How Long Does a Spray Tan Last? 19 Tips to Make It Last Longer!

woman tanning

Spray tanning is an easy and convenient way to achieve a healthy looking tan. It is becoming the go-to choice for avid tanners. However, lots of people wonder how long does a spray tan last?

On average, a spray tan can last anywhere from 5-8 days, but it depends on a number of factors like exfoliation, opting for the right clothing during the tan, staying dry etc. You can follow some tips to extend the duration of the spray tan. Dive right in to find out everything about the ideal duration of a spray tan and how to make it last longer. 

How Long Can a Spray Tan Last?

A longest lasting spray tan is advertised to last for 10 days; however, it tends to fade away after 5-8 days. The time period your tan will stay can depend on a series of factors such as your existing skin tone, the skin type, and the shade of tan you choose.

While darker shades last for around 10 days, medium shades for 7 days and lighter tones stay only for 5 days. The variability depends on the content of DHA, which is an active ingredient present in the spray tan solution that darkens your skin. 

19 Ways to Make Your Spray Tan Last Longer

If you’re going for a spray tan appointment, it is natural for you to wonder about how to maintain a tan as long as possible. Here are 20 effective tips you can keep in mind to extend the duration of a tan:

1. Exfoliate Before the Appointment:

Exfoliating is an easy way to prepare your skin for a spray tan. Using an organic scrub removes the build of dead skin cells from the epidermis. It ensures you have smooth and soft skin that can hold on to the DHA for longer and give you a darker tan that lasts. For more on exfoliating check our article – how to exfoliate before a spray tan.

2. Shave or Wax 24 Hours Prior:

If you want to shave or wax your skin to get rid of unwanted hair, the right time to do so would be 24 hours prior to the appointment. Waiting for a day will make sure your skin gets enough time to calm down after shaving or waxing so that the solution doesn’t cause any irritation. For more on this check our article – can you tan or spray tan after waxing?

3. Shower Hours Before Appointment:

Wondering how to make spray tans last longer? Take a quick shower at least 8 hours before your appointment at the spray tan salon. Your skin will get sufficient time to restore the pH balance post the shower and get the most of your tanning session. 

4. Avoid Using Any Product Before Tan:

After you have taken a shower, avoid using any other product on your skin before the tanning appointment. You must go bare skin for spray tan to ensure there is no blockage between your skin and the solution.

Skip using moisturizer, makeup, and even perfume or mist before the appointment. It will ensure your skin cells hold onto the solution and give you a smooth tan that lasts for days. 

5. Choose a Reputable Salon:

The number of days a tan will last can depend on the quality of the spray solution and the expertise of the technician. Make sure you opt for a reputable spray tanning salon that uses quality products and can give you a great spray tan. 

6. Wear Loose Clothing:

When opting for a spray tan, you must be careful of the tan lines. Make sure you wear loose-fitting clothes like a dress or skirt to avoid any interference with the spray solution. It will prevent friction and unwanted tan lines or patchy tan that fades away quickly. 

You don’t just have to wear loose clothes for the tanning appointment, but also for the next 24 hours. It will ensure the clothes don’t scrub off the tan. Your skin also gets enough air exposure and proper blood circulation to give you a dark tan. For more on this check our article – what to wear to a spray tan.

7. Opt for Open Footwear:

It’s not just your clothes but also the footwear you choose for the appointment that can affect your spray tan. You must choose open footwear like sandals or flip flops to ensure you can get an even tan all over without any streaks or tan lines.

8. Stay Dry Before Tan:

Exposure to moisture or even sweating before or after a spray tan can hamper your spray tan, leading to streaks or patches. It is vital to keep your skin dry before and during a spray tan appointment. You must avoid sweating or getting wet in the rain if you want an even tan.   

9. Use Powder to Prevent Streaking:

Streaking can hamper a spray tan and even make it fade away quickly. You can apply a layer of talcum powder all over your skin to prevent streaking.  

10. Shower After 4-8 Hours:

A spray tan requires a few hours to build up. If you wash off the tan early, you might end up with a light or uneven tan. Take the first shower after at least 4-8 hours to ensure you get a darker tan that lasts. 

11. Don’t Exfoliate After Tan:

The DHA present in spray tan solution sticks to the dead skin cells. If you exfoliate after a spray tan, you remove the dead skin cells and also strip away the tan. To maintain a darker tan for a long time, you must avoid exfoliating for a few days after the tan. 

12. Avoid Shaving Post Tan:

The process of shaving or waxing also removes the top layer of skin cells and tan along with it. Avoid shaving or waxing your skin to preserve the tan longer. For more on this check our article – should you shave after a spray tan.

13. Skip Moisturizer for 4 Hours:

You must not interfere with the spray tan for the initial few hours. Do not use a moisturizer, oil, or lotion for the first four hours. For more on this – lotion after a spray tan

14. Keep Your Skin Moisturized After Shower:

Once you have taken the first shower after a spray tan, it becomes vital to keep the skin moisturized. Dry skin is not able to hold only onto the tan, and it might fade away quickly in body parts with dryness. Use an organic body lotion or cream to prevent your skin from drying. 

15. Avoid Long Showers:

Prolonged exposure to water or moisture can fade your tan. Avoid taking long showers or sitting in the bath or pool for hours if you want your tan to last for longer.

16. Skip Swimming for Long Periods:

If you are swimming keep in for a short period (less than 15 minutes). The longer spent in the water the more likely the tan with break down and come off. Also if the pool uses chlorinated water it’s more likely to remove your tan. You must avoid swimming in chlorine water for a few days after a spray tan to present your darker skin tone.  For more on this check our article – does spray tan come off in a pool?

17. Minimize Skin Contact:

How long does airbrush tan last? It lasts 5-7 days, but you can extend it by trying to limit skin contact. Make sure you don’t cross your legs or arms to reduce the contact and prevent the chances of rubbing away the spray tan. While this isn’t as important as some other steps it can still make a difference after a few days. 

18. Apply Self-Tanner as a Top Up:

In case you want your spray tan to last for longer, you can top it off with a self-tanner. It will not only give you an even and smooth glow but also ensures the tan doesn’t fade away.  

19. Stay Hydrated:

Staying hydrated is essential for healthy and moisturized skin that can hold on to the tan. Drink water regularly before and after your tanning appointment to have hydrated skin that won’t shed the color sooner. 

Related Questions:

Are Spray Tans Worth It?

While spray tans might prove to be a little expensive, with each tanning appointment costing an average $40, especially if you are an avid tanner, the results make it worth the money. You can get glowing and dark skin without exposing your skin to the harmful effects of sunlight and UV radiation. 

Can You Shave Before a Spray Tan?

Yes, you can shave before going for your spray tan appointment. However, you must shave at least 24 hours before the appointment to give your skin enough time to settle and close the pores. 

Does Spray on Tan Wash Off?

When you take the first shower after a spray tan, you might notice the solution wash away. It mostly contains the bronzer part of the solution.

When Should You Get a Spray Tan Before an Event?

Since a spray tan can last for 5-7 days, it is ideal to go for a tan 2-3 days before any event. It will allow your tan to fully build up and also ensure you can rinse it off easily.

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