Professional Tips & Advice

Top ten tips to help you prepare for a spray tan

8 Min Read Friday 14th July 2023

Achieving a beautiful spray tan without mistakes is easy when your skin is prepared correctly before the treatment. Your spray tan appointment is super quick and can be done from start to finish in as little as ten minutes. This gives you plenty of time beforehand to make sure your skin is properly prepared and allows you the freedom to prep your skin to suit your schedule. Skin prep is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your tan looks as best as possible, leaving you glowing for longer.

Any preparations can be done in advance to smooth out the skin to give the best base for your spray tan. Prep will help it last beyond its lifespan and fade with a natural result.

To help you ahead of your spray tan appointment, here’s the definitive run-down of the top ten preparation hacks recommended by the Sienna X spray tanning professionals to help you achieve and maintain the perfect golden spray tan:


If this is going to be your first time getting a professional spray tan, the first step is always to have a patch test. The process of a patch test is very quick and simple, and is undertaken to test how your skin will react to the tan. A patch test is always recommended to ensure the formula is suitable for your skin. On some occasions, your skin may react negatively to the tan, which is something a patch test will reveal.

Your therapist will recommend this is done at least 24-48 hours ahead of your appointment. However, if they don’t, please don’t be afraid to ask for one!


The next step is to start preparing your skin ready for your tanning session. Say goodbye to any dead skin with your favourite gentle natural exfoliator. Simply buff your skin all over, concentrating on some of your slightly drier areas. When doing this, be sure to use a gentle exfoliating brush or pad, as we’re looking to clean and remove toxins from the skin ready for the tan.

Exfoliation helps to reveal a fresh new layer of smooth skin, helping your tan to last much longer and keeping you glowing for weeks to come. If possible, it’s recommended that you go through the exfoliation process at least 24-48 hours before your treatment. This will allow the skin’s pores to close fully, preventing tan from building up in any unclosed pores and leaving a smoother finish for your tan.


Another important step in making sure your skin is ready for your spray tan is to wax or shave. We recommend that you shave or wax at least 48 hours before your treatment. Removing unwanted hair will prevent the tanning solution from clinging to your hair shafts, which will create a dotty and uneven finish. If possible, waxing is the preferred option. This is because waxing will prevent hair growth for up to a month, helping your tan remain glowing for longer. Be sure to do this at least several days before your treatment, as this will allow your follicles to close up, ensuring that your tan looks even, balanced and natural.

If you prefer shaving, be sure you try and achieve as even finish as possible. This way, your pores have plenty of time to close so that any solution doesn’t cling and create unwanted dark patches.


Ensuring that your skin is feeling as fresh as possible will help to maximise how well the tan sticks to your skin. In addition, a spray tan has the potential to look patchy and uneven on areas of dry skin.

To reduce dry areas, such as on your elbows, knees and ankles, take some time to moisturise prior to your treatment. This will help to create a smooth and even finish for your tan. For best results, we recommend doing so overnight with an oil-free formula – this will help to provide the perfect tanning base for your solution.


Ahead of your treatment, be sure to say goodbye to any products such as deodorant, perfume, oils, moisturisers and makeup before attending your spray tanning appointment. Often, these products contain certain chemicals that tan doesn’t like, leaving you with an uneven or patchy finish, something that we certainly want to avoid!

By making sure that any perfume, deodorant or oils are rinsed off prior to your treatment will ensure the solution won’t cling to them and leave you with any white patches. Products such as these actually tend to act like a barrier and won’t allow your beautiful tan to take effect. So always make sure you are completely free of these products prior to your spray tan treatment!


We all know the frustration of staining your favourite clothes, especially with things that can be slightly harder to remove! This is certainly the case when it comes to self tanning and spray tans. Tan and white or light-coloured clothing simply does not mix! To save your worry, we recommend that you opt for dark and loose clothing made from cotton or jersey fabrics.

By wearing darker and loose-fitting items, your clothes won’t cling to your freshly applied spray tan as it develops and leave you with patches or uneven tan. Especially as some of the guide colour can be easily removed by tighter-fitting clothing options, which is absolutely something we want to avoid!

With this in mind, also opt for underwear/bikinis that you don’t mind getting any solution on that are made of a similar fabric. This way, you can opt for these each time without any worry of trying to find more suitable options.

As an alternative option, most spray tan professionals also offer disposable underwear to put on during your treatment. Be sure to ask your tanning professional prior to your treatment whether this is an option.


You want to tan your skin, not your hair, right? We always want to keep your hair up and out of the way during a treatment to avoid the risk of any tan getting into it.

If your hair is a mid to long length, be sure to take some hair ties with you to your appointment to tie it up and out of the way. You’re guaranteed a complete and professional finish, as well as not having to spend the evening washing solution out of your hair.


One thing that many people forget about, particularly those who have not had a spray tan before, is to protect their nails during the treatment. Just like with your clothing, spray tan solution can also stain your nails, leaving an unfinished and unprofessional look after your treatment.

Be sure to coat your nails, both hands and feet with some nail varnish – even a clear coat will do! By doing so will help to protect your nails from any discolouration and avoid the risk of the tan staining them ahead of a big event, such as a wedding. The combination of a glowing spray tan and freshly painted nails will create a naturally sunkissed result that your friends will be envious of! Try not to worry too much as your Spray Tan Therapist will use Tan Removal Wipes to remove all signs of tan left on your nails after your treatment.


We’re all busy, so we totally understand that you might be squeezing your treatment into an already busy schedule, or you might have a few things to do on your list once you’ve had your treatment.

To help you feel a little more yourself, you can take deodorant to apply afterwards once your solution has dried and begun to develop. We promise that you won’t go the whole day feeling like you’re only smelling of solution (even though the Sienna X range smells pretty good if we do say so ourselves & drys quickly!)


Now that your desired colour has developed, you’ve showered and moisturised; you should have a beautiful and flawless glow! As amazing as your new spray tan will look, this colour will naturally begin to fade around the 5th day as your top layer of skin begins to shed – but never fear!

If you want to keep that golden glow for even longer, you can prolong your tan in between treatments with your favourite self-tan product. If this is your first time doing so, we’d recommend the Gradual Untinted Self Tan Lotion for a natural finish and the ultimate control of your colour. Or try our Gradual Clear Tan Water Mousse, which promises to leave behind zero development stain transfer while deeply hydrating skin with Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera.

To book your next spray tan appointment, find an approved Sienna X spray tan professional using our online Therapist Locator.

We can’t wait to see some of your results following your treatment, so be sure to tag us in your pictures!

For more advice and guidance, be sure to follow us on social media via our Instagram & Facebook pages.

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