Professional Tips & Advice

Spray tan preparation

4 Min Read Friday 14th July 2023

When it comes to achieving the perfect spray tan, it pays to make sure you prepare properly to help achieve that perfect glow that lasts even longer. The last thing you want is to have an uneven or patchy tan because of incorrect preparation.

Fortunately, most of the prep work is probably a firm fixture in your beauty routine anyway; good news for us lazy ladies. Even so, be sure to follow our step by step guide on proper spray tan prep:


The first step to preparing for your spray tan is to remove any unwanted hair. This is to ensure that the tan is being applied to a smooth surface, allowing the tan to stick to the skin more effectively.

We recommend that you try to shave or wax at least 24-48 hours before your spray tan. If you don’t remove unwanted hair, tanning solution will cling to your hair shafts, creating a dotty and uneven finish. When it comes to choosing waxing or shaving, if you can, waxing is the better choice. This is because waxing will prevent hair growth for up to a month, helping you tan look better for longer. It is worth noting that if you choose to wax, be sure to do this well before your treatment. This will allow your follicles to close up, ensuring that your tan looks balanced, even and natural.

If you prefer shaving, remember that if you shave too early after your tanning treatment it will strip your skin of its caramel hue so waxing is an excellent option for prolonging your colour.


Another important step to undertake before your spray tan treatment is exfoliation. This ensures that your skin is clean and free from toxins prior to your treatment, allowing the tan to bond to your skin more effectively.

The night before your tan exfoliate your skin with a gentle exfoliator or scrub to slough off the top layer of dead skin cells. We recommend not to use a harsh glove or pad, but instead use a gentle exfoliating brush or glove. Removing these cells will reveal the fresh skin cells beneath, which will form the smooth base that your spray tan will stick to. The fresher your skin cells, the longer the life of your tan – it’s as simple as that.


This is sometimes a step that people often forget about, but is an important part of preparing for your spray tan. While to focus is making sure your skin is ready to help achieve that golden tan for even longer, making sure your nails are protected is key to completing your look.

Your therapist will usually apply a barrier cream to your nails before you enter the spray tan booth to prevent tanning solution from staining your nail bed and cuticles. As part of your own spray tan preparation, we always say to apply nail varnish to your fingernails and toes before your treatment for an extra layer of protection.


While we all want to make sure that we smell our best, when it comes to a spray tan, perfume and deodorant can actually work against you. Make sure to avoid perfumes and deodorant on the day of your tan because some of the chemicals found in these products can prevent fake tan from adhering to the skin smoothly.


A simple but easy to forget final step, keeping your hair up on the day of your tan is important to ensure that it stays out of the way. Either tie your hair back or use a headband to stop any solution from getting on your hairdo. Make sure you also bring along some loose clothing, like a baggy t-shirt or dress, to wear after your session, which will allow for your freshly applied tan to dry thoroughly.

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