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6 Spray Tan Tips to Avoid a Tanning Disaster

Sun Care & Self-Tanning

6 Spray Tan Tips to Avoid a Tanning Disaster 6 Spray Tan Tips to Avoid a Tanning Disaster 6 Spray Tan Tips to Avoid a Tanning Disaster

There’s just something about being tan that gives you an instant confidence boost. A tan can help hide imperfections, leave you with a lit-from-within glow, and give you leeway to try some seriously bold makeup looks. If you’re looking to get a tan ASAP sans UV damage (or want to avoid tan lines), you’ve likely considered a spray tan. Most of us have heard horror stories from friends about bad spray tans, which is probably why you’re here, looking to gather all the spray tan tips you can—covering everything from what to do before a spray tan to how to remove spray tan should you fall victim to a tanning disaster. Don’t worry—we promise getting a spray tan isn’t as scary as it seems! In fact, with the right skin care routine and precautionary steps, you’ll be a bronzed goddess in no time. Keep reading for six spray tan tips to ensure you leave your spray tan session with an extra skip in your step.


First and foremost, you’re likely wondering how to prepare for a spray tan. The proper prep is key to ending up with flawless, sun-kissed skin after your tanning session, so take note of our prep tips below.

Spray Tan Prep Tip #1: Shave beforehand. Don’t wait to shave until after you get your tan—this will cause your tan to be removed more quickly, not to mention lead to a less even tan. Grab your razor and shaving cream and shave any areas you normally would prior to getting your spray tan.

Spray Tan Prep Tip #2: Smooth your skin. Exfoliation is so important! Over time, dead skin cells can buildup on your skin. If you skip exfoliating prior to your spray tan, you’ll more than likely end up with a patchy, uneven tan. You want your skin to be as smooth as can be!

Spray Tan Prep Tip #3: Moisturize. Once you’ve shaved and exfoliated, you’ll want to hydrate your skin. Apply a body lotion and face moisturizer to do just that. If you don’t moisturize prior to your tan, the spray tan will cling to dry patches of skin, resulting in a patchy tan. Yikes!

Spray Tan Prep Tip #4: Be timely. All of the above-mentioned tips should be done prior to getting a spray tan, but it’s important to consider when you do them. You want to prep close enough to your appointment so no hair grows back and no hydration is lost, but also want to give your skin time to relax before your tan. As a general rule of thumb, prep the night before if you plan to get your spray tan in the morning. If you’re getting your spray tan in the afternoon or at night, prep the morning of.

Spray Tan Prep Tip #5: Wear the right clothes. Wondering what to wear to a spray tan? You’ll want to sport dark, loose-fitting clothing. This will prevent any staining and also keep your clothes from rubbing against your freshly applied tan, which can cause it to shift and become uneven before it’s had time to set.


How do spray tans work? Well, it’s important to listen to the pros at your salon. If you’re getting an airbrush tan, someone will be personally spraying you. They’ll tell you how to position yourself—whether that’s bending slightly or holding your arms up—to get a flawless application. If you’re getting a normal spray tan, you’ll be going into a booth that will involve rotating at the proper times to get an even tan. Pay attention and take note of the instructions given to you prior to getting the spray tan, as you won’t have someone to guide you on what to do once you’re in the booth.


Not sure which shade to get? It’s always better to go lighter! That’s because as your tan develops, it’ll appear darker than when it’s first applied. Trust us—if you’re on the fence, you’ll definitely notice a difference post-tan even if you go with a slightly lighter shade.


Too afraid to put your tan in someone else’s hands? We understand. Luckily, there are at-home spray tan options available. We’re talking about the L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist Medium Natural Tan. The super-fine 360-degree continuous mist coats skin evenly with the wide-angled jet applicator. Even better, the formula dries instantly, allowing for ultra-even application and natural-looking, streak-free results—even on the areas that are hardest to reach, like the back of your legs! Follow the same preparation tips for an in-salon spray tan, then spray at arm’s length, covering your whole body with an even mist. Let the formula dry on its own—don’t rub it in—then put on loose-fitting, dark clothing.


To keep your spray tan looking its best (whether you get one in-salon or do it at home), it’s important to keep your skin moisturized! Moisturize from head to toe daily to do just that.


Need to know how to remove spray tan? Whether you’re a victim to a bad spray tan or are simply over being bronze, exfoliating is the best way to remove your tan. An exfoliating mitt, in particular, will make it easier to slough off your tan when you’re ready. Though keep in mind that you may not be able to remove your tan in one go—time will be your friend! Make sure to be gentle on your skin, no matter how desperate you are to rid yourself of that tan.

Next up: Want more at-home tanning options? Here’s How to Use Every Type of Self-Tanner.