How To Properly Prep For A Spray Tan

How To Properly Prep For A Spray Tan

Spray tans are the one of the best – and safest – ways to achieve all over colour. And whether you’re a regular or a first timer, it pays to follow a few simple rules to maximise the results. From the importance of powder to why you should never get a wax before a spray tan, two experts share their advice…
By Rebecca Hull

DO Prep Your Skin

“You’ve heard it before, but the biggest mistake people make before a spray tan is not spending enough time prepping. We prep our face before applying make-up and our hair before styling it, so why wouldn’t you do the same before tanning? Good prep will give you the best, long-lasting colour. Start by exfoliating the skin a week before your spray, and finish by doing so again two days before. This will help you get rid of any dead skin cells. Look for scrubs that contain key ingredients like glycolic acid. These help renew the skin and keep it looking and feeling fresh. It can feel a bit scary if you have dry skin – often people think of exfoliators as ‘stripping’ the skin – but most formulas contain rejuvenating ingredients to replace any moisture loss. A properly prepped face and body will always allow the colour to blend and absorb much better.”  – Amanda Harrington, InParlour & Amanda Harrington founder

DON’T Go For A Wax

“It’s also best to shave, rather than wax, at least 24 hours beforehand. This gives the skin a chance to renew so that your pores can close, and the tanning agent can bind to your skin properly. Waxing, in my opinion, is best avoided. It strips the skin and can give you an uneven, streaky tan. If waxing is your preference, make sure you time it well – have it done at least 72 hours before going for a spray tan.” James Harknett, A-List tanning expert

DO Use A Barrier Balm 

“Tan notoriously collects around areas like the feet, elbows and hands. All you need to stop this from happening is a thin layer of hydration. Our Ultra Balm is ideal for this. It acts as a barrier between the skin and the tan, preventing any streaks and patchiness. Most professionals will apply a good balm for you – especially to areas like the toes – but it’s worth having one on you just in case.” – Amanda




DON’T Use Too Much Moisturiser 

“While a bit of balm here and there is a good idea, a thick moisturiser applied all over your skin is not. Never moisturise your entire body on the day of your tan. This will cause problems with the spray and the colour won’t absorb into the skin properly. Instead, use a moisturiser the day before and make sure it’s oil free. The only areas you can apply cream to on the day of is your elbows, knees and ankles. These parts of the body don’t produce natural moisture or oil, so the skin is tougher and coarser.” – James

DO Take A Cold Shower

“It’s a good idea to have a quick cool rinse before a spray tan – especially in hot conditions. Doing so will also cleanse away deodorant, fragrance and the remnants of any body lotion that could potentially stop the tan taking to the skin.” – James

DON’T Get A Pedicure Right Away

“I always recommend getting a pedicure or manicure done before your spray tan. Otherwise, the process involved in any nail treatment – think hot water and scrubs – will remove it entirely, or at the very least make it streak and go patchy. The same goes for your hair. If you’re having it tinted or coloured, do it before your spray tan as the chemicals will strip the tan around your hairline and cause uneven results.” – James

DO Invest In Powder 

“If you’re an avid gym enthusiast, try using a powder in your sports bra or active wear. A cooling powder or talc on the skin will shield the tan from being rubbed off by the friction. This is a tip I give to all brides on their wedding day, too. It allows for better slip and movement, without of the risk of transference.” – James

For more tanning tips & advice, follow @AmandaHarringtonLondon & @JamesHarknett_Tan

5 Of Our Favourite Places For A Spray…

InParlour Tanning; 

James Harknett;

Urban Retreat;

James Read At Hershesons; 

Benefit Stores Nationwide;

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