Spray tans are an instant solution for the summer colour of your dreams, but they’re also much safer than methods such as sunbathing or UV sunbeds. With all their benefits, it’s hard to see why anyone would choose anything else. Read on to find out how long your spray tan should last.
How long does a spray tan last?
Spray tans differ between person to person, and they last depending on a number of various factors. There are also ways you can make a spray tan last longer, but we’ll talk more about that later.
On average, a spray tan lasts around 5-10 days, but sometimes this is longer, and sometimes it’s shorter. You’ll also find that the darker the colour, the longer it will last, as it takes longer for a darker colour to fade than it does a lighter one. Darker spray tans usually have more DHA (the pigment which darkens your skin) in them, which means more of it absorbs into your skin, and therefore it takes longer to go.
If you’re wondering how long specific spray tan solutions last, here is a table to compare different spray tans with their prices, expected lasting time, and how long customers say they last!
How long does a professional spray tan last?
Some people choose to do their own spray tan at home, while others decide to go to a salon, and have it done professionally. For the most part, both processes are pretty similar and use the same sort of machines and equipment. Most of the time, a professional spray tan should last around 7-10 days.
As you’d expect, professional spray tans generally last longer, as those who apply it has been doing it for a long time – it’s their job – whereas applying spray tan to yourself isn’t quite as professional. However, that’s not to say this is always the case, as some at-home spray tan can last longer.
Ultimately, it depends on how thoroughly you have prepared and how well the product has been applied so, if you get good at spray tanning yourself, it could last longer than at a salon.
How can you make a spray tan last longer?
If you try your best to maintain and care for your skin whilst you have a spray tan, it’s likely to last much longer than if you didn’t. There are both products (more on that later) that you can use, as well as different processes and methods to keep your spray tan looking gorgeous for days.
The first rinse
The first thing is to wait the full amount of time for the spray tan to develop before taking your first rinse. When you get a spray tan done in a salon, whoever sprayed you should tell you how long you have to wait before showering, and if not, just ask! If you have spray tanned yourself at home, the bottle of the solution you used will say this somewhere in the instructions.
Wait the full amount of time that has been indicated as the pigment of the tan develops during this time. The chemical used, DHA, takes a few hours to absorb into your skin fully, which is how the tan stays on for so long, so waiting that time can ensure the best results.
Soaps and body washes
Another thing to keep in mind for the first rinse is to avoid any soaps, body washes, etc. This is because the chemicals and ingredients included in these various products can interfere with the tan and not only make it last for a shorter time, but potentially create patches and streaks. During the first rinse, you will notice some excess spray tan is washed off your body, which is completely normal, and it’s just the product that your skin didn’t need, so using just water is best for this.
You can use soap and other products later, but you should wait a good 24-48 hours after your spray tan before using them, if possible.
If you’re getting your spray tan for your beach holiday, there is one thing you should keep in mind if you’re hoping to maintain that gorgeous bronze for the entire trip. Water, especially that of swimming pools or the sea, can make your tan fade much faster, and this happens more depending on how long or often you spend in the water.
Swimming pools contain chlorine, which keeps nasty bacteria away, but is also known to severely dry out the skin and make your spray tan fade a whole lot faster. In addition, any water can interfere with your tan, but this is only noticeable if you spend a long time submerged.
Products that help you make your spray tan last!
As mentioned, there are ways to make your spray tan last longer, but you may be stuck with where to start or what products to use. There are so many different products with various advertisements and claims, that it can be really hard to filter out the truth behind everything on the shelves.
The single most important thing to make your spray tan last is keeping your skin moisturised, all the time. If you’re on holiday and coming in and out of the pool or sea, the water can actually dry out your skin (even though it sounds a bit backward) so make sure you are keeping it constantly nourished. When your skin gets too dry, you may have noticed it starts to flake off, and sometimes it ‘shed’ the upper layers of the skin faster than usual, so your tan will fade faster too.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy moisturiser that will keep your skin hydrated, and therefore lengthen your spray tan, I recommend the St Tropez Tan Enhancing Moisturiser ($18) and to apply it every morning and night, or after washing. The formula glides on the skin really nicely and doesn’t leave it feeling sticky or greasy, just soft.
- Wash hands after application
- Leaves skin velvety soft and smooth
If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Another worthy moisturiser is the Bondi Sands Moisturiser ($15), which comes in a big pump bottle, which is also quite convenient. The formula is pH balanced, so it keeps your skin at optimum levels to prolong and maintain both self-tanner, and a spray tan. The coconut and jojoba oil scent is lovely and both ingredients are great for deep nourishment of your skin.
- Bondi Sands Body Moisturiser deeply nourishes and hydrates the skin
- Enriched with Vitamin E and Jojoba
If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.The Norvell Tan Extender ($24) is a moisturising lotion designed specifically to prolong your spray tan. It works by adding the right amount of moisture to the skin, combined with other ingredients that help to boost your tan and keep a darker colour for longer.
- CREATE & MAINTAIN THE PERFECT TAN: Norvell’s #1 selling daily moisturizer is designed to moisturize while DHA gradually develops sunless color intensity over multiple applications.
- HEALS, CORRECTS, AND PROTECTS: This Norvell tan enhancing lotion builds a natural bronze tone that helps conceal and correct imperfections, while it repairs and restores dehydrated, dry skin.
If you click Buy on Amazon and make a purchase, I'll earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.Using a body wash is a necessity for every day, but have you ever thought about how the one you’re using could be stripping your skin of its moisture, or interfering with your spray tan? Swapping out your regular body wash for this Bondi Sands one ($13) can be the perfect fix. It is the matching body wash to the moisturiser above, which is also pH balanced and gentle on the skin.
- Bondi Sands Body Wash has been carefully formulated to be self tan friendly - use as part of your daily routine without fear of your tan being stripped or fading
- The pH balanced formula, works to cleanse and soften the skin and free of oily residue
What Brand of Spray Tan is Best? (Top Picks)
Due to your lifestyle as well as other factors such as the colour or application technique, the length of time that a spray tan lasts varies from person to person, but it should last around 5-10 days on average. Maintaining your tan gives you the best possible odds of it lasting longer, and there are products to use and ways you can achieve this.