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Hi, i'm Brittney

As a professional spray tan artist, I want to share with you my best tips and tricks to achieve the best, even and long lasting spray tan or self tanner!

How to Prep for your spray tan

Don’t have time to read? Listen to our Podcast on How to achieve the best spray tan or self tan on iTunes or below!

There is just something about getting a little bit of a glow to your skin that will put a pep in your step! I’m all about getting some much needed Vitamin D but also protecting your skin.

A Spray Tan or applying a self tanner is the perfect solution, literally. Here is the deal though, are there bad spray tans, colors, applications and fading. . . YES! I don’t want that for you, so I’m going to share my tricks of the trade so that you can get the most out of your tan and help bring that confidence you’ve always had to the surface.

How to pick the best spray tan or self tanner for your skin tone.

Orange. Ooompa-Loompa. Trump. These are the most common concerns I hear when discussing spray tans with a client. Girl, I hear you! I’m not about to let anyone look orange. BUT a bad solution choice can cause this dreadful outcome. Let’s discuss some DO’s and DON’Ts for picking out which spray tan solution you will chose.

How to prep for the best long lasting spray tan:

If you are going to a spray tan artist ask how they will determine which solution they will use for you. NOT all solutions are made fore everyone. So if they don’t have a variety of color ranges then I’d suggest looking into going somewhere else. If they custom mix or base it off of your skin tone and desired out come, then that’s great!

When choosing self tanners I have a few tips.

If you will be doing a self-tan at home, let’s choose the best solution or spray tan color for you.

The most common solution tones I see are Green/Blue or Violet. This is what creates the “tan” while working with your natural skin tone to create a brown/golden color. Think back to art class and mixing paint colors to create different shades of brown.

Violet tone gives you a deep dark brown tan. Green/blue bases tend to give a more golden brown/glowy tan.

Violet solutions look amazing on most blondes. Violet is the way to go if you are Warm – Yellow, peachy, or Golden undertones:

  • Yellow or Golden complexions
  • Green or olive veins in the wrists
  • Skin reflects blue in natural sunlight
  • Tans in the sun easily
  • Has a natural base tan
  • Wears yellow based makeup
  • Looks best in gold jewelry

Green base tanners are your best bet if you don’t meet the above and want just a golden tan that wont’ pull orange. When in doubt, go with a green base tan. Here are a few of my fav Green base tanners I’d suggest:

Here are a few of my fav violet base tanners I’d suggest for your self tans:

The best dark tan Obsidian Med-Dark Self Tanning Mousse INCLUDES MITT!

If you are doing a self-tan, you will want to make sure you have mitt/glove, most come with them. I highly recommend getting this one to tan those hard to reach places!

There is some preparation on your end to achieve the BEST Spray Tan/Self Tan. Here are the best tips on how to prep your skin for a flawless spray tan:


You will want to Shower, Shave and Exfoliate 2 or more hours (no more than 24 hours) before your spray tan. Showering to close to doing your spray tan can still have your pores open from the shower, creating a freckled appearance. (ex. your appointment is at 2pm the latest you should shower would be before 12pm that same day.)

How to Prep for your Spray Tan

Exfoliate THOROUGHLY. This will remove dead skin and provide a new, smooth surface for your tan. Exfoliating helps to promote even coverage and lengthens the duration of the tan. This allows the skin to return to its normal pH level before you come to your appointment. It is important you exfoliate using a non-oil based exfoliate that will not leave behind any residue.

What’s the best exfoliator for a Spray Tan?

A simple sugar and coffee scrub works great! All products you most likely have at home too! Check out our simple DIY Sugar Scrub Recipes, they work great for your whole body.

Hot Tip! avoid Dove products before and while you have your tan, as they are harsh on Spray Tans. Dove soap and Dove lotions leave a film on your skin that directly leads to a blotchy tan.

After showering DO NOT apply lotions, perfumes, deodorant or makeup. I understand getting your spray tan may take place after work, etc. Makeup wipes are fine to use before your tan to remove your makeup.


Hydrate the skin from the inside out!  Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day.

Tips for achieving the best spray tan at home:

When you are ready to apply your spray tan, first make sure you have waited at least 2 hours since your shower/bath to allow your pores to close for an even tan.

Next, apply a fragrance free lotion (a thick face lotion works great!) to all of your dry areas of your body: Hands, elbows, feet, toes, ankles, lay it on thick! Then light layer on your face/or dry spots!

Work your tan in a circular motion. I start at the bottom(feet) work my way up to my booty, back, around my stomach then my arms, chest, face and lastly neck.

Once you are evenly tan apply a setting powder. Yes, your translucent powder works or talc-free baby powder! Just use a clean makeup brush or cotton ball and get your neck, can even use a flick of the wrist to get your neck from a far. Your inner elbow crease, under arms, under your boobs, down your cleavage, backs of knees.

This helps set it! (obvs!) Helping prevent white patches from bending your arms, neck etc. Plus helps take that tacky feeling away!

WASH your hands immediately. And wipe any excess lotion left off with a wipe. Now baste baby baste!


How you decide to Tan is up to you and your comfort level. If you are working with a spray tan artist they will let you know what they are comfortable with. Wear a darker swim suit, dark bra and/or undergarments to accommodate your comfort level IF needed. But I say who needs tan lines! **Spray Tan Solution washes out of most clothing very easily but tends to stain nylon and Lycra materials; this is why dark clothing is recommended.

Important! After the Tan: Be prepared to wear dark loose fitting clothing after the tan is completed.  Please avoid jeans, leggings, tall socks, boots, etc. While you tan is going to look so freaking good in those ripped jeans later, let it breathe and do it’s magic now! These can cause restriction and rubbing of the tan leading to blotchy tan in those areas. My favorite post tan outfit is a comfy onsie from amazon, what a great excuse to lounge around in it!

All swimming, showering and vigorous exercise must be avoided until after your first shower, sweating can inhibit the development of your tan. Do not shave for at least one day after your treatment. HYDRATE!

How to prep for your spray tan

Let your tan process at least 8 hours, no longer than 24 hours (processing overnight if you had an evening tan is fine) before showering. This allows your tan to develop. Note: Some solutions may have you wash sooner and the tan will develop/get darker over the next few hours.

How do you wash your spray tan off?

When you shower for the first time, it should be a warm shower, with no soaps.  REMEMBER when you tan it is normal to see a pool of color washing off, this is the color guard/bronzer that helps us see where it is as we apply the tan.  Your tan is still there 🙂

Wash your entire body with warm water. After you have washed your entire body with warm water and you no longer see a pool of color, you can use a gentle soap like Sjolie Body Wash or a dye/fragence free soap to get clean.  Most women have Summer’s Eve and that works great for me to use as a body wash without effecting my spray tan!

IMPORTANT: when you are done with your shower, pat yourself dry do not rub yourself dry this could exfoliate your tan!

The following products will lighten or make an airbrush tan blotchy:

Dove soap and Dove products, Hair thinning lotion or removing lotion Anti-aging products or AHA’s Beta Hydroxy Acids-salicylic acid Retin-A type products (Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Tretinoin) Toners containing alcohols or witch hazel, Anti-acne products (Accutane, salicylic acid), Facial masks and scrubs, Pore cleansing facial strips ,Wax depilatories Depilatory products, Bleach products for body hair, Hot tubs, chlorine and salt water. Bug sprays – try to spray your clothes instead of you or spray a “cloud” to go through.

Please keep in mind woman’s tan can be directly affected by her hormones. It doesn’t happen often but can cause blotchiness or the tan to not develop properly.  Those who are pregnant may want to consider a patch test to ensure their body reacts properly. 

As always feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns! Our tanning appointments at BLC are a JUDGE FREE ZONE, everyone is beautiful and we want them to walk away feeling that way.  Your spray tan artist should do the same!

How to make your spray tan last:

It is recommended you follow these general guidelines to maintain your tan: Moisturize regularly with a harsh free moisturizer. Avoid long hot baths and showers as these speed up exfoliation. Pat your skin dry after a bath or shower. Rubbing your skin may rub off your tan. Avoid swimming pools and seawater, as these are natural exfoliants and can reduce your tan. Moisturize after every shower.

How to Make your spray tan last on vacation

If you will be swimming or getting in the hot tub, apply waterproof sunscreen before you enter, once you are done be sure to rinse immediately! As always HYDRATE!

Spray Tans are a fun way to help feel refreshed but alway remember they DO NOT protect against the sun, so be sure to use your sunscreen!

What are some of your favorite Spray Tan must haves?

Shop our favorites for Spray Tans!

Love what you see and want to save it for later?  Pin it to your Pinterest!

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