I have worked in the spray tan industry for over 20 years. And during this time I have had the pleasure to meet and work with so many wonderful professional makeup artists and stylists. Partnering with the beauty leaders in my community is always fun! I love it when the brides forward me their wedding photos and I get to see the end result of everyone’s hard work and creativity.

My specialty is the BRIDAL spray tan.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click and purchase, I may make a commission. Read my full disclosure here.

Spray Tan Tips For Makeup Artists

Recently I have had several makeup artists reach out to me with some bridal-related spray tan questions on how to best advise their clients. So I thought I would answer this here to get all the info in one easy spot.

Often a bride turns to her friends or the wedding forums for advice on spray tans and makeup. Unfortunately, many of the wedding forums such as The Knot and Wedding Wire, are loaded with bad advice about how they best work together for a wedding.

I am here to offer clear instructions for your clients and some spray tan tips for the best results.

First a HUGE thank you for sending me your clients and suggesting they have a spray tan included in their wedding beauty routine!

I appreciate you sharing your clients with me.  I hope to make you proud and send you beautifully bronzed brides that you can polish with your amazing makeup artist skills.

Here are the specifics on how the spray tanning process best works for brides and their wedding parties. We want to coordinate with you their bridal makeup artists and their wedding photographers for the best outcome.

When To Get A Spray Tan Before A Wedding

Common areas of confusion are the timing of the bridal spray tan appointment in relation to her wedding date and when to shower after your bridal spray tan has been applied.

When a bride calls the studio and she asks one of the following questions:

  • Should I get sprayed a week before my wedding so it’s not too dark?
  • I need to get sprayed on the day of my wedding so the color is fresh.
  • Can you spray me extra dark so it shows up in my pictures (I can feel my photographers cringing on this one)
  • I’m not supposed to wash the spray tan off before I have my makeup done because then I won’t be tan (and all the makeup artists facepalm together)
  • And last but not least is……Will there be bronzer all over my wedding dress?

Then I know that she was on the wedding forums before she called me.

Should You Get a Spray Tan for Your Wedding Yes or No?

How Spray Tans Work

Here is a brief overview of the types of spray tan solutions available and how they work.

Spray Tan Solution

Most spray tan solution has 2 parts. A bronzer (cosmetic) and a sunless tanner. This creates a tan in the skin but also contains ingredients to help the tan dry and not be sticky and keep the skin hydrated.

In a traditional spray tan solution that contains both bronzer and sunless tanner, the bronzer piece washes away when the client showers. Along with any hydrating ingredients leaving the skin soft and ready for you, the makeup artist takes it from there to complete the bride’s preferred makeup look.

Instant Bronzer Spray

There are bronzing solutions that contain NO sunless tanner. They are purely an instant spray-on cosmetic.

They are NOT recommended for bridal spraying as a pure bronzing spray must be applied on the DAY OF an event. Recommended use for this type of solution is fitness or bodybuilding competition.

If a bronzer-only type of solution is used for a wedding, the color can be transferred to the bride’s gown causing unsightly stains and brown marks. Not what any bride wants for her special day and photos. It will also leave a layer of bronzer on the bride’s skin that you the makeup artist end up dealing with trying to layer makeup over and have it come out as you would want it. Not an easy feat.

Clear Spray Tan Solution

There are also “clear” sunless tanning sprays that do not contain any bronzer only the sunless tanning solution. These are wonderful for wedding spray tans.

A word of caution: know the spray tan artist you are recommending.

A spray tan artist MUST be experienced spraying with a clear sunless tanning solution and also have a solid base of experience in sunless tanning. This is not for a new or inexperienced spray tan technician.

Related Articles:

How long does a spray tan last?

A spray tan lasts approximately a week.

Keeping this in mind, if the bride’s spray tan appointment happens too early it will be fading by the time our bride gets to her day=sad pale bride. If the bride gets her tan too close to her wedding day or on her wedding day (HUGE NO NO) then we run the risk of the tan being too dark in her photos. Or having bronzer rubbing off onto the white dress. This is not good either.

How Long Do Spray Tans Last?

How many days before the wedding should a bride get her spray tan?

The sweet spot is 2-3 days before THE DAY.

For Saturday weddings I love Thursday, for Friday weddings, Wednesday is the perfect day.

Then we have a day for the tan to soak in and develop, a shower, a rehearsal dinner, and then a shower and a white dress.

Our bride does not have to wash her hair if her hairstylist is wanting her to have it a little dirty for her style to hold up. (I love my hairstylists too, we are a team!!)

Washing Your Hair AFTER Your Spray Tan

When to shower after the spray tan?

Timing on how long to wait before the shower varies with the brand of solution that is used. 

The spray tan artist should inform your bride when to shower. It can be as little as 2 hours and as much as 24.  At my shop, the girls need to stay dry for 8-10 and then hop into the shower.

Should a bride wash after her spray tan or just rinse??

Wash, please! But gently.

If you do a quick internet search you will see all sorts of bad advice on showering and spray tans.

The goal is to remove the bronzer completely and any hydrating ingredients that are left on the skin WITHOUT disturbing the tan.

A soft washcloth or hands with a mild unscented soap or shower wash is what I recommend. Wash, gently and don’t forget under the arms.  This is where bronzer can hang out which then can transfer onto the dress.

If a bride’s shower is done properly then there is nothing to worry about.

Two showers ensure that all the bronzer is off our lovely bride letting her slip into her gown without worries. Also, the color of her tan has softened just a bit allowing a beautiful glow that will show naturally in her wedding photos and letting her makeup artist contour and blend without struggling to correct any unnatural color.

What to Wash with Before & After Your Spray Tan

Bridal Makeup After Spray Tan

Makeup artists, don’t want bronzer and hydrating ingredients hanging out on your skin before a white dress and professional makeup application. None of that is gonna go well.  Your makeup won’t last through the day and the leftover bronzer will rub off onto your gown. So washing your face and proper skin prep needs to happen for your makeup artist to take over and complete the makeup application.

How To Wash Your Face After A Spray Tan

Our bride should have properly exfoliated her skin before her spray tan was applied so we should be working with a clean fresh base and only need to remove the cosmetic bronzer in the spray tan.

That being said washing your face after a spray tan should be done gently, using sulfate-free washes that are designed for sensitive skin.


  • Acne washes
  • Anti-aging serums
  • Exfoliating washes.
  • CLEAN & CLEAR Acne wash

A simple wash like Cereve is best to cleanse the skin before makeup and not strip the sunless tan.

Spray Tanning With Eyelash Extensions

Lashes should be applied 24 hours BEFORE your bride’s spray tan appointment.

I have 2 articles that walk through the beauty timeline for scheduling and when to book lashes for brides.


Eyelash Extensions Or Spray Tan First

A note on photography:

Just as with makeup application for photography having its set of rules, there are rules to how the spray tan plays into the photos as well.  The camera picks up the spray tan color in a more intense way then it is by the naked eye.  If the tan is a shade lighter than you think you want it on your client it usually is the perfect color for the photos.

Less is more when it comes to professional photos and a spray tan.

Spray Tan Tips For Your Photoshoot

My job as the spray tan artist is to create an even palate for you the makeup artist to work with. I’m step one, make everything smooth and even, you are step two make her stunning!!

We are a great team!

Are you a bridal beauty professional and would like to link to or share this blog post? Feel free and thank you.

Are you one of my beautiful SunSpray brides? I would love to see your beautiful wedding photos! You can send them to sunspraybykathryn@gmail.com

Make sure you let me know who your makeup artist and wedding photographer are so that I can give them credit for their work!

Photo Credit: Michelle Leatherman Photography

Bridal Makeup Artist: Shawnielle Evans Demaline

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.

Love the article you just read? Think your spray tan clients would like to read it too?? Share my HOW TO’S and sunless tanning information with your clients on YOUR webpage or social media accounts by DIRECTLY LINKING to my webpage. Please don’t change or otherwise alter any content or claim as your own. No one likes a copycat.