Avoid Getting Wet Until You're Ready to Rinse Off Your Spray Tan
Most spray tans take a few hours to fully develop and when you rinse off affects the outcome of the color. The sooner you shower, the lighter it is, the longer you wait the darker the color, although the maximum amount of time you should wait is eight hours. Ask your tanning expert because the wait time depends on the formula.
During this time, it's super important not to get wet — this includes sweating at the gym. But, accidents happen. If you do get wet, there are ways to salvage the color. "If your tan has already been developing for a while you're probably safe, but if you have a fresh tan I would try to lightly pat the area (with a smooth cloth) and touch up with a self-tanner if possible," said DiMarchi. "Self-tanning waters — such as the Tan-Luxe The Water Hydrating Self-Tan Water ($47) — are the easiest products to use for this because you can lightly mist the area instead of rubbing on any extra product that could potentially mess up other areas of your tan."
When it is time to rinse off, don't just hop in the shower like you normally world. "Try to avoid showering with super hot water; lukewarm is much better," said DiMarchi. And skip on the soap, if you can. This will keep from too much of the color washing off in one go. "After showering, pat dry your skin with a towel instead of rubbing. Towels can act as a dry exfoliant and therefore cause your tan to fade more quickly."
Eliminate That Spray Tan Stickiness With Powder
Luckily, spray tan formulas have come a long way and most no longer leave you feeling sticky or gross. However, if you do feel any tackiness after application or have an event immediately after an express treatment you can use setting powder. "I apply setting powder and fixer spray after the spray tan, similar to how makeup artists use setting sprays and translucent powders," said Evans. Concentrate it on areas like your inner-elbows, underarms, and neck.
Change Your Skin-Care Products Temporarily
The pre- and post-care for spray tanning your face is the same as your body. If you're self-tanning at home, look for products formulated specifically for the face, like the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops ($29).
If you spray tan your face, you'll need to sacrifice your skincare routine for a little while — or at least as long as you want the color to last. This means no topicals, chemical exfoliators, acne treatments, and so on. "Your face will fade quicker than the rest of your body due to skincare regimens, so I recommend using Tan-Luxe The Face Illuminating Self-Tan Drops ($49) to touch up your tan every other day if you're looking for that extra boost of color," said DiMarchi.