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How to Keep a Spray Tan Longer: 9 Expert Maintenance Tips (2024)

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how to keep a spray tan longerCraving that flawless, sun-kissed radiance without the sun’s harsh effects? A spray tan can be your quick fix, but keeping it pristine is an art in itself. You’re in luck, as we’ve distilled expert advice into nine golden rules to ensure your glow lingers.

From pre-tan exfoliation to post-tan care, these tips will help you maintain that enviable bronze longer. Dive in and discover how to keep your spray tan longer, transforming your temporary tint into a lasting luminescence.

Yes, you can keep a spray tan longer by exfoliating before your appointment and moisturizing regularly after.

Exfoliate Beforehand

Exfoliate Beforehand
To ensure your spray tan has the staying power you’re after, start with the right exfoliation technique. Use an oil-free scrub to slough away dead skin cells, focusing on typically dry areas like elbows and knees.

This smooth canvas not only helps your tan adhere evenly but also contributes to its longevity.

Use Oil-free Scrubs

To ensure your spray tan adheres evenly and lasts longer, it’s crucial to exfoliate with an oil-free scrub beforehand. This focuses on removing dead skin cells without leaving any oily residue that could interfere with the tan application.

Opt for natural options that promote skin health, and limit scrub frequency to avoid over-exfoliation effects.

Always moisturize after pre-spray tan care.

Focus on Dry Areas

Focusing on dry areas while exfoliating ensures a more even and lasting spray tan. These zones, often neglected, can cause uneven fading if not properly prepped. Hydration is key, so opt for oil-free scrubs to repair and enhance your tan without compromising the barrier benefits of your skin.

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Moisturize After

Moisturize After
Following your skin’s thorough exfoliation, it’s crucial to moisturize after your spray tan to ensure your skin’s hydration is replenished, which can significantly prolong the tan’s appearance. After your first post-tan shower, reach for a water-based, oil-free moisturizer to lock in color and prevent flaking.

  • Imagine the smooth glide of a hydrating lotion over your skin, forming a barrier that seals in the rich bronze of your spray tan.
  • Envision the water from your shower beading up on well-moisturized skin, safeguarding your glow.
  • Feel the satisfaction as you target dry areas, ensuring an even fade and extending the life of your sun-kissed look.

Avoid Products Post-Tan

Avoid Products Post-Tan
To maintain a spray tan’s bronzed perfection, follow these guidelines:

  1. Exfoliate before your appointment to remove dead skin cells and ensure an even tan.
  2. Moisturize with oil-free, fragrance-free, and hydrating products to support the longevity of your tan.
  3. Shower carefully, avoiding soaps, shampoos, and scrubbing during the first 8 hours after application.
  4. Avoid sweating, saunas, and swimming pools, especially during the first 8 hours, as moisture can break down the tan.
  5. Touch up your tan with a tan extender or moisturizer containing DHA to maintain the glow.

Avoid the following ingredients and products:

  • Fragrances
  • Oils
  • Alcohol
  • Dyes
  • Mineral oil
  • Retin-A
  • Makeup removers
  • Abrasive scrubs
  • Skin resurfacing acids (AHA, BHA, etc.)
  • Vitamin C treatments
  • Toners containing witch hazel or alcohol
  • Anti-aging products that exfoliate
  • Depilatory hair removal products

Opt for gentle, hydrating options like shea butter, aloe vera, and coconut oil-based moisturizers.

Skip Fragrances

Perfumes and products containing fragrances should be avoided after your spray tan. They often contain alcohol which can disrupt the even development of your color.

Opt instead for hair care that maintains hair moisture without compromising your tan.

Use hair conditioner that supports hair type and elasticity, ensuring a lasting glow.

Don’t Use Oils

Avoid using oils on your skin after a spray tan, as they can strip away the color and reduce the longevity of your tan.

Opt for an oil-free moisturizer to maintain skin moisture without compromising your tan.

When showering, focus on keeping water tepid to preserve both skin elasticity and your radiant glow, especially on dry areas.

Wear Loose Clothes

Wear Loose Clothes
After your spray tan, it’s crucial to:

  1. Wear loose clothing to prevent smudging or uneven patches on your skin.
  2. Opt for garments that glide over your body, isolating each strand of fabric from your freshly bronzed surface.
  3. Avoid tight cuffs or constricting waistbands that can disrupt the tan’s development.
  4. Conduct an elasticity test with your outfits—pieces that stretch without clinging will safeguard your glow.
  5. When showering, let the water cascade gently.
  6. After showering, nourish with an oil-free moisturizer, especially on dry areas.
  7. Analyze the results daily; your tan’s longevity is a testament to these mindful practices.

(Source: Original text)

Limit Showers

Limit Showers
To keep your spray tan looking fresh and lasting longer, it’s crucial to rethink your shower routine.

Opt for tepid water instead of hot, as high temperatures can accelerate the fading process of your tan.

When drying off, gently pat your skin dry rather than rubbing, to avoid exfoliating the tan away prematurely.

This approach helps maintain the integrity of your spray tan, ensuring it fades evenly and extends its lifespan.

Use Tepid Water

To extend the life of your spray tan, use tepid water and limit your showers. After your tan, avoid contact with liquids and water for at least 8-10 hours.

When showering post-tan, keep the water cool to lukewarm, and make it quick—no longer than 10 minutes. Use paraben-free, sulfate-free, and oil-free products to avoid stripping your tan.

Always pat your skin dry instead of rubbing.

Pat Dry Your Skin

Following the advice on using tepid water for your post-spray tan showers, it’s crucial to gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it vigorously. This approach minimizes the risk of prematurely fading your tan by ensuring that the skin’s surface is treated with care, preserving the spray tan’s appearance for a longer duration.

  • Avoid Towel Turbulence: Vigorous rubbing can disrupt your tan’s evenness.
  • Embrace Softness: Use a soft, plush towel for the gentlest touch.
  • Stay Patient: Allow your skin to air-dry a bit before patting to reduce friction.

Skip the Pool

Skip the Pool
While you may be tempted to take a refreshing dip, it’s important to remember that swimming can accelerate the fading process of your spray tan. Pools, oceans, and hot tubs are all culprits in reducing the longevity of your bronzed look.

The water itself acts as a natural exfoliant, encouraging the sloughing away of the tanned skin cells. Chlorine, often found in pools, can further dry out your skin, which may lead to a quicker fade.

To mitigate this, moisturize your skin thoroughly after swimming to replenish lost hydration and maintain the tan’s appearance. If you must swim, consider shorter sessions and pat your skin dry gently afterward to avoid rubbing off the tan.

Additionally, applying a waterproof sunscreen can create a barrier that helps protect the tan from water and sun damage. Remember, while you can still enjoy the water, taking these precautions can help you keep that golden glow for as long as possible.

Apply Gradual Tanner

Apply Gradual Tanner
One should seamlessly transition from avoiding chlorinated pools to maintain their spray tan to using a gradual tanner, which can subtly enhance and prolong the bronzed effect.

You’ll find that applying a gradual tanner every few days not only refreshes your glow but also evens out any potential patchiness as your spray tan begins to fade.

Opt for an oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without affecting the tan’s longevity.

By observing the behavior of your tan, you can isolate when to apply the tanner, ensuring your bronzed look maintains its elasticity and doesn’t stretch or fade unevenly.

Avoid Friction

Avoid Friction
How can you ensure your spray tan remains flawless? It’s crucial to minimize friction against your skin after your spray tan application. Friction can occur from tight clothing, crossing legs or arms for extended periods, or any activity that causes your skin to rub against another surface.

  1. Loose-fitting garments: Opt for loose-fitting clothes and avoid denim or yoga pants that can cause friction.
  2. Avoid hair elasticity: Tie your hair up with a soft hair tie to prevent hair rubbing against your skin.
  3. Be mindful of movements: Be conscious of your movements, such as crossing your arms or legs, to reduce contact that could wear away your tan.

Remember to moisturize with oil-free moisturizers and exfoliate dry areas gently to maintain your spray tan’s longevity.

Keep in mind that proper care, including showering with lukewarm water and patting your skin dry, will also contribute to the overall health of your skin and the lasting effect of your spray tan.

Consider Timing

Consider Timing

To maintain a fresh and long-lasting spray tan, follow these guidelines:


  • Wait at least 4-8 hours, but no more than 24 hours, before your first shower.
  • Use warm water and avoid hot showers.
  • Gently rinse with an oil-free body wash, avoiding harsh scrubbing.
  • Pat yourself dry instead of rubbing.


  • Moisturize twice a day with oil-free, fragrance-free, and shea butter-containing lotions.
  • Use moisturizers that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, and free of alcohols or dyes.
  • Apply moisturizer immediately after showering to lock in moisture.


  • Exfoliate at least 4 hours before your spray tan appointment.
  • Use oil-free, all-natural exfoliants.
  • Avoid exfoliating after your spray tan until you’re ready for your next appointment.

By following these tips, you can help your spray tan look fresh and last longer.

Optimal Shower Timing

To optimize the longevity of your spray tan, consider the timing of your first shower.

Wait at least 4-8 hours after your spray tan before showering.

Do not wait more than 24 hours to allow the tan to develop fully.

Moisturize Regularly

After understanding the importance of optimal shower timing to avoid washing away your spray tan prematurely, it’s crucial you also start moisturizing regularly to maintain your tan’s vibrancy and longevity.

  • Choose moisturizers with organic ingredients for gentle care
  • Seek tan extenders to enhance and prolong your tan
  • Use hair conditioner that complements your hair type and maintains hair moisture
  • Always pat yourself dry after a lukewarm water shower
  • Ensure products support hair elasticity without affecting your tan

Gentle Exfoliation Only

Maintaining your spray tan’s longevity involves gentle exfoliation, which should be timed carefully to avoid compromising the tan’s quality.

Focus on skin hydration and avoid heat and sun exposure.

Opt for cool environments to maximize tan duration.

Book Touch Ups

Book Touch Ups
Booking touch-ups is a crucial step in maintaining your spray tan’s appearance and ensuring it looks fresh for as long as possible.

  • Appointment Scheduling: Secure your next visit before leaving the tanning location to keep your tan even and glowing.
  • Skin Assessment: Regular touch-ups allow for a professional assessment of your skin’s needs, ensuring optimal tan maintenance.
  • Color Customization: Adjust the shade during each visit to match your evolving skin tone or desired look.
  • Client Retention: Staying on top of touch-ups not only keeps your tan looking its best but also fosters a relationship with your tanning professional for personalized post-spray tan care advice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I apply sunscreen over my spray tan, and if so, how long should I wait before applying it?

Yes, you can apply sunscreen over your spray tan, but wait 12-24 hours after your tan application to ensure it sets properly.

Opt for an oil-free, non-comedogenic formula to avoid affecting the tan’s appearance.

Is it possible to correct or even out a spray tan if it develops streaks or uneven patches?

Yes, it’s possible to correct or even out a spray tan that develops streaks or uneven patches.

For lighter areas, apply a self-tanner with a guide color for precision, using a makeup brush for ultimate accuracy.

To address darker patches, mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste. Apply it to the affected areas, and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. This method helps strip the tan, while the baking soda acts as a natural exfoliant, evening out the tan.

How does hormonal changes, such as menstruation or pregnancy, affect the longevity and appearance of a spray tan?

Hormonal changes, such as those during menstruation or pregnancy, can affect your spray tan.

This may cause the tan to develop unevenly, become streaky, or fade poorly.

Additionally, the tan may not develop properly.

Can certain medications or skin treatments affect how my skin reacts to a spray tan or its duration?

To keep your spray tan longer, be mindful of certain medications and skin treatments that can affect its duration. Some medications, like antibiotics, hormone therapies, and acne treatments, can alter your skin’s pH or sensitivity, potentially shortening your tan’s lifespan.

Always patch test before a spray tan, especially if you’re on new medications or have sensitive skin.

Opt for a sunless tan if you’re on photosensitive drugs, and avoid harsh exfoliants, retinoids, and prolonged sun exposure.

Is there a difference in the way I should care for my spray tan during different seasons or climates, such as in very dry or humid conditions?

In dry climates, hydrate more with oil-free products.

In humid conditions, ensure skin stays dry to prevent uneven fading.


Embrace your radiant spray tan like a blooming flower, nurturing it with expert care to make it last. By following these nine golden rules, you’ll transform your temporary glow into a lasting luminescence.

From pre-tan exfoliation to post-tan moisturizing, avoiding harsh products, and gentle exfoliation, you’ll keep your spray tan longer, ensuring your sun-kissed radiance remains flawless. Remember, a well-maintained spray tan is a testament to your beauty savvy, so treat it like a masterpiece that deserves your tender, loving care.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.