Spray Tan

How Long Does a Spray Tan Last? – Tips to Make it Last Longer

Last Updated: August 14, 2023

In This article....

  • Skin type, DHA concentration and shade selection are important factors for achieving a long-lasting spray tan.
  • Preparing your skin before the appointment with exfoliation, waxing/shaving and adjusting skincare routine is essential.
  • Post-tan care such as moisturizing regularly, gentle exfoliation every 2–3 days and avoiding chlorine & salt can help extend the life of your spray tan.

Are you tired of your beautiful bronzed glow fading too soon? You’re not alone. The quest for a long-lasting spray tan is a common concern among tanning enthusiasts. In this blog post, we’ll answer the question, “How long does a spray tan last?” and share insider tips and tricks on how to make your spray tan last longer and keep your sun-kissed skin looking fabulous for as long as possible.

Spray Tan Duration: Factors to Consider

A woman getting a spray tan in a tanning salon

A spray tan can offer a beautifully bronzed glow without the harmful UV rays, but how long does a spray tan last? The duration of a spray tan depends on factors such as skin type, DHA concentration, and shade selection. On average, a spray tan lasts around 10 days, but with proper care and maintenance, you can make it last even longer.

Your skin type plays a significant role in spray tan longevity. Dry skin types tend to hold a tan longer, while oily skin types may experience a quicker fade. The DHA concentration in the tanning solution directly correlates with the duration of the tan – the higher the DHA concentration, the longer the tan will last.

Lastly, the shade selection impacts the tan’s appearance and longevity, with darker shades containing more DHA and lasting longer, while lighter shades may have a more subtle effect.

Skin Type

Understanding your skin type is crucial for achieving the best spray tan results. Skin types II, III, IV, and V are most suitable for spray tans, with type III being the most common in the United States. Darker shades are more suitable for darker skin tones.

Waxing also affects the longevity of a spray tan. Waxing too close to your spray tan appointment may result in an uneven fading tan, as it can remove some of the spray tan prematurely. To avoid this, it’s essential to schedule waxing at least 24 hours before your appointment.

DHA Concentration

DHA concentration in the spray tan solution determines the depth of color and duration of your tan. Higher concentrations of DHA result in longer-lasting tannins. The recommended DHA concentration varies depending on your skin tone and desired level of darkness. Lower concentrations are ideal for light skin tones, while higher concentrations are more suitable for darker skin tones.

Spray tans are typically formulated with a DHA concentration between 5 and 15 percent. Darker shade options are available for those with darker skin tones. Proper preparation and post-tan care can help your tan fade evenly and last longer.

Shade Selection

Choosing the right shade for your skin tone is crucial for both the appearance and longevity of your spray tan. The range of spray tan shades includes light gold, caramel, deep tan, dark bronze, and ultra dark. To maintain your tan and help it fade evenly, practice gently exfoliating every 2-3 days.

For fair skin, light gold or caramel may be the ideal spray tan color. For dark skin, deep tan, dark bronze, or ultra dark shades are recommended. Medium shades are suggested for other skin tones, which can provide an average spray tan look.

Proper preparation and post-tan care can help your tan fade evenly and last longer.

Preparing for Your Spray Tan Appointment

A woman exfoliating her body before getting a spray tan

Proper preparation is key to achieving a flawless, long-lasting spray tan. To ensure the best results, it’s essential to exfoliate your skin, wax or shave, and adjust your skincare routine before your appointment. Shower at least eight hours before the appointment to ensure that the spray tan adheres properly to your skin.

Remove all makeup and deodorant before your appointment and arrive with completely dry skin. Wear loose, dark clothing to your appointment to avoid streaks or indentations from tight clothing. By taking these necessary steps, you’ll ensure a more even, longer-lasting tan.


Exfoliating your skin before your spray tan appointment is crucial for achieving an even application and increasing the longevity of the tan. By removing dead skin cells, you create a smooth, consistent base for the tanning solution to adhere to, ensuring a uniform application and a longer-lasting tan.

For optimal results, exfoliate 24 hours before your spray tan appointment using a mitt or glove with a mild shower gel. Focus on gentle yet effective exfoliants, such as sugar scrubs, to ensure your skin is perfectly prepped for your spray tan.

Waxing and Shaving

When it comes to waxing and shaving before your spray tan appointment, timing is crucial. Schedule waxing 24 hours before your appointment to avoid darkened, patchy pores. Shaving should be done at least 8 hours before your appointment to prevent irritation and ensure an even tan.

By following these guidelines, you’ll minimize the risk of an uneven tan and maximize the lifespan of your sun-kissed glow. Remember, proper preparation is key to getting the most out of your spray tan appointment and ensuring a beautiful, long-lasting spray tanning experience.

Skincare Routine Adjustments

A person receiving a spray tan with a

Adjusting your skincare routine before your actual spray tan appointment is essential for optimal results. Refrain from applying lotions, oils, deodorants, perfumes, or makeup on the day of the appointment, as these products can create a barrier between your skin and the tanning solution, preventing an even tan.

Instead, focus on gentle exfoliation and keeping your skin clean and dry before your appointment. By making these simple adjustments to your skincare routine, you’ll ensure a smooth, even application and a longer-lasting, beautiful tan.

Post-Spray Tan Care: Tips for Longevity

A woman showering after getting a spray tan

After your spray tan appointment, proper post-tan care is essential to prolong the life of your tan. Showering, moisturizing, and gentle exfoliation are key elements of post-spray tan care that will help your tan last longer and fade more evenly.

By following these post-tan care tips, you’ll not only maintain your bronzed glow for as long as possible, but also promote healthy skin and prevent any patchy or uneven fading. So let’s dive deeper into the best post-spray tan care practices to ensure your tan stays flawless.


When it comes to showering after a spray tan, timing is crucial. Wait at least 6-8 hours before showering to ensure the tanning solution has enough time to develop and set on your skin.

Use lukewarm water for your first shower and avoid using harsh soaps or scrubs that could strip the tan. Keep your showers short and sweet to prevent your tan from fading prematurely. By following these guidelines, you’ll ensure a beautiful, even tan that lasts.


Moisturizing daily after your spray tan is essential to keep your skin hydrated, nourished, and prolong the life of your tan. Use a hydrating, non-oily lotion to maintain moisturized skin and your tan looking fresh and even.

Apply moisturizer in a circular motion, starting at your feet and working your way up, covering all areas of your body, including your hands and feet. By keeping your skin well-moisturized, you’ll not only maintain a gorgeous glow, but also promote overall skin health.

Gentle Exfoliation

Gently exfoliating every 2-3 days after your spray tan is important to help your tan fade evenly and avoid any patchy areas. Stick to gentle exfoliation methods, such as using a soft washcloth or an oil-free pre-tan exfoliant mitt, glove, or brush. Avoid harsh scrubs or chemical exfoliants, as these can strip your tan and cause uneven fading.

By incorporating gentle exfoliation into your post-tan care routine, you’ll ensure a smooth, even fade and a longer-lasting, beautiful tan. Remember, proper post-tan care is just as important as preparation to get the most out of your spray tan experience.

Extending Your Spray Tan Life

A woman moisturizing her body after getting a spray tan

To further extend your spray tan life, consider using gradual self-tanners, taking exercise precautions, and avoiding chlorine and salt. These additional steps can help maintain your bronzed glow for even longer, ensuring you get the most out of your spray tan investment.

So, let’s explore these methods in more detail and learn how to maximize the life of your spray tan, keeping you looking sun-kissed and fabulous for as long as possible.

Gradual Self-Tanners

Applying a gradual self-tanning lotion or tanning drops 3-4 days after your spray tan can help maintain and deepen the color of your tan. Gradual self-tanners are designed to be added to any face or body lotion, creating a customized tan that develops over time.

To use gradual self-tanners, apply them with either your hands or a mitt using circular motions. Before application, be sure to exfoliate your skin. After application, wash your hands to avoid stained palms.

For optimal results, apply every day for 3-4 consecutive days, then take a break for a couple of days before starting again.

Exercise Precautions

Protecting your spray tan during exercise is essential for maintaining its longevity. Apply baby powder to areas prone to rubbing, such as underarms and inner thighs, to minimize the risk of streaking. Wear loose clothing during workouts to prevent friction that can cause streaks or indentations on your tan.

By taking these exercise precautions, you’ll protect your spray tan and ensure it stays looking flawless for as long as possible. Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in maintaining your beautiful bronzed glow.

Chlorine and Salt Avoidance

Swimming in chlorinated or saltwater pools can cause your spray tan to fade prematurely. To prevent this, avoid swimming for at least 8-12 hours after your spray tan and moisturize regularly when out of the water. Rinse off promptly after exiting the salt water or pool to minimize the impact on your tan.

By avoiding chlorine and salt exposure, you’ll ensure the longevity of your spray tan and keep your sun-kissed skin looking fabulous for longer.

Common Spray Tan Mistakes to Avoid

A woman applying a gradual self-tanner to her body

To achieve the best possible spray tan results, it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can lead to an uneven or short-lived tan. These include improper preparation, not wearing loose fitting clothes after your spray tan appointment, and not following post-tan care instructions.

By being aware of these common mistakes and taking the necessary precautions, you’ll ensure a flawless, long-lasting spray tan that will keep you looking sun-kissed and radiant for weeks to come.


In conclusion, achieving a long-lasting, beautiful spray tan is a combination of proper preparation, careful post-tan care, and taking additional steps to extend the life of your tan. By following the tips and tricks shared in this blog post, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow that lasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a spray tan last 3 days?

Based on the most common advice among spray tan users, it is likely that a spray tan can last up to 3 days for lighter skin tones.

However, individual skin types and care can significantly affect the longevity of the spray tan.

Is a spray tan worth the money?

Spray tanning provides a safe alternative to achieving a healthy glow without the risks of skin damage or overexposure to UV radiation that comes with traditional tanning. With proper maintenance, a spray tan can last for days, making it a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to look their best without having to worry about their health.

How can I make my spray tan last longer?

By taking a few steps to care for your skin before and after your spray tan, you can enjoy your beautiful glow for longer. Start with exfoliating the day before your appointment. Moisturize afterwards to keep your skin hydrated.

When showering, use lukewarm water and avoid scrubbing or using harsh soaps. Avoid sweating as much as possible, as this can cause the tan to fade faster. If you notice any fading, you can touch up as needed.

How long until you shower off a spray tan?

For the best results from your spray tan, wait a minimum of 8-10 hours before showering off the solution. To maximize the color result, you can leave the solution on your skin for up to 24 hours.

After showering, you may see some golden glow wash down the drain, but don’t worry!

How long does a spray tan typically last?

Most people find that a spray tan can last up to 10 days with the proper care and maintenance, making it an ideal way to enjoy a sun-kissed glow for over a week.

Spray tans are a great way to get a natural-looking tan without the risks associated with sun exposure. They are also a convenient and affordable option for those who don’t have the time or money to visit a tanning salon. With the right care and maintenance.

Hello! I'm Mandi Colburn, the lead writer of TanningReview.com. Inspired by a California upbringing and a passion for health and fitness, I turned my fascination with sun exposure into a blog that offers credible, research-driven advice on tanning and skin protection. Welcome to TanningReview.com, where my goal is to guide you toward a healthier, sun-kissed glow.