Whether you’re going on a tropical vacation, anticipating summer weather where jeans and sweaters will give way to shorts and tank tops, or even if you just want to look your best for a special occasion, there’s no better way to prepare than to get a tan. The right kind of tan can make your skin look bronzed and attractive; however, the UV rays of the sun can also release molecules into the skin called free radicals, which are highly unstable and destroy healthy skin cells. This can lead to premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. The good news is that there’s an alternative to outdoor and indoor tanning, and that’s to get a spray tan. Spray tan technology has come a long way in the last several decades, and if you know what to do, (and what not to do,) you’ll achieve an amazing-looking tan in no time at all with these spray tan tips.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Learn Before You Tan
- 2 2. Follow the Salon’s Instructions Before Your Skin for Spray Tanning
- 3 3. Shave Your Legs and Arms Before Your Appointment
- 4 4. Test for Tone
- 5 5. Decide Between a Spray Tan Booth and a Spray Technician
- 6 6. Leave Your Jewelry and Makeup at Home
- 7 7. Don’t Wear Tight Clothing to Your Appointment
- 8 8. Avoid Water After Getting Your Tan
- 9 9. Hold Off on Hitting the Gym
- 10 10. Don’t Neglect Your Spray Tan in the Long Term
1. Learn Before You Tan
In order to get a great-looking spray tan, you should take a little bit of time to understand how they work. You may think that spray tans look unnatural or stain the skin, but today’s spray tans look more natural than ever. The best way to learn about spray tans is to make an appointment with your local spa or tanning salon. Many indoor tanning salons offer spray tans as well as tanning booths, and it’s best to learn about these tans from a professional. Take a tour of the salon and make sure you have a list of questions prepared, such as how long the procedure takes, if there are different shades available that will better match your skin tone, and most importantly, what it will cost you. Keep in mind that the cost will vary depending on the salon and the quality of the spray they use.
It’s also important to ask your salon technician if they offer nude spray tanning. Many salons do offer this option and may even recommend it to achieve a more even tan. However, if you don’t want to be nude for your tan, it will completely up to you. If you don’t want to go in the nude, you should take a pair of old underwear and a bra or bikini top to wear that you don’t mind getting stained, as the solution will most likely come into contact with them. Once the salon representative answers all of your questions, you’re ready to make your spray tan appointment and prepare for the process.
2. Follow the Salon’s Instructions Before Your Skin for Spray Tanning
Your salon representative may give you instructions about how to prepare your skin the evening before your appointment. In order for the spray tan to cover your body more evenly, it’s important that you follow these instructions carefully. For example, they may recommend that you shower thoroughly and exfoliate your skin as much as possible the night before your appointment. Exfoliating the skin with a brush or sponge will loosen dead skin cells so that the spray tan will adhere to new cells and last longer. The body wash you use for your shower should be water-based, and you should avoid using any bath or body products during or after your shower that leave an oily residue on the skin, as this might interact with the spray tan and cause unexpected results.
If you’ve just had a pedicure or manicure to go along with your spray tan, there is a way to protect your newly-painted nails. Before you go in for your tan, you can either apply a clear coat of polish to keep them from staining or cover them with petroleum jelly. The jelly will allow you to easily wipe off any excess spray that might stain your hands and feet. Keep in mind that choosing to have your tan sprayed on by hand will also minimize the chances of your nails becoming stained.
3. Shave Your Legs and Arms Before Your Appointment
You will have to remove any barriers that come between your skin and the spray tan solution, and this includes hair. The night before your appointment, make sure that your shave thoroughly to not only remove hair, but so that skin’s follicles have time to close back up before you get your tan. Even if the shaving leaves your skin dry, you should avoid using heavy moisturizers. If you must moisturize, ask your salon representative if she or he can recommend any moisturizing products that won’t interfere with the tan. It’s also a good idea to use an electric razor on your skin to minimize the chance of nicks and cuts so that the solution doesn’t get under the skin.
4. Test for Tone
You will probably have several different spray tan shade options to choose from at the tanning salon, and it’s important that you’re pleased with how the color looks on your skin. However, it might be difficult to tell how a shade will look on your skin as compared to looking at photos, and one way to solve this issue is to ask for a patch test. You may have to pay for the test, depending on the salon you use, but other salons may offer this service free of charge. You should work with your spray tan technician so that he or she can help you make the best choice so that your tan looks natural. In order to choose the best possible color, test different shades at least two to four weeks ahead of time so that you don’t have to make a rush decision.
5. Decide Between a Spray Tan Booth and a Spray Technician
When you go to a tanning salon, you may be offered several options when it comes to getting your tan, such as whether you’d prefer an automated booth or to have your spray tan applied by hand with an airbrush by a trained technician. Either one will give you an effective tan, but one of many little-known spray tips is that choosing to have your tan applied by a technician will allow you to customize your tan. They will use the brush to contour your body and, in some cases, hide minor skin flaws that might make you feel self-conscious. Choosing to have your tan applied by hand also allows for more precision than a booth, which sprays your entire body all at once as you’re instructed to turn in different positions. Having your spray tan applied by hand means that you can avoid areas of the body that you don’t want sprayed and so that you have more control over how the tan is applied. This is especially important if it’s your first tan and you’re nervous about the application process.
6. Leave Your Jewelry and Makeup at Home
If you have a special piece of jewelry that you rarely take off or hesitate to leave the house without your makeup on, you will have to make exceptions in order to get a great-looking spray tan. Rings, watches, necklaces, and other types of jewelry may get ruined by the spray solution, as it does stain. Not only that, but any part of your skin that is covered by a piece of jewelry will leave a white patch, making your tan look fake or unfinished. Makeup, deodorant, and perfume should also be avoided on the day of your tan. If you took a shower the evening before and you’re getting your tan first thing in the morning, you shouldn’t have to worry about embarrassing odor. These cosmetics may interact with the spray solution in unexpected ways, causing the skin’s tone to turn orange or, in the cases of some deodorants, bright green. In addition, not all salons will have secure lockers where you can store your belongings while you’re getting your tan, so your valuable jewelry and other items are safer when left at home.
7. Don’t Wear Tight Clothing to Your Appointment
Even if your favorite pair of yoga pants keep you comfortable, they could spell trouble for your spray tan. Tight clothing, such as spandex items, could cause your spray tan to streak as you move. The tighter the clothes are, the more the tan will rub off before it has a chance to set. Since this takes about eight to ten hours, you should wear loose-fitting, dark clothes to minimize the transfer. Sweat pants and loose cotton tee shirts are the best choice to wear to and from your appointment.
Tight clothing are not the only items that will cause streaking or for the spray to rub off on your clothing. You should also avoid carrying an over-the-shoulder purse, backpack, or any other heavy bag that puts pressure on the skin, as this might leave a mark. This could spell disaster if you’re getting a spray tan to expose your shoulders at an important wedding or beach party. A good rule of thumb when it comes to spray tan tips and clothing or accessories is that if could potentially leave a mark on your new tan, leave it behind!
8. Avoid Water After Getting Your Tan
Once your spray tan is complete, the spray tan technicians may ask that you sit and wait in the salon for about thirty minutes for your tan to set initially. However, this waiting period doesn’t allow your tan to set completely: this usually takes eight to ten hours or more, and until then, it’s important that you avoid exposing any part of your tan to water. This includes your hands and face, which are most likely the most vulnerable. If you happen to get your spray tan on a rainy day, take an umbrella to the salon or wait for the rain to pass before you walk to your car. Otherwise, you might find that your tan has taken on a polka-dot effect when you get home, which certainly isn’t the look you are trying to achieve.
It’s also important that you don’t shower until the day after your tan. The solution takes hours to truly set into your skin, and while you might feel sticky or feel that you smell funny because the tan is fresh, you should avoid showering to preserve the look of your new tan. The sooner you shower, the more you risk streaking or fading. If you have a baby or a young child who needs assistance with their evening bath, then recruit someone else in the house to help them, as splashing water and a spray tan that hasn’t set yet don’t mix, and you run the risk of ruining it.
9. Hold Off on Hitting the Gym
While you might not think that sweat counts as exposing your body to moisture, it can be just as damaging to your new tan as bath or dish water. Because of this, you should skip your afternoon workout and give your new tan time to set instead. Strenuous cardio or that sweat-inducing Zumba class can leave you with a spray tan that’s streaked with perspiration, from your face to your chest and even to your inner thighs. This type of exercise also creates a lot of friction, which is also potentially damaging to a spray tan that hasn’t had time to set. Rubbing the skin can cause the tan solution to come off on your clothing and leave white patches behind which can only be repaired by paying for another tan. In addition, tight, restrictive gym clothing can cause your tan to rub off as you work out, so it’s best that you take a day off from exercise while your new tan has time to set.
If you’re not used to sitting idle, there are several things that you can do to keep yourself occupied while your tan sets. Why not catch up on all of those TV programs you have saved on your DVR or instant streaming list? It’s also the perfect excuse to whittle away at that pile of paperbacks stacked on your nightstand. Giving yourself the evening off is one of the perks of getting a spray tan, especially if you have a busy lifestyle that doesn’t leave much leisure time. There’s also a good chance that you paid a good amount of money to have your tan done, so you should think of sitting idle not as an evening’s guilty pleasure, but as an investment.
10. Don’t Neglect Your Spray Tan in the Long Term
One of the most important spray tan tips that people tend to forget is how to care for their spray tan once it sets. While it’s important to make sure that your tan sets in the first ten hours or so after application, taking care of it in the weeks that follow is just as important to ensure that it fades evenly. The best thing you can do for your spray tan is to use bath and shower products that don’t contribute to its rapid fading. In order to keep your tan looking new as long as possible, avoid scented or dyed bath products, as they contain ingredients that compromise the effectiveness of the spray solution. Instead, use a gentle, unscented, dye-free soap when you shower.
Another way to make sure that your tan lasts longer is to reduce your exfoliation regimen. The more you exfoliate your skin, the more likely that your tan will start to look patchy, as friction will cause it to fade, even it’s already set. This includes shaving, as hair removal creates friction as well. While you can exfoliate after your tan sets, it will fade more evenly and at a slower rate if you use gentle techniques or wait until the tan fades naturally.
If you got your spray tan for a beach or pool event, then you can still participate without worrying about it washing off right away. However, you should keep in mind that chlorine and sun exposure may cause your tan to fade more quickly. In order to prevent this, you should mix a non-scented hydrating moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF that’s waterproof before you go swimming or spend any time in the sun. This will not only protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun, but it will also save you money because your tan will last longer.
While the decision to get a spray tan is entirely up to you, following these spray tan tips will guide you through the process and allow you to care for your tan in a way that will cause it to fade naturally until it’s time to get another. Keep in mind that the quality and longevity of your tan will greatly depend on the money you put into it, so it’s best to go with a salon that’s known for its quality. A spray tan is a great way to look your best for that summer social event of the year, and these tips will let you spray away with confidence.