Today we are going to talk about spray tans and sunless tanning. I feel like I’ve become a bit of an expert this summer as I love a fake tan because a) I avoid the sun to avoid damage but b) really like looking bronzed and glowy. Spray tanning can be intimidating, though! My personal favorite place to get a spray tan is at Sweetheart Tan in Williamsburg. Besides being local to me (#lazy) it’s also the best spray tan I’ve ever had AND it’s organic. So there’s that. When I’m tanning on my own, I am a big Isle of Paradise fan. On my face I mix a few of these drops into my moisturizer and on my body I use this mousse! This mousse from St Tropez is also amazing, though it is not clean. (All of these are on sale right now during Sephora’s VIB sale, FYI!!!)
Self-tanning can definitely get a little messy so I want to share my tips to help you get the perfect summer glow with minimal streaks and mess! Without further ado; my best tan tips!
11 Spray Tan Tips for Maximum GLOW.
Tips Before Spray Tan
one // first of all, if you do wax beforehand, make sure that it’s at least 24 hours prior to your spray tan appointment!
two // exfoliate and shave your legs to remove dead, dry skin cells head to toe. Definitely focus on the driest areas (your elbows, hands, feet, backs of ankles, heels). You want to have fresh clean skin so that the bronzer will absorb evenly (and last longer!)
three // moisturize the night before but don’t apply lotion, makeup, or deodorant the day of. You want your skin to be soft but not greasy or oily or your skin won’t hold the tan. I personally love a good head to toe moisturization session 24 hours prior to sunless tanning.
four // remove all jewelry! (yes, this is an obvious one!!)
five // apply moisturizer to the palms of your hands, creases of your wrists, elbows, feet, heels or anywhere that’s really dry (patches, eczema, etc). Be really careful here. Your hands and feet may not feel dry but a spray-tan can actually go about seven shades darker in these areas since the skin there is slightly thicker. Using moisturizer here acts as a barrier… it’s your secret weapon!
six // if possible, wear nail polish. This is a funny one for me (I hate nail polish) but it makes sense. Even if your nail polish is clear, it will actually help protect your nails from discoloration.
seven // not sure if this is a before or after, but always wear loose-fitting, dark clothing so that you won’t smudge your tan or stain your clothing!
Tips After Spray Tan
eight // after your spray tan, avoid bathing or swimming for a full day. Also avoid anything that will make you sweat for at least 4 hours. Chlorine can make a spray tan break down quickly, so avoid it entirely if you can! Wait a solid eight hours to shower. You aren’t going to smell great. I personally don t mind the smell but it isn’t great.
nine // once you’ve waited the eight hours, shower with lukewarm to cool (as cool as you can stand) water… never hot. Wait til the water runs clear, pat dry, and MOISTURIZE.
Tips for Maintaining A Spray Tan
ten // Moisturize daily, head to toe!!! If possible, use a post sunless tan product. Drugstore lotions may contain oils and other ingredients that can actually shorten the life of your tan. Oof – I actually didn’t know this!!! A gradual tan moisturizer like this one from St Tropez is also great.
eleven // Avoid body washes that contain harsh soaps and don’t exfoliate too much. If you’re looking for a lasting tan, steer clear of retinols, witch hazel, microdermabrasion, or anything that contains acids. (I tend to skip this advice on my face and just tan my face more frequently than my body as exfoliating, retinol, and all of that stuff is very important to me for my face!
photo by Carter Fish.