Along with what you can do to extend the life of your spray tan.
Spray tans can last anywhere from 5-10 days with your tan being lighter at the end of that time than it was at the beginning. This is because your tanned skin is naturally sloughing away a bit every day making new fresh untanned cells as it regenerates.
Why the big difference in how long your sunless color can last?
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There are many reasons such as:
- Your skin type–dry vs oily
- Your lifestyle–working out, getting sweaty, extra showers, swimming, hot tubs, massages
- How you are taking care for your spray tan
BUT MOSTLY it’s what products you are putting on your pretty tan, soap, lotion, facial cleansers and serums, etc.
How you are taking care of your spray tan directly relates to how long it will last.
If you are getting into chemical filled, perfumed, purple sparkly shower gel or deodorant exfoliating bar soap you are just breaking down and washing off your pretty tan as fast as I was able to put it on you.
Your body lotion, your skin care routine for your face and even your work out and showering habits will impact the life of your sunless tan.
Sad news but all true.
So what’s a girl to do to keep her glow?
Rethink the products that you are using on your tan, make sure that you are choosing spray tan friendly options and organize your life a bit to extend the life of your sunless tan.
There are many options for sunless tan friendly products, not just items sold at your local spray tan shop and for your convenience I have included the links to my favorites.
- How To Get The Best Spray Tan Before Your Vacation
- Top 5 Best Sunscreens Safe For Your Spray Tan
- When to book your nail appointment so you don’t ruin your spray tan.
- How to Extend Your Sunless Tan
Keep reading to learn how to extend the life of your professional airbrush tan
Your before tan skin prep gives you the longest lasting sunless tan.
This means getting your skin in the best possible condition prior to your spray tan. The healthier your skin is the better your sunless tan is going to look and the longer it is going to last. Exfoliating several times the week before your spray tan appointment removes patchy dry areas and gets your skin smooth and fresh ready to accept the tan.
Pro Tip: make sure all waxing, facials and massages are completed 24 hours before your spray tan appointment.
Come to your spray tan appointment with clean dry skin.
Shower, shave and exfoliate the night before or the morning of your airbrush tanning appointment. This will allow your skin to settle down and not be stripped of all natural oils so your spray tan can develop properly.
Pro Tip: Avoid all lotions, perfumes, deodorants and body sprays as this will block the tan from absorbing evenly and even turn funny colors.
Wear soft loose clothing to your spray tan appointment.
Putting tight clothing on after your fresh spray tan is a recipe for disaster creating lines and uneven areas. Pick something soft, loose and comfy. Easy on and easy off.
I recommend soft t-shirt and jammie pants or soft cotton maxi dress. Please no shorts and if you can skip your bra that is best as it can leave lines in your fresh color. Cover up those legs so that you are not sticking to the car seat when you leave me. A newly applied spray tan is delicate and we need to protect it as it is setting in and developing.
What shoes to wear after your spray tan is another thing to consider—flip flops are my preference unless its raining or snowing out. Hello MidWest here and we have to work with what Mother Nature gives us. Loose boots such as the Ugg style are a great option for the wet sloppy winter weather.
Follow the care instructions for after your spray tan.
Most of my clients sleep in their new spray tan and then shower the next AM. You need to stay dry for 8-10 hours for the tan to fully develop and soak into your skin. Keep your hands out of the sink and be careful about rain drops and puppy kisses.
Hop into the shower to wash the bronzer and excess solution off. Use a mild soap, lukewarm water and DON’T exfoliate. Avoid shower gels that are extra moisturizing, deodorant, purple, sparkly, exfoliating and heavily perfumed. (yes, I know I said this once already but it’s pretty important) These will break down your tan and strip your color away. Basic, natural soap or shower gel is best. Unscented with minimal ingredients.
For more info about what soaps are ok to use on your sunless tan check out:
Moisturize with the right lotion.
Same situation here with the moisturizer that we run into with the soap and shower gels The more ingredients and chemicals that are in the lotion the more it breaks down your sunless tan. Use a very basic lotion that is for sensitive skin without all the additional ingredients. I also love cocoanut oil.
My lotion article goes into all the details on how to choose the best one for your tan:
Hands and face are the first to fade.
We wash our hands and face a lot and this means that they are going to be the first part of your spray tan to fade. Having a quality sunless tanning product available for touch ups is a good idea.
Can you sweat off your spray tan?
Getting sweaty does fade your color. Working out, getting sweaty and multiple showers a day can really take a tole on the life of your tan. Having a gradual tanner or glow cream on hand is a great way to extend the life of your tan without worrying about how to apply it. Since it’s a gradual lotion there are no worries about streaking in case you are not a pro at sunless tanning application. Same applies if you are headed to the beach, or pool since that can fade your pretty tan also. Use your gradual tanner every other day to boost color in-between your professional spray tan appointments.
Exfoliate to keep it even.
Lightly exfoliating is a great way to help your tan to fade evenly. Use a washcloth or poof every two or three days gently exfoliating any areas that are starting to appear darker. Use a light touch though, heavy exfoliation will remove your spray tan in an unflattering way causing it to be blotchy.
Once you have had your first spray tan you will have a better idea of how long it will last on your skin. Then you will know how often to schedule your appointments at the studio to keep your glow going.
Sunless Tanning Pros:
Do you have a mobile spray tanning business, home based business, or are you looking to start one? Then check out my tools of the trade area of this website for help in setting up your own sunless tanning business.
- Professional advice on choosing the best spray tan equipment
- Spray tan equipment and product reviews
- Spray tanning business resources to help you learn and grow
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Hi, I’m Kathryn! I’m here to help you have the best spray tanning experience possible. When I’m not creating beautiful sunless tans, I am working with my students or writing for my blog sharing everything I know about how to get the perfect spray tan, how to give the perfect spray tan, and how to build a boutique spray tan business.