You know what they say — “By failing to prepare, you are preparing for failure”. And I’ll let you in on a little secret… preparing for a spray tan is no different. Getting the perfect golden glow requires a knowledgable technician, the right solution for your skin tone (hyperlink to other blog) and some pre-tan due diligence on your part to prep your skin for the best possible result.

I get asked all the time; “Is it possible to get a spray tan weekly, as part of my regular beauty regime?” The answer is, undoubtedly, yes — I am living proof of this, in fact. By no means do spray tans need to be reserved only for special occasions, after all, what’s better than keeping that bronzed look all year round’ (without the sun damage)?

However, while regular spray tans are entirely within your reach, this does require frequent preparation of your skin prior to each tan to ensure it fades out evenly and flawlessly every time. 

Truth be told, I think there are a few too many misconceptions regarding (proper) spray tan expectations. All good things must come to an end, and the true lifetime of a quality spray tan should (contrary to popular belief, perhaps) only be 7 days. Any results hanging on beyond a week are considered the effect of a build up of dead skin. And as you can imagine, keeping dead skin on your body isn’t in your best interest — as this is indicative of rough, dehydrated skin. Instead, you should expect the gradual, flawless fade-out where, if any spray tan “residue” is left behind, it is easily removed using an exfoliant mitt or tan eraser. If you ever feel like you have to practically burn layers of your skin off simply trying to remove an old tan — well, I’ll be the first to tell you that the solution used was likely poor quality or oil-based. In either case, it’s not something I would recommend putting on your skin.

So, let’s get down to the good stuff. How can you truly get the most out of your sunless tan; the best bronze for your buck, so to speak? First things first — let’s establish a basic understanding of what a spray tan really entails. Contrary to popular belief, a spray tan isn’t a ‘paint-like’ product or magical, make-up infused illusion. There is actually a biochemical reaction happening between DHA (the main ingredient in any spray tan solution) and the protein and amino acids found in the ‘epidermis’ layer of your skin. DHA interacts directly with that layer skin, acting as an active ingredient, and turns skin cells nearing the end of their life cycle brown. DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is an all natural, vegan and organic compound cultivated from the Glycerin found in sugar beats. Interestingly enough, DHA’s discovery was an accident of sorts, realized in the 1920’s when a German scientist accidentally dropped it on a patient during a study. 

Now, back to the lifespan of your sunless tan — why is the colour temporary? Well, unlike UV rays that penetrate into deeper layers of the skin (and therefore create lasting sun damage) DHA only affects the outermost layer of your skin (the epidermis). This process is 100% safe, and the tan can be expected to last as long as that top layer of skin (which is determined by your own, personal skin cycle). According to research, humans shed their dead skin at the rate of 0.001 – 0.003 ounces of skin flakes every hour — if only we could shed our problems just as quickly… am I right?


Spray tan or no spray tan, exfoliating should be a regular part of your regular skincare routine. But it’s especially important when it comes time to prep for your upcoming tan. Aside from ‘buffing’ your skin into a clean slate, exfoliating cleans your pores and removes unwanted residue from soap that could work as a barrier between your skin and the spray tan solution. It also removes shampoos, fragrances or anything that can affect or alter your PH levels found in your skin. Plain and simple, the fresher your skin is, the better your tan will look and the longer your tan with last. And of course, if you’re a frequent tanner, exfoliating will ensure you’ve removed any residue left from your previous tan. The best part? By exfoliating properly, you can extend the life of your tan by up to three days!


WARNING: It is important to always avoid PH Balancing Sprays, ‘Prep’ sprays and barrier creams. Some spray tan artists and salon owners may try to up-sell clients on these products, claiming they are vital to the application and longevity of your tan. Don’t be fooled — these are typically a cash grab that will actually negatively impact your results. Anything that is sprayed or applied to your skin prior to your spray tan service can create a barrier between, which prevents the tanning solution from effectively adhering to your skin in those areas. Not only can this create a blotchy or uneven tan where the DHA didn’t activate properly, but it can result in a faster fade out. 


If you plan to shower and shave the morning of your scheduled tan, be sure to do so a few hours before your appointment (and leave time to exfoliate your skin afterwards). As we know, shaving opens up the pores of your skin and shaving cream can leave behind a residue that isn’t conducive to the adherence of spray tan solution. If you absolutely must shave before your tan, do so with lukewarm water, a brand new razor and, ideally, an oil-free shaving cream.


As you might imagine, sunburned/peeling skin doesn’t make for an ideal spray tan canvas. Why? Because a sunburn will create a noticeably blotchy effect the moment your spin peels off. In fact, the results are often so unpredictable (and terrible) that most professional spray tan artist will refuse to spray you if you’ve been recently burned. My best advice? Wait until after your skin has totally recovered from your sun burn before booking your next spray tan, and always wear sunscreen to avoid getting the burn in the first place. Your skin — and your spray tan — will thank you. 


Listen, I know that leaving our house sans cream/make-up can be a daunting concept for most of us. Unfortunately, these products act as a barrier to DHA, so if you really want the most out of your tan, you should arrive entirely fresh faced. If this isn’t an ideal scenario for you, don’t worry, that’s why we have mobile spray tanning services that come right to your house. 



Unless chemical-green pits is the look you’re going for, applying deodorant before your tanning appointment is something you should avoid. There is something that happens to the cosmetic guide when it interacts with the ingredients found in antiperspirant, and let’s just say the results aren’t ideal at first glance. However don’t fret, should this happen to you, the green residue should wash away once you shower.


No white pants after Labour Day, and certainly no white pants after a spray tan — or any tight pants for that matter. For best results, come to your appointment dressed in dark, loose clothing to avoid the material of your clothes sucking up any DHA off your skin and resulting in a lighter tan than you hoped for.