I have recently discovered the magic of spray tan (I was never coordinated enough for self-tan so I avoid that like the plague) so watch out because I’m going to be bronzed and tan 365 days a year. The only thing about sunless tanning that I don’t love, however, is the fact that it can be a struggle once it starts to fade to get it to do so evenly. Luckily I like to think that I’ve perfected the necessary steps on how to get a perfect spray tan each and every time I go to the salon (which is about every 10 days if you were wondering).
First off, don’t overlook your pre-tan exfoliating routine. Instead of reaching for a body scrub that’s probably loaded with oils I like to use this walnut sponge from CVS with a very basic, non moisturizing body wash. Anything with moisturizers will leave a light film on your skin and this will prevent the tanning solution from absorbing into your skin completely. I also like to start exfoliating about two days before my appointment to make sure I’ve got everything (dead skin cells, product buildup. etc) off of my skin and am starting with a clean slate. I also make sure to shave the day BEFORE I tan so that I don’t get those annoying brown spots from where the tanning solution pooled in my pores.
Right before I tan (I’m talking right before I walk out the door) I shower/exfoliate, get dressed, and go straight to the salon. No lotion, no deodorant, no makeup, NOTHING.
After tanning the typical wait time to allow the color to develop fully is 4-6 hours so you should wait AT LEAST that long until touching water of any kind. This is why I like to tan at night pretty much right before I go to bed (I seriously went at 9:30pm this week and then came home and went to sleep, haha). I wash my face, brush my teeth, finish anything that has to do with water before I go so that I don’t run the risk of having to do it later. I let my tan process all night which gives me 12-16 hours of development time and I’ve noticed a much darker and long lasting color as a result of this.
The next morning I take a shower like normal (this is when I shave again) but because I exfoliated so much leading up to my tan I just use a very soft cloth (or my hands, whatever) to apply body wash and get rid of that always exciting “fake tan” smell.
Don’t underestimate the power that a good body lotion will have on your results. Starting the morning after my appointment I apply Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter twice daily – in the morning after I get out of the shower and then again before bed. This helps to keep the skin hydrated which extends the life of the tan. If your skin is dry you’re going to be shedding more skin cells and if you’re shedding these cells your tan is going to be prematurely fading. While we can’t stop our skin from shedding skin cells completely, keeping it hydrated definitely helps to keep everything nice and even. If I get lazy and don’t apply body butter I notice that after a few days my bra straps, shoes, etc start to rub off my tan and I look insane.
PS – how adorable is it that Soap & Glory sent me a customized jar with my name on it? It’s the little things, guys. I might be way too excited about this but it’s fine.
The only time I don’t use body butter is when I want to have an extra dewy look. In this situation I’ll reach for a baby oil gel instead since it leaves my skin with a nice, healthy glow while still hydrating at the same time. I don’t like to use this daily, though, since I’m really in love with the way the Soap & Glory body butter leaves my skin feeling (not to mention it smells absolutely amazing).
Then starting on the third day I start to gently exfoliate my skin with Soap & Glory Flake Away body polish each morning in the shower. I’m not rubbing my skin raw or anything but by using this treatment I’m helping my skin to slough off dead skin cells that I’ve accumulated over the last few days which eliminates uneven spots and keeps everything balanced. Don’t worry – the tan is very much still visible at this point but it just starts the process of it fading in an even way.
I’m obsessed with this body polish and the fact that I’m almost out of it gives me anxiety. Luckily Soap & Glory is available at Beauty.com so you better believe that I’m placing an order ASAP.
I’ll continue the Righteous Butter and Flake Away routine for about 5-6 days after my tan and then switch back to using my CVS walnut sponge and body wash in the shower. I also cut my body butter usage down to once a day in the morning only. At this point I want my skin to dry out a little bit so I can start the process of preparing for my next appointment.
After about a week following my tan I’ll start the whole process over again, beginning with my pre-tan exfoliation to make sure that I’ve got everything from my previous tan off of my skin. You always want to make sure you’re starting with a clean slate!
That’s it! The key to a successful artificial tan whether you do it yourself or it’s done at a salon is really making sure that you’re exfoliating correctly and treating your skin with extra hydration. I was always so convinced that sunless tanning was more trouble than its worth because after a few days it never looked good but thanks to this routine I’ve completely changed my attitude towards it and can rock a healthy summer glow all year round.
Do you get spray tans or use self tanner at home? Share your favorite tips and tricks for preparation, application, or maintenance in a comment below!
Until next time 🙂
Soap & Glory products were sent for consideration. All other products mentioned were purchased by me. All opinions are my own.