Spray Tanning 101: Everything You Need to Know!

Sunless tanning is the only skin-safe option for getting beautiful, bronzed skin during these cold, grey months. Although the process of getting a spray tan is incredibly simple & quick, sometimes the pre-glow steps and aftercare can be a little more complicated. In order to ensure that all of our clients leave Schulz Beauty feeling radiant, we have broken down the most common spray tan mistakes, and how to avoid them! 

 

BEFORE YOUR SPRAY TAN

 

Manicures, Pedicures + Waxing

 

These types of services should be done 24-48 hours before your Spray Tan. Oils used on your hands and feet during mani/pedi services can act as a barrier for the spray tan. Waxing/Shaving should be done the day before your spray tan, as waxing temporarily opens your pores, and if they haven’t had time to return to their normal size, the spray tan can rest in the open pores and created a textured, spotty look. Waxing with a fresh spray tan is also a bad idea, as it strips the first layer of skin and can thus remove some of your spray tan. 

If you have to go for a mani/pedi after receiving your spray tan, request that no oils are used and that your hands and feet are not soaked in water, as both will wear down the tan more quickly. Also, try to avoid any exfoliation massage on your legs as that will cause the tan to fade quicker in that area.

 

Showering

 

Showering should not be done directly before your spray tan; after you have showered your skin is very dry and your pores are open (the spray tan can settle in little spots if your pores are open when getting the spray tan). The PH level of your skin has been stripped away from the soap and hot water, your pores need time to close and the natural oils of your body to return to ensure the best canvas for your spray tan. 

Shampoos, conditioners and soaps can have high pH levels which can neutralize the DHA bronzing reaction, and may result in less satisfactory tanning results. Give your skin time to balance its PH levels out before having a spray tan done. 

 

Exfoliation

 

Exfoliation should be the last step in your shower to ensure any shampoo/conditioner/soap residue is exfoliated away. Using an exfoliating mitt is ideal to thoroughly prep skin, but a loofah will suffice if that’s what you have. If you are a spray tan addict, this is an especially important step in order to avoid tanning build-up. If you're coming in every 7-10 days for a fresh spray tan, remember to exfoliate as much possible. Spray tan build-up can create a scaly, “crocodile skin” look which is anything but glowing and fresh! 

*We love the Dermasuri Exfoliating Mitt for our pre-tan Skin Prep, available for purchase in-store at Schulz Beauty. 

 

Moisturizers, Perfume + Deodorant

 

As unpleasant as it may feel not to apply moisturizer after your shower, this is a very common mistake that can make or break the final quality of your spray tan. Moisturizers, perfumes and deodorant will act as a barrier to the development of the formula on your skin. 

We understand that most days it’s a little crazy to expect you to walk around with no deodorant on, so if you must wear it to your appointment, we provide baby wipes for you to use to remove it prior to your tan.

 

 

DURING YOUR APPOINTMENT

 

Barrier Cream

 

Although we definitely just told you not to moisturize your skin before a spray tan, some exceptions do apply. If you find that you have extreme dry patches on certain parts of your skin, we provide a barrier cream that will prevent the tan from getting too dark in those areas. In this case, the oil barrier is a good thing! Most people find that their hands are the most commonly dry spots on their bodies. Not only do hands tend to be drier, they also generally have thicker, tougher skin than the rest of your body, so naturally they will develop the tan differently. It’s a good idea to apply a thin coat of barrier cream to the backs and palms of your hands if you find that they are especially dry (this is super common in the winter months). Other areas that are really dry and that can 'grab' the product more than desired- where the barrier cream can be useful before the tan - are the elbows, sides of the feet and ankles. 

 

Poses

 

You may notice that we ask some pretty strange things of you in a typical spray tan appointment. Trust us, we have our reasons. Marks and creases can be made where there are folds and wrinkles in the skin. We ask you to bend slightly at the waist while spraying the backs of your legs to avoid giving you a white line where your butt creases, to keep your arms lifted until the spray tan is dry to avoid an armpit crease, and to slightly bend your fingers into a “claw” while spraying your hands to keep you from getting white knuckle lines. We might even get you to hold your breasts up or while we spray under them if necessary to ensure you have an even everywhere. 

These creases and marks can be hard to blend once they’ve  set on your skin, so at the time of the appointment, if any are visible, we will wipe the area with a cloth and re-spray. 

 

Sunburns + Tan Lines

 

Spray tans can help to even out minor tan lines, but for anything drastic it can be tough. Essentially, a spray tan takes whatever base colour your skin has and makes it darker and more bronzed. So it will deepen the tanned parts of your skin just as much as it deepens the light lines. Evening out larger areas is easier, but if you have lots of tiny strap lines, be prepared that a spray tan might soften their appearance but may not make them disappear. 

While spray tanning over top of a tan is fine, spraying on a sunburn is not a good idea. We don’t like to do this, because as the skin inevitably begins to peel, the tan will become patchy and likely make the sunburn look even worse. Wait until your skin has calmed and you've stopped peeling before coming to see us to extend the life of your colour!

 

 

AT HOME CARE

 

Marks and Creases

 

You could get some marks and creases on the parts of your body where skin touches skin. That is why we powder the insides of your elbows, behind your knees and on your neck before you leave Schulz Beauty. Unfortunately, we can only help you as long as you’re with us in the studio. Once you head home, it’ s up to you to maintain the tan while it is developing. We recommend wearing dark, loose clothing while it’s setting. You want to avoid keeping your legs crossed skin to skin for an extended period of time while your spray tan is processing. It’s also best to sleep in long pants and long sleeves to keep your skin covered while you’re asleep and unable to monitor your movements. The last thing anyone needs is a handprint in the middle of their chest from sleeping in an odd position! 

 

Swimming, Sweating + Working Out

 

We know that lots of our clients love coming to get a spray tan before going on vacation. We definitely recommend getting some sunless colour so you can arrive already bronzed and glowing in your bikini, but there are a few things to keep in mind! Being in water for extended periods of time will shorten the life of your tan, so slap on that SPF and go for quick dips in the ocean for the first few days! Or just lay by the pool in all of your bronzed glory :)

We also totally love and respect the fact that you want to get straight back to spin class after getting your fresh tan, but keep in mind that lots of sweating can make your spray tan fade faster. A trick that may help is patting some baby powder on sweaty areas before working out to help keep any fading to a minimum. If you still happen to get some marks in especially sweaty places, you can use moisturizer blend them and even things out. 

 

Touchups

 

A lot of our clients love using our self-tanning options for touch-ups after their tan. Whether you want to extend the tan because you're on a 3 week vacation or you simply want a touchup on your face/chest (the face tends to fade fastest on the body because of the constant cleansing and washing everyday) or other body part - we sell the same solution we've used on you so you can tan yourself at home.