How Long Does a Spray Tan Last? Tips To Maintain It

Spray tans are a great way to preserve and protect your skin from harmful UV rays while still getting that healthy and shiny glow. So, generally, how long does a spray tan last?

When determining how long a spray tan lasts, it is crucial to consider how well you can maintain your skin before, during, and after the tan. There are a number of things you can do to make your spray tan last a bit longer, from not using oil-based moisturizers to not exfoliating.

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Keep scrolling to find out how long a spray tan lasts and also get some remarkable tips to help you improve the life of your spray tan. In addition, you will also get some common mistakes that may make your tan fade faster.

What is Spray Tanning?

Spray tanning is a procedure that involves a completely customizable process with airbrushing technique, giving instant results. The process takes about 10 minutes to spray on the entire body.

Airbrushing technique provides a perfect blend, unlike tanning booths that require you to position yourself well to achieve even spray tan results. You won't get to experience the sticky feeling or unpleasant smell once your session is over. In fact, you won't notice you have it until you pass by a mirror.

How Does a Spray Tan Work

A spray tan works on your skin's top layer, where the skin cells are constantly regenerating. The best spray tan is designed to give the best color and feel thanks to high-quality skin-friendly ingredients.

It can help prevent wrinkles, accelerated signs of aging, skin cancer, and skin pigmentation.

How Long Does A Spray Tan Last?

Since the skin is constantly renewing itself and creating new skin cells at the epidermis, the spray tan will fade over time. While the average spray tan is said to be between 7 to 10 days, it depends on how dark you want to go.

For instance, for lighter shades, the spray tan may last up to five days, medium shades for seven or eight days, and darker shades for 10 days. The time varies because of Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which is an active ingredient in sunless tanners.

Since darker solutions have more DHA, the color tends to last longer. However, how you take good care of your skin before, during, and after your spray tan plays an amazing role in determining how long the spray tan lasts.

How Can You Make Your Spray Tan Lasts Longer?

What To Do Before A Spray Tan

1. Schedule An Appointment Around the Time of Your Period

Although there is no scientific evidence, spray tanning a week before your period may not be effective as after your period. Marie Claire, a tanning expert and celebrity spray tanner, swears by this tip.

2. Exfoliate For Three Days Before Your Spray Tan Appointment

You can use physical exfoliating techniques like body scrubs, dry brushing, or loofahs to remove dead skin cells that may cause flaking and streaking. If you don't have exfoliating products, a washcloth may also work to remove the dead skin cells.

However, avoid using chemical exfoliants or oil-based products. Chemical exfoliants have ingredients like glycolic acid or retinol, which may take off your spray tan. On the other hand, oil-based products will also create a barrier that will prevent the tanning solution from absorbing into the skin.

3. Avoid Waxing 24 Hours to Your Appointment

Waxing a day before your appointment may cause an uneven tint since waxing will open your pores and leave them looking larger.

4. Shower Eight Hours Before

If you want to get the best spray tan results, showering eight hours before the procedure seems to do the magic. This is because the skin gets enough time to get back to its post-shower pH while still reaping the benefits of exfoliation.

What To Do During A Spray Tan

Once you're ready for your spray tan session, here are some things you should do during the tanning session;

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that you can wear even after your spray tan. Avoid denim or yoga pants. You can choose to wear a long t-shirt dress.
  • Don't wear undies or bras. However, if you have to wear a bra, consider a strapless or bandeau bra to ensure you don't mess up your tan.
  • Carry sandals or flip-flops to wear after getting a spray tan.
  • Bring an umbrella, especially if the weather calls for rain because raindrops can damage your tan.
  • Once you arrive, remove all the makeup and deodorant you arrive. Carry with your unscented and oil-free wipes or makeup removers for your appointment.

What To Do After A Spray Tan

1. Use Baby Powder To Prevent Streaking

Deodorant application is a no-go zone after your appointment. Whether sticks or sprays, these products have ingredients that may interfere with your spray tans and cause unwanted patches.

To prevent sweating that may also cause spots and streaks on newly tanned skin, apply baby powder. For best results, shake a generous amount of it onto the sweat-prone areas like the underarms, under your butt, back of your knees, and inner elbows.

2. Don't Wash the Solution Within the First Six Hours

You should wait for at least six hours before you can shower. If you shower sooner, you won't give your skin enough time to absorb the solution to get an even shade. It is advisable to leave the solution for a maximum of 12 hours, and doing it for longer may cause streaking.

Woman's tanned legs on the beach

When it is time to take a bath or shower, you don't want to spend a lot of time in the water as your color might start fading. Avoid using bar soaps or scrubs and use lukewarm water instead of taking a hot shower. If you need to wash your hair, keep the products from your hair.

3. Avoid Oil-Based Products

Just like before tanning, oil-based products like an oil-filled exfoliator or oil-based moisturizers are not recommended. Oil creates a barrier to prevent the skin from absorbing the solution and prevents the skin from retaining the solution.

4. Wear Loose Fitting Clothes and Shoes

In the first 24 hours after the tanning session, you should avoid tight clothes. This is because friction caused by tight clothing may create streets and cause an uneven tan.

5. Be Careful of Visible Panty Lines

Most often than not, tanning salons will give their clients paper panties to use for the day. Although they are not the most fashionable or comfortable, they help prevent the visible panty lines and save your panties from tanner stains.

6. Exfoliate Lightly

Exfoliating may scrub away the new tan, so to make the spray tan last longer, lightly exfoliate and keep the exfoliation at a minimum every two to three days until the tan fades. Gently exfoliating using a gentle exfoliator will help keep things fresh.

If you need to shave, also shave gently. You can keep your tan from fading by reducing the hairs on your body. However, use slow and even strokes, then press down lightly to ensure your razor doesn't do an accidental exfoliation.

7. Highlighters Can Help Enhance the Glow

Apart from using an oil-free moisturizer, you can apply a highlighter to improve the glow of the tan. Use highlighters that have shimmery components and apply in areas where you want the tan to pop.

8. Use a Self Tanner to Extend the Life of Your Tan

Use a self-tanner or another gradual tanning product to make your tan last longer. Although a self-tan may not give the same color and depth as the initial spray tan, it may add a few days to its lifespans and keep your skin hydrated and soft.

Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure healthy skin as well as a healthy tan, here are some mistakes you should avoid;

  • Avoid oil-based products, including body lotion, baby oil, etc.
  • Don't take hot showers.
  • Waxing or shaving should only be done 24 hours before the spray tan or two days after the tan.
  • Tight clothing will only scrap off your tan and make it fade quicker.
  • Avoid laser treatments
  • Don't over-exfoliate the skin, do it gently and at a minimum
  • Keep away from lash extensions
  • Avoid deodorants containing aluminum
  • Stay away from acne medication
  • Avoid tanning outdoors or in a tanning booth. Tanning beds are not recommended either.
  • Avoid chlorinated water

Frequently Asked Questions on Self Tanning

1. Are spray tans worth it?

Although spray tans is said to cost a lot of money, they are quite beneficial in preventing premature aging, sun spots, sun damage, dark spots, and even skin cancer. Furthermore, spray tanning provides a safe and sunless glow for approximately one to two weeks.

2. How long should one wait to shower after a spray tan?

It is recommended to wait for at least 8 hours before you shower for the first time after your tan. However, you should never wait for more than 24 hours. When you shower for the first time after the spray tan, you'll most likely get some golden grow going down the drain, and this shouldn't worry you at all.

3. Can You Swim After a Spray Tan?

Yes! As the older skin cells begin to flake away, they carry the tan with them. It's not the salts, chemicals, or chlorine in the water that will fade your tan. Instead, the water will dry out your skin, causing the cells to flake off faster.

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