How to Prep For Your Spray Tan

Apr 11, 2023 | Blog

With summer just around the corner, many of us are thinking about getting a healthy, youthful, sun-kissed glow. If you’ve ever been hesitant to try spray tanning because you’re afraid of looking like Ross from Friends

or an Oompa Loompa

…we get it.

Here at Beaches, we believe knowledge is power and with the right preparation and application, spray tanning can give you a gorgeous, sun-kissed look that is truly indistinguishable from the real thing. 

Below you’ll find 8 tips to prep yourself for that spray-on glow up:

1. Wash Yo’Self

Washing and cleansing your body head to toe before you go in for a spray tan is never a bad idea. It’s a great way to give your body and fresh, clean start before your 5-minute makeover. However, the type of body wash you use matters because not all body washes are created equal. Many generic body washes contain harmful ingredients that dry out your skin (hydrated skin is happy skin!). They can also create a thin barrier on your skin, which prevents your tan from fully developing and may cause your tan application to look uneven or splotchy. 

What you DO want is a body wash that’s sulfate-free, such as our customer-favorite Hemp Nation Sea Salt & Sandlewood, which will help to restore softness, smoothness, and hydration to the skin without drying or stripping your color. This stuff basically flies off the shelves every time we get it in stock so don’t hesitate – grab it if we have it! 

2. Exfoliate Yo’Self

Exfoliating your skin before a spray tan is crucial to ensure an even application. This process will remove dead skin cells and allow the tanning solution to adhere better and prevent uneven, splotchy tanning or dark spots. I mean, picture yourself walking into a nail salon and the nail technician starts painting over your old nail polish instead of removing it? I can’t imagine you’d walk out like, “New nails who dis?!” I’d be so upset because my nails would look like lumpy garbage. So, in a world where you can be anything, don’t be …lumpy garbage? You get the idea. As Kid President would say, You’re gooder than that.”

3. Wax or Shave Yo’Self

Much like exfoliating, waxing and/or shaving will help remove all those icky dead skin cells and unnecessary hairs and create a nice, smooth canvas for the tanning solution. You’ll want to do this within 24 hours before your spray tan to ensure your skin is smooth and free from any hair that can interfere with the tanning solution.

4. Use a Primer

On the day that you plan to tan, you’ll want to avoid the use of heavy body wash, moisturizers and lotions. They can cause the spray tan to not fully develop because they create a barrier on the skin. 

However, using a primer is a great way to prep your skin to lock in that needed moisture (while not acting as a barrier) to ensure your tan goes on smoothly and lasts! Do you use primer for your makeup? It’s kind of like that! 

I highly recommend using California Tan Sunless: Perfecting Primer or DS Faux Natural Sunless CC Primer. Both will better prepare your skin for the perfect spray tan by offering a nice balance of protein and carbohydrates to promote optimal sunless color development. 

The California Tan Sunless: Perfecting Primer is a yummy spray (has a coastal sands fragrance… delish) that is great for those who want a user-friendly lightweight primer that hydrates and soothes your skin. The DS Faux Natural Sunless CC Primer is a great lotion that acts as a color corrector and produces faster, darker color. Don’t let the black and gold bottle fool you – this lotion sports an aromatic passion fruit mango fragrance to compliment your sunshine-ready glow!

5. Use a Tan Extender

I know, I know… this blog post is about how to prepare for your tan, what to do before you tan, blah, blah, blah. Listen, post-tan care is super important! Now is the time to prepare to extend the life of your tan so that when you do get your spray tan, you’ll be all dialed in! You don’t want to go through all the effort of prepping you skin, get your tan, and THEN think, “Uh oh. What now? How do I keep my skin looking this fabulous?! Help!” Trust me, you’ll be SO glad to know about this sooner rather than later.

Remember that icky barrier we don’t want? The one caused by heavy washes, lotions, and moisturizers? Well, a tan extender is the sneaky way we get the added moisture our skin craves and NEEDS without compromising the quality or life of our tan. The Awestruck Tan Extender has what’s called “Invisible Barrier Technology”, which means it forms an invisible barrier on your skin to protect it against toxins and pollutants. It’s designed to be lightweight, so that invisible barrier is both strong AND breathable! This my personal-favorite tan extender because it makes my skin look and feel so smooth. Plus, it smells UH-mazing.

6. No Makeup

Again, barriers are a no-no. You don’t want anything on your skin that will prevent the tanning solution from adhering to your skin… and makeup definitely falls into this category! 

7. Wear dark, loose-fitting clothing

I think it’s safe to say that the tanning solution loves skin and hates fabric. You’ll want to wear something you don’t care about because the tanning solution will most likely stain. Wearing something dark and loose will help hide any solution that might get transferred onto your clothing. It’s also a good idea to wear sandals! I may or may not be speaking from experience when I say leave those fuzzy slippers/sandals at home though… RIP

8. Come Ready to Tan Naked – Or Not!

Many people choose to get sprayed in the nude, which is totally fine. And totally normal! There’s no one else in the tanning room or the tanning booth itself so… who cares? YOLO. However, many people prefer to wear something into the booth, such as an old bathing suit or underwear (plus, you get some cute, natural-looking tan lines). This is also a good option, but you should know that whatever you wear into the booth will basically be ruined SO wear something you don’t care about or something you can designate as your “spray tanning outfit”. It’s also a good idea to bring a plastic bag you can throw that sprayed outfit into if you choose to hold onto it.

Alright, now that you’re basically a spray tanning expert *hair flip* get to prep’n! See you at the Beach real soon for that spray day!

Sidenote: If you want to pick up any of these products, test any of them out, or learn about some of our other options (WE HAVE A TON!), just swing by Beaches (click here to find a location near you) and one of our Beaches Babes will help you out!

We hope to see you at Beaches! Be sure to mention this blog and let us know if it helped you!