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 spray tanned skin is naturally sloughing away a bit every day making new fresh untanned cells as it regenerates.
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Why the big difference in how long a spray tan lasts?
There are many reasons for a fake tan to fade such as:
- Skin type–dry vs oily
- Lifestyle–working out, getting sweaty, extra showers, swimming, hot tubs, massages
- How you are taking care of your spray tan
BUT MOSTLY it is the body care products you are putting on your pretty tan. Soap, lotion, facial cleansers, and serums can all include ingredients that can fade a sunless tan.
How long your spray tan lasts is directly related to HOW you are taking care of it.
If you are getting into chemical-filled, perfumed, purple sparkly shower gel or a deodorant exfoliating bar soap you are just breaking down and washing off your pretty tan as fast as I was able to spray it on you.
Your body lotion, your skincare routine for your face, your work out, showering habits, and even your period will impact how long your spray tan lasts.
Sad news but all true.
Tips to make your spray tan last longer
Rethink the products that you are using on your tan, make sure that you are choosing sunless tan friendly options, and organize your beauty life to extend the life of your airbrush tan.
There are many options for sunless tan friendly products, not just items sold at your local spray tan shop. For your convenience, I have included the links to my favorites.
- What to Wash with Before & After Your Spray Tan
- 5 Best Lotions to Use After Your Spray Tan
- Natural body lotion that is not sticky
- 3 Tips for Shaving After Your Spray Tan
- Top 5 Best Sunscreens Safe For Your Spray Tan
- When to book your nail appointment so you don’t ruin your spray tan
- Eyelash Extensions Or Spray Tan First
Exfoliate 2-3 times the week before your spray tan appointment
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. Gently 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 48 hours before your spray tan appointment.
Schedule your spray tan appointment the week after your period
Hormones are the worst and can wreak havoc on a sunless tan, making it not take at all if you get sprayed the week before your period. If at all possible schedule for the week after.
Come to your spray tan appointment with clean dry skin
Shower, shave and exfoliate the night before your airbrush tanning appointment. This will allow your skin to settle down and not be stripped of 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 after care instructions
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.
Events To Spray Tan For:
- Should You Get a Spray Tan for Your Wedding Yes or No?
- How To Get The Best Spray Tan Before Your Vacation
- The Secret to Making Your Prom Makeup POP!
- Spray Tan Tips For Your Photoshoot
- How Boutique Clothing Models Prep For Photo Shoots
Shower gently after your spray tan
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 sunless tan and strip your color away. Gentle natural soap or a sensitive skin shower gel is best. Unscented with minimal ingredients.
Use unscented lotion after your spray tan
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 spray tan. Use a very basic lotion that is for sensitive skin without all the additional ingredients. I also love coconut oil.
Touch up your sunless tan
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.
Don’t sweat off your spray tan
Getting sweaty does fade your color. Working out and multiple showers a day can really take a toll on the life of your tan. Having a self-tanning mousse or glow cream on hand is a great way to extend the life of your tan. The same applies if you are taking your tan on vacation to the beach, or pool since chlorine and water can fade your pretty tan also. Use your self-tanner every other day to boost color in-between your professional spray tan appointments.
Exfoliate gently to keep your spray tan 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.
As always if you are loving the outfit on the model in the picture head over to Blue Layne for all the adorable choices!!
- Models and Clothing: Blue Layne Boutique
- Photo Credit: Emily Martin Photography
- Model Spray Tans: SunSpray by Kathryn
- Model Makeup: Merle Norman Cosmetics
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.
- 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
- Wholesale self-tanning mousse
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