15 Tips for Your Best Spray Tan Glow


Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Stock Images

So we all know the dangers of UV rays and tanning beds, right? OK, good. Apply sun screen and stay safe, please!

However, that doesn't mean you have to give up getting a radiant glow. If you want to be tan for your next vacay, big event or just everyday life, spray tans are a great option.

As someone who gets spray tans regularly (just because it is a nice confidence boost and makes me feel good), I'm here to tell you all of my past mistakes and tips I've learned to get the best spray tan you possibly can.

Spray Tan Prep

  1. Shower right before and wash all of your makeup off so there are no deodorants, oils, perfumes, lotions or anything that would make the tan apply unevenly on certain spots of your body.
  2. Exfoliating is great, but be careful not to overdo it. You won't be able to apply moisturizer until the tan has fully set (about 6 hours), and you don't want to feel super dried out and uncomfortable until then.
  3. Shave your legs, underarms, etc. 12 hours before your tan for the best results. A fresh shave can sometimes cause your pores to stay open and make the tan adhere stronger, showing up as little dots on your legs.
  4. Wear loose clothing without buttons or zippers that would imprint on your body. If it's raining, make sure you have a jacket with a hood that will fully cover your face and wear long sweatpants that cover your ankles. I usually wear slip-on sneakers without socks to prevent smudging on my feet or rubbing from sandal straps.
  5. Right before your spray tan, apply a primer. I prefer spray primers because it's easier to make sure you get it everywhere on your body evenly, but if you use a lotion, make sure you apply it everywhere on your back, neck, behind your knees and anywhere else you might overlook.

My Favorite Primers:

SJOLIE Sunless Tanning pH Balancing Spray

Designer Skin CC Sunless Primer

California Tan Color Maximizer Primer Lotion

Spray Tanning Tips

  1. Before you step in the booth, put all of your hair up and place a hair net cap over your hair to protect it from any color. Make sure the cap is a tiny bit behind your hairline so you don't get a white line across your forehead. You can get disposable caps for spray tans here, but most salons have them for free.
  2. Use a sticky foot protector to prevent the bottoms of your feet from turning orange while standing in the booth. You can get those here.
  3. Apply a spray tan blocker to your fingernails and your palms. This is usually provided at the salon.
  4. When in the booth, relax your facial muscles to avoid creasing and keep your eyelids relaxed when you close your eyes.
  5. In most booths, you will stand in four different positions. The most important thing is to consider where you put your arms. Hold your arms out slightly so you don't block your thighs from getting sprayed and relax so the inside of your elbow gets color too.

The 4 Spray Tan Positions

  1. Face front with your feet out wide enough for a slight space between your thighs. Lift your chin away from your chest, straight on to the sprayer. Turn your arms so that the backs of your hands face front and all of your fingers are relaxed.
  2. Turn your feet to face the right of the booth and step your right foot forward and left foot back. Bring your right arm up at a 90-degree angle and your left arm down at a 90-degree angle. Look straight in front of you at the right side of the booth.
  3. Turn your feet to face the left of the booth and step your left food forward and right foot back. Bring your left arm up at a 90-degree angle and your right arm down at a 90-degree angle. Look straight in front of you at the left side of the booth.
  4. Face the back of the booth and step your feet out so there is a slight space between your thighs. Slightly bend your elbows and pull your shoulders back with the palms of your hands facing down to the floor.

Spray Tan Maintenance

  1. Wear your loose clothing until the tan is fully dry. It takes 6-12 hours for your color to completely develop. Avoid washing your hands as much as you can during that time, and definitely do not wash dishes or do anything with lots of contact with water.
  2. After your tan has developed, rinse off in the shower, but do not scrub. You can use a mild soap to wash your body, but avoid micro-beads, and try to wait as long as you can before you shave your legs again.
  3. Moisturize your skin with a fragrance-free lotion after every shower and stay super hydrated. If you'd like, you can also use a spray tan extender as a moisturizer.
  4. If you use any kind of self-tanner for touch-ups, use one that builds slowly so it doesn't apply splotchy, and always wash your hands after applying. The classic Jergens is always a great option.
  5. Remember to wear sunscreen like you normally would. It may be harder to tell if you are getting a sunburn because your skin is darker than you are used to, so keep up with reapplying!

Enjoy your tan, and remember that you are beautiful with or without the faux color. But if it makes you happy and you enjoy your photos with your awesome glow, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Do what you love!

15 Tips for Your Best Spray Tan Glow was originally published in HAYHYER

Follow Hayley Hyer @hayhyer

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