8 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your First Spray Tan

If you’ve never stripped down to your knickers and stood shivering while a stranger sprays you with freezing cold brown liquid, don’t worry – it’s not actually as horrific as it sounds. However, there are few things that it’s very handy to know if you’re a spray tan newbie – like what to wear and how to prepare – so we spoke to Louise Donaghy, Brand Manager of bBold tan to get her top tips. 

1. Start prepping a week before

“Start making sure your skin is well-hydrated by amping up your moisturiser application a week before your spray tan is booked. Then, two days before, do a full shave and exfoliation and exfoliate again 24 hours before the tan.  The smoother your skin is, the easier it is for the tan to absorb, and the more hydrated your skin is, the longer the tan will last.” 

2. Stay product-free on the day of the spray tan

“On the day of your tan don’t apply anything to your skin – no moisturiser, perfume, deodorant, nothing. If left on your skin when the tan is applied these products will create a barrier that prevents the tan from absorbing, so you’ll end up with streaky, patchy areas.” The only places you may want to moisturise are where you have really dry skin e.g. around your ankles or elbows as they can end up looking darker if they’re very dry.” 

3. Dress appropriately

“Tan can easily rub off, especially when it’s freshly applied, so wear loose, dark clothing that won’t cause friction but also that you don’t mind if it gets a bit discoloured. For the actual tan, you’ll just be wearing your knickers so make sure you wear an old/dark pair. It’s also worth thinking about the shape – avoid anything too low-cut or high-waisted. Oh, and tie your hair up.” 

4. Remove jewelry before the spray tan

“Make sure you remove all of your jewelry before your spray tan – anywhere that the tan doesn’t hit will remain pale so you can end up with some pretty obvious lines and marks if you don’t remove your rings, bracelets, and necklaces etc. If you do forget to take jewelry off, touch up the affected areas with some regular tan as soon as you can.” 

5. Stay dry

“You’ll need to wait at least eight hours for the tan to set in before you can shower it off and during this time it’s important not to get wet. Even a light splash of water will leave a noticeable mark so avoid going out in the rain and be careful when washing your hands. When you do shower, make sure every area of your skin is properly rinsed.” 

6. Hydration = longer-lasting tan

“Maintain your commitment to hydration after your tan and make sure you moisturise twice a day/after every shower. This will help your tan to last longer and will also mean it fades evenly when it does eventually wear off.” 

7. Help your tan to fade by exfoliating from day four

“It may sound counterintuitive, but if you don’t give your tan a helping hand, it will fade unevenly, leaving you with obvious patches in random places. Don’t exfoliate at all the first three days you have your tan, but on the fourth day it’s a good idea to do a light exfoliation – nothing too abrasvive, but a light scrub with an exfoliating glove is ideal. This will lift some colour, but will ensure an even layer is removed. Do the same every day until your tan has completely faded.” 

8. Treat your face the same as your body

“If you’re getting your face tanned too (highly recommended since you want to be the same colour everywhere!) follow the exact same process and make sure your skin is free from product – makeup and skincare – before your tan. Rinse it at the same time as your body, keep it hydrated, and don’t exfoliate or use any detoxifying treatments until day four.” 

Photo: Courtesy of @bboldtan