How Long Does a Spray Tan Last?

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Spray tans are a perfect solution to avoid UV exposure while still getting that gorgeous summer glow. After your skin achieves a wonderful tan, you might ask: How long does a spray tan last? 

We all wish our tan could last forever, but the reality is that it will eventually fade. The exact number of days your spray tan will last depends on what you do to your skin before and after the procedure. 

In this article, we’ll tell you about the common mistakes that you might be making that could shorten the life of your spray tan. We’ll go over how to keep that sun-dappled look as long as possible.


How Long Does a Spray Tan Last? Can You Prolong It?

Maximist Spray Tan Machine

If only there was a product that could make your spray tan last all summer long. It would surely be a hit!

But there isn’t.

That’s because our skin naturally sheds off the outer dead skin cells regularly. 

Spray tans solutions  and sunless tanners like Beauty By Earth  (reviewed here), use an active ingredient called DHA.

DHA causes a chemical reaction with dead skin cells on the outermost layer of your skin. The DHA dyes these dead cells a darker color, resulting in a darker skin tone.


The problem is: when that layer sheds off, and it eventually does, your tan goes away along with it. This is why applying a fake tan over a sunburn is a bad idea.

Typically, spray tans and sunless tans will last for somewhere around 7-10 days before fading. 

This length of time can change somewhat, depending on how you treat your skin before and after your spray tan.

Things That Shorten Your Spray Tan

Some of the things you do can seem harmless. However, they could be the exact reason why your spray tan doesn’t last. Here are a few mistakes that you could be making. 

Manicures And Pedicures

You deserve a Me Day. We all do!

A Me Day might include a trip to the salon, the gym, a manicure and a pedicure, and a spray tan. But you shouldn’t do all these things the same day as your spray tan session, especially the mani and pedi. 

That’s because your mani or pedi could involve the use of oils. These oils can act as a barrier for the spray tan. It can also remove the spray tan product from those areas prematurely.

That will not only make your spray tan uneven, it will also prevent the active ingredient from reacting properly to those areas of the skin. This could lessen the lifespan of your tan. 

See how to remove spray tan from hands and feet.

Waxing Or Shaving

Waxing, epilating, or shaving while your spray tan is still fresh can also prevent your skin cells from reacting properly to the active ingredient in spray tans. 

Waxing doesn’t just remove hair. It can also strip off the topmost layer of skin cells. Waxing could remove the solution itself, and it can also remove the layer that has reacted to the active ingredient. 

Make sure to wax or shave before your spray tan. Do it a day before the session to help make sure your pores are already tightened. Waxing can open them up and that could make your spray tan spotty. 

See also: shaving after a spray tan.

Taking A Shower

Although you should come to your tanning session with clean skin, showering just before your spray tan session isn’t a good idea. 

Most people think that the temperature of the water is the only important factor in showering.

While it’s true that hot showers will open your pores and could cause a spotty spray tan, that’s not the only concern. You also need to consider the products you use in the shower. 

Soaps and shampoo can change the PH of your skin. It will take some time for your skin’s pH to balance out and return to an ideal one for spray tans. 

Due to the pH of the cleaning agents, the DHA can be neutralized. That could lead to less than perfect spray tan results.

The tan won’t be as deep, and won’t last that long. 

Additionally, showering too soon after a spray tan will prevent the product from fully reacting with your skin.

You must let the product stay on your skin for at least a few hours. The exact time will depend on the solution of your spray tan. 

See also for more spray tan aftercare:


Exfoliation is incredibly important if you want to extend the length of your spray tan. By clearing off the dead skin cells that are just about ready to fall off anyway, you ensure that everything that’s still there will last as long as possible.

However, there is a proper way to exfoliate.

It would be best to exfoliate  after cleansing your body with soap. That will help make sure that any residue is removed. 

Additionally, you shouldn’t skip on exfoliation after your spray tan. Although you don’t need to do it often and immediately after the spray tan session, you should still do it regularly.

That will help make sure that your tan fades evenly. You’ll be able to enjoy it for longer. 

That said, too much exfoliation can leave your skin irritated and dry. These areas can result in splochy tans, dark spots, and an unbalanced look. You certainly won’t enjoy having that uneven tan for a long period of time. 

See also:

Spray tan exfoliation

Wearing Tight Clothes

Tighter clothes can pack make the solution pressed against the skin right? No, that’s wrong. You don’t need to push the product onto your skin for them to work. Spraying it on, allowing it to dry properly then leaving it to react to your skin is enough. 

With tight clothes, you’ll just be rubbing the product of your skin and onto your clothes. With that, the solution won’t be able to react to your skin. Plus, you’d also stain your clothes in the process. 

See also: what to wear after a spray tan.


Spray tans, unfortunately, don’t last forever.

They only last for about 7-10 days before you’re back to book another session! And that depends on how well you have prepped your skin before the session, and how well you care for it after the session.

Sometimes, there are things we do that we might think are harmless while, in fact, they can cause your tan to fade quickly. 

Manicures, pedicures, waxing, shaving, taking a shower, exfoliating, and wearing tight clothing can all cause your tan to fade quickly if they are not properly done at the right time.

Keep these items in mind, and keep that luscious tan going for as long as you can!

See also:


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).