How Long Does It Take to Get a Spray Tan?

What is a spray tan?

spray tan

A spray tan is a popular and convenient method of achieving a sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of sun exposure. It involves the application of a special solution, typically containing DHA (dihydroxyacetone), onto the skin’s surface using a spray gun or misting device.

This cosmetic procedure offers an alternative to traditional tanning methods, such as sunbathing or using tanning beds, which can contribute to skin damage, premature aging, and even an increased risk of skin cancer.

The spray tan solution interacts with the amino acids present in the outermost layer of the skin, causing a chemical reaction that temporarily darkens the skin tone. This reaction doesn’t involve melanin production or the skin cells’ response to UV radiation, making it a safer option for achieving a tan-like appearance.

Depending on individual preferences, spray tans can be customized to deliver different levels of darkness, suiting various skin tones and desired outcomes. The solution usually includes additional ingredients like moisturizers, antioxidants, and botanical extracts to nourish and hydrate the skin, leaving it smooth, radiant, and rejuvenated.

Today, spray tans are widely available at salons, spas, and even mobile tanning services. Professional technicians or automated machines administer the spray tan, ensuring an even application and minimizing the risk of streaks or missed areas.

The procedure typically takes place in a designated tanning room or booth, where the individual undresses to their comfort level. They may opt to wear disposable undergarments, a swimsuit, or go nude depending on their personal preference. Additionally, the technician may provide protective items like hair caps, nose plugs, and sticky foot pads to avoid unwanted staining.

Before the spray tan application, it is essential to exfoliate the skin thoroughly, particularly in areas prone to dryness or roughness, as this helps to achieve an even and longer-lasting tan. Moisturizing the skin is also recommended, focusing on areas like elbows, knees, ankles, and hands, which tend to absorb more solution and may result in darker patches if not adequately prepared.

During the spray tan session, the technician or automated machine sprays a fine mist of the solution onto the entire body, taking care to cover all areas evenly. The individual may be instructed to turn, lift their arms, or adopt specific postures to ensure all surfaces are properly coated. The process is generally quick and can take anywhere from a few minutes to around 15 minutes, depending on factors such as the desired level of darkness and the technique used.

After the application, it is essential to allow the solution to dry on the skin before getting dressed. This usually takes a few minutes, and individuals are often advised to wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing to avoid any potential transfer of the solution onto fabrics. It is also advisable to avoid activities that may cause excessive sweating or water exposure, such as exercising or bathing, for at least 6 to 8 hours following the spray tan session. Doing so allows the solution to fully develop and prolong the duration of the tan.

A spray tan typically lasts from 5 to 10 days, gradually fading as the outermost layer of the skin naturally sheds. To maintain the tan for a longer period, it is essential to keep the skin moisturized, avoid abrasive exfoliants, and use tanning extenders or gradual tanning lotions. However, it’s important to note that a spray tan does not provide any protection against harmful UV rays, so it is still necessary to use sunscreen when exposed to the sun.

In conclusion, spray tan offers a safe, effective, and convenient way to achieve a desirable tan without sun exposure. Whether for special occasions or regular maintenance, this sunless tanning method provides individuals with a realistic and flawless glow, enhancing their confidence and appearance.

Preparation for a spray tan

Preparation for a spray tan

Before getting a spray tan, it is important to properly prepare your skin to ensure the best results. Preparation is key to achieving a smooth, long-lasting tan that will give you a natural glow. Here are some essential steps to follow before getting a spray tan:

1. Exfoliating the skin:

Prior to your spray tan appointment, it is crucial to exfoliate your skin thoroughly. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells, which can lead to an uneven tan if not properly addressed. You can use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt to gently buff away any dry or flaky skin. Focus on areas prone to dryness, such as elbows, knees, and ankles. This step will ensure a smooth surface for the tanning solution to adhere to, resulting in a more even and streak-free tan.

2. Avoiding lotions or oils:

It is essential to avoid applying any lotions, oils, or moisturizers before your spray tan appointment. These products create a barrier on the skin that can prevent the tanning solution from properly developing and adhering to the skin. Additionally, oils can break down the solution, causing it to fade more quickly. It is best to have clean, product-free skin before a spray tan to achieve optimal results.

3. Wearing loose-fitting clothing:

When going for a spray tan, it is essential to wear loose-fitting clothing. Tight clothing can rub against the freshly applied solution, potentially causing streaks or uneven color development. Opt for dark-colored, loose garments to minimize the risk of transferring the tan onto your clothes. Avoid wearing tight bras, socks, or shoes that could leave marks. Loose-fitting clothing will allow the solution to dry properly and avoid any unwanted marks or smudging.

4. Removing jewelry:

Before stepping into the spray tan booth, it is advisable to remove any jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These accessories can interfere with the tanning solution’s application and result in uneven or patchy areas. By taking off your jewelry, you eliminate the risk of leaving behind unwanted tan lines or discoloration caused by these items.

5. Tying up hair:

If you have long hair, tying it up or putting it in a shower cap is recommended during a spray tan. Hair that is left loose can get in the way during the tanning process and may accidentally make contact with the solution, causing it to streak or discolor. By securing your hair away from your face and body, you ensure that the tan is applied evenly and without disruptions.

By following these preparation steps, you can ensure that your spray tan will turn out beautifully and last longer. Proper exfoliation, avoiding lotions or oils, wearing loose-fitting clothing, removing jewelry, and tying up hair are all key factors in achieving a flawless and natural-looking tan. Remember to consult with your spray tan technician or salon for any additional instructions they may have specific to their tanning method or products.

Application process

spray tan application process

The application process of a spray tan involves standing in a booth or lying down on a surface while a technician sprays the solution onto the skin evenly. This method of tanning has gained popularity due to its convenience and ability to provide a sun-kissed glow without exposing the skin to harmful UV rays.

Before the application, it is important to prepare the skin by exfoliating and moisturizing. This helps to create a smooth and even canvas for the spray tan solution to adhere to. It is recommended to avoid applying any lotions, oils, or perfumes on the day of the spray tan to ensure optimal results.

Once the skin is prepared, the individual can step into a booth or lie down on a surface, depending on the chosen method of application. The technician will then proceed to spray the tanning solution onto the skin using a handheld sprayer or a spray gun. The technician will move the sprayer in a sweeping motion, ensuring that the solution is evenly distributed across the body.

During the application process, it is important to follow the technician’s instructions carefully. This may include holding your breath or closing your eyes to avoid inhaling or getting the solution into sensitive areas. It is also common for the technician to provide protective measures such as disposable underwear, nose plugs, and eye shields to ensure the client’s comfort and safety.

The duration of the application process can vary depending on the individual’s preference and the chosen tanning solution. On average, the process can take anywhere from a few minutes to around 20 minutes. It is essential to remain still during the application to ensure that the solution is applied evenly without any streaks or missed areas.

After the spray tan has been applied, it is important to wait for the recommended development time before showering or engaging in any activities that may cause sweating. This allows the solution to fully develop and provide the desired tan. The development time can range from a few hours to overnight, depending on the product used.

It is important to note that the initial tan achieved after the application may appear darker than the final result. This is because the tanning solution contains ingredients that interact with the skin’s natural chemistry and develop over time. It is also normal for some color to wash off during the first shower, revealing the desired tan underneath.

Overall, the application process of a spray tan offers a hassle-free and safe alternative to traditional sunbathing or tanning bed sessions. With careful preparation and following the technician’s instructions, individuals can achieve a natural-looking tan that lasts for several days. Regular maintenance and moisturizing can help prolong the life of the spray tan, allowing individuals to enjoy their sun-kissed glow for longer.

Drying time

Drying time

After the application, the spray tan solution typically takes around 5-10 minutes to dry on the skin.

The drying time of a spray tan solution is an essential factor to consider when getting a sunless tan. After the application, you might be wondering how long it will take for the solution to dry on your skin and for you to be able to go about your day with a beautiful bronzed glow. Fortunately, the drying time for a spray tan is relatively quick, allowing you to continue your activities without much inconvenience.

Depending on the specific spray tan solution used, it usually takes between 5 to 10 minutes for the solution to dry completely on your skin. This time frame is generally consistent across various brands and formulations, providing you with a reliable estimate of the waiting period before you can comfortably dress and resume your daily routine.

During the drying process, it is important to remain still and avoid any activities or movements that could cause the solution to streak or smudge. By allowing the solution to dry undisturbed, you will achieve a more even and natural-looking tan.

While the general drying time guideline is 5-10 minutes, it is important to remember that individual factors can influence this duration. Temperature and humidity levels in the room can affect how quickly the solution dries on your skin. In warmer and more humid conditions, the drying time may be faster, whereas in cooler or drier environments, it may take slightly longer.

For those in a rush or who may have specific time constraints, there are certain techniques that can be employed to help expedite the drying process. Utilizing a fan or air conditioner in the room can help reduce the drying time by increasing air circulation and evaporation. Additionally, gently patting your skin with a clean towel after the initial drying period can help remove any excess solution and promote faster drying.

It’s crucial to resist the temptation to touch or rub your skin during the drying process. Doing so can disrupt the evenness of the tan and cause the solution to transfer or streak. Instead, allow the solution to dry naturally, and in a matter of minutes, you will be able to admire your new summer glow.

Once the tan has fully dried, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing to prevent any potential staining, especially if there is residual solution that could transfer. Avoid sweating, showering, or any activities that might cause excessive moisture to come into contact with your tan for at least 6-8 hours, as this can impede the development and longevity of your tan.

In conclusion, the time it takes for a spray tan solution to dry on the skin is approximately 5-10 minutes. Factors such as temperature and humidity can slightly impact this drying time, but overall, it is a relatively quick process. By following proper aftercare instructions and allowing your tan to fully dry, you can enjoy a beautiful and long-lasting sun-kissed look.

Development time

spray tan development time

The development time for a spray tan refers to the amount of time it takes for the color to fully develop on the skin, which can range from 4 to 8 hours. During this period, the active ingredients in the spray tan solution react with the amino acids in the skin, resulting in the desired bronzed appearance.

The length of the development time may vary depending on several factors, including the type of spray tan solution used, the individual’s skin type, and the desired level of darkness. It is important to follow the instructions provided by the spray tan technician or manufacturer, as they will typically specify the recommended development time for optimal results.

Typically, a spray tan solution will continue to develop and deepen in color for the first 4 to 8 hours after application. During this time, it is important to avoid any activities that may cause the solution to be rubbed off or disturbed, such as sweating, swimming, or tight clothing. It is also recommended to avoid showering or bathing until the development time has elapsed.

After the recommended development time has passed, it is safe to shower or bathe. However, it is important to keep in mind that the initial color seen immediately after showering may appear lighter than the final result. This is because the shower water may wash away the excess solution on the surface of the skin, but the developed color will remain.

In some cases, individuals may choose to extend the development time to achieve a deeper or darker tan. This can be done by leaving the spray tan solution on the skin for an additional couple of hours before showering. However, it is essential to note that exceeding the recommended development time may result in a less natural-looking or uneven tan.

It is important to note that the development time of a spray tan is different from the longevity of the tan. The developed color will gradually fade over time as the outermost layer of the skin naturally exfoliates. To maintain the tan, it is recommended to moisturize the skin regularly and avoid exfoliating or scrubbing the skin excessively.

In conclusion, the development time for a spray tan typically ranges from 4 to 8 hours. Following the recommended development time and taking proper care of the tan will ensure optimal and long-lasting results.



Proper aftercare for a spray tan is essential to maintain its longevity and ensure a beautiful, natural-looking tan. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your tan looking fresh and vibrant for as long as possible.

Avoiding Sweating and Excessive Contact with Water

Avoiding Sweating and Excessive Contact with Water

One of the most important things to remember after getting a spray tan is to avoid activities that may lead to sweating or excessive contact with water for the first 24 hours. This is because the tan solution needs time to fully develop and bond with the skin. Sweating or coming into contact with water too soon can cause the tan to streak or fade unevenly. So, it’s best to skip intense workouts, saunas, swimming, or any other activities that may cause you to sweat excessively during this initial period.

To ensure that your tan sets perfectly, it’s also advisable to wait at least six to eight hours before showering. This allows sufficient time for the tan solution to penetrate the skin and produce the desired color.

Moisturizing the Skin

Moisturizing the Skin

Keeping your skin well-hydrated is key to prolonging the life of your spray tan. After the initial 24-hour period, it’s important to moisturize your skin regularly to prevent dryness, which can lead to premature fading and cracking of your tan. Opt for a moisturizer that is oil-free and specifically formulated for use on sunless tans. These types of moisturizers usually contain ingredients that help nourish and protect the skin, helping to maintain the tan for a longer period.

To moisturize your skin effectively, apply the lotion in light, circular motions and pay extra attention to areas prone to dryness, such as elbows, knees, and ankles. By moisturizing your skin daily, you can extend the lifespan of your tan by several days and maintain a natural-looking glow.

Avoid Exfoliating or Scrubbing the Skin

Avoid Exfoliating or Scrubbing the Skin

While exfoliating your skin is important for maintaining a healthy complexion, it’s crucial to avoid exfoliating or scrubbing the skin in the immediate aftermath of a spray tan. Exfoliation can lead to the removal of dead skin cells and cause the tan to fade more quickly. It’s best to wait for a few days after the tan has fully set before gently exfoliating your skin.

When using exfoliating products, choose gentle options that won’t strip away the tan. Avoid using harsh scrubs or loofahs, as they can be too abrasive and cause the tan to patch or fade unevenly. Instead, opt for gentle exfoliating gloves or a mild exfoliating cleanser to help remove dead skin cells without compromising your tan.

Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure

While a spray tan gives you a beautiful sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of the sun, it does not provide protection against UV rays. Therefore, it’s important to avoid prolonged sun exposure, particularly during peak hours when the sun is at its strongest. UV rays can speed up the fading process of your tan and potentially cause it to appear patchy. If you plan to spend time outdoors, make sure to apply sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that chlorine in swimming pools can also fade your tan. To minimize the impact, apply a barrier cream or lotion before entering the water to help protect your tan from chlorine-induced fading.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Lastly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to the longevity of your spray tan. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep can all help improve the overall health and appearance of your skin. A well-nourished and hydrated complexion tends to hold onto a tan better than dry or dehydrated skin. So, keep your body nourished from the inside out to help your tan look its best for longer.

In conclusion, proper aftercare is essential for a long-lasting spray tan. By avoiding activities that cause sweating or excessive contact with water, moisturizing regularly, avoiding harsh exfoliation, protecting your skin from sun damage, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy a gorgeous, glowing tan that lasts. Remember to always follow the specific aftercare instructions provided by your spray tanning technician for the best results.

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