Best Exfoliator Before a Spray Tan: Prep Your Canvas!

Getting out of Shower
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Spray tans and sunless tans have made it much easier and safer to get beautiful, glowing color at any time of year. They’re pretty quick to apply, but there is some prep work involved! Most importantly, you need to exfoliate!

Before you grab a pumice stone and scrub your skin off, you should know that over-exfoliation doesn’t work. What’s needed are gentle exfoliators that can remove the outer dead skin cells without damaging the skin.

After a million spray tans (and lots of exfoliation before each one), I’ve found that the Tree Hut Shea Exfoliating Scrub is the best exfoliator before a spray tan.


Best Exfoliator Before a Spray Tan: Comparison Table

After haven’t gone through countless spray tans, I’ve put table this list of my favorite exfoliators for use before a spray tan. See below for details on each one.

Preview
Top Choice!
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Coconut Lime, 18 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Runner-Up
Sun Labs Exfoliating Gel for Cleansing and Softening Skin - 1 8 fl. oz. Bottle
Budget Pick
Songwol Towel Exfoliating Towel Bath Washcloth 4 Pcs (Green) for Dead Skin
Best Physical
CSM Dry Body Brush for Beautiful Skin - Solid Wood Frame & Boar Hair Exfoliating Brush to Exfoliate & Soften Skin, Improve Circulation, Stop Ingrown Hairs, Reduce Acne and Cellulite
Extra Hydration
Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Body Scrub, Rosemary Mint Scent, 6 Ounce, Sustainably Harvested Seaweed, French Sea Clay, Coffee Extract
Name
Tree Hut
Sun Labs
Korean Washcloth
C.S.M. Brush
Seaweed Bath & Co
Price on Amazon
$31.52
$8.00
$4.70
$9.97
$14.99
Top Choice!
Preview
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Coconut Lime, 18 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Name
Tree Hut
Price on Amazon
$31.52
View on Amazon
Runner-Up
Preview
Sun Labs Exfoliating Gel for Cleansing and Softening Skin - 1 8 fl. oz. Bottle
Name
Sun Labs
Price on Amazon
$8.00
View on Amazon
Budget Pick
Preview
Songwol Towel Exfoliating Towel Bath Washcloth 4 Pcs (Green) for Dead Skin
Name
Korean Washcloth
Price on Amazon
$4.70
View on Amazon
Best Physical
Preview
CSM Dry Body Brush for Beautiful Skin - Solid Wood Frame & Boar Hair Exfoliating Brush to Exfoliate & Soften Skin, Improve Circulation, Stop Ingrown Hairs, Reduce Acne and Cellulite
Name
C.S.M. Brush
Price on Amazon
$9.97
View on Amazon
Extra Hydration
Preview
Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Body Scrub, Rosemary Mint Scent, 6 Ounce, Sustainably Harvested Seaweed, French Sea Clay, Coffee Extract
Name
Seaweed Bath & Co
Price on Amazon
$14.99
View on Amazon

Spray Tan Exfoliator Buyer’s Guide

best spray tan exfoliator

Spray tan exfoliators are formulated and designed to remove the dead skin cells on the topmost layer of the skin. This will help enable the spray tan to react evenly on fresh skin cells.

When it does, an even, long-lasting tan, without patches, cracks, or streaks, can be achieved.

There are many spray tan exfoliators out there and you can get any of them and try their effect on your next spray tan session. The problem is, not all of them work as efficiently as they claim.

Don’t be like others who simply tried products out of whim and ended up looking patchy and orange.

I’ve put together this guide to give you some context when picking the right exfoliator for your needs.

Who Should Buy a Spray Tan Exfoliator?

Humans naturally shed off dead skin cells all the time, although it can’t be seen with the naked eye. An exfoliator is used to help improve the rate of dead skin cell removal on the outermost layer of the skin.

This will prep the skin for a fake tan or spray tan, and will keep the tan going for as long as possible.

An exfoliator can be beneficial in many cases, whether it be in combination with a spray tan, sunless tanners, or tanning waters.

Those Who Want to Make Their Fake Tan Last Longer

DHA Fake tans only affects the outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. This is where the dead cells are. The cells in this layer darken to produce the beautiful tan brought about by the chemicals in a spray tan solution.

The fact that fake tan chemicals only react with the outermost layer of dead skin means that spray tans are quite safe.

Skin Diagram

If you want to make your spray tan last as long as possible, you need to exfoliate before you go for your fake session. Exfoliation removes the loose skin cells that would have shed off in the next couple of days anyway.

In this way, newer cells will be exposed, and will darken upon contact with the DHA solution.

If the goal is to prolong a fake tan, then exfoliate only before the spray tan session. Exfoliation after the session should be avoided.

If the goal is to prolong a fake tan, then exfoliate only before the spray tan session. Exfoliation after the session should be avoided.

These newer cells won’t shed off as easily as the ones that were removed due to exfoliation.

Exfoliating before a spray tan is one of the secrets to having a longer-lasting tan, potentially up to 14 days between sprays. It also helps produce an even tan.

This is why you shouldn’t apply a fake tan over sunburned skin. It will peel off quickly.

Wait at least 4 hours to shower after your spray tan session.

People Who Want To Remove Their Fake Tan

On the contrary, people who want to get rid of their spray tan can also use exfoliators! A fake tan will naturally lighten as more of the darkened dead skin cells are shed off. Exfoliators simply speed up this process.

Just keep in mind that if you’re not carefully exfoliating after a fake tan can lead to patchy skin.

Anyone Who Wants Softer & Smoother Skin

Exfoliators can also be used even by those who are not going for a spray tan. It helps achieve a softer and smoother skin that everyone loves. Regular gentle exfoliation also helps make the skin look more youthful.

Physical Or Manual Exfoliators?

Exfoliating the skin can be done in two ways: physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation.

Both are effective, and people have success using both physical and chemical exfoliators. The one you choose is generally a personal preference, and some use both!

Gentle Exfoliators

Some physical exfoliators have that grit that some people love but others hate because it seems too rough on the skin. Gentle exfoliation is best because you just need to remove the dead skin cells on the topmost layer.

Too much exfoliation can create scratches on the skin which may cause you to have an uneven tan. It can also cause your skin to be dry, flaky, irritated and peeling.

Exfoliator Ingredients

Always choose a product that is made with natural ingredients. Never use products with microbeads, if you still find one around. They have been banned since July 1, 2017, in the US due to their bad effects on the environment, but it’s possible to find them elsewhere.

Various natural ingredients are now used in exfoliators. Such natural ingredients include grounded nuts, salt, sugar, coffee beans, bamboo, rice bran, rice, charcoal, green tea, orange, oats, as well as tiny seeds from different plants.

Added Extras

Some added extra effects on exfoliators include moisturizing properties, relaxing scent, pH buffers, and antioxidants. You can also consider the form that it is in such as creams, soap-based products, or gels.

Price

Price is also something to consider. You don’t have to choose the cheapest but it’s best to see if the product works as promised.

Physical exfoliators, brushes, loofahs, etc. tend to be cheaper than chemical exfoliators. But you have to do more work!

Can Spray Tan Exfoliators Be Used On The Face?

Exfoliators are varied and can be made of different ingredients. There are also some physical exfoliators that you just rub on your skin. Depending on the ingredients used and how rough the exfoliators are, some can be used on the face but many advise against it.

The face has more sensitive skin and can be easily damaged by some exfoliators meant for the body.

It is better to look for an exfoliator that’s specifically formulated or designed for the face than to risk using a product meant for the body.

Could You Use An Exfoliator every day?

Exfoliating greatly helps in achieving a more even tan but overdoing it can also backfire. Most advise not to exfoliate every day, particularly if you’re fake tanning.

Over-exfoliation can damage the skin. It can cause irritation, redness, and inflammation, which can accelerate the aging process.


Best Spray Tan Exfoliator: Tree Hut Shea Exfoliating Scrub

Tree Hut Shea Exfoliating Scrub

The top of our list belongs to Tree Hut Shea Exfoliating Scrub. This product line from Tree Hut offers gentle exfoliation by using sugar crystals to remove dead skin cells and reveal fresh, luscious skin.

Most users of the Tree Hut scrub find that it provides gentle, even exfoliation — perfect for those who are about to get a spray tan.

Some users find that doesn’t exfoliate as much as they’d like, while others say it’s too tough on their skin. There’s always a balance. The application process may be part of the issue, and you may need a few rounds to get used to the scrub.

This product has multiple variants and formulas to choose from. Each contains a variety of ingredients that help moisturize and soften the skin. Of course, the variants also affect the scent of the scrub as well.

To provide more moisturization, Tree Hut uses 100% Organic Shea butter. This is a powerful moisturizer that softens and smoothes dry skin.

Tree Hut Exfoliating Scrub

It’s safe to use on all skin types, even sensitive skin. This is because it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, parabens, or formaldehyde.

Just make sure to rub gently when exfoliating sensitive areas of the body.

Most users love this product, not only because it effectively exfoliates the skin, but they also love the variety of delightful scents.

There are loads of varieties available and each has its fans! The most popular ones are Coconut Lime and Morrocan Rose, but feel free to be adventurous.

Although ingredients are sourced all over the world, the products are all manufactured here in the USA.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Gentle Exfoliation
  • Powerful Moisturizer
  • Multiple Variants To Choose From
  • No Parabens Or Formaldehydes
  • Made In The USA
  • Delightful Scent
  • Type: Rinse-Off Body Scrub
  • Volume: 18 oz
  • Quantity: 3 per pack
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Coconut Lime, 18 Ounce (Pack of 3)
  • Made with certified Organic Shea Butter...
  • Infused with Coconut Extract for skin...
  • Uses Safflower Seed Oil to deeply...
  • Made with Avocado Oil which reduces sun...
  • The sugar grains and ground coconut...

Runner-Up: Sun Laboratories Exfoliator

Sun Laboratories Exfoliator

The Sun Laboratories exfoliator comes in a gel form which feels light on the skin. It is also made with scrubbing beads in 3 sizes to make sure it effectively but gently exfoliates the skin.

It works well as a gentle exfoliator and is compatible with people with sensitive skin. Due to its gentleness as an exfoliator, some were confident enough to use it on their faces.

It comes in a pump bottle which is very convenient. You don’t have to contaminate the whole bottle just to get some product. Take note that you are likely to need more than just one pump to exfoliate the whole body.

Sun Labs Gel Exfoliator

Although many users are happy about how gentle it exfoliates the skin, some were disappointed because they didn’t feel much difference. Some buyers have found the scrubbers to be too small and too gentle for the body. As a result, some users used the product with exfoliating mitts to improve exfoliation.

Formulated with natural ingredients, this exfoliator also makes the skin soft and smooth.

Oh, and it smells great too!

Key Points at a Glance

  • Scrubbing Beads In 3 Sizes
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Easy To Apply
  • Hydrates And Nourishes The Skin
  • Convenient Pump Bottle
  • Volume: 8 oz
  •  Suitable For Sensitive Skin
Sun Labs Exfoliating Gel for Cleansing and Softening Skin - 1 8 fl. oz. Bottle
  • FORMULATED WITH A NATURAL BLEND OF...
  • CELEBRITIES LOVE IT, DOCTORS RECOMMEND...
  • GLOWING FROM THE INSIDE OUT Have you...
  • YOU GLOW, GIRL Whether you are new to...
  • EASY TO APPLY Application instructions...

Best Budget: Korean Exfoliating Washcloth

Korean Exfoliating Washcloth

For those with a tight budget, you can still make your spray tan look more even by using an affordable product. This Korean spray tan exfoliator can get rid of the outermost dead skin cells by physically knocking them off.

Korean beauty has been a booming industry for the last decade or two, with lots of innovation. Everything from Korean moisturizers to light therapy masks, there are a lot of interesting, inexpensive beauty products coming out of Korea these days.

The viscose rayon glove is no different. It is folded and stitched to create a pocket-like glove where your hand can fit. The manufacturers say that the cloth shrinks when it is wet and you need to stretch it to properly exfoliate.

Some users find this cloth is too small for their hands: it shrinks a lot! However, most find that it is an effective exfoliator, regardless of its size. If you have larger hands, there is a larger-format version of this available as well.

As per instructions, it should be used after soaking in hot water. If you don’t have a bathtub, you can still use this exfoliator cloth. Some use it with a body wash, but you don’t necessarily have to.

Unlike the others found in this review, this product doesn’t moisturize. You’ll need to use another product to moisturize your skin to avoid dry patches for spray tanning. It is great as an exfoliator, but you need to moisturize as well!

Key Points at a Glance

  • Viscose Rayon Cloth
  • Gentle Exfoliation
  • Available In Two Sizes
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 7inches
  • Quantity: 4 per pack
Songwol Towel Exfoliating Towel Bath Washcloth 4 Pcs (Green) for Dead Skin
  • 100% Viscose Rayon exfoliating scrub...
  • Gentle scrubbing will dead (and dry)...
  • As it shrinks after soaked in water, it...
  • Songwol towel Exfoliating wash cloth...

Best Physical Exfoliator: C.S.M. Wet Or Dry Brush

C.S.M. Wet Or Dry Brush

Gently exfoliating the skin can be done without adding any chemicals as all! This wet or dry brush by C.S.M. that possible by removing the dead skin cells with natural bristles.

If you don’t want to exfoliate while taking a shower or a bath, you can skip the water by simply brushing yourself with this dry brush. Using a brush for exfoliation means not adding any chemicals at all to the skin that might react negatively to the spray tan.

Aside from exfoliating, this brush can help improve blood circulation and prevent ingrown hairs.

Keep in mind that the natural bristles on this brush are rough! But that how it works to remove dead skin when rubbed gently in a circular motion. The canvas strap at the back helps you to have a secure hold while the circular shape feels comfortable to the hands. Some find that it’s a bit too rough for their skin and shouldn’t be used by people with sensitive skin.

C.S.M. Wet Or Dry Brush

This is a product that you can easily travel with. It’s just the right size to fit the palm of the hands, and is easily stored in carry-on luggage. No liquids for the TSA to complain about.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Gentle Exfoliation
  • For Wet Or Dry Brushing
  • Multiple Benefits
  • Natural Bristles
  • Lightweight And Portable
  • Dimensions: 4-inch diameter x 2 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 oz
Sale
CSM Dry Body Brush for Beautiful Skin - Solid Wood Frame & Boar Hair Exfoliating Brush to Exfoliate & Soften Skin, Improve Circulation, Stop Ingrown Hairs, Reduce Acne and Cellulite
  • PAMPER YOURSELF: No expensive spa...
  • SOFT AND FIRM BRUSHES: Exfoliate your...
  • BETTER BRISTLES: These brushes are...
  • WHY DRY BRUSH?: Clear away dead skin and...
  • LOVE IT OR IT’S ON US: Give your skin...

Best for Hydration: The Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliator

The Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliator

The Seaweed Bath Co. uses marine-based ingredients to create an effective exfoliator. It contains a luxurious list of ingredients, but for a 6 fl oz bottle, the price is quite expensive.

It has small granules for exfoliation. Some find that they are too small or too weak to exfoliate the body, but others love the mild experience. It is excellent as a facial exfoliator.

The mixture of seaweed, coffee bean extract, French clay, green tea extract, and other ingredients resulted in a black-colored paste that is a bit runny. However, the ingredient mix provides a boost of moisture that’s really great.

An earlier version of this packaging had a cap mechanism that kept failing, leading to leakages. The new packaging is an improvement and has caused this to move into the top 5 list.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Exfoliates Dead Skin Cells
  • Contains Antioxidants
  • Contains Minerals
Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Body Scrub, Rosemary Mint Scent, 6 Ounce, Sustainably Harvested Seaweed, French Sea Clay, Coffee Extract
  • Contains: 1- 6 Ounce Tube of Seaweed...
  • Consciously created, we use a bounty of...
  • Let the renewing power of the ocean...
  • Let the renewing power of the ocean...
  • We embrace the nourishing magic of the...

Other Products We Looked At:

Skinerals Exfoliator Mitt

Skinerals Exfoliator Mitt

Dead skin cells and bumps can be removed in the skin before using a spray tan when the Skinerals Exfoliator mitt is used. It is made of high-quality and durable fabric that’s purposely rough to remove skin impurities. Although it is rough, it doesn’t feel painful on the skin when it is used for exfoliation.

The mitt is made of sturdy fabric. Robust stitching is used to ensure its durability. This mitt can last hundreds of uses (as long as you’re not trying to play baseball with it). Use it during a bath or shower with plain water, soap, body wash or scrub of your choice.

Although it’s a good product, it is a bit expensive. Other exfoliator mitts are more affordable. There is nothing special about this mitt, but it does exfoliate the skin in preparation for sunless tanning.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Easy To Use
  • Durable
  • Exfoliates Without Pain

Tan Physics Pre-Tan Exfoliator

Tan Physics Pre-Tan Exfoliator

Tan Physics is an outstanding sunless tanning company, as we discussed here. This product is specially formulated to be used before applying a spray tan to achieve a flawless look.

They suggest users not use nylon or loofa because it can be too harsh in exfoliating the skin. Instead, a washcloth should be used with the exfoliator.

Aside from exfoliating, it helps hydrate the skin and prevent it from aging fast. This is due to the different natural ingredients that act as moisturizers for the skin.

While Tan Physics sunless tanning system is very solid, this exfoliator isn’t universally loved. Some say it is a great exfoliator and it can pre your sin for tanning. But others find the exfoliator’s capacity a bit weak, and many say it doesn’t work well because they still end up being a bit orange.

Some were disappointed because they thought they were getting a great product given its expensive price point. For a much lower price, many other exfoliators will do a similar job.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Mild And Natural Exfoliator
  • Contains Anti-Aging Ingredients
  • Hydrating Formula

Majestic Pure Himalayan Salt Exfoliator

Majestic Pure Himalayan Salt Exfoliator

Majestic Pure uses Pink Himalayan salt to exfoliate the body. With this salt formula, the skin is also hydrated. This can result in smoother and moisturized skin, which is a perfect canvas for a spray tan.

The formula also contains Lychee essential oil. This combination smells divine and is rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C. The antioxidants are important for skin cells because they prevent the cells from aging too rapidly.

Salt scrubs, like what Majestic Pure offers, are known to be good exfoliators. But some users find that it stings when it gets to the eyes or on cut skin.

Many users also comment on the poor packaging which led to oil leaks.

Key Points at a Glance

  • Uses Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Moisturizes Skin
  • Wonderful Lychee Scent

Conclusion

You’re now ready to exfoliate and rock your new tan! The best exfoliator before a spray tan is Tree Hut Shea Exfoliating Scrub. It’s got a great variety of natural ingredients and scents, and it effectively and gently exfoliates while also moisturizing the skin – both of which are needed for an even spray tan.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Coconut Lime, 18 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Coconut Lime, 18 Ounce (Pack of 3)
Infused with Coconut Extract for skin conditioning and Lime Extract for skin polishing
$31.52
Songwol Towel Exfoliating Towel Bath Washcloth 4 Pcs (Green) for Dead Skin
Songwol Towel Exfoliating Towel Bath Washcloth 4 Pcs (Green) for Dead Skin
100% Viscose Rayon exfoliating scrub bath mitten. Songwol towel; Songwol towel Exfoliating wash cloth Green 4p Made in Korea
$4.70

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).