Now that tank tops and sundresses are finally (!) recirculating our wardrobe, I bet I’m not the only one’s feeling a little pasty from the winter months. Every year around this time I break out my cute skirts and imagine how much better I’d look and feel with some tan legs! As a former fake baker and someone who still adores a nice tan, I’ve made switch from harmful UV tanning beds to the safe alternative spray tan (and you should too!). Unfortunately the spray tan was given a bad rep by the Jersey Shore cast as being fake looking and orange, but if done right you can get a gorgeous, healthy glow that will look natural and does no damage to your skin!

spray tan

 1. Spring for the custom airbrush.

If this is your first time spray tanning, I highly recommend getting a custom airbrush tan. Almost all tanning salons offer this option (as opposed to a booth that sprays you mechanically). This is what I did and was thrilled with the results. An airbrush tan is done by a salon professional who hand blends a color that will match your skin tone and give you your desired amount of color (a light glow to a deep bronze and anything in between). She will then airbrush you herself, so you know each and every limb and crevasse will be tanned beautifully!

2.  Wax before.

If you wax (legs, arms, bikini, face, etc.) be sure to do this at least 2 days before your appointment. Waxing opens up the pores and if you wax too close to your appointment you run the risk of looking spotted (this occurs when the tanning solution fills your open pores, which, unless you’re going for the cheetah look, will not be cute). Shaving should be done in the shower right before your appointment.

3.  Exfoliate.

(The Body Shop’s Mango Body Scrub gets the job done). Exfoliating will remove all the dead skin cells from the surface which will allow the tanning solution to better soak into your skin. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, any excess oils will create a barrier which won’t allow the solution to soak in completely.

4. Go bare.

Do not moisturize, apply makeup, or wear deodorant. All of these will make it impossible for you to get a perfect tan.

5. Position you cap just right.

Upon arrival you will be provided with a cap for your hair. You should wear the cap a little behind your hairline (so some hair will get sprayed, don’t worry though, tanning solution does not permanently color or damage your hair). Doing this will ensure you don’t leave with a line across your forehead.

6. Apply blending cream.

I highly recommend applying the blending cream that will be available for you at the salon on your finger nails, toe nails, and any bony or very dry patches you may have, such as elbows, knees, and feet. This will prevent buildup of color at these areas.

7. Wear loose clothing.

There will be excess product that will lay on skin (mostly product that has held on to hair follicles) which you can wipe off with a towel, but in case you miss some I’d wear that same baggy tee and sweatpants ensemble you wore to paint your room. Not to mention your tan needs time (roughly an hour) to fully “set”, so it’s best to give it some breathing room.

8.Wait to shower.

Wait about 4-6 hours to shower after getting sprayed, the longer you leave it on the darker you’ll get. Some salons recommend waiting 24 hours.

9. No sweating.

Try not to do anything that will make you sweat or get any part of your body wet until after you shower for the first time. This will cause the tan to run or streak.

10. Keep skin hydrated.

After getting your tan continually moisturizing, not shaving, and staying away from chlorinated or salt water will extend the life of your tan. Your tan will last 5-10 days depending on how well you take care of it.

11. Invest in touchup kit.

Fixing little patches will help your golden faux glow look luxe a little longer.

Did we miss something? Share your spray tan tips and experiences in the comments below or chat with us on Facebook!

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