Follow us:

Glo tanning varsaspa machine in a bathroom.
Spray Tan

How to Prepare for a Spray Tan: Essential Tips for Perfect Results

We’ve all been there – that first-time jitter before stepping into a spray tan booth or that moment of regret when you look in the mirror and realize you’ve made a rookie mistake that’s left you looking uneven instead of golden. Whether you’re a spray tan newbie or a seasoned pro who’s had one too many tanning mishaps, this blog post is just for you. 

We’re here to spill the tea on how to prepare for a spray tan, ensuring you get that perfect, sun-kissed glow every time. No more streaky lines, no more patchy spots, and definitely no more orange tinges. We’re talking about a step-by-step guide to getting the most out of your spray tanning experience. 

How do I prepare my body for a spray tan?

Getting ready for a spray tan involves pampering, planning, and preparation. But don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. Here’s how you can set the stage for your spray tan:

  1. Shave or Wax: If you need to shave or wax, do it at least 24 hours before your spray tan session. Any sooner, and the tanning solution might settle into your open pores, leading to a dotted appearance. 
  2. Exfoliate: This is the golden rule of spray tanning. Exfoliating your body a day before your session helps get rid of dead skin cells, which can otherwise lead to a patchy tan. Use a spray approved body scrub or an exfoliating mitt, paying special attention to rough areas like elbows, knees, and ankles. 
  3. Clean Skin: Arrive at your session with completely clean skin. That means no makeup, no deodorant, no perfume. These products can create a barrier between your skin and the spray solution, hindering the absorption process.

What should you wear? 

When heading to your session, opt for loose, dark clothing and flip-flops. You don’t want anything rubbing against your freshly tanned skin. Why dark? The spray solution could potentially stain your clothes, so it’s best to play it safe. 

What to do with your hair?

This is often overlooked, but it’s definitely a crucial part of the process. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Keep it up: If you have long hair, make sure to tie it up in a high bun or ponytail. You don’t want your locks accidentally getting sprayed and interfering with the tanning solution on your skin. 
  • Cover up: Your salon should provide you with a disposable shower cap to protect your hair. Make sure all your hair, including your baby hairs and any strays, is tucked under the cap. But be careful – you don’t want the cap to cover your forehead and prevent it from getting tanned. It is best to place the cap an inch behind the hairline with ears out to prevent any unwanted tan lines on your forehead.
  • No products: Just like your skin, your hair should be product-free on the day of your spray tan. Hair products can sometimes drip down with sweat and create streaks on your tan. 
  • Blondes should take extra caution: If you have light or bleached hair, you might want to be extra careful. The spray solution can sometimes cause a slight staining of your hair. But this can be easily avoided as long as you make sure your hair is completely covered by the cap.

What to do with your hands? 

Before your spray tan session, apply a generous amount of barrier cream to your hands. Focus on the palms, knuckles, and cuticles. This thick, protective cream acts as a shield, preventing the tanning solution from over-developing in these areas. Think of it as your hands’ best friend in the tanning process.

Once you’ve got that fabulous spray tan, it’s crucial to keep your hands off your skin during the development phase. This means no scratching, rubbing, or touching your body. The tanning solution is still working its magic, and touching can lead to uneven patches or streaks.

What should you avoid before a spray tan?

Steering clear of these common mistakes can be the difference between a perfect golden glow and a patchy, streaky mess. 

  1. Don’t moisturize or use makeup: On the day of your spray tan, avoid applying any lotions, creams, or makeup. These can create a barrier on your skin, preventing the tanning solution from being properly absorbed.
  2. Say no to deodorant and perfume: Similar to moisturizers and makeup, deodorants and perfumes can interfere with the tanning process. It’s best to arrive at your session completely product-free.
  3. Skip the gym: Sweating can cause the spray solution to streak. Avoid any heavy workouts or activities that will make you sweat on the day of your tan. 
  4. No sunbathing before the session: Sunburnt or peeling skin is a big no-no when it comes to spray tanning. Make sure your skin is in its best condition before your session.

What to do after spray tan?

Now that you’ve nailed the prep and the tan, let’s talk about post-spray tan care. This is just as crucial as the preparation, if not more. Here’s how you can make sure your gorgeous glow lasts as long as possible:

Wait to shower 

Patience is key here. Wait at least 18-24 hours before taking your first shower after a spray tan. This allows the spray solution to fully develop. When you shower, avoid using hot water and opt for a gentle, spray-approved body wash.

Say no to sweating

Keep those workouts on hold for at least 24 hours after your tan. Excessive sweating can cause your tan to fade and streak. 


For the first 24 hours after your spray tan, avoid applying any products to your skin. This pause helps ensure that the DHA, the active coloring ingredient in the spray solution, fully develops without disruption. 

After this initial period, start using an oil-free moisturizer, applying it generously at least twice a day to keep your skin supple and enhance the longevity of your tan.

Avoid chlorine

If you’re a fan of swimming, you might want to take a break. Chlorine can bleach your tan and make it fade faster. Similarly, hot showers, baths, and hot tubs can also accelerate the fading process. To preserve your tan, opt for cooler, shorter showers and avoid soaking in hot water.

Gently pat dry 

After showering, resist the urge to rub yourself dry with a towel. Instead, gently pat your skin dry to avoid rubbing off your tan.

What is the best time to do spray tanning before an event?

Ideally, you should aim for your spray tan session to be 2 days before your big event. This allows enough time for the tan to fully develop, for any initial bronzers to be washed off, and for your skin to settle into its new golden glow. 

After a tan, your skin can sometimes look a bit too dark or intense, but don’t panic – it’s just the cosmetic bronzer. After your first shower, you’ll notice the color softening to a more natural hue. By day two or three, you’ll be flaunting a perfectly bronzed, natural-looking tan. 

If you don’t want to wait around for hours, we have a perfect solution for you. At Glo Tanning, we offer the ultimate tanning that can give you a perfect tan in a day. 

Our Skin Wellness Pro treatment prepares your skin for maximum sun and spray results that last longer and fade more evenly. Imagine a full-body facial at a soothing 118 degrees that not only reduces cellulite but also burns calories while you relax on a vibrating pad. 

Pair this with our top-of-the-line luxury sunbeds and spray tanning options, and you can achieve that perfect tan in just one day. 

What a spray tan can and can’t do

Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of spray tanning preparation and care, let’s clarify on what a spray tan can and can’t do. 

What a spray tan can do

  • Provide a Quick Tan: If you need a tan and you need it fast, a spray tan is your best friend. In just a few minutes, you can go from pale to perfect bronze.
  • Even Out Skin Tone: A spray tan can help cover up skin imperfections and even out your skin tone. It can mask blemishes, veins, and tan lines, giving you a flawless complexion.
  • Boost Confidence: A good tan can make you feel like a million bucks. It can enhance your natural features and give you a healthy, sun-kissed glow.

What a spray tan can’t do

  • Protect From Sunburn: A common misconception is that a spray tan can act as a sunblock. This is absolutely false. A spray tan does not protect against harmful UV rays from the sun. Always apply a good SPF when you’re outside.
  • Last Forever: As much as we wish they could, spray tans don’t last forever. The typical lifespan of a spray tan is 7-10 days with proper care.
  • Cover Up Severe Skin Imperfections: While a spray tan can mask minor blemishes and uneven skin tone, it can’t fully cover up more severe skin conditions or deep scars.

Final thoughts

Now you have a complete guide to preparing for a spray tan. From pre-tan routines to post-tan care, we’ve covered it all. Remember, a great spray tan starts with great preparation. So exfoliate, moisturize, dress wisely, and keep your skin product-free on the day of your session. 

Once you’ve got your gorgeous glow, take good care of it. Avoid sweating, stay hydrated, moisturize generously, and resist the urge to take hot showers. And always, always remember – a spray tan might give you a fabulous color, but it won’t protect you from the sun’s rays, so put on that SPF!