Hopping into the shower before your spray tan appointment, you grab your body wash and think “is this the best body wash before my spray tan?”

Good question! YES, it matters what you wash your body with BEFORE and AFTER your spray tan.

what body wash to use before and after your spray tan

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What To Wash With Before Your Spray Tan

The MOST important part of washing your body before your spray tan appointment is to remove all the beauty product residue from your skin. Lotion, perfume, deodorant, body spray, etc. All of these things can cause a barrier between your skin and the spray tan solution.

We want clean dry skin with nothing to get in the way of your sunless tan soaking in evenly.

Gently exfoliating is great using a loofah or exfoliating towel and a mild body wash.

Before your spray tan, we want a body wash that is clean rinsing and NOT an extra moisturizing formula as it will coat the skin.

Many shower products contain oil, wax, and moisturizers that will coat your skin not allowing your tan to soak in evenly.

This can result in a blotchy, streaky, uneven color. YUCK, no one wants that.

Other bath products contain harsh detergents, salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy, exfoliating beads, fragrances, and dyes.

This can result in stripping your color off after your spray tan in an unattractive way

SUNLESS TANNING GOAL: a smooth even tan that lasts for as long as possible.

My shopping list of recommended body washes for before and after your spray tan are listed below.

First Shower After A Spray Tan

Your spray tan artist will tell you how long you need to wait till you can shower after your spray tan.

There are rapid tan types of sunless tanning products that need to be left on the skin 1-3 hours before showering and then only a clear water RINSE.

There are regular spray tanning solutions that need to be left on the skin 8-10 hours or overnight before showering off.

With either type of spray tan solution, if there is bronzer in the product, be aware that the initial tan will look too dark as the layer of bronzer is sitting on top of a developed spray tan. That is two layers of color and it is too much. When you do step into the shower you will see bronzer washing off your skin.

This means that your tan will look streaky as the water first hits your skin. DON’T PANIC! You are not messing up your tan….stay in the shower and continue to rinse off the bronzer.  It will puddle around your feet and you may feel like you have messed up your spray tan.  You have not.

Your even sunless tan is hiding underneath the bronzer just waiting for you.

The above is true for your first shower after a self-tanning mousse or lotion that contains a bronzer.

Using a harsh body wash will strip your sunless color prematurely fading out your bronzy glow.

What If I Wash My Spray Tan Off Too Early?

Washing a sunless tan off before the recommended time will result in your tan being a lighter color.

If you wash your spray tan immediately after you get it you won’t have a tan.

The spray tan solution DOES have to sit on your skin for a little time to develop your color.

This is somewhat up to your personal tan preferences as far as how long you leave your spray tan on before washing.

I have clients that leave the spray tan solution on for 4-5 hours and then rinse before bed.  I have clients who leave their fresh spray tan on overnight before they shower. Either one is just fine as long as you are happy with the result color.

Notice I said RINSE when we are talking about that first shower after your spray tan.  Soap will stop the tan from developing. Rinsing will just slow down the process and remove the bronzers from your skin.

Take into account your skin type and what kind of tan you are looking for.  Are you super fair and just want a little glow for a wedding? A rinse a few hours in might be what you are looking for.

Or do you have a darker skin tone or are going on a vacation and are looking for some beach color? Then leaving the sunless product overnight could be your sweet spot.

The same can be said of at-home self-tanners.

If you are new to sunless tanning feel free to EXPERIMENT with your spray tan artist or your self-tanning mousse to find out what BEST works for you and your skin.

Afraid you might make a mistake and it will be WAY too dark.  No worries….just do your legs.  Then if it’s not what you were expecting you can always wear pants for a day or two.

Remember sunless tanners are TEMPORARY! This is why they are safe but also why you can play with them to find your perfect color. If it is not what you expected it will fade away in a few days.  Have FUN, don’t stress.

How To Wash Your Face After A Spray Tan

In the world of sunless tanning, your face is always the first to fade. Facial skincare products, wearing makeup and makeup removers can be hard on a spray tan fading the color quickly.

Use a sulfate-free facial wash to gently cleanse your skin.

Never wash your face after a spray tan with:

  • acne wash
  • anti-aging wash
  • harsh gel facial wash
  • facial washes that contain AHA’s, Glycolic or Retinols
  • makeup removing wipes
facial cleansers that are harsh on a spray tan

Related Articles:

What Body Wash Is Safe After My Spray Tan?

Think gentle, mild, natural, simple.

Similar to what to wash with before your spray tan we don’t want anything harsh or purple sparkly scented shower gel.

This will strip your pretty bronzy spray tan leaving you faded and sad.

We want your color to last as long as possible so we need to find a body wash that you love that can help accomplish extending your spray tan as long as possible

Here is my list of the best body wash for before and after you get your spray tan. They contain none of the harsh ingredients that can break down a sunless tan, stripping the color prematurely.

Check them out and see if you can find a new favorite body wash!

Wondering if you can wash your hair after your spray tan? Head over to my blog post that gives all the details on the best way to do it.

Events To Spray Tan For:

Kathryn’s Top 5 Best Body Wash For BEFORE and AFTER Your Spray Tan:

1. Cetaphil Pro Soothing Wash

amazon link to cetaphil pro soothing wash

Shop this Gentle Skin Cleanser on Amazon

Cetaphil is always a great go-to option for gentle cleansing before and after your spray tan.  Often recommended by dermatologists for sensitive skin. Gentle and non-stripping to help keep your bronzy color on your skin.

2. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk & Body Wash

amazon link to shea moisture body wash for spray tans

Shop this Natural Body Wash on Amazon

I’m obsessed with the Shea Moisture line. This all-natural foaming milk and body wash leaves a yummy scent as it cleanses your skin and won’t hurt my spray tan.

I have super dry skin and the Shea Moisture line doesn’t make me itchy or uncomfortable. Certified organic raw shea butter delivers intense hydration that nourishes and coconut oil moisturizes dry, dull-looking skin and leaves it soft, supple and smooth with a beautiful even tan!

3. Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

amazon link to dr bronners castile soap

Shop this Pure Castile Body Wash on Amazon

Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soaps are made with over 90% organic ingredients. Over 70% of ingredients are certified fair trade, meaning ethical working conditions & fair prices.

GOOD FOR YOUR BODY & THE PLANET: Dr. Bronner’s liquid soaps are fully biodegradable & use all-natural, vegan ingredients that pose no threat to the environment. Our products & ingredients are never tested on animals & are cruelty-free.

I have used these soaps for years and I love the simple ingredients and they are spray tan safe.

4. Puracy Natural Body Wash

Shop this Sulfate-Free Body Wash on Amazon

Sulfate-Free, coconut-based cleansers create rich, luxurious foam with NO harsh chemicals The clean rinse is perfect for use before and after your airbrush tan.  I love the citrus and sea salt smell of this body wash!

There are NO HARSH CHEMICALS: No Cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), formaldehyde, salicylates, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, perfumes, dyes or caustics

Plant-derived, non-toxic, hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free, biodegradable; Certified Cruelty-Free by PETA & Leaping Bunny – Never Tested on Animals; Made in the USA!

5. Majestic Pure Herbal Shampoo & Body Wash

Shop this All-in-One Shampoo and Body Wash on Amazon

Who doesn’t LOVE an all-in-one product? I know I do! Wash my hair and my body with the same bottle. That means one less bottle to deal with in my shower.  Safe for your hair color and your spray tan.

There you have my top 5 body washes that are safe for your spray tan.  I hope you find a new favorite to live in your shower.

Need to BOOK A SPRAY TAN? Head over to the contact page for all the info.

As a small business owner, I can’t stock all the amazing products that are available in the world of sunless tanning but I can give you my professional opinion.

Spray Tan Business Pros:

Do you have a mobile spray tanning business, home-based spray tan business, or are you looking for information on HOW to start a spray tan business? Then check out my tools of the trade area of this website for help in setting up your own airbrush spray tanning business.

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