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Importance Of Prep And Aftercare With Spray Tanning

Importance Of Prep And Aftercare With Spray Tanning


Article by Kim Van Tussenbroek from Colour Me Bronze Professional |

We all know how important it is to maintain proper aftercare for your spray tan to get the longevity that your skin will allow it to have. The duration of a spray tan will vary slightly from person to person depending on the health of the skin. But if we don’t follow our own rules, how do we expect our clients to do the same?

A lot of us are quick to judge a spray tan solution without following aftercare advice. The drier your skin is the shorter your spray tan will last, the more humid/hot the climate is the shorter your spray tan will last, the better you look after your spray tan the longer it will last.

We need to make sure that we are drumming into our clients heads the importance of proper preparation and aftercare. I know you probably already do advise your clients, but I am going to post everything that I go through with my clients at the time of the appointment. I’m lucky that I have a lot of dedicated tanning clients who are so pedantic about the way that they look after their tan and they get a good 7-10 days out of it with it fading naturally and not going patchy. In fact I have clients who still want to get sprayed weekly because they want to feel like they have a fresh tan on a weekly basis even though the tan still looks great, but because the tan is so strong they are struggling to get it off after 7 days.

I’m going to start off with the advice that I give clients to follow prior to a spray tan appointment.

The way a spray tan lasts and looks on a client’s skin is a 50/50% split between us and our clients. We apply the spray tan solution on the skin, it is up to the client to maintain and look after their spray tan as best as possible to get the best results and the longest lasting tan that their skin will allow them to have, and it is up to the client to prep their skin properly prior to the appointment.

The evening prior to their spray tan appointment they need to give themselves a good exfoliation in the shower, and they need to make sure that all their waxing and/or shaving is done the day prior as well. They need to make sure that they are moisturising the evening before and that they are using a lot more moisturiser that what they normally do on a standard day, concentrating especially on those areas where the skin may be dryer… shins, knees, elbows, etc.

The most important thing for a client to do prior to a spray tan is to make sure that they aren’t using any body products the day of their tan… this means no makeup, no moisturiser, no deodorant, no perfume… and that they aren’t having a shower within 3 hours of their spray tan appointment.

The shower that they have the morning of their appointment should just be with water only and they should be giving themselves a very LIGHT exfoliation (quick light run over the body with an exfoliation mitt), to get rid of any leftover product that may still be on the surface of the skin. All this needs to be done outside of the 3 hours prior to their spray tan appointment.

Aftercare is just as important. After leaving all body products off their skin for 24 hours (until the tan has finally developed is very important), they can go back to using body products. Using body products prior to the tan being fully developed (due to their pH levels) can potentially change the outcome of the tan so it is very important that no body products are used on the skin within this 24 hour period.

For the days after a spray tan you need to make sure that you are selecting the correct body products for your skin. Soaps aren’t good and should never be used with a spray tan as they can have a pH level of up to 9 (some 11) which means that it can potentially leave the skin dry, tight and vulnerable to damage – especially to those who already have dry skin or their skin is dry after being sprayed with a spray tan solution that contains ethanol/alcohol as a drying agent. Ensuring you are using a body wash or soap free cleansing bar will work best.

Importance Of Prep And Aftercare With Spray Tanning

For those who are unfamiliar with pH. A pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity. The lowest being a 0 (which is the most acidic), right up to the highest at 14 (extremely alkaline), 7 being neutral. The skin’s natural pH level sits at around 5 to 5.5, in other words slightly acidic.

We have found that if your skin is more on the acidic side the spray tan won’t last as long and it will just flake off… if the skin is more alkaline you are more inclined to go a golden or orange colour… and this is why no body products should ever be used whilst the spray tan is still in development due to the alkalinity of all body products.

If you constantly shower with body products, especially the wrong body products you can strip the barrier of your skin. As mentioned soaps are very alkaline and the skin doesn’t set itself back to its natural pH level immediately, it takes a while for it to ‘reset’. In fact it takes about 1 pH point per hour to get back to its natural pH levels, so whilst the skin is resetting it can leave the skin extremely dry or oily in the meantime which is not good for the tan either way.

When selecting products for the skin the lower the pH levels are the more it can be absorbed by the skin and is why the pH of spray tanning solutions are formulated and manufactured with a lower pH level. Having a body wash that is pH balanced will work best as it doesn’t throw out your pH levels.

The thing is… even after the spray tan has developed on the skin your body products can still influence the colour of the spray tan the days after the initial appointment, which means that your spray tan still has a chance to go a little golden or orange in the days after if an incorrect product is used on the skin.

Having a spray tan turn more golden or orange from say day 2-3 onwards is more so from the products that are being used on the skin than from the spray tan solution or application itself, as the development of the spray tan stops at the 24 hour mark (36 hours at most), so if a spray tan is turning orange from say 48 hours onwards then the body products used on the skin needs to be looked and potentially changed.

A gel based body product works best. Do NOT ever use any products made by Dove, Nivea or Palmolive… they are probably the worst brands you can use on your skin with a spray tan. You should try to find a body wash that is free from SLS, perfumes and colourants. So a clear body wash works best. Avoid “creamy” type rich opaque moisturizing body washes. Avoid those gels that have a more yellow or orange colour to them… best to use (if you can’t find a clear pH balanced body wash) are those that are more coloured towards the green, blue or violet colour range.

The most important thing is to make sure that the product you are using is pH balanced.

I’ve heard that using Femfresh Everyday Care Daily Gel Wash works wonders as it’s pH balanced as has very mild ingredients in it’s product. I am going to buy myself some today and test it out with my next tan so I will let you know how that goes (contact me below in the Comments for my results). I had a quick look at the ingredients list and it does contain a form of perfume and colourants CI 14720 (red), CI 15510 (orange) so it does go against what I advise… will be interesting to see how it works.

When you step out of the shower you have just three minutes before your body loses essential moisture, so it is essential that you moisturise after coming straight out of the shower to prevent dry, crackly skin, especially on the shin area. Applying the moisturiser whilst the skin is still slightly wet/damp is best. This locks in the moisture and allows the application of the product on the skin a lot easier to apply as well, without potentially marking or damaging the spray tan whilst the skin is still heated from the shower.

Hope these guidelines help… my clients follow these and they have no issues at all with their results or wear-off of their spray tans. 🙂

– Kim
Kim | Colour Me Bronze Professional



The Colour Me Bronze Spray On Moisturiser intensifies, hydrates and extends the life of your Colour Me Bronze spray tan.

  • Use straight after your spray tan has dried to colourfast your bronzers and intensify your tanning results.
  • It can also be used as an everyday moisturiser to help maintain and lengthen the duration of your tan.
  • It’s quick drying, non-sticky and will help minimise bronzers from rubbing off onto clothing.
  • The Colour Me Bronze Spray On Moisturiser can be used all over the body including the face.

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