then it’s very possible that the spray tan solution will not get to the skin behind the makeup or worse only get to some parts and leave you with a polka-dot tan. Don’t panic if you forget to wash your face prior to your tan, you can simply wipe off any makeup prior to your spray tan using makeup removing wipes, just make sure you allow time for your face to fully dry. Don’t worry, makeup will be ok to use after your spray tan, but not having any on during the spray tan is best.  The exception to this is for areas that you will not be getting spray tanned.  Things like mascara, eye liner, and lip gloss, for example, will be fine.

4. Skin Products

Many items can create a barrier between the spray tan solution and your skin.  Any sort of barrier can create uneven tans, splotchy looking coverage, or even a dreaded smear down the center of your chest – eeeek.  Skin products such as oils, sunscreen, and perfume have the potential for disturbing your spray tan’s results.  It’s best not to have any lotions, creams, or other skin products on the day of your spray tan.  If that’s not possible, you’ll want to use baby wipes to remove any skin products that you absolutely had to use.

What to Wear for Your Next Spray Tan

Loose fitting, dark clothes – nice and easy.  And no, a pair of yoga pants doesn’t count as loose fitting clothes.  Your spray tan will be “drying” onto your skin for a full 2-4 (or even more) hours after you’re done with the spray tan.  Any clothing that sits snuggly against your skin will rub against the spray tan that’s “drying” and create patches that are less tan.  So those yoga pants we mentioned are definitely a bad idea.  Unless, of course, you’re interested in having golden tan shins and calves with an untanned ring right below your knee cap.

You’ll want to use dark clothes – maybe something that you wouldn’t mind getting stained.  The ingredients in spray tan solution that give you that golden tan (DHA, erythulose, etc.) are essentially colorless.  The ingredients that the spray tan artist uses to ensure that the spray tan is going onto your body evenly and smoothly are basically cosmetic bronzers.  It’s this bronzer that will give your skin that instant “tan”. This isn’t the color that your spray tan will become.  Most of these bronzers will wash off your skin with your first shower.  If you plan to wear a cute white linen top on your way out of your spray tan appointment, be prepared to have a nice bronze ring on your collar, armpits, sleeves, and really anywhere else that touches your skin.  Your best bet is to go with something like a dark, loose maxi dress. Your bra and jewelry; just leave it all at home.

What about shoes?  Dark flip-flops or sandals – done.

We talked about the before and after, but what about during?  Well, to be honest, this will be completely up to you and your comfort level with the spray tan artist or salon.  Whatever you choose, just be sure that they are dark and understand that they may get stained.  Here are some choices:

Do this Right After Your Spray Tan

1. Take the time to dry off as much as possible using blown air.

If you’re in a spray tanning booth, before you get dressed, go ahead and set the machine to blow air on you for a few minutes or ask the salon’s attendant to set it for you.  If you have a spray tan artist helping you, ask them to remove any solution from their spray tanning machine and use the spray tanning machine to blow some air on you before getting dressed. This will help speed up the “drying” process. A blow dryer set on the ‘warm’ setting would also work well. Bonus spray tanning guide tip, it will also provide some warmth for your cold, wet body.

2. Wait at least 8-10 hours before getting wet.

You’ll want to prevent water, or any moisture for that matter, touching your skin like you do carbs before a big first date.  This includes hopping in the shower, running a quick half marathon, letting your puppy lick you “hello”, and crying because your favorite cupcake place is going out of business.  Once those first 8 hours are up, go ahead and take a quick shower.  You may notice the water start to darken as you look down, but don’t panic that’s just the liquid cosmetic bronzer that’s in the spray tan solution to help the spray tan artist ensure you got a nice and even tan.  When you take your first shower after the spray tan (yes shower, not bath) try not to have the water be hot, lukewarm is preferred.  Mild body washes are definitely recommended and absolutely do not exfoliate.  Exfoliating at this point will scrub away your fresh new spray tan.  When you’re done with your shower, using a soft cotton towel with blotting motions to dry are better than scrubbing motions followed by a thick coat of moisturizer.

Do Not Do this Right After Your Spray Tan

Pay close attention to this part of the spray tanning guide. Moisture within the first 8-10 or so hours after a spray tan is the enemy.  Activities that will cause excessive perspiration, like a quick CrossFit WOD, are not a good idea.  Jumping in the pool for some quick laps before heading home is definitely a no-no.  Singing and dancing in the rain, nah, let’s not do that either.  If you have had your face spray tanned, please do not watch The Notebook! Any moisture at this stage of the process will result in a nice untanned streak wherever it hits your skin.

Most of the “drying” of the spray tan solution will occur within the first 2-4 hours.  During this time, those ingredients that cause your skin to bronze can be transferred to other people through contact.  So unless you want to give your bestie a nice bronze ring around her neck as you give her a huge hug, you’ll want to minimize skin to skin contact.  If you have young children or are breastfeeding, then keeping as much of your newly tanned skin behind dark, loose fitting clothes would be best so that you don’t share your tan with your little ones.

The ingredient in the spray tan solution that gives you that instant tan is basically a liquid cosmetic bronzer.  Jumping into your nice comfy bed that has brand new white cotton sheets just calling your name is not a good idea if you want them to stay nice and white.  This liquid cosmetic bronzer may smudge onto any surface you come into contact with like your car’s seats, a couch, or even your new white canvas Vans.  Keeping a layer of dark, loose fitting clothes or sheets between you and most other fabrics is best.

While exfoliating is great for your skin, now is not the time to use that new body scrub you just bought.  Any exfoliating within the first day or two will remove the spray tan solution right off your skin.  Hopping in the shower (not bath) 8 or so hours after your spray tan is fine. Try to use mild body washes to keep that spray tan looking its best.  If it looks like the spray tan solution is washing down the drain, don’t panic, that’s just the cosmetic bronzer.  After your shower, using a soft towel to blot yourself dry is way better than using a rough towel to scrub yourself dry.

How to Make Your Spray Tan Last

The best way to make sure that your spray tan lasts as long as possible with a smooth and even color starts before you ever get to your appointment. To get the best results, be sure to prep as best as you can before your appointment.  But now that your spray tan is done, how long should you expect your spray tan to last?  Well, a good estimate is between 6-10 days.  And we all want to get as close to that 10+ day mark right?  I know I do!  This part of the spray tanning guide has some tips and tricks to get that golden spray tan to last:

1. Moisturize

Moisturizing your skin at least once a day is the first advice.  Not only will this keep your skin looking and feeling it’s best, but it will help prolong the spray tan itself.  Be sure not to use any oil-based moisturizers as those may actually help your tan slide right off.

2. Light Exfoliation

After the first 2-3 days you may feel the need to exfoliate, don’t worry, it’s ok.  Lightly exfoliating will actually help ensure that your tan fades away evenly and may even limit any blotchiness or splotches on your skin.  However, try to shy away from any scrubs or other heavy exfoliating as this may increase the chances of your spray tan fading unevenly. Using a product specifically developed for light exfoliation is a great option.

3. Mild Soap

Mild shower gels will be your best bet when taking your showers.  Bar soaps, alcohol based toners and astringents, and even some makeup removers can take your spray tan right off of you.

4. Limit Baths

A nice hot bath with your favorite bath oils always sounds good after a long day, I know.  But when you have a spray tan that you want to keep looking fresh, you’ll want to shy away from these.

5. Tan Extenders

There are tons of great products available that are specifically formulated to extend the life of your spray tan. These items should be used daily for best results.  Many of them contain great moisturizers as well. They’ll not only help extend the life of your tan, but will also help your skin keep hydrated.

Quick Spray Tanning Lessons

Over the years there have been many moments of trial and error with spray tanning.  That’s why this spray tanning guide was written! Here are some quick lessons that I’ve learned and would like to share:

1. Facial Tanner

If you opt to have your face spray tanned along with the rest of your body, you’ll notice that it’ll tend to fade a lot faster than the rest of your body.  I’m not sure exactly why this is true. Perhaps it’s because we tend to wash our face a lot more frequently than other parts of our body. Maybe it’s because we wash makeup off of our faces at least once a day.  For whatever reason, after a few days you may notice that your face will no longer match your skin or chest.  Don’t worry, here’s my secret: every 3-4 days freshen up by using a facial tanner.  It’s best to use a mild facial tanner that you’ve used in the past. This will help make sure that you don’t get any weird rashes or irritations. A good facial tanner will help keep the tan on your face and body in harmony. The best facial tanners will be easy to apply, great with moisturizing, and leaves your skin feeling fantastic.

2. Shaving with a Conditioner

I know I mentioned this before, but I don’t remember the last time I used shaving cream.  There’s nothing wrong with shaving cream at all, but for me using a moisturizing conditioner just works.  It’s not only kept me from getting any nicks in years, but it’s great at moisturizing my skin.  Being well moisturized is great for your skin and a spray tan as well.

3. Sleep in Your Spray Tan

I remember when I first started getting spray tans and I never knew when to make the appointments. Couldn’t make them before work because I couldn’t go to the office in my black baggy sweats. Couldn’t make them right after work because I always had stuff to do. Go to the gym, help with dinner and baths for the kids, you know stuff. And I didn’t want to schedule them for the weekend because I didn’t want to just sit around all day waiting for my spray tan to finish drying. Then I found out that sleeping in your spray tan is actually recommended by many professionals – awesome!  Now, my favorite time to schedule a spray tan is at the end of the day. I can just go home, lay out the dark sheets on the bed, and go to right to bed.  Then, when I wake up the next morning it’s been just enough time to hop in the shower and get my day started normally.  So much better!

4. Sun Block

Ok so here’s something that’s almost too obvious.  Yes you look tan. BUT a spray tan does not mean that your skin is ready to take on the sun’s powerful rays.  In fact, a spray tan has absolutely zero sun blocking properties.  Please make sure you use sun block and other skin protecting measures whenever you head out into the sun.  Non-oil based sunscreen products are best so that they don’t wash away your spray tan.

5. Avoid Swimming Pools

I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy a good pool party with a spray tan.  Often, going to a water or beach event is why a person gets a spray tan in the first place.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the chlorine used to keep swimming pools clean may also speed up the fading process in your spray tan. Just keep that in mind.

6. Avoid Stickers

No, I don’t mean the smiley faced stickers you put on your kid’s artwork before you hang it on the fridge – those are great.  I’m talking about things like Band-Aids, pore strips, and other similar products that you may be accustomed to using.  Obviously, if you need a Band-Aid, well, you need a Band-Aid.  But please note that when you remove these types of products from your skin, the adhesive used to keep those items stuck on your skin may take some of your spray tan off your skin. I remember staring at my face for almost an hour wondering what to do when I peeled a pore strip off my nose the day after a spray tan. That was not a good day.

7. Hair Up

Don’t worry; your hair is safe.  The idea here is to keep your hair off of your face, neck, and shoulders during and after your spray tan.  Not only should you be ready to put your hair up during the spray tan, you’ll want to keep your hair up until you’re ready for your first shower.  The reason for this is that you don’t want your hair to smear the spray tan solution. This would give your neck or shoulders any uneven lines or smudges on your skin.

You’re Officially Ready for Your Spray Tan!!

All that’s left to do is book your appointment and carry on with your bronzed, bad self. Just remember all the tips and tricks explained in this spray tanning guide and you’ll be golden! (Pun fully intended!)

Here is what this spray tanning guide has covered:

  • What is Spray Tanning
  • Things to Talk about with Your Spray Tan Artist
  • Stuff You’ll Need for the Best Results
  • The Steps to Prep
  • What to Wear
  • Do this Right Away
  • Do Not Do this Right Away
  • How to Make Your Spray Tan Last
  • Quick Spray Tanning Lessons

I hope this spray tanning guide was helpful!!

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