How Long Does a Spray Tan Actually Last?
We love a good spray tan because it allows you to get a golden, glowing complexion all year round without the risk of sun damage. If you’re a spray-tanning novice, though, you might wonder how long a spray tan lasts. Well, spoiler alert, it’s not very long. But luckily, there are some things you can do to help prolong your bronzed skin. Keep reading for our best self-tanning tips and tricks.
How Long Does a Spray Tan Last?
Typically, a spray tan will last five to seven days after application. The reason your spray tan’s life is so short is because of your skin's natural shedding process. Every day, the outer layer of your skin naturally sheds dead surface skin cells. Not to mention, as you wash and exfoliate your body in the shower, you’re scrubbing away even more skin cells, and eventually, your tan goes along with it. The good news is that there are guidelines and tips you can follow to prolong your spray tan for a bit longer.
How to Prolong Your Spray Tan
TIP 1: Exfoliate
Before going in for a professional spray tan or applying one yourself, you’ll want to prep your skin. “Prior to self-tanning, exfoliating the night before is key,” says celebrity makeup artist Sir John. Take the time to exfoliate beforehand to help remove dead skin cells and soften your skin. This step will help ensure that your tan goes on smoothly and evenly.
If you need a recommendation, try the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrubs for your face and the Too Cool for School Mineral Pink Salt Body Scrub Wash for your body.
TIP 2: Shave
Shaving allows for a more seamless and even spray tan, but make sure to shave at least 12 hours before your tan to allow your skin to heal from any potential micro-cuts and avoid irritation. If you’re into waxing, make sure your skin is waxed at least 24 hours before spray tanning.
TIP 3: Moisturize Daily
After you’ve exfoliated and shaved, you’ll want to keep your complexion moisturized so that the spray tan doesn’t look flaky or uneven. To help your tan last longer post-application, continue to keep your skin moisturized daily. We love the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream because it’s rich, moisturizing and doesn’t have a greasy feel.
TIP 4: Only Spray Tan Clean Skin
Before you head to the tanning salon or do a DIY spray tan at home, make sure to take off any makeup and wipe off your deodorant. They can act as barriers between the spray tan and your actual skin, which can cause your spray tan not to stick.
TIP 5: Wear Loose Clothing
Wear dark and loose shirts and pants right after your spray tan to ensure your clothing isn’t rubbing off your tan (and protect your clothes in case any of the bronzing agent does transer). Also, avoid any spray tan on your feet from smudging by wearing open-toed flip-flops or sandals.
TIP 6: Do Not Shower Right After Spray Tanning
In order for your spray tan to last, you absolutely must wait the proper amount of time before stepping in the shower. Most spray tan formulas require five to eight hours before taking a shower, but make sure you talk to your esthetician or read the packaging of your spray tan bottle to know how long you should wait before rinsing off.
Tip 7: Apply a Gradual Self-Tanner Lotion
When your tan begins to fade, consider using a lotion that gradually tans the skin as it hydrates. This can help provide a temporary boost towards the end of your tan. Try the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion, which gives you an instant bronzed glow with its tinted formula. It develops a streak-free sunless tan as it smooths and softens your skin.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn