How Long Does a Spray Tan Actually Last?
A quick online search of “spray tan fails” will bring forth a slew of somewhat frightening and tragic photos that will either make you laugh hysterically or cringe in embarrassment for people you’ve never even met. Luckily, these folks are the exception, not the rule. Streaky, botched jobs aside, a spray tan is a quick and safer way to fake a sun-kissed glow without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays. If skin cancer and premature skin aging are a top concern for you (and they should be), opting to receive your bronzed look with a fake tan is a great idea. Another great perk of a spray tan is that you don’t have to sacrifice your glow at any point throughout the year.
It’s not surprising then that spray tans have become somewhat of an accessory for women worldwide, a second skin—if you will—particularly among Hollywood’s elite. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a top celebrity leaving home without their skin looking like they just spent the past week on an isolated beach somewhere. But guess what: their faux-glow is probably from a spray tan.
Need some spray tan 101? Then check out this crash course on what spray tans exactly are, and how to make them last.
What’s A Spray Tan?
A spray tan is pretty self-explanatory: it’s a faux tan that you spray on. You can go to your local tanning salon to get one done professionally, or if you’re feeling brave, you can do it on your own. Instead of sitting out in the sun exposed to harmful UV rays, you can get a beautiful golden glow in mere seconds. It can help you create a subtle sun-kissed glow, or you can go a few shades darker and create a tan that would normally take all summer to achieve. While everyone should be weary of natural tanning, a spray tan is a great alternative for those of you who tend to burn instead of tan naturally.
How Long Does A Spray Tan Last?
For all the benefits a spray tan can bring, there is one drawback: Your tan will be short-lived. As the outer layer of your skin begins to naturally shed dead skin cells, it’ll take your fake tan along with it—typically 5-7 days after application. 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—especially on the face and body—exfoliating the night before is key,” L’Oreal Paris’ Celebrity Makeup Artist, Sir John Barnett says. Take the time to exfoliate beforehand to help remove dead skin cells and soften your skin. Spend extra time around thicker areas of skin, like knees and elbows. This step will help ensure that your tan goes on smoothly and evenly. In need of a good scrub to keep your skin clean? Then try out the L’Oreal Paris Pure-Sugar Scrubs. There are three scrubs to choose from, each formulated to targeted a specific set of concerns be it clogged pores or dull, lackluster skin.
TIP 2: SHAVE
While most of us would think shaving before a big spray tan is common sense, you should make sure you don’t shave too close to the time of your spray tan appointment. Shaving right before getting a spray tan can cause irritation to your skin. Shave at least 12 hours beforehand to give your skin some time to heal any micro-cuts. If you’re into waxing, make sure your skin is waxed at least 24 hours before spray tanning to avoid irritation.
TIP 3: MOISTURIZE DAILY
Next up, you’ll want to moisturize the areas you just exfoliated. Continue moisturizing your skin daily post-tan to help your spray tan last longer. Your skin will look supple, as well. Just make sure you use lightweight moisturizers and lotions so they won’t block your spray tan from your skin.
TIP 4: SPRAY TAN WITH CLEAN SKIN
If you’re headed to the spray tan salon, ditch your foundation and wipe off your deodorant. They can act as barriers between the spray tan and your actual skin, which can cause your spray tan to not stick.
TIP 5: WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING
The last thing you’ll want to wear after getting a spray tan is a tight white t-shirt. Wear dark and loose shirts and pants right after your spray tan for minimal skin-to-fabric contact. Also, to avoid any spray tan on your feet from smudging, make sure you wear open-toed flip-flops or sandals. If your shoes cause streaking, just lightly exfoliate your feet when you get home to even it out.
TIP 6: DO NOT SHOWER RIGHT AFTER SPRAY TANNING
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people decide to hop into the shower just a mere hour after stepping out of the spray tan booth. You absolutely must wait the proper amount of time before stepping in the shower or bath in order for your spray tan to last. Most spray tan formulas require 5-8 hours before taking a shower, but many “express” spray tans on the market have formulas that require less time.
TIP 7: AVOID CHLORINE
After your spray tan, avoid water and sweating as much as possible. Stay away from chlorinated swimming pools and hot tubs for at least 24 hours (if not longer) as the chlorine may accelerate the tan fading.
TIP 8: 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. One of our top self tanner lotion picks is the L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Tinted Self-Tanning Lotion. This product gives you an instant bronze glow with its tinted formula, and won’t rub off when used properly. It develops a streak-free sunless tan as it smooths and softens your skin.
As always, make sure to follow all necessary steps pre- and post-tan as instructed on product labels or by an aesthetician—lest you want your photo to land a spot on a search engine, too. We’ll take an educated guess and assume that’s not the case.