10 Things You Should Know Before Getting Your First Spray Tan


By De Elizabeth

I was always hesitant about spray tans. I had images of orange stripes and was convinced that if I tried it, I’d emerge looking like a neon zebra. Perhaps this was from portrayals of spray tans in sitcoms (I hope you’re also picturing that Friends episode), or maybe it was my own experience with attempting to apply sunless tanner while in high school. However, I’m happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised. 

I got my first spray tan prior to being a bridesmaid in a November wedding. The dresses were champagne color, and my skin was too, so in efforts to not look like Casper the friendly ghost in pictures, I thought I would give it a try.

Since then, I’ve become a bit of a spray tan addict. I go a couple times a month during the summer, and I have one salon that I swear by. If you had told me two years ago that I’d be one of *those* girls I probably would have laughed at you, but here we are.

So in honor of doing things that you never thought you would, here are 10 things you should know before you get your first spray tan:

1. Dress appropriately.

Whatever you wear to and from your tan will undoubtedly get some of the solution on it, so make sure you dress in dark, loose clothing. I usually wear a loose fitting black cotton sundress or very baggy cotton shorts and a baggy t-shirt. Don’t wear anything that is too tight or it will ruin your tan. Also, ditch the bra on the way out if you can.

2. Shower and exfoliate before your tan

Unless you’re coming straight from work, make sure you you take a shower and exfoliate before you go to your appointment. It will help the tan last longer, and you’ll also feel fresh. Additionally, make sure you remove your makeup before your tan.

3. Get your tan applied by a human, not a machine.

A person can see with his or her eyes if they missed a spot. A machine can’t. Your risk of a tan disaster becomes much higher if you get yourself sprayed by a robot.

4. Strip down to whatever makes you comfortable.

You don’t have to go fully nude if you don’t want to – many people get their tan applied in a bathing suit or just a thong. But remember, whatever you do leave on will leave behind tan lines. So make sure that whatever you’re wearing doesn’t have any mesh, lace, or eyelet hems – unless that’s what you’re into.

5. Don’t. Get. Wet.

You need to keep yourself away from water for 8 hours after the tan is applied or else you will get streaks. This means – don’t shower, don’t cry, don’t get caught in the rain, don’t play with water balloons, don’t wash your face, etc. If it’s raining outside on the day of your tan, make sure you bring one of those huge umbrellas.

6. But if you do get wet – know how to deal.

Some douses of water are impossible to fix and you might need to rinse your tan off and start over. But if you just accidentally splash yourself with water while washing a dish (I’ve done this), grab a plastic baggie and rub the spot. Don’t blot it with a towel or cloth – plastic only. Try to find a place on your body that has excess bronzer, dab it with the plastic and then apply to the wet spot. Repeat if necessary.

7. It’s okay to sit down.

The first time I got a spray tan, I was so worried that literally anything I did would mess it up. As long as you don’t go play in a slip-n-slide or do anything that will make you sweat profusely, you’ll be okay. Relax. Sit on your couch (unless it’s a white couch, then don’t do that), or sleep in whatever position that you want. Your tan will look good in the morning, promise.

8. Consider the little things.

If you habitually wear a hair tie around your wrist, take it off when you get your tan – and afterwards as the tan is setting in. Same with jewelry.

9. Invest in some lotion.

Lotion will keep your tan in place for longer, so make sure you have some on hand. Bonus points if it’s one of those gradually darkening lotions, like Jergens Natural Glow.

10. Prepare to be addicted.

You’re going to want more. And more. And more. And that’s okay. Welcome to the club.

Photo by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash