How To Exfoliate Before A Spray Tan or Fake Tan

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A spray tan is a great way to give yourself a beautiful bronze glow without exposure to harmful UV rays. However, to make sure that your tan lasts as long as possible, and that you develop an even tan, you should exfoliate your skin before getting the fake bake.

Exfoliation does a lot of good for skin that’s about to be tanned, but there are a few things to know. Today, I am going to discuss how to exfoliate before a spray tan to help you properly prepare your body before the spray tan session. 


How To Exfoliate Before A Spray Tan

Here is how to exfoliate and prep your skin: 

Step 1: Choose the products to use

The first step is to choose the exfoliator to use. There are two main kinds of exfoliators in the market today: physical exfoliators and chemical exfoliators. 

When exfoliating the body in preparation for the spray tan, is usually best to choose a physical exfoliator as it will help remove the topmost layer of dead skin cells. These are the ones that are already about to fall off, and it’s also where the spray tan is applied. 

Physical exfoliators are commonly known as body scrubs. They can be made of small particles like sugar or salt that you rub against the body to exfoliate the skin.

There are exfoliating mitts, gloves, and brushes that you can use, as well. If you’re in a bind, you can use a washcloth, but it’s not a great solution.

Step 2: Soak your body in warm water

You can simply soak your body in water in the bathtub or take a long, solid shower. You just want your skin completely soaked. Use a gentle body wash or soap.

This soak will help loosen the dead skin cells on your skin. If you don’t wet the skin, it is possible that scrubbing it with your chosen exfoliator will only irritate your skin. 

Step 3: Start scrubbing 

The next step is to start scrubbing your body with the exfoliant of your choice. You can use the mitt or the brush to gently exfoliate your skin in circular motions.

Apply some mild pressure while scrubbing, but there’s no need to be harsh on your skin. Once you are done scrubbing, your skin shouldn’t be inflamed or red. 

Apply some mild pressure while scrubbing, but there’s no need to be harsh on your skin. Once you are done scrubbing, your skin shouldn’t be inflamed or red. 

Step 4: Rinse off

After scrubbing, you can now rinse off with clean water. This will rinse away the dead skin cells that were loosened by your choice of exfoliator. 

If you are using scrubs, rinsing will help remove any remnants of the scrub that is sticking to your body. 

Step 5: Towel dry your skin 

Once you are rinsing out the products or removing the dead skin cells from your body, you can now get out of the shower and towel dry your body. 

Step 6: Moisturize your skin

After getting out of the shower and towel-drying the skin, the next step is to moisturize, all over! This will help ensure that the skin is ready for the sunless tan solution later on. It will also leave the skin feeling smooth and soft.

Guide To Choosing An Exfoliator

There are many excellent spray tan exfoliators available. When choosing which to use, stick to natural ones when possible.

Salt scrubs, sugar scrubs , and coffee scrubs are quite common and are a great choice for exfoliating the skin before a spray tan. 

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub Tropical Mango, 18oz, Ultra Hydrating and Exfoliating Scrub for Nourishing Essential Body Care
  • 100 percent PURE NATURAL SHEA BUTTER -...
  • MANGO PUREE - Quality moisturizer that...
  • PARABEN FREE - Absolutely no parabens or...
  • MADE IN THE USA - Proudly made in...

Dry brushes  are also good, but remember to use the dry brushes on dry skin as per instructions. Apart from exfoliation, dry brushes help increase blood flow and decrease the appearance of cellulite.

TEMEAYE Dry Brushing Body Brush Sets Wooden Handle Combined with Medium Strength Natural Bristles Gentle Exfoliator Remove Cellulite Lymphatic Drainage Makes The Skin of The Entire Body Softer
  • ☺️DRY BODY BRUSH 2 SET - 1 Pcs Long...
  • ☺️GIFTS - If you’re looking for...

There are exfoliating mitts and gloves  that you can use. Scrub these over the skin, but don’t apply so much pressure that you end up irritating the skin. 

Seraphic Skincare Korean Exfoliating Mitts (2pcs) Exfoliator Gloves Visibly Lift Away Dead Skin, Great for Spray Tan Removal or Keratosis Pilaris, Body Scrub Made of 100% Viscose Fiber
  • Shower Exfoliator for Home Use -...
  • Love the Way Your Skin Feels - Our...
  • Use as a Self-tan Remover - The 100%...
  • Way Better than Loofahs or Chemical...
  • Reveal a Heavenly Glow - Use our Korean...

Exfoliators You Should Avoid

There are some exfoliators that you should avoid. These contain ingredients such as microbeads. Microbeads can exfoliate the skin but are banned in many places because they are a threat to marine life. 

Products that contain sulfates and parabens should also be avoided. These substances could irritate the skin, especially for those who have sensitive skin. Remember that you are going to rub them on the skin and that might potentially irritate it more.

How Long Before Your Spray Tan Should You Exfoliate?

The best time to exfoliate your skin is 4-8 hours before the appointment.

Before you learn how to exfoliate before your spray tan or self tan, it is important to know when you should exfoliate. Some people might think the timing isn’t that important, but it really is. 

If you want to make sure that your exfoliation does good for your spray tan, then you have to figure out the proper timing for it.

You should exfoliate your skin at least 4 hours before the appointment. Some might even advise you to exfoliate further in advance, about 6-8 hours. That’s because the pores may be dilated after exfoliation due to the loosened dead skin cells. 

However, you don’t want to exfoliate too early before your appointment, either.

If you exfoliate too early, the dead skin cells that were removed through the process will be replenished before your session. That means the affected skin cells would fall off easily and cause you to have an uneven or patchy tan. 

In that case, you shouldn’t exfoliate more than 24 hours before you go for your tanning session.

The best time to exfoliate your skin is 4-8 hours before the appointment.

What About Shaving and Waxing?

Shave or wax before your spray tan, at least 8 hours before fake tanning. Waxing and shaving will also work as exfoliants, as you will remove dead skin cells along with your hair, revealing fresh skin underneath.

Final Thoughts

Once you’re done exfoliating, it’s time to make your appointment at the tanning salon for your tan. Be sure you leave the right amount of time on your schedule!

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).