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When Can I Shower After Spray Tan? + Make Your GLOW last!

when can i shower after spray tan

When can I shower after spray tan? Sometimes a gorgeous tan is all you need to get rid of those pasty winter blues. Lucky for you, you can easily book yourself a nice spray tanning appointment using your smartphone. But don’t think that you can just go shower after your appointment and go about your day as normal.  

You do have to keep in mind that you can only shower six hours after you finish your scheduled appointment. Showering right after you leave the salon will wash off the solution, and it will not turn out the way it is supposed to. Here are some ways to prolong your spray tan so your glow will last longer.

Will Spray Tan Continue To Develop After A Shower?

So we have discussed not showering for at least several hours after a full session. Still, just to be clear, it is not because of some random superstition or crazy old perspective. Actually, the 6-hour rule has a lot to do with the science behind spray tanning.

Once these DHA-based solutions come in contact with your skin, it starts the “tanning” process. Basically, the solution seeps into your skin and continues to build color during the first 24 hours. You only need to wait six to eight hours to allow it to set. 

Tanning salons advise waiting longer if you want darker tans because it gives the chemical more time to set and work through your complexion. For lighter shades, you can wait out for probably four to six hours. 

Don’t worry if you see some bronze-colored water washing down the drain after your first show. It is just the extra solution leaving your skin. Some people freak out thinking that they did not wait long enough, but it should be completely fine if you left it for at least six hours.

Three Tips For Washing Your Hair After Spray Tan

As much as we really suggest waiting for at least six to eight hours before stepping in the shower, some occasions can’t have you leaving with your hair unwashed. Luckily, we have some nifty tips and tricks for you.

First, try to stay away from the bathtub. It is going to seem tempting to hop into a hot bath, but simply stick to a warm shower in case you really need to wash your hair. You should also avoid hair care products that have SLES or foaming agents.

Although I hate to be the bearer of bad news, most shampoos come with ingredients that can affect your tan. In fact, medical assistant Gerhard Whitworth does, in fact, agree that almost all shampoos contain SLES that can cause streaks in your spray tan.

If your shampoo or body wash can quickly form a thick lather, then it probably has SLES. However, it does seem impractical to purchase a new set of SLES-free soaps and shampoos, especially if you don’t plan on having a regular spray tan.

So try to avoid water unintentionally streaming down your body during the entire hair-washing process. So, try to lean back a little bit or utilize your sink so that your hair products do not run down your back.

However, if you plan to include a regular spray-tan in your weekly schedule, then perhaps shedding a few dollars on some SLES-free products can be a big help. Besides, you can enjoy perfectly bronzed and glowing skin without too much hassle.

How To Shower After Fake Tan

Okay, so we have mentioned waiting for at least six to eight hours before getting in the bathroom. We have also explained some dos and don’ts that you should consider during the first twelve hours. Now, let us head on to some showering tips.

First of all, if you are looking forward to a long and bubbly hot bath, I am sorry to be the first to disappoint you. Showers after a spray tanning appointment should be quick and simple. That means skipping those essential oils and sudsy bubble baths.

Ideally, you have to shower with warm water and wash off with oil-free body washes. Avoid scrubbing your body too harshly during the first wash. You can also shower without harsh body scrubs and simply use your hands to gently wash the solution off.

Avoid using bar soaps or soaps that have harsh chemicals because they may irritate your skin. Instead, just use a mild liquid and oil-free body wash. Rinse it off with water and pat yourself dry with a soft towel. Again, avoid rubbing your skin too harshly using the towel.

After a quick and refreshing shower, use a moisturizer to lock in the tan. Adding a moisturizer to your post-tanning routine can also do wonders in maintaining that beautifully bronzed complexion. Try to do it twice a day to give your skin a natural-looking glow.

General Rules

Before we get into more specific details, we do not want to leave newcomers all confused with the spray tanning process, right? For those of you who have little to no experience in the wonderful art of spray tanning, here are some things you need to know first.

This safe and convenient process of getting a beautiful bronze complexion is made possible through a chemical called DHA. It works by interacting with the amino acids in our skin cells, making them several shades darker. 

Don’t fret about chemicals suddenly turning your skin into a darker shade because it has no known health risks. Plus, people have actually been doing this in the cosmetic industry for decades. Skin Cancer Foundation claims it is much safer than other methods.

What to expect

After you schedule an appointment at your local tanning salon, we suggest not using chemical exfoliants or oil-based products at least 24 hours before the session. You may also want to move that waxing appointment two to three days before spray tanning. 

Just like the general rule of showering only six hours after the spray tanning appointment, you should also avoid hopping in the shower eight hours before the scheduled session. This will allow the skin to resume its post-shower pH balance, which will help you get the best results.

Tanning booths in most salons can spray the solution onto your body in a quick and efficient manner. However, you have to take note that the color can only last for no more than a week, so you may have to make frequent visits to your local salon to maintain your complexion.

Post Tanning Routine

Getting a full-body spray tan can feel a little sticky immediately after the session ends, but it usually subsides after an hour or so. Regardless of how tacky your skin may be feeling, do not hop into the shower the moment you get home. 

You should wait at least six hours before getting into the shower. However, most people advise waiting a little longer. You can leave the solution on your body for ten to twelve hours at most. Do not wait more than a full 24 hours. 

Apart from showering, you should also avoid any activities that involve water. Unfortunately, this means washing the dishes, getting wet from drinking cold beverages, brushing your teeth, and many more. Stay as dry as possible for the first twelve hours. 

Activities to Avoid

Wear loose-fitting clothes for the day. If you have any tight underwear on, you may want to remove and replace them with something more comfortable. Tight clothes like bras and other clothing may induce tan lines or streaks that will not give you a good look.

If you have a scheduled manicure, pedicure, or wax appointment on the same day as your spray tanning session, reschedule. There is no other way to put it since those types of activities can remove any color from your skin.

If you really need a complete manicure and pedicure, along with a good wax, it is better to have them at least a day or two before your spray tan. Similarly, avoid shaving and exfoliating your skin with a scrub because it may fade your tan.

Do not do any physical activities that may engage sweat. Yes, that means putting off your workout regime for the day. Don’t worry, as you can always get back to your regular pilates session after a few hours.

Aside from avoiding strenuous exercises and sweat-inducing workouts, stay as cool as possible. Apply baby powder in particular areas in your body that tend to sweat, such as your feet, hands, or underarms.

Stay away from hot places that may make you feel hot or sweaty. Remember, any type of moisture can potentially ruin your spray tan before it can correctly set. Try to avoid oil-based body washes, lotions, and sunscreens as well. Instead, use a waterproof lotion.

Products to Avoid

To be specific, avoid anything that has mineral oil, petroleum, parabens, aerosol, AHA, BHA, alcohols, bleach, antibiotics, salicylic acid, and other similar products. If you have a strict skincare routine that you have to follow, try to reschedule it earlier or later in the day.

Body hair bleach products can also bleach the tan. However, you can use non-bleach skin lighteners. For soaps and deodorants, use mild varieties that do not have too many harsh chemicals. You can use baby powder as an alternative to deodorant for a few days.

These items can affect your tan and cause a streak of uneven coloring, especially when it comes to makeup removers, shaving creams, alcohol-based toners, and many more. Retin-A-type products can cause your tan to fade faster than usual. 

Pre-Tanning Tips

We focused a lot on the post-tanning routine, but you should also remember that there are particular activities you may have to reschedule if you are planning to have your spray tanning appointment for the day. 

For example, you should wait at least 24 hours after a waxing session before getting a tan. The wax can leave residues on the skin making it more difficult for the tan to hold. As for shaving, I suggest doing it at least four hours before the appointment.

Shower and exfoliate at least for six to eight hours before the appointment to give your pores enough time to close. After your pre-tanning shower, avoid the exfoliating process until after you are ready to say goodbye to your tan.

Come to the salon wearing loose clothing and slip-on shoes or comfortable sandals. Leave those tight-fitting push-up bras and undies at home. Steer free from any makeup or lotion because you are going to remove them anyway.

Some friendly advice

Alright, it may seem overwhelming to find out that there’s actually a ton of things you should not do before and after getting a spray tan. So how about we lighten things up by telling you some stuff you can do. 

To start, don’t be afraid to top off your freshly tanned skin with tinted moisturizers and highlighters to enhance that beautiful glow. You can also apply some shimmering on your collarbones and cheekbones to give it a good shine.

A regular spray tan usually lasts around five to seven days. But you can get it to last as long as ten using self-tanners to extend its life. Lean towards products with organic ingredients to help you preserve your bronzed complexion. 

If you ever have to choose between a tanning bed, a self-tanner, or a spray tanning booth, just know that they all have their perks. It all depends on your personalized schedule and how you can fit your glitz and glamour into a tight calendar.

when can i shower after spray tan


Getting a spray tan is a perfect way to gain a boost in self-confidence under any weather. It is also an excellent option for people who can quickly get sunburnt from tanning beds or scorching summer heat. 

I hope you have weighed your options, especially with all the things you should and should not do when getting a spray tan. It takes a lot of patience to safeguard your complexion after an appointment, so try to be extra careful when it comes to water and other chemicals.

Overall, a spray tan will definitely do wonders, especially when it comes to your appearance and self-confidence. It is safe, quick, and convenient. Just be sure to follow the correct protocols to get the best results possible.

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