What To Do Before A Spray Tan

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Do you ever wonder why someone else’s spray tans seem to last longer than yours? Does it seem that your spray tan looks even but only to find that after a few days it turns streaky?

The secret to making the most out of your spray tan session isn’t just knowing what to do during and after your session. It also involves the proper preparation of your skin. 

Let’s help you figure out what to do before a spray tan so you can get the most out of your session. In that way, you’ll better enjoy flaunting your beautiful sun-kissed-looking skin.


What To Do Before A Spray Tan

Spray Tan Girls

One of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to spray tan is not properly preparing for it. Proper preparation helps you get the best results out of your spray tan session. 

It also helps you feel more satisfied with the results because you get to enjoy it for longer. Additionally, proper preparation also helps prevent any uncomfortable situations. Here are the things you should do:

  • Prepare yourself mentally
  • Prep your skin
  • Prepare your clothes
  • Clear your schedule

Prepare Yourself Mentally

If it’s your first time getting a spray tan, it’s best to know more about the procedure so you won’t feel uncomfortable or shocked. 

Most spray tans are done by professionals using a spray tan machine. You have to prepare yourself to be ready to get naked or be in a skimpy outfit in front of a stranger. Some wear a bra for a spray tan, but most don’t.

Don’t worry, they aren’t there to judge you. And they’ve already seen a lot of naked people due to their profession. 

It could get uncomfortable for you if it is your first time. Additionally, the specialist could also instruct you to do things like stick your bum out. That’s totally normal. That position will prevent you from having white patches, cracks, or an uneven tan. 

The specialist is doing their best to give you a luscious, beautiful, even tan. Work with them!

Prep Your Skin

The bulk of the things you need to do before you have a spray tan would be to prepare your skin. The outermost layer of the skin reacts to the DHA in spray tan solution. Here’s how you prep your skin for the spray tan session:

Shave A Day Before Your Session

Shaving before having a spray tan is ideal especially if you tend to be quite hairy. The hair in your body can hinder the solution from getting easy access to your skin. 

However, if you must shave, do it a day before your session. The razor that you use for shaving can cause damage to your skin. Give your skin enough time to heal a bit. 

Additionally, shaving could leave your skin with a thin film that could prevent the spray tan solution from adhering to the skin. This will depend on the razor or the other products that you use for shaving. 

Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliating glove

The most important way to prepare your skin for a spray tan is to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation helps remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. 

That gives the spray tan solution access to newer skin cells that won’t be shed off easily. With that, you could improve the results because your tan is less likely to be uneven or streaky.

Exfoliation also helps make sure that your tan lasts as long as possible

There are different exfoliators you can use. If you are exfoliating as preparation for a spray tan, scrubs that are oil-free would be best. Even if the oils from the scrubs could benefit your skin when it comes to moisturization, it could still negatively affect your spray tan session. 

It is best to completely remove them from the skin’s surface by taking a shower before your spray tan session. 

Alternatively, you could also just use other physical exfoliators like exfoliating gloves . These will also help remove dead skin cells without leaving any residue behind. 

Take A Shower

Before you go for your spray tan session, take a shower. This will remove any residue from your skin. Make sure that your skin is bare and don’t add any moisturizers to it. 

Clean, bare skin is ideal for spray tans because the solution will be able to easily get access to your skin cells and react to those skin cells. 

Prepare Your Clothes

Another thing you need to do is to prepare the clothes you will be wearing before, after, and during the spray tan session. You could wear the same clothes before and after your session but make sure that they are loose.

Make sure your clothes and even your shoes aren’t tight enough to rub off the solution from your skin. 

As we’ve mentioned, you can have a spray tan totally naked, or you could also wear the skimpiest underwear you have. Some spas have disposable skivvies they will provide.

If you want to get the most out of your spray tan session, consider getting a thong. That will give  the spray tan artist better access to your skin so that only a small part of your body would be pale. 

Apart from your clothes, you should also have a hair tie. Also, consider bringing a hair net although there are some that provide hairnets for their clients. This will prevent your hair from covering any part of your body.

Clear Your Schedule

Although the spray tan procedure doesn’t take all day, you’ll still need to keep the solution on your skin for a few hours.

At those times, you need to avoid exposure to moisture. That is why it would be better to clear your schedule for the day. 

Also, you might not want to go out because you could look a bit weird due to the spray tan solution. Although most spray tan solutions today don’t look overly unnatural on the skin, you may still prefer to just stay home for the day. 

What Not To Do Before A Spray Tan

Now that you know what things you should do before having your spray tan session, you should also remember that there are things that you should not do.

Here are some of the things you should avoid doing:

Use A Self Tanner

Even if you already look pasty and your spray tan appointment is still a few days away, resist the urge to use a self-tanner. Using these will only make your spray tan result patchy. That’s because the result of your self tanner will eventually fade — and take your spray tan with it! 

If you really want to use a self-tanner, it would be best to use it a few days after your spray tan. That will help you prolong your tan but make sure that you lightly exfoliate before using a self-tanner so that you can have a more even tan.

Take A Hot Shower

Taking a shower before your spray tan session is great because it can cleanse your skin and remove any products. However, showering with very hot water won’t be ideal. 

Hotter water can dilate your pores. That will make the product settle on your skin unevenly. Sometimes, that could result to brown dots all over your skin. 

If you really want a hot shower, then you should make sure that you rinse off with the coldest water you can stand. That will help tighten your pores before you go for your spray tan session.

Get A Facial

We all love to be pampered, and having a spray tan and a facial does sound wonderful. However, it is best not to do it in the same day. 

Facials will open up your pores and the spray tan could get into those. Just like what would happen when you open up your pores with a hot shower, you can get a face with brown dots due too the spray tan.

Just schedule your facial for another day. You could also wait until irritation from the facial has gone down before having your spray tan. That will make your tan even.

Apply Makeup, Moisturizer Or Any Topical Medication

The best base for a spray tan is a clean face. Skip your moisturizer, makeup, or topical medication for your face and body. 

Acne medication usually consist of salicylic acid that could dry out your skin. That could also negatively affect the tan. You can get an uneven tan due to it. 


The results of your spray tan session can be greatly affected by the things you do before your spray tan. Preparation is important but you must remember that it isn’t only your skin that you should prepare.

You should also prepare yourself so you know what to expect during the procedure. 

Apart from knowing what things to do, you should also know what things you shouldn’t do before your spray tan session. Some of the things to avoid include using a self tanner, getting a hot shower, having a facial, and applying other products on your skin.

Good luck!

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).