1) SUGAR SCRUBS ARE BAD NEWS
You'll definitely want to exfoliate pre-spray tan to get even glow; sloughing off old skin cells creates an even base for the tan to adhere to. But if you don't choose the right scrub, it may cause your tan to streak. The oils in popular sugar scrubs coat the skin and cause the tan to run right off. Instead, use an exfoliating mitt with your regular soap and skip applying lotion afterward; spray tans love dry skin.
2) SHAVE or WAX AT LEAST 12-24 HOURS BEFOREHAND
It may seem like common sense to shave before a spray tan, but shaving immediately prior to your appointment can cause the product to irritate your skin. Shaving is a mild exfoliant that exposes new skin cells, which are extra sensitive. DHA (the pigment in spray tan) reacts with those sensitive cells and can cause some serious redness and discomfort.
3) IT IS NOT A BASE TAN
The concept of getting a “base tan” to prevent sunburn is bogus to begin with—but you should definitely know that a spray tan has no effect on your body’s melanin, which is what causes your skin to tan naturally. “Just because you look tan doesn’t mean you’re not going to burn,” We recommend using a daily lightweight sunscreen like EltaMD to protect your skin and your faux-glow.
4) CHLORINE BLEACHES YOUR BRONZE
While taking a dip in a pool won’t ruin your tan, spending hours on-end in chlorinated water will. Chlorine, which is similar to bleach, will take the tan right off your skin. Just limit your swim time after you've gotten a spray tan and pat dry right when you get out of the water.
5) DO NOT PILE ON BODY BUTTER
Some salons may recommend keeping the skin highly moisturized to prolong the length of your spray tan, but that may not be the best advice since the moisture in heavy lotions and body butters will work away at your glow, causing it to fade faster. At KRISTYL, it is advised to use a lightweight lotion instead to keep the skin from over drying.
6) CELL TURNOVER FADES YOUR TAN
Everybody’s tan lasts a slightly different length of time, and it usually has nothing to do with the product. The speed at which your cells turn over has a huge effect on how long your tan will last; the younger you are, the faster your cells turn over, which causes your tan to fade more quickly. The bad news: There's nothing you can do about the speed at which your cells regenerate. The good news: Moisturize with a lotion daily can help prolong the life of your tan.
7) YOU CAN'T MAINTAIN A SPRAY TAN
It would be great if you could keep up your spray tan the way you do your eyebrows or roots, but unfortunately, faux tans don't work that way. If you spray a new tan on top of an old tan, it will look patchy—darker in areas where the old tan remains, and lighter in areas where it's already worn off. You can enjoy your tan for up to one and a half weeks, then removing it and starting fresh. Speaking of which…
8) REMOVING YOUR TAN
If the worst happens and you look more like an Oompa Loompa than a bronzed goddess, don't worry: At-home removal is super-easy. Water breaks down the ingredients in your spray tan and loosens it from the skin, so run a warm bath with a little shower gel mixed in. Soak in it for at least a half an hour, then rub off with an old hand towel. The tan will rinse away with the water, leaving you with a clean slate.