When Can You Shower After A Spray Tan?

Spray tanning has become my go-to method for achieving a beautiful, bronzed glow without harmful UV ray exposure. But one question always lingered after my spray tan session – can I shower and when should I do it? Proper aftercare is crucial for making your spray tan last as long as possible.

When can you shower after a spray tanWhat are the dos and don’ts? Here, I’ll share my tips and tricks as a seasoned self-tanner. Read on to get the scoop on showering after spray tan, techniques for application and drying, making it last longer, plus handy FAQs.

When Can You Shower After A Spray Tan?

I always want to hop in the shower immediately after a spray tan session. But patience pays off when it comes to preserving your bronzed glow! You should wait at least 8-12 hours before showering or bathing after a spray tan. This gives the DHA bronzer enough time to fully develop and absorb into your skin.

Showering too soon can wash away the tanning solution before it has a chance to work its magic. This can lead to uneven fading, splotchiness, and patchiness. Not an attractive look!

I once made the mistake of showering just 5 hours after a spray tan. Big mistake! My tan washed off in streaks and looked so unnatural. Now I’m diligent about allowing at least 10 hours of waiting time post-spray for optimum results.

Tips For Showering After A Spray Tan

Showering After A Spray Tan

Once it’s time to shower after your spray tan application, you’ll want to be gentle. Harsh soaps, scrubbing, and hot water can all fade your tan fast. Follow these tips for maintaining your bronze glow when showering post-tan:

Keep The Water Cool

Steer clear of long, steamy showers after getting spray tanned. The hot water can cause dryness, peeling, and premature fading of your tan. Lukewarm or cool water is best. Start with a cooler temperature and only increase slightly as needed.

My past hot showers led to a patchy, uneven tan with light spots from water drying out my skin. I’ve had much better results using cooler water and limiting my showers to 5-10 minutes max. The lower temperature preserves your tan and prevents dehydration.

Avoid Harsh Soaps and Exfoliators

Harsh soaps and body washes containing glycolic acid or salt scrubs can strip away your tan by removing the top layer of tanned skin. Instead, lather up with a gentle, hydrating body wash free of sulfates and harsh chemicals.

I love using moisturizing body washes like Dove or Olay after spray tanning. The creamy formula doesn’t dry or strip the skin. An oil-based body wash may also help lock in moisture post-tan. Stay clear of exfoliating gloves or loofahs which slough off your tan.

Pat Skin Dry

After stepping out of the shower, pat your skin with a soft cotton towel. Avoid rubbing the skin vigorously. This can cause irritation and fading. Gently pat your body dry, paying extra attention to joints and areas prone to faster fading like hands, feet, knees and elbows. Reapply your favorite moisturizer to boost hydration.

Moisturize Daily

Continue moisturizing your skin daily post-tan, focusing on dry areas like elbows, knees, and ankles. The hydration helps keep skin smooth and prevents peeling or flaking which can strip away your tan prematurely. Look for lotions containing antioxidants like vitamin E to nourish skin.

I love using a rich vitamin E body butter daily after showering and towel drying. It offers intense moisturization to preserve my spray tan and keep skin hydrated and touchably soft. The antioxidants provide extra skincare benefits.

Why Fake Tanning Is Better Than UV Tanning

Have you ever laid out on the beach for hours trying to tan naturally? Or hopped in a tanning bed for some UV rays? There’s good reason to switch to fake tanning instead to get your glow on. Here are some of the pros:

Safer Than UV Rays

First and foremost, methods like spray tanning and self-tanners allow you to bronze your skin safely without UV radiation exposure. We all know overexposure to the sun’s rays can lead to premature aging, sun damage, and increase skin cancer risk.

Faux tanning offers a much safer alternative. You control the intensity of the “tan” and can customize to your desired shade without health risks.

Even, Natural-Looking Color

With sunless tanning, I can achieve a beautifully even, uniform glow from head to toe. No blotchy patches, uneven fading, or embarrassing tan lines! The trained techs at professional spray tan salons provide flawless results.

At home, I use self-tanner lotions on tricky spots like hands and feet for seamless coverage. The color develops into a natural-looking tan compared to the unnatural orange hue some self-tanners used to cause.

Longer Lasting Color

From my experience, spray tans and self-tanners last much longer than natural tanning. A single session at a tanning salon can keep your tan glowing for up to 2 weeks! Most self-tanning lotions last around 5-7 days.

Whereas laying out in the sun would require multiple long sessions to build color, and it tends to fade in just a few days. The color from bronzers and DHA in fake tanning products has more lasting power.

Customizable Options

With professional spray tans, you can select your ideal level of bronzing. Some salons offer levels 1-5 for total customization. You can go as light or dark as you wish.

Self-tanners also come in a variety of shades and intensities to suit your skin tone. There are options for fair to dark complexions. You control the color payoff.

Convenience Factor

Hopping in a tanning bed or laying poolside requires dedicating time solely to tanning. With sunless products, you can tan in as little as one session either at home or a salon. No need to schedule multiple visits over weeks.

Self-tanners allow you to tan whenever it fits your schedule – no need to wait for sunny days! The convenience factor is a major perk of faux bronzing.

Common Self-Tanning Mistakes to Avoid

Self-Tanning Mistakes

When I first started fake tanning, I made every mistake in the book. Streaky orange hands, uneven fading – you name it! Here are some of the biggest mess-ups and how to avoid them for flawless sunless tans:

Not Exfoliating – Failing to exfoliate before self-tanning leads to uneven color, patchiness, and faster fading. Buildup of dead, dry skin prevents the tanning product from absorbing evenly. Gently scrub body with an exfoliating mitt or body polish before applying any self-tanner.

Applying Unevenly – Self-tanning products require patience and attention to detail. Use a tanning glove or applicator and blend product meticulously in circular motions. Pay extra attention to dry areas. Ask a friend to help with hard to reach spots for most seamless coverage.

Not Washing Palms – Self-tanner notoriously stains the palms orange. Always thoroughly wash and exfoliate hands after applying to avoid tell-tale tanning mistakes. Use a small amount of lotion and wash immediately. Wear gloves during application if needed.

Showering Too Soon – As mentioned earlier, allowing time before showering is crucial. I try to wait at least 12 hours if possible to prevent uneven rinsing or splotchiness. Pat skin dry instead of rubbing vigorously.

Applying Too Much – Less is more when self-tanning! Start with a thin layer and build coverage gradually if needed. Too much at once leads to streaking and unnaturally dark results. Add additional coats over several days for most believable color. Slow and steady wins the race.

How To Apply Self-Tanner For Flawless Results

After plenty of practice, I’ve mastered how to apply self-tanning lotions and mousses for streak-free, even coverage:

Prep Skin – Exfoliate with a body scrub, shave at least 24 hours in advance, and moisturize skin before applying any sunless tanner. Dry patches can grab the color unevenly. Smooth, clean skin allows the best development.

Use a Mitt – Apply self-tanner in circular motions using a tanning glove or body mitt. This helps spread the product evenly and prevents staining hands. Latex gloves also work in a pinch! Focus on one section of skin at a time.

Blend Thoroughly – Take your time and blend the product thoroughly from start to finish. Any missed spots or lack of blending will leave annoyingly noticeable lines and patches. Pat product into skin instead of rubbing.

Pay Attention to Joints – Use a light touch when applying to elbows, knees, ankles, and other joint areas. These spots grab color quickly and can get darker than the rest of your skin. Build up coverage here slowly.

Wash Hands – Immediately after finish applying, wash palms thoroughly with soap and water to remove any traces of tanner. Exfoliate hands to avoid orange staining. Use a small amount of lotion and gloves if needed.

Moisturize Daily – Keep skin hydrated daily with antioxidant creams and moisturizers to maintain your sunless tan. Dry, peeling skin can slough away your color prematurely. Light exfoliation a few times per week also helps extend your glow.

Making Your Spray Tan Last Longer

I’ve picked up some handy tricks over the years for making self-tanners last as long as possible. Here are my pro tips:

Moisturize, Moisturize! Keeping skin hydrated is key. Dryness is what causes peeling and patchiness. Apply moisturizer daily, opt for creamy body washes instead of soap, and drink plenty of water.

Gently Exfoliate 2-3 times per week using a mitt, dry brushing, or gentle scrub to maintain even tone as your tan naturally fades. Harsh exfoliators strip the color prematurely.

Cool Showers As mentioned earlier, hot showers can prematurely dry out skin and fade color. Keep showers lukewarm if possible.

Pat Dry Rubbing skin vigorously with a towel exacerbates dryness. Gently pat yourself dry after bathing or swimming.

Reapply Touch up your tan with another application of lotion or visit the spray tan salon as your color starts to fade. Building on existing tan helps it last longer.

Protective Clothing Cover up with hats, coverups and other protective layers when going outside to prevent UV rays from breaking down your tan.

Avoid Alcohol-Based Products Toners, astringents and exfoliators containing alcohol dry out skin. Seek alcohol-free options to keep your tan glowing longer.

Speed Up Your Self Tan Drying Time

The waiting game after self-tanning can test your patience. But there are some tricks to speed up the drying process:

  • Wear loose, dark clothing to avoid transfer onto fabrics
  • Use a portable fan to create airflow and dry the tan faster
  • Opt for oil-free, fast-drying self-tanning lotions and mousses
  • Avoid tight garments that can rub at the skin prematurely
  • Wait 30+ minutes after applying before dressing to set the tan
  • Limit sweat-inducing activity which can cause streaking
  • Apply earlier in the day to allow maximum drying time

With these handy tips, your tan will set in no time! Waiting those extra minutes is worth it for long-lasting, even results.

FAQs About Self Tanning

How long does a self-tan last?

  • On average, expect 5-7 days of color from most self-tanning lotions. Professional spray tans can last 7-10 days or longer. Exfoliating regularly and keeping skin moisturized maximizes longevity.

Is self-tanner safe for your skin?

  • When used properly, self-tanners are generally safe and non-toxic. Always patch test product first. Seek hypoallergenic and natural options if you have very sensitive skin. Avoid eye area.

How do you choose the right self-tanner?

  • Consider your skin tone – fair, medium or dark complexion. Seek shades labeled for your specific skin type. Cool undertones do best with an ash or neutral tint. Olive/warm undertones pair best with a bronze shade.

What mistakes should you avoid?

  • Exfoliate before applying, blend thoroughly in sections, wash hands immediately after, allow proper drying time before rinsing or dressing, and moisturize skin daily to make the color last. Applying too much at once can cause streaking.

What if you get a bad spray tan?

  • Don’t panic! Use an exfoliating mitt or body scrub 2-3 days after the spray tan to gently buff away the color. Alternatively, try a spray tan remover product. Use a skin-lightening moisturizer to help fade the unwanted tint faster.


Achieving a flawless, natural-looking tan without UV exposure is possible with self-tanning products. Just be sure to follow proper protocol – wait before showering, gently wash skin, moisturize daily, and use proven application techniques. Avoid common mistakes like uneven rubbing.

With a little patience and TLC, your sunless tan can look sensational. Say goodbye to UV damage and risky tanning methods this summer. Bring on the bronzed goddess glow with the magic of self-tanners! I hope these tips help you rock your most radiant, healthy-looking tan yet. You’ll be a pro in no time.

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