What to Do After a Spray Tan & After Care Tips

woman applying lotion

Spray tan cannot last longer than 10 days due to the way our skin works, as it is continuously shedding off dead skin cells on the outer layer which hold the pigment that gives us a tanned look. Despite this, there are plenty of things that can be done both before and after getting a spray tan to make it last as long as possible.

This article focuses mainly on the after care, including what to do and what not to do after a spray tan for the best looking tan.

The first 24 hours after your spray tan are the most crucial and can either make or break the results of your tan. Read on for post spray tan care tips to maintain and prolong your spray tan.  

What to Do After a Spray Tan:

Wear Loose Clothing

The first of our spray tan tips is not to wear any tight clothing whatsoever so that none of your tan rubs off leaving you with an uneven tan. A long, black T-shirt dress with sandals is the ideal outfit. Leggings, jeans, socks, and sneakers are all out of the question.

Moreover, avoid wearing underwear if you’re comfortable with doing so. Otherwise, go for the loosest underwear you have that is of a dark color as there’s a chance the spray tan can stain them. As for a bra, opt for a strapless or bandeau for best results.

Stay Dry

Avoid showering or doing any sort of strenuous exercise such as yoga, jogging, etc., as it’s important for the spray tan solution to adhere to your skin. That means swimming, long baths, saunas, and anything similar also have to be avoided for the sake of your spray tan.

You should wait at least 4-5 hours and whenever you do shower, be gentle on your skin and only use oil-free products.

Do not use any sort of exfoliation, as this can essentially remove your spray tan.

Keep away from any chemicals, don’t run the water too hot, and definitely avoid scrubbing your skin at all costs. It would be best to just use the palms of your hands to rinse off the surface bronzer and make sure you pat yourself dry with a towel rather than rubbing.


It is vital to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated in general but especially right after that first shower. It’s important to wait to put any lotion on after you’ve waited a few hours to shower first.

Using any sort of lotion, moisturizer, or oil before the recommended time would interfere with your tan and it is also pivotal to choose the right kind of lotion.

Organic body lotion or cream is ideal, and don’t forget your driest areas, hands, feet, knees, and elbows.

If your skin is dehydrated, it won’t be able to hold onto the spray tan causing it to fade quicker than it normally would.

Don’t Wear Any Makeup

You should wait 6-8 hours before putting any makeup after spray tan because it can alter the color and cause blotches due to the moisture in makeup.

If necessary, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss/lipstick would be okay, but you need to be extremely careful that nothing smudges and ends up where it shouldn’t be, as the face is very sensitive. Keep in mind that your foundation will no longer match your skin tone.

Wear Sunscreen

Our skin always needs to be protected from the sun at all times, whether you’re trying to get a tan or already tanned.

SPF 30 only filters out 96.7% of UV rays so that only 3.3% reach your skin and SPF 50 protects you from 98% of UV rays, so your skin is never fully protected by the sun’s rays but wearing sunscreen can help prevent wrinkles, skin cancer, and so on.  

Don’t Shave

Shaving would work like exfoliating and would remove some of the dead skin cells on the outer layer of your skin, of which would hold some pigment from your spray tan and you would be at risk of streaks and unevenness in your tan.

Anything similar to exfoliating, including shaving, should only be done 24 hours before you intend on re-applying spray tan.

It would be best to wait at least 12 hours before shaving, to allow your skin time to repair itself from coming into contact with DHA. This chemical can cause some redness and sensitivity, and shaving could cause some irritation.

Eat Well

Your diet can influence how long your spray tan lasts. Make sure that you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Some supplements would be a great idea to include as well, for instance, fish oil contributes to keeping your skin nourished. 

Avoid any processed/refined carbs and unhealthy fats.  

Stay Hydrated

Moisturizing your skin is not enough to tackle the dehydration happening; drinking enough water is healthy for your entire body not just your skin.

Each person needs to drink about 6-8 glasses/cups of water a day. Alternatively, divide your body weight in half and drink that much in ounces.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do after getting a spray tan?

Wear loose clothing, avoid bathing and/or sweating for several hours, keep your skin hydrated and nourished and avoid any sort of exfoliation on your skin for a little while.

What should you not do after a spray tan?

Do not wear tight clothing, shave, exfoliate, or apply anything to your skin after a spray tan. You need to wait at least 5 hours before you can shower or bathe, so any exercise/sweating needs to be avoided too.

Can I sit after a spray tan?

Try to avoid sitting or moving too much for as long as you can after spray tan. You may feel sticky until you take your first shower, and it’s perfectly normal for some streaks and smudging to occur especially in that area.

So, just wait as long as you are able to before sitting down.

When can you rinse off after a spray tan?

It is important to wait at least 6 hours before taking your first shower after a spray tan, although some regular developing solutions require 12-24 hours before a rinse and thus need to be applied in the evening and to wait overnight before rinsing.

Otherwise, you could destroy any chances of developing a darker color. Using any harsh products when you shower can also strip off the tan from your body leaving you with streaks, patches, and unevenness.

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