Your beauty self-care routine

If you have never had a spray tan you may be wondering what to do before your first spray tan appointment. And how organizing a beauty self-care routine is the perfect fit for getting prepped to tan!

I have gathered all the instructions for you in one easy spot so you can go through getting organized to plan some pampering for yourself.  Getting your first sunless tan can seem overwhelming, but once you go through the whole process it will be super easy to understand the rules, why we have them and how to enjoy getting ready to glow.

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Spray Tan Rules

Getting a spray tan does come with some do’s and don’t so your tan turns out perfectly bronzy, but your appointment also comes with a great opportunity to plan a little time to take care of your body, light a candle, relax and enjoy some at-home spa treatments. Here are all the sunless tanning rules below, complete with links to all the in detail posts that I have written so you will know exactly what to do to get the best results from your appointment.

When To Book Your Appointment

First things first, when should you make your appointment?  I recommend 1-2 days before any special event or trip.

No one likes rushing around last minute and we NEVER EVER want to get a spray tan on the day of an event like a wedding.  Unfortunately, I get same-day requests all too often.

Your sunless tan needs to sit on your skin for a period of time before you can rinse off and wear whatever you want without concern for bronzer rub-off or clothing marking your tan or the solution itself staining clothing.

Even if you are getting a rapid tan type of product it still needs some time to sit before you shower and a sunless tan does continue to develop for approximately 24 hours after your shower. The tan is delicate during that time so it is just best to plan ahead. Planning ahead also reduces stress which is much needed.

How To Book A Spray Tan By Kathryn

Self-Care Tips For Skin

When To Shower Before Your Spray Tan

As your professional spray tan artist, I need you to come to me with clean dry skin.  Wash all the lotion, perfume, deodorant, and makeup off.  All of these products leave a residue on your skin and your sunless tan can’t soak in evenly when you have them on.

Showering the evening before or the morning of your appointment is preferable as long as you skip the lotion, deodorant, and body products when you get out of the shower.

What to wash with?

This is the perfect opportunity to gather up a yummy gentle shower wash or beautiful all-natural soap to enjoy in your shower. #organic #goatsmilk

If it’s a purple sparkly scented deodorant wash then don’t use it. #chemicalyuck

For a list of yummy soaps and shower washes that are Kathryn-approved sunless safe check out my blog post below.

Here is where you get to embrace your inner all-natural spa diva and find a delicious gentle wash or soap to nurture your skin.

What to wash with before and after your spray tan.

When To Shave Before A Spray Tan

Should you shave before your appointment? Yes, shaving is a form of exfoliating and it’s best to shave before we apply your sunless tan to get the dry patchy skin off and smooth out those legs.

Shaving the night before your appointment is best so that your pores can close and your skin can settle if you are sensitive. Also, you should be limiting your shaving after your sunless tan develops so that you don’t remove the color faster than you want to.

Shaving after your spray tan.

The Best Way To Exfoliate For A Sunless Tan

Exfoliating before your tan is essential but again I don’t like chemical-laden exfoliating scrubs. We go back to the product residue that I talked about above and that it’s just not good for your body. Many exfoliating scrubs contain wax or oil and this sits on your skin blocking your sunless tan from soaking in evenly so you would want to use those 48 hours before your tanning appointment.

I prefer that you are using a loofa or exfoliating towel (<-my favorite) with your mild shower wash or a foaming exfoliator.

Take your time and scrub all the dryness away.  A few extra minutes in the shower don’t happen often so make it count.

Knees, elbows, and ankles tend to have more dry skin on them so scrub them a little extra. Keep in mind that I am NOT asking you to take off 5 layers of skin.  I don’t want you coming to me all red and rashy with your skin stripped out. GENTLE exfoliating is all that is necessary.

I don’t want your skin stripped. Just smooth.

If you are a dry skin type then a gentle scrub the night before please so that your skin has time to calm down before I am applying your color.

When To Get Your Nails/Waxing/Hair Done

Often when we are getting a spray tan we have other beauty appointments scheduled because we are getting ready for an event or trip.

Ladies, you tell me all the time how much work it is to “be a girl and get ready for events”.  I know we all have busy schedules and kiddos and work but if you are going to make and go to these appointments anyway, TRY to see it as the time you are focused just on yourself for a minute in a world where that doesn’t happen enough. xoxo

Please schedule all other beauty treatments BEFORE your spray tanning appointment.

Nail polish remover, waxing, and hair dye (and the remover they wipe it off with) will all ruin your tan, taking it off in a very unattractive way.

When To Book Your Nail Appointment So You Don’t Ruin Your Spray Tan.


What To Wear During And After Your Spray Tan

During your appointment, I recommend an older bra and undies.  Something dark-colored that you don’t care about.  A thong is fine and topless is up to your comfort level.

Many people ask me if you wear a bra for your appointment. If you are under 18 then a top is required.  You can always opt for the sticky petals if you don’t want a tan line across your back or you will be wearing something that is backless.

Think about what you will be wearing the week following your tan.  I don’t want to create tan lines anywhere you don’t want them or they might show.

After we get your sunless tan on its best to wear something loose-fitting, soft, and cottony.


Wear something that covers up your legs, maxi dress or skirt or yoga/jammie pants. This ensures that you don’t stick to your car when you are leaving me.

Also, we need to think about what to wear after spray tan in winter or if it is raining.  Keeping your skin protected from the weather is important because your fresh tan cannot get wet or you will have dots and streaks on it.

You do not have to wear your oldest clothes in the closet.  Getting a spray tan is not as messy as it would seem.  Check out my blog post below for cute outfits that you can wear after your appointment that won’t rub or ruin your tan.

What To Wear After A Spray Tan

Stay Dry

After I airbrush the solution on your skin, you need to stay dry for 8-10 hours.  No getting wet or sweaty.  No pedicures, waxing or hot yoga classes.

Will hot yoga ruin a spray tan? Absolutely!!! Get your workout in before your appointment.

No raindrops, crying or puppy kisses. No cuddling with your baby or significant other 😉 I know you like each other and that’s wonderful but….Your tan will transfer on to their skin leaving weird brown splotches on them.

Small children are wet and messy.  Drooling, sippy cups and diaper changes have been the demise of more than one spray tan.  Plan your evening so that you have an extra set of hands on board if you have little people in your world.

Plan your dinner so that you have it already prepped or pick up something fun on the way home.  No cooking, no dishes. Because you are working on your tan tonight!

I know all of these spray tan rules sound daunting but once you have done it once it will be no big deal.  You will know what to watch out for and have a peaceful evening before a fun weekend.

Wait To Shower 8-10 Hours Or Overnight

There are 2 scary moments when you get your first spray tan.

When you get up in the morning and have that first look in the mirror your tan will seem WAY too dark. What you are seeing is a fully developed sunless tan with a layer of bronzer on top.  It’s 2 layers and it’s TOO much. Don’t panic just hop into the shower.

The second scary moment is when you hop in the shower and the water starts hitting your tan and it gets all streaky and messy and you are afraid that you have completely ruined your tan.

I promise it is NOT ruined.

It is just the bronzer washing away to reveal your perfect sunless tan underneath.  Once that bronzer is off you are good to go with wearing the clothing you want and not having to be afraid of getting wet any longer.

Events To Spray Tan For:

There you have it! All the instructions for getting a beautiful sunless tan and having your self-care routine and beauty timeline dialed in so you can feel beautiful and confident!

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

Wondering what the best self-tanning mousse is? My favorite is Rose Gold. Check out why I love it here.

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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