11 Spray Tan Tips You Must Know

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Nothing gives you more confidence than a beautiful, sun-kissed glow, am I right? Spray tanning is pretty much the best invention of the 21st century. We can get a beautiful, safe and natural-looking glow with no harmful side effects, any time of the year!

Do you want to know how to get the very best spray tan results possible? Whether you are brand new to spray tanning or you have been a long time fan, we’ve got you covered.

spray tan tips

In this guide, we will tell you all about how spray tanning became popular, 11 expert spray tan tips, what to do and not do before/after getting a spray tan (including how to make it last) and of course, costs. So come with me and let’s dive into the colorful world of spray tans.

11 Spray tan tips tanning experts swear by

In recent years, spray tanning came along to save the day as a safe alternative. Thankfully, it has successfully evolved since its not-so-realistic-looking oompah-loompah orange beginnings.

Spray tan fans used to run the risk of a streaky cheeto look and dealing with an odor. This is not the case anymore in most salons. We can now get a natural look without the weird smell for an affordable price! But only if you do it right.

So what are some of the best tips by tanning experts to help you achieve a golden god/goddess-glow? I asked three different tanning experts so I could bring you the best advice so you can keep calm and tan on. Ready? Please be sure that you:


Exfoliate your skin before you go—focus especially the driest areas of your bod!


Use the provided hairnet to protect your hair and ensure that all of your hair is secured before your session begins. However, be sure to keep your ears out!

What to Wear After?

Wear darker, loose-fitting clothes that you don’t mind staining and also wear flip flops if possible.

What to Wear During?

For best results, nude is the way to go. But if you’re more comfortable in a swimsuit or thong, especially if you’re airbrushing, then go for it! Just be sure you wear something that you don’t mind getting stains on!


If you shave, do it least 4 hours before your spray tan appointment. This will avoid any irritation.

Use Sunscreen

Remember, spray tans do NOT contain SPF. You will still need sunscreen for sun protection! Skin cancer is a real threat. Choose an organic and paraben-free sunscreen, and your skin will thank you!

No More Staining

Use a little baby powder on your skin if you are afraid the color will come off on your bedsheets. It’ll help the color stay on your skin.

Manicure Before or After?

Get your manicure/pedicure before your spray tan. All the extra soaking and rubbing that come with these won’t help your color stay any longer.

Tanning Consultant

Discuss your color options with a tanning consultant beforehand. You can tell them how dark you want to go, and they will provide their own recommendations. Listen to the pros for the best results!

Moisturizing Cream

Try not to moisturize less than 12 hours before the session. And be sure you are using an oil-free moisturizer so that it won’t mess with your color.

Avoid orange Nails

Give yourself plenty of time so you can use the barrier cream, so you don’t end up with orange nails, feet, toes, hands, etc. Take the extra time to use it, or you will truly regret it.

Step-by-step spray tan prep!

  1. Pick your studio! Make sure to check the reviews beforehand or ask your friends about their favorite places to go.
  2. Eat a meal high in leafy green vegetables before going (the amino acids in the lysine will help with your color).
  3. Shower and exfoliate before your appointment. You won’t be showering for quite some time after your appointment. Exfoliation will remove the color from the surface of your skin faster.
  4. Do your research on the color you want and discuss with the tanning consultant when you show up to your appointment. Also, decide if you wish to be airbrushed by an expert (who you’ll have to be naked in front of) or use an automated spray tan booth (a little less awkward).
  5. Arrive at your appointment with plenty of time so you can follow instructions carefully, apply barrier cream, and have enough time to dry off before getting dressed.
  6. Remember to keep your eyes and mouth closed during the facial application.
  7. The spray will most likely be a little cold—don’t let it shock you! Just relax and enjoy it.

The DON’T’s

  • Don’t overdo it on the exfoliation. Irritated skin is the last thing you want!
  • Don’t wax right before you go! Leave at least 24 hours between your wax and spray tan to avoid irritation and discoloring.
  • Don’t wear perfume, makeup, or deodorant. This will all interfere with color absorption. The deodorant can make your pits turn green.
  • Don’t wear jewelry during or immediately after your spray sesh.
  • Don’t get a spray tan if you have an open or fresh wound
  • Avoid any activity that will cause excessive sweating for the next 24 hours.
  • Try to avoid a shower for 12 hours.
  • Avoid vigorous drying with a towel after showering. Try to pat dry.
  • Don’t tint your eyebrows the same day you spray tan.
  • Don’t skimp on the barrier cream. Use enough to fully cover the areas necessary.

How to make your spray tan last as long as possible?

A spray tan can last for up to 10 days, depending on the shade that was used. A light tan will last about five days, a medium around 7-8, and a dark lasts up to 10. So how can you make your sexy glow last as long as possible? Try the following:

  • Avoid using Band-Aids, pore strips, or face masks.
  • Don’t use exfoliating soaps; just use shower gel.
  • Use moisturizers only recommended by your tanning consultant.
  • Avoid bug spray if at all possible.
  • Avoid chlorinated pools. These will break down your tan faster than it was applied!
  • Avoid soaking in long baths, and try to take shorter showers.
  • Try not to get caught in the rain immediately after your spray sesh! Bring a good umbrella to avoid ruining your color.
  • Avoid excessive hand washing.

Hopefully, in the near future, we may find ways to make spray tanning last longer. In the meantime, we must be grateful that we have this alternative to dangerous sun exposure.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • You can wear earplugs if you want to avoid getting spray inside of your ears.
  • Fading color is unavoidable because your skin is constantly regenerating itself, and your dead skin cells are always sloughing off. Its just nature!
  • The darker the tan, the more DHA (dihydroxyacetone) applied. This is the chemical responsible for producing that lovely brown color. You can thank the Germans for discovering this wonderful, non-toxic chemical!
  • Your skin does not absorb DHA; it’s only on the surface.
  • Your face is going to fade first since you wash it often. Sorry.

All About the $$$

Now that you know everything you need to know about how to get the very best spray tan possible, let’s talk about costs. Usually, a single spray tan session will cost anywhere from 20-50 USD. Airbrushing will be more expensive, sometimes double or triple the price!

Sometimes, salons will run specials with certain packages, and you can score a free session. If you love spray tanning, check out a salon that offers unlimited spray tan packages so you can look your best on a budget!

My best advice is to call around or check out different locations online. It may be more expensive than a tanning bed session. However, it is SAFER, and your safety is not something you can put a price tag on! Skin cancer is a silent and deadly killer, and the risk is only getting worse. Protect yourself and know the signs of melanoma. Check out the American Skin Cancer Society to help educate yourself and the ones you love. Love and care for the skin you’re in!

Relax and get ready to get your bronze on!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have an enjoyable experience next time you go for a spray tan session, and you are able to use these tips for the beautiful bronze you deserve!

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