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10 Tips for a Successful Spray Tan Experience

I am a huge advocate for healthy skin, which means avoiding the tanning bed and keeping sunscreen handy on sunny days. You can never be too safe when it comes to keeping your skin healthy and cancer-free! If you’re one of those people who believes you simply look (and feel) more beautiful with tanned skin, why not try a spray tan?


I must admit…my first spray tan was an AWFUL experience. I was a senior in high school and decided to get a spray tan, which was a new concept at the time. I had NO clue what do when I got in the booth.

I was alone.



This sums up my experience:

Where should I put my hands?

Should I close my eyes?

OMG it’s spraying in my face and I tasted it! Will my teeth turn tan too!?

Oh no- I put my pants on too soon…looks like I am staining these shorts.  Does it look like I pooped myself?

Why do I smell like soy sauce?

I remember taking a shower and watching the color wash off my body down the drain- as if I was melting away.

Now, don’t run away just yet….spray tans have come a LONG way since 2004. And I did a few things wrong during my first experience, so let me share with you 10 tips for a successful spray tan experience:

1- Confess your newbie status. Before you commit to the spray tan experience, call in advance for pricing information and ask for any advice. Be upfront that you’re a newbie – they’ll coach and treat you well because they definitely want you coming back. Check with your favorite salon too - they often do more than just hair!

2- Come in fresh and clean. Think of spray tan as paint on a canvas – paint goes on smoother and sticks better if the surface is clean. So, remove all unwanted hair and exfoliate with an oil-free body scrub. You’ll also want to remove all lotion, make-up, sunscreen, or oily products that could be on your skin. The lotion and oil can act as a barrier to the letting the spray tan work effectively. If wear make-up to the office and you’re going to the salon after work, bring along make-up removers and oil wipes.

3- Get naked. Listen, the beauty of a spray tan is you don’t have to worry about tan lines! You can bring in disposable underwear if you’re too nervous to bare all. And remember how my spray tan leaked onto to my clothes? Well, be sure to wear dark, loose-fitting clothes and flip flops post-spray tan. The tighter your clothes, the more likely you are to streak. And the lighter your clothes, the more likely you are to get stains on your clothing.

4-Stand still. Once you’re ready to start the spray tan, stand still, close your eyes, and hold your breath. Wiggling around like you’re sexy and you know can cause streaking and an uneven application of the spray tan.

5- Skip the shower. Do not shower 10-12 hours after your spray tan. The solution can take anywhere between 6 and 12 hours to develop, and showering too early might lighten up the color. When you do shower eventually, note that some of the bronzer will wash off – this is completely normal! Just let the water from the shower remove the excess bronzer.


6- Pat your body down. Instead of scrubbing yourself dry, be gentle and just pay yourself down after the shower.

7 - Moisturize! Using a moisturizer helps extend the life of your spray tan. When your tan does eventually start to fade, the moisturizer will help the tan fade more evenly as well. Stick with a hydrating lotion with a natural fragrance like vanilla, shea butter, or a citrus fruit (this will help with the slight odor you may experience post-spray tan).

8- Shave with caution. Shaving your legs can act as an exfoliation, which will cause your tan to quickly fade. Try shaving your legs every other day.

9- Skip your cycling class. Make sure that you avoid the gym until after you can shower (10-12 hours after your spray tan- see tip 3). You might end up with streaks from the sweat if you don’t’ shower before hitting gym.

10- Watch out for the face eaters. Okay, that sounded dramatic, but really face washes that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can eat away your spray tan.


And finally, remember that a spray tan doesn’t mean you don’t need sunscreen! Here are a few tips for keeping your skin healthy in the sun.

If you’re an avid spray tanner, what advice do you have for fellow newbies? Share your ideas below or tweet us @loxabeauty.

MORE: spray tan, skin care, healthy skin