This Irish faired skin lady loves her a good spray tan. After growing up in Florida and desperately trying to tan (enter lots of Botox and skincare needs for sun-damaged skin) I know exclusively spray tan!
Spray tans give you a sunless tan, no tan lines and are the best way to get a glow — you know by now how bad the sun is for your skin!
But did you know that using the right moisturizer can make all the difference between a spray tan that fades in one day versus one that can last for upwards of 5-7 days? In this blog post, we’ll look at why moisturizing is so important for your spray tan and what type of moisturizer is best for keeping your golden glow looking amazing. The life of your tan can be extended if you take care of your skin and use the best moisturizers!
How does a Spray Tan Work?
DHA is the primary active ingredient found in many popular skincare products that gives you a golden glow. It can be used on its own or combined with other tanning agents such as erythrulose.
With spray tans or any tan lotion, the process begins with dihydroxyacetone or DHA. This chemical reacts with your skin cells to darken them – all it takes is some of this colorless formula and voila: you’ll have that beachy bronze look we all love so much. How much browning happens depends on your skin type and how strong your formulation is.
Why Moisturize After a Spray Tan?
DHA is well known for its powerful tanning effects, but beware – it’s equally renowned for leaving skin dry and flaky.
Because of this, moisturizing is essential after a spray tan because it helps to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. This is important because dry skin can cause your tan to fade prematurely. Using a good moisturizer will also help to even out any streaks or patchiness that may occur after the tanning session.
What Type of Moisturizer Should I Use?
It’s important to choose the right type of moisturizer for your spray tan. Look for one that has natural ingredients like shea butter and argan oil, as these are known for their hydrating properties. Avoid products with alcohol as these can dry out your skin and cause it to peel off prematurely, leaving you with an uneven-looking tan. Additionally, try to avoid oil-based products as these can interfere with the absorption of the product and reduce its efficacy.
You should also look for a product specifically designed for use with spray tans. These types of products often contain added antioxidants which help protect your skin from UV rays, as well as natural bronzing agents which will add an extra layer of color to your existing tan. And don’t forget that regular exfoliation is also important; this will help remove dead skin cells that can interfere with the absorption of both sunless tanners and moisturizers!
What Ingredients Should You Look for ?
Ceramides are the perfect ingredient for a post-spray tan moisturizer. Think of ceramides as a strong layer of mortar around the bricks that make up our cells! Not only do they hold you together and form a protective barrier but they also keep your skin smooth and supple.
Coconut Oil is another excellent ingredient to look for in a tan extender lotion. I also really like aloe vera.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
The primary ingredients you should avoid in a moisturizer after a spray tan are mineral oil, alcohols, anything with artificial fragrances or dye and essential oils.
Also, steer far away from anti-aging products because they will turn over your skin cells quickly, which then removes the color you applied. Products like Retin-A, Salicylic Acid, AHA’s and Glycolic acid will strip the color from your skin. A tan stays by keeping those tanned skin cells on your body as long as possible!
Let’s Dive into Alcohol
This is a tricky one, and one I had to research myself. A lot of sites will tell you to stay away from alcohol because it ‘fades spray tans.” The moisturizers I use after spray tans have cetyl alcohol. I’ve never had a problem with pre-mature fading of my spray tan using products with this ingredient.
Caroline Hirons has a fabulous article about it, and it confirmed my suspicions. Alcohol has a bad rap, and not all types are created equal.
Let’s talk quickly about the types of alcohol in beauty products.
Cetyl and Cetearyl Alcohol
Cetyl and Cetearyl alcohols are a type of fatty-alcohol used as emollients in skincare products. They work by providing richness without drying the skin, giving it slip and thickness!
Benzyl Alcohol is present mainly for its aromatic purposes – that being to provide scent or fragrance. Fragrance is not your friend with spray tan – benzyl alcohol is the main ingredient you need to stay away from when choosing a post-spray tan moisturizer.
These are the yuck alcohol’s. If you see these products, put the moisturizer back on the shelf. These are simple alcohol’s and they can be harsh on your skin; look for ingredients called Isopropanol & Denatured (Alcohol d) varieties and avoid them!
When to Start Moisturizing after a Spray Tan
As tempting as it is to start babying your skin after you get a spray tan, do not put anything on your skin until after your first shower! And you should not be showering until at least 8 hours after you tan! Not only that, but try hard to do a quick shower. The life of your spray tan can go down quickly if you put too much water on your body! For the best results avoid long showers for the week after your tan session.
Let the tanning solution fully into your skin for the 8 hours so it can fully develop and then shower. After your shower, then by all means, cover yourself in a rich, decadent moisturizing cream!
RELATED: 30 Spray Tan Tips
How I Personally Choose to Moisturize
I moisturize after a spray tan in two phases. My first phase of my tan maintenance is to deeply hit my entire body with a rich, heavy cream for a power shot of moisture. I apply my cream after my first shower, and then everyday for the first three days. I don’t over do it – once a day is fine if you’re using a super emoliant cream with ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
For days 4-7 after my spray tan I transition to a moisturizing milk that is also a self tanning agent. This helps prolong the color of my tan for those final few days when it starts to tan. I find that the combination of moisture with aloe and vitamin E gives me silky skin, but still a bit of bronzey glow!
My In-Shower Body Washes
Post-tanning moisture starts in the shower. Avoid bar soaps, products with sulfates and any astringent or toner. Also – ditch your wash cloth and loofah. No exfoliating all week, please! Keep those tanned skin cells on your body as long as you can!
The shower soap I prefer to use is Cerave Hydrating Body Wash (I’m a giant fan of this brand, Cetaphil and Eucerin. I have very sensitive skin and get chronic hives so have tested all three and swear by products within each brand.)
CeraVe Skincare is a fragrance-free skincare product that has no parabens or sulfates, soap. It’s been allergy-tested, plus it’s non-comedogenic ingredients to ensure the perfect experience for your delicate post tanned skin.
Favorite Body Wash to Use
#1 Choice: Cereave Moisturizing Cream
This is my first choice for the primary lotion for the first few days after getting a spray tan. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is formulated with the power of hyaluronic acid, ceramides and MVE technology for a complete 24-hour hydration. It’s crazy rich and has velvety texture wraps that skin in softness without feeling heavy or sticky!
It’s an excellent choice if you’re dealing with dry skin as it helps to restore lipids back into the natural barrier while providing long lasting relief from itching, flakiness – giving you smooth and nourished results every time. Perfect for using after a skin drying spray tan.
Favorite Moisturizer to Use
#2 Choice Bondi Sands Self Tanning Lotion
This is the gradual lotion I start using on day 3 or 4 after my spray tan. It’s around these days that my tan starts to fade, so I want to both moisturize and prolong the tan.
I love how it’s easy to apply and you don’t have to worry about streaks but gives you gradual bronzing color. The Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning lotion has innovative dual action milk enriched with aloe and vitamin E for a beautiful, healthy-looking bronze. Simply glide it on for an effortless sun-kissed look that lasts – no matter the season! I have sensitive skin and this product is a great tan solution and all around good lotion for those final days of your spray tan.
Shop the Bondi Sands Tanning Milk
Products that Work Great After Spray Tans
They won’t fade your tan!
After getting spray tans for 15 years, I’ve learned what products help keep your spray tan lasting longer. These are the three products I recommend and use – a great body wash, a heavy moisturizer and a tanning milk that moisturizes and prolongs your tan!
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The key to keeping your spray tan looking great is choosing the right type of moisturizer and using it regularly after each application. Natural ingredients like shea butter and argan oil are ideal choices, while alcohol-based products should be avoided as they can dry out your skin too much or cause it to peel off prematurely.
Additionally, look for products designed specifically for use with sunless tanners which include special antioxidants and bronzing agents that will add extra life to your existing color. With proper care, you’ll have a beautiful golden glow all year round!