You’ve got a great spray tan, a super cute outfit picked out, and a fun event planned – awesome! But now you’ve got to tackle that stubborn stubble that has slowly crept up on you. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been in that annoying predicament. We are wanting to show some skin, but have to first deal with unwanted body hair. Only further complicating this hairy situation is your new flawless spray tan. I mean seriously, how do you go about waxing and shaving the hair from an entire body part without risking the look of a fresh spray tan?
Ok, I have had more spray tans than you can imagine. I like to think I’ve become somewhat of an expert with the in’s and out’s of various hair removal techniques. I’ve made the mistakes, learned the lessons, and perfected my routine to share with the world in hopes that waxing and shaving after a spray tan will no longer be an issue for you. Any of the following methods will work, but as always a perfect spray tan begins before you step foot in front of the spray nozzle. Make sure you have properly prepped your skin prior to your next spray tan. This will help to maximize the final outcome of your spray tan. Now, let’s talk about some shaving and waxing tips after a spray tan.
Shaving After a Spray Tan
What is Shaving?
Shaving is the removal of hair by a blade that cuts the hair down to the skin level. It does not affect the texture, color, or amount of future hair growth. It’s a common misconception that shaving will cause your hair to grow back thicker, darker, and faster. In reality it’s quite similar to getting a haircut or trim, just much, much, much closer to your skin. The type of haircut you choose does not alter the molecular composition of your hair follicle and growth properties. The same is true for shaving hair down to skin level.
When Can I Shave After a Spray Tan?
Once the first 48 hours have passed after receiving your spray tan, you can go ahead and get to shaving but do so sparingly. Using a sharp razor, lots of lubrication and swift, sweeping motions will reduce the amount of skin sloughed off by the razor blade. Shaving every day after your spray will cut down your spray tan longevity to about half. It will absolutely cause your spray tan to fade unevenly and blotchy. It’s best to try and space out your shaving sessions by at least 3-4 days. The more day’s in-between shaving, the better. You will want to follow ANY shaving with an ultra-deep moisturizer in order to retain as much moisture in your skin as possible.
The one exception to this that I have found is when it comes to shaving your underarms. I think shaving your armpits daily after your spray tan really helps to prevent the nasty odor that can develop after long hot days. For some reason combining spray tan solution with your body’s naturally occurring under arm bacteria causes an increased odor during the life of the tan. Shaving kind of helps salve off small layers of the tan and this stinky build up combo. Since the armpits are pretty thirsty and grab on tight to spray tan solution shaving actually helps keep them from looking over saturated as the rest of the tan fades.
When to Avoid Shaving After a Spray Tan?
You will absolutely want to avoid shaving within 48 hours after a spray tan. There are several reasons for this plan. Number one being that the first 12-24 hours after your spray tan is when most of the bronzing magic happens. During this period the spray tanning solution is penetrating the outermost layers of your skin. While it’s fine to shower during this timeframe, you’ll want to keep those showers short and sweet.
Water is the enemy right now. The more time you spend in the water within those first 24 hours the longevity of your tan decreases.
Secondly, your skin follows a normal cell turn-over rate in which your body is naturally sloughing off dead skin cells every day. Shaving acts as an exfoliator which is great before your spray tan but not so much after. The sooner you begin shaving after your spray tan the more you accelerate the skin cell shedding process.
Another reason I avoid shaving within the first 24-48 hours is due to the fact that prior to receiving a spray tan you will have gone through the skin prepping process. This means you will have already shaved and exfoliated to your hearts content. Shaving too soon after that initial skin prep can result in painful razor burn, dry ashy skin, and those pesky little red bumps. Your hair has not had enough time to grow long enough to be cut cleanly at skin level. Instead your hair is being dragged by the razor and irritating the skin.
Shaving Before a Spray Tan
I have found that shaving at least 12 hours, but no more than 24 hours before a spray tan, yields the best results for spray tan application. The skin is smooth, not irritated, there are no ingrown hairs yet, and the pores that are exposed immediately after shaving have had time to ‘close’ back up.
Tips for Shaving After a Spray Tan
- Ingrown hairs occur when hair growing under the skin becomes trapped by a build-up of dead skin cells blocking that hair’s path out of a pore. Avoiding ingrown hairs after your spray tan can be tricky. The number one way to prevent ingrown hairs is by exfoliating. However, exfoliating is going to destroy your tan within the first few days so that really isn’t an option. The next best option is to make sure you are using a sharp razor and a good moisturizing soap or shaving cream. Try to shave with the grain and avoid going over the same area more than once. This will also help you avoid razor burn which can occur when there is too much friction and not enough lubrication on the area you are shaving.
- If you have had tanning solution applied to your face, you will want to keep in mind that shaving acts as an exfoliator. The areas that you shave will appear lighter and fade more quickly than the areas you don’t. Either let the hair grow for the duration of your spray tan or consider having it waxed prior to the spray tan. If you have opted out of having your face spray tanned then please shave your facial hair to your hearts content.
- Shaving any time immediately before or soon after your spray tan requires the use of a fresh sharp razor. Dull razors, or razors with a small number of blades, will not only cut more poorly than others but they also tend to drag across the skin leaving you with irritation. My go-to razors must have a minimum of 4 blades (the more the merrier) and do not have a ton of moisturizer built into the cartridge. I like being able to control the soap or shaving cream so that I am better able to determine the outcome for my skin. I will typically switch between using a super simple razor or something a little fancier depending on what I have on hand.
Waxing After a Spray Tan
What is Waxing?
Waxing is a great and effective way to remove large amounts of body hair at one time. It is often preferred because it removes the hair from the follicle giving you longer lasting results. By waxing the hair, the area stays smooth for about 2-8 weeks as the hair follicle regenerates hair from the root. This method differs from shaving, which cuts hair at skin level with results lasting 1-3 days. Long term and regular waxing can actually cause permanent damage to the hair follicle. To the point where the hair grows back much thinner or stops growing all together. This sounds pretty awesome to me! Waxing can be done at home or in a salon. The types of waxing methods vary depending on your particular needs.
When Can I Wax After a Spray Tan?
Understandably hair doesn’t stop growing just because you got a spray tan. Hopefully you chose to wax prior to your spray tan. This way, by the time your hair begins to grow back your tan has already begun fading. If that’s not the case, your best option for waxing is to wait at least 1 week after your spray to wax. This will allow the outermost layers of skin to begin the shedding process. Any cells removed by the waxing process were on their way out anyways. It’s also important to note that the waxed area will appear lighter than non-waxed areas. You will want to be careful when deciding on the areas to be waxed. Waxing your calves and not your thighs will create a noticeable variant in the color of your tan.
When to Avoid Waxing After a Spray Tan?
Never, and I mean NEVER wax immediately after a spray tan. When hot wax is applied to the skin, it bonds to the hair and top most layers of skin. This is the layer of skin where your sweet, sweet tan rests. Removing the wax as one does during hair removal will quite literally lift the tan right off of your skin. This will leave you with a nice pale hair free strip of skin. There are certain areas of your body you may opt out of having spray tanned. Your face and pubic area are some easy examples. Waxing in these un-sprayed areas is perfectly fine at any time.
Waxing Before a Spray Tan
I have found that waxing at least 2 days prior to your spray tan usually yields the best outcome for this particular hair removal method. Waxing, by design, causes the pores and hair follicles to become enlarged and irritated. This occurs because the hair root is essentially ripped from the follicle up through the tiny opening in the skin.
Spray tanning immediately after waxing can cause the spray tan to puddle and settle into those freshly exposed pores. This may leave you with a ‘freckling’ effect over the waxed area. These areas will appear splotchy, polka dottie, and will remain darker as the rest of your tan uniformly fades. This is especially true for the bikini area and upper lip areas. These areas tend to grasp onto the spray tan solution a little more eagerly. Waiting at least 2 days gives your skin time to calm down. This allows the pores to relax back to their natural state.
Tips for Waxing After a Spray Tan
- As with most skin related topics, consistency is key. Following a regular waxing schedule will slow the regrowth of hair. It will also alter the size of the hair root being lifted out of the pore. This reduces the irritation and size of the pore after waxing. This also decreases the likelihood of ingrown hairs which are unsightly and painful!
- If you have had your face spray tanned, please don’t get your face waxed until your spray tan has faded. You will end up in the desperate position of caking on concealer to make your upper lip match the rest of your face. It’s really not a good time.
- Waxing can be pretty pricey. It’s always best to go to a professional with heavy duty hair removal areas but there are a few products that I like to keep on hand for quick touch ups at home. Depending on the area that I’m waxing, I will either go with my standard pre-waxed strip or I’ll use my higher end at home waxing system. Both give great results and don’t break the bank.
Hair Removal After a Spray Tan
While it can be a tricky obstacle to tackle, shaving and waxing after a spray tan is possible without sacrificing the look and longevity of your tan. Just keep in mind that this is not a good time to experiment with new hair removal techniques. Stick with what works best for you and your skin type. If you are interested in any of the hair removal options I’ve listed above, definitely give those a try several days or weeks prior to your spray tan to see how each method works for you.
Sometimes shaving, waxing, tweezing, or epilating after a spray tan is unavoidable. In all reality, it probably won’t be the end of your gorgeous tan. The best tip I can give you is to just try your best to schedule your hair removal around your spray tan to optimize the look and duration of the tan in conjunction with using the tips mentioned in this article.
Which hair removal method do you like best? Have you had success with waxing and shaving after your spray tan? Definitely leave me a comment below with any tips and tricks of your own!
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!