Store self-tanner and spray tan solution at a steady room temperature, in a dark place. This will extend the life of your sunless tanning products. Keep the temperature of your mousse, lotion, or spray tan solution even, not letting it get too hot or too cold. Don’t store self tanner it in a hot area like your car or bathroom or allow it to freeze. A cool dark closet or cabinet is the perfect spot to store your self-tanning products.

If you love sunless tanning as much as I do then you have probably experimented with tons of different self-tanners. I have many different products in my home and studio because I am always trying them out for my clients to see what I like the best.

Whether you are a self tanning addict, new to trying self tanners or a business that carries DHA based tanning products like a sunless tanning studio owner or online boutique retailer then storing your sunless products properly will help you get the most life out of your investment. After you have purchased your favorite tanner, the last thing you want to do is damage its effectiveness.

I love sunless tanning because it’s a great safe way to get the perfect tan without the harmful rays of the sun. Once you find the best self-tanner, you will want to make sure to keep it fresh so it lasts as long as possible. Extreme temperature changes and light are the enemies of all sunless tanning products, breaking down the DHA and oxidizing the bronzers—yuck!

Here are five tips to help you keep your sunless tanner fresh.

To store self tanner keep it at room temperature.


A steady temperature keeps your products stable. Going from hot to cold back to hot will break down your self-tanner. So keep it indoors at a fairly even temp to extend the shelf life of your products.


Store self tanner in a dark place to protect it from the UV rays that can break it down. Bright light will oxidize the bronzers in your sunless tanning products turning them green and causing the DHA (the active ingredient that creates your tan) to lose effectiveness.  Don’t store your bottles on the window sill of your bathroom or a sunny brightly lit display window in your studio or boutique. Keeping your sunless products away from windows and display lights inside a cabinet or closet will extend their life.


I have seen this happen too many times to count! I know it’s easy to toss your face touch-up spray into your gym bag for that after-work barre class. Then you toss the bag into the back seat of your car for later. You should never leave any of your sunless products inside a car.  The heat buildup in the car will break down your tanner making it turn a weird off-green color. Or if it’s cold out it could freeze your tanner. For my studio and boutique owners: taking a new batch of spray tan solution or retail products to the shop with errands along the way leaves the product sitting in the hot car for hours. Keeping your sunless products an even temperature is best. So take your bag with you into work and restock to the studio directly.

Don't store self tanner in a bag it can get hot and ruined.


Sunless tanning products DO have a shelf life AND an expiration date. I remind my clients to check the expiration date on their sunscreen and self tanner each spring break season. That way we know they have fully effective products ready when they need them. Properly storing your sunless products can extend the life of your self tanner. Professional sunless studios and educated boutique owners will keep their retail self-tanning products in a cool area out of the sun until you purchase them or they are shipped to you. Once you have it in your home, store it properly and use it before it passes the effective time. 12 months from the time of purchase is a good rule of thumb. But properly stored products can last longer.


There is a debate in the sunless tanning industry on if you should or should not refrigerate your self tanner. Here is my take on it. For everyday use both at home and at the spray tan studio keeping your products at room temperature is optimal. If you are using your mousse and/or spray tan solution frequently then please keep it out in a stable temperature-controlled environment. Your home linen closet or studio spray room is just fine. I personally will refrigerate my spray tan solution or self tanner if I need to store long term. By long-term, I mean several months of nonuse. Such as if I have ordered a 6 month supply of spray tan solution. I will take what I need each week to the studio to use and keep the remainder in my basement fridge. I can then restock my needed supply weekly and the tanner is not changing temperatures over and over. It’s the constant back and forth in temp that causes the wear and tear on the products and causes the breakdown. Long-term storage is the only time that I refrigerate.


And last but not least, USE your self-tanner! Don’t let it sit. Bronze those legs up and give your face a pretty glow.  Letting sunless products sit is the saddest way to waste your beautiful products. Time will eventually degrade your tanner. So, use it up regularly and replace it with a fresh bottle to keep your color going!


Are you looking for information on HOW TO start or GROW your spray tan business? Check out my tools of the trade for business-related content to set up your own airbrush spray tanning business.

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