14 tips for making a spray tan last longer

Spray Tan After Care

Spray tans are a fantastic way of getting a quick and easy glow, without the need for harmful sunbeds or DIY self-tans. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive about this service is around spray tan after care and how long spray tans usually last.

How long it takes before your spray tan fades depends on a number of different factors – from which type of spray tan you have, to whether you’ll be going swimming in the week that follows. Here we share our top tips for ensuring a long-lasting glow. 

How long does a spray tan last?

We usually say that a spray tan lasts up to around 10 days. To get the best out of your spray tan, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure it lasts as long as possible. If you are careful and know what to do after getting a spray tan, you can ensure it looks fabulous for longer.

Let’s take you through our top 14 tips to make your tan last longer.

1. Choose your shade wisely

We offer five different types of spray tan, including Fake Bake and Sienna X. With all of these, you can choose to have a light, medium or dark tone tan. Spray tans last longer if you opt for a deeper shade. A light shade may only last around 5 days. This is because darker tones include more of the active tanning ingredient, dihydroxyacetone (DHA).

2. Think about timing

It’s a funny thought, but those in the know strongly believe that a spray tan in the week before your period lasts longer than during the week after. It’s not a scientific fact, just anecdotal from tanning specialists. It’s to do with hormone levels and the fact that skin is more prone to dryness during menstruation. There’s certainly no harm in putting this theory to the test yourself!

3. Buff, buff, buff away

We usually advise that you exfoliate 2-3 times a week. However, in the three days before your spray tan, exfoliate every day. We recommend using non-oil based exfoliants. Dry brushing, wash cloths, body scrubs and loofahs will effectively create a beautiful blank canvas for your tan. However, make sure you have your last shower at least 8 hours before your spray tan, so that your natural pH balance is restored. Avoid oil-based moisturisers before your spray tan.

4. Avoid a wax 24 hours before the spray tan

Waxing may feel like the world’s greatest exfoliation, but it also opens your pores. We recommend that you have your wax done at least 24 hours before your spray tan for a beautifully even effect. 

5. Think about your tanning location

This is our absolute top tip for the longest lasting spray tan: have it done at home. The problem with going to a tanning salon is that you have to consider all sorts of logistics from what shoes to wear after a spray tan to prevent marks (or damage to your shoes) to whether you’re comfortable going to the salon without deodorant or makeup on. That’s not a problem if you have a spray tan at home

This is really important because whilst most spray tans take around 30 minutes to complete, there is around a further 8 hours before the tan fully develops. What you do in that time can really affect how even the final tan looks.

6. Know what to do after a spray tan

Understanding the 8 hour development time brings us onto what you should do after a spray tan. It’s best to only wear very loose-fitting clothes, such as a large nightdress or a shirt-dress, with no tight fitting garments such as bras or knickers. If at all possible, avoid shoes altogether. If you need to wear shoes, slip-on ones are best. 

7. Ditch deodorant, grab talc

It’s quite normal after a spray tan to feel a bit sticky and sweaty. The temptation to reach for your deodorant is immense. However, we recommend avoiding deodorant for at least 12 hours after a spray tan as it can cause unsightly streaks. Instead, use talc. Even better, you can use talc anywhere else that you feel a bit sticky.

8. Don’t have a shower immediately

Ideally, you want to have a shower between 6-12 hours after your spray tan. If you do it sooner then you risk washing some of the solution off whilst it is still developing. If you leave it too long then you risk developing noticeable streaks. 

9. Avoid the bath

Baths and spray tans aren’t good friends. Whilst there are times when a blissful soak in the tub is just what you need, it’s not a good plan when you’re trying to get your tan to last as long as possible. So, avoid a bath after a spray tan.

10. Avoid the pool

We’re often asked how long a spray tan will last on holiday. The reality is that it will last longer if you don’t go in the swimming pool. However, many people get a spray tan so that they’ve got some colour in those first few days of holiday, so they consider it a good balance.

11. Shower wisely

In fact, water isn’t great for spray tans, full stop. When you shower following a spray tan, try to limit your time under the water. Use lukewarm water and limit your use of soap, shower gel or scrubs. Just let the water do its job. If you’re washing your hair, do that separately, so that the shampoo doesn’t run down your body.

12. Avoid oil-based products

Like we advised you to avoid oil-based exfoliants and moisturisers before your tan, it’s best to avoid them afterwards too. Indeed, one of our top tips for how to keep a spray tan from fading is to avoid oil-based products on the skin for several days. 

13. Shaving and exfoliating

Exfoliating buffs away the surface of your skin, where most of the colour of your new tan is sitting! So, to make it last as long as possible, avoid exfoliating and use a very gentle formulation if you do. Likewise, a wax a few days before your tan will mean you don’t need to shave immediately afterwards, which will also strip away the very top layer of your newly tanned skin.

14. Use self-tanning lotion

Ever wondered how some people do manage to get their spray tan to last for their whole holiday? They apply self-tanning lotion a few days after their spray tan and onwards. It manages to prolong the look for another few days.

Do you want to book your spray tan at home so that it lasts longer? Book our mobile spray tan in London, Brighton or Manchester. It’s been hailed by the Evening Standard as the best mobile spray tan in London.