After their first session, most newbies have one common question: ‘how long after a spray tan can I shower?’.
You’ve just finished your first ever spray tan, and you’re so happy with the results. You look great and want to compliment your fantastic new color with some nice clean clothes.
But how long after a spray tan can I shower? Is it fine to hop straight in the shower, or should you wait a few hours?
CHECK: The Best Portable Spray Tan Machine
Getting a Shower Before a Spray Tan: Do’s and Don’t’s
Getting a shower before a spray tan is super important. If you don’t, you’ll be dealing with smudges on your clothes and makeup, not to mention that you’ll need to reapply!
There are some things you should avoid doing before getting a spray tan and tips on how to prep yourself for the best results.
Before Your Spray Tan: Do’s
1. Wash Your Skin With Soap and Water
This will remove any oils or lotions that could interfere with the application of your tan.
2. Shave Your Legs
If you don’t want streaks in your new tan, it’s best to shave your legs before applying it. Don’t shave your skin while showering on the same day as your spray tan. Your skin can become sensitive and can react to the tanning solution.
3. Trim Your Nails
Any long nails can cause problems with an application, so it’s essential to trim them down before getting sprayed.
Exfoliating helps eliminate dead skin cells that can prevent the color from adhering properly.
Jules von Hep, a celebrity tanning expert and co-founder of tanning brand Isle of Paradise, also recommends taking a shower before your tanning session.
When Can You Shower Before a Spray Tan?
Keep in mind that you should avoid taking a shower right before your session. A warm shower or bath dilates and enlarges your skin pores .
Now, these pores can collect the tan during the session and develop uneven dark spots.
Moreover, according to Alexandra DiMarchi, a global tanning expert, showering right before your appointment can ruin your skin’s pH. So, the skin won’t absorb the tan properly.
Therefore, it is recommended to shower at least four hours before going to the tanning salon.
You can also shower in the morning if you have an appointment in the evening.
The table below denotes when you can and cannot take a shower before an appointment.
|Shower Timings (Before Appointment)||Advisable or Not|
|One to Two Hours Before||Not Advisable|
|Three to Four Hours Before||Advisable|
|In the Morning||Advisable (for evening appointments)|
|A Day Before||Advisable (as long as you don’t work out or sweat a lot on the following day)|
READ MORE: Guide About Sweating While Applying Fake Tan
Check out this quick video!
Getting a Shower After a Spray Tan: Do’s and Don’ts
You can shower after a tanning session. A lot of people seem to love showering after a spray tan. They believe that showering leads to a “better and even tanning glow.”
Moreover, showering after a spray tan allows you to have hydrated skin free of any extra solution or chemicals.
However, note that you should care when you shower after a spray tan.
When Can You Shower After a Spray Tan?
You should never shower immediately after a tanning session. Tanning is a slow chemical process, and you might disrupt it if you shower immediately.
If you shower too early, the skin won’t be able to absorb the tanning solution properly. Therefore, you can end up with an incomplete, or even worse – a patchy tan!
Instead, you should wait for at least 4-6 hours before showering after a tan. This gives the skin enough time to absorb the tan and gives you that incredible glow!
An ideal time for showering would be eight to ten hours after getting a tan.
How Long Should You Leave a Spray Tan On?
You should leave a spray tan on for at most 10 to 12 hours. Typically, a traditional spray tan takes about 12 hours or less to set on your skin.
If you keep the spray tan on for too long (like more than 24 hours), you can have an undesirable orange or streaky tan.
So, if you’re wondering when to shower after tanning, it is best to do it eight to ten hours after your spray tan session.
What Happens if You Shower Early After a Spray Tan?
The spray tanning process involves spraying a mist (bronzer and DHA) on your body.
Firstly, the skin absorbs the spray tan. Then, the DHA in the mist reacts with the amino acids of your dead skin cells to produce melanoidins.
These melanoidins  are responsible for forming the brown or “tan” color. Now, this entire reaction takes about two hours.
So, if you shower early, it can disrupt the whole spray tanning process and cause:
- Incomplete tanning
- Improper or very dull tanning
- Patchy or streaky tanning
In such a situation, you can always go for self-tanning products, get a touch-up, or renew the tan.
Does Spray Tan Lighten After a Shower?
Spray tan does lighten after a shower. The reason is that when you shower, the excess bronzer and other additional chemicals from the spray tan wash off.
Thus, it will appear as if the spray tan has lightened after a shower.
However, the DHA  from the spray tan will continue to react with the skin to give you a beautiful glow in 24 to 48 hours.
How to Shower After Spray Tan – Tips and Considerations
Below are a few essential tips to consider on how to shower after a spray tan.
- Use lukewarm water. Don’t go for very hot water.
- Gently clean your skin using your hands, and don’t exfoliate using body scrubs or loofahs.
- Don’t use any skincare or haircare products like soaps, shampoos, lotions, shower gels, etc., during the first shower after a spray tan. Soap will break down the DHA in your skin and wash away the color prematurely.
- Always pat your skin dry after showering. Don’t dry or rub it off harshly.
- Keep your first shower brief – five to ten minutes only.
- After 24 hours of your spray tan session, you can use gentle, oil-free body wash and other skincare products. Stay away from products containing harsh ingredients, parabens, or sulfates.
Spray Tan Safe Showering Products
You need to be cautious of your products after your spray tanning session.
Using very strong and harsh showering products can fade the tan, reduce its durability, and dehydrate your skin.
So, let’s check out the best spray tan-safe showering products.
1. Cetaphil Daily Refreshing Body Wash
This body wash is an ideal option as it is exceptionally mild and won’t irritate your skin.
Moreover, this body wash won’t strip away your skin of any tanning or cause discoloration due to its mild nature.
It is also suitable for sensitive skin because of its gentle composition. The mild fragrance also does the job of making you feel fresh without tampering with your tan.
2. Everyone 3-in-1 Soap
If you’re too lazy to find a different soap, body wash, or shampoo after getting a spray tan, this product can help.
You can use Everyone 3-in-1 soap as shampoo, soap, or body wash too! It consists of mild plant-based cleansers that can hydrate and clean your skin.
It doesn’t contain any artificial fragrance or harmful chemicals that can react with your spray tan.
3. Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner SLS Sulfate-Free
This shampoo is excellent for hair due to its moisturizing and hydrating properties. Additionally, it is also safe if you have colored or dyed hair.
It’s mainly safe for spray tans as it doesn’t contain any sulfate that can react with your spray tan or similar harsh chemicals.
READ MORE: How to Treat Tanning Bed Rash
Does Spray Tan Keep Developing After a Shower?
The spray tan mist consists of both bronzer and DHA compounds.
The temporary bronze look is due to the presence of bronzer, as after you take a bath, it will rinse off.
On the other hand, DHA is the main compound responsible for reacting with your skin cells to produce an actual tan.
DHA won’t rinse off like bronzer and will take anywhere between 10 to 20 hours to produce a proper tan.
Therefore, the spray tan will keep developing even after a shower due to the reaction between the DHA and skin cells.
TRY READING: Can I Put Makeup On After A Spray Tan?
Can I Wait 24 Hours to Shower After Spray Tan?
You can wait for 24 hours to shower after a spray tan. However, please don’t wait for more than 24 hours as it can give you a weird orange color or even cause streaking.
Will My Spray Tan Get Darker After I Shower?
Your spray tan will get darker even after you shower. The DHA compound from the spray tan continues to react with your skin cells to produce the tan pigment.
Can I Leave My Spray Tan Overnight?
You can leave your spray tan on overnight as long as it hasn’t been more than 24 hours since your spray tan session. Also, try to avoid wearing tight clothing during this time.
We hope that we were able to answer your ‘how long after a spray tan can I shower?’ question.
The rules are simple – wait for at least four hours, don’t use any showering products, and simply rinse instead of rubbing. Follow these and you’re good to go!
Do you shower after a spray tan? Let us know your experiences below!
- 1. Should You Cleanse During or After Showering – Garnier [Internet]. www.garnierusa.com. Available from: https://www.garnierusa.com/tips-how-tos/cleanser-should-you-use-it-during-or-after-showering#:~:text=Showers%20produce%20steam%20and%20steam%20can%20gently%20open%20your%20pores.%20There%E2%80%99s%20a%20reason%20why%20every%20spa%20uses%20a%20steamer
- 2. Melanoidins – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics [Internet]. www.sciencedirect.com. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/melanoidins
- 3. Horrocks LA, Yeo YK. Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmacological Research [Internet]. 1999;40:211–25. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10479465/