Spray tans can be expensive and tricky to maintain, but the stunning result is worth the hard work. If you have had a spray tan, you may be wondering how long you have to wait before you shower, so this is everything you need to know about showering after a spray tan.
How long after a spray tan can you shower?
There is a waiting period between getting a spray tan and taking a shower, as you have to allow the tan time to settle into your skin before getting it wet. If you do shower or get your spray tan wet in any way before this period of time is over, there is a risk that you will either wash off the tan completely or end up leaving smudges or streaks. This is why waiting before taking a shower is very important.
The drying and developing time for spray tans varies amongst types (we’ll talk about that later) as well as the salon or specific spray tan you’ve had. However, the usual drying time is around 4-8 hours but sometimes this is either shorter or longer.
If you have been given specific, tailored advice when getting your spray tan about how long you should wait before showering, you should definitely listen to this, as the professionals know exactly what works best for their products.
There are different types of spray tans which different salons will offer and the recommended length of time between your tan and initial rinse can vary slightly between these. Of course, it takes time to apply the spray tan, so count the time from after the tan is finished.
For most spray tans, you can wait around 4-8 hours after your spray before hopping for a rinse in the shower. Most likely, you will see some excess tan wash off in the shower, and this is okay – just like with a self-tanner, this is the product which your skin doesn’t need and therefore hasn’t been absorbed.
Does spray tan develop after shower? Does it gets darker?
When you use a self-tanner, you’ll notice that your tan can sometimes appear darker a few hours after showering. This is due to the product developing into your skin (namely, the DHA) once you have washed off the excess.
In terms of spray tans, some people believe that their skin does look more glowy and bronzed after showering, while others don’t notice much difference.
For the most part, a shower itself won’t just instantly make your skin darker or spray tan develop further, but this should gradually develop after showering. As mentioned, you wash some of the excess product off in the shower, so it may even seem slightly lighter at first, but this plays a role in your tan looking more natural and darker in the end.
When you wash off the excess, you will also smooth out and rinse off any areas which may have seemed patchy or smudged since the application. This evenness can also make the tan appear darker as your entire body is the same.
So, long story short, you may think your tan appears darker straight after showering, which is probably more of an illusion, but it will develop gradually over the next few hours. In other words, the shower doesn’t cause your tan to go darker necessarily.
Does spray tan lighten after I shower?
On the contrary, you may be wondering whether a shower can cause your spray tan to lighten. This is something which many people wonder, so you’re not alone.
Water can clearly affect your spray tan dramatically within 4-8 hours after application, which is why you should avoid it. If you do shower or sweat before this time is over, you may notice streaks or patchiness which will remain until the whole tan has faded.
However, there has been evidence to show that water can also lighten your tan, very slightly, after long periods of time. This is why swimming, going to the sea, and other water-related activities have the same result. Showers shouldn’t make too much of a difference compared to other activities, but this is something you should be aware of.
There are also other mistakes you may make when showering which will sabotage your spray tan.
6 spray tan shower rules
As simple as it may sound, there are ways to change the way you shower after spray tanning to enhance your overall experience, and even increase the lifetime of your tan. There are some mistakes you could be making which may even forfeit your beautiful glow, so look out for these tricks and tips:
- Avoid soap: okay, so when you shower, you use soap or body wash, obviously, but you should avoid using any products during the initial rinse after having a spray tan. This is because, although it’s safe to use water on it now, any chemicals or products can affect the development after you shower. For best results, wait at least 24 hours after your spray tan to use any soaps or body washes.
- Moisturise afterwards: when you shower, although your body has access to moisture, this actually has the opposite effect on your skin. Especially if you take hot showers, the water strips your skin of moisture and can leave it dry, which can result in a faded tan. To prevent this, apply a tan-safe moisturiser straight to your body whilst your skin is still damp to trap that moisture in.
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- Use the right soap: as well as waiting for 24 hours before using soaps, using the right ones when you’re ready is another way to maintain your tan. Some ingredients and chemicals can strip your skin too much, or simply just interfere with your tan, so opt for a tan-safe body wash or soap – usually there will be some labelled for this purpose.
- Don’t exfoliate straight after a spray tan: it goes without saying, but exfoliation removes the top layers of your skin, which is where the DHA of spray tans and self-tanners absorbs. By exfoliating this skin, you effectively sabotage your tan and make it last for a much shorter time. Instead, exfoliate regularly for the week leading up to you spray tan for most effective results.
- Spend as little time as possible in the shower: despite the luxury of a long, warm shower, it’s not great for your skin, or your tan. As mentioned earlier, it has been shown that water can speed up the fading process of a spray tan, so the longer and more regularly you shower, the faster your tan will fade. Now, this won’t make the greatest difference, but it can still save your tan.
- Avoid baths: just like longs showers, baths can help your tan to fade, and soaking in one, especially if you do so regularly, can result in a much shorter spray tan lifetime (which will cost you more to keep getting topped up!) so avoiding the bath when possible and showering instead is a good move.
Essentially, you should wait around 4-8 hours after having a spray tan before taking your first shower and make sure this shower is just a rinse of water – no soaps.
Showering doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to you tan in itself, but there are some results of showering which you should watch out for in order to maintain a stunning glow, so make sure to take good care of your skin.