Washing off spray tan too early is a crucial consideration when aiming for that perfect sun-kissed glow through spray tanning. Achieving a flawless tan requires careful planning, and one critical aspect is the timing of when to wash off the spray tan.

The phrase itself emphasizes the significance of allowing the tanning solution to adequately develop on the skin. A spray tan involves a temporary colorant that needs time to react with the skin’s surface and create the desired tint.

If one were to wash off the spray tan prematurely, before the color has fully developed, the result could be disappointing, leading to uneven or washed-out color. To prevent such outcomes, it’s essential to follow the recommended waiting period provided by the tanning technician or the product manufacturer.

Patience is key in spray tanning, as a well-timed wash ensures a beautiful and long-lasting sunless tan.

How Long After Getting A Spray Tan Can You Shower?

Generally, waiting at least 6-8 hours after getting a spray tan before taking your first shower is recommended. The tanning solution interacts with the skin during this time, developing the desired color.

Showering too soon after a spray tan can interfere with development, leading to a lighter or uneven tan. It’s essential to avoid hot water and harsh soaps during the first shower, as these can strip away the tanning solution and affect the outcome.

After the initial shower, it’s still advisable to use gentle, hydrating body washes and to pat the skin dry instead of rubbing. Additionally, moisturizing regularly can help prolong the life of your spray tan.

How Early Is Too Early To Remove A Spray Tan?

Removing a spray tan too early can lead to disappointing results and an uneven or patchy tan. It’s generally recommended to wait at least 6-8 hours after the spray tan application before removing it. This time frame allows the tanning solution to interact with the skin and develop the desired color properly.

Suppose you remove a spray tan before this recommended waiting period. In that case, the tan may have yet to develop fully, and you might end up with a lighter or uneven appearance. This is especially true for tanning solutions that grow several hours after application.

What Happens If You Wash Off A Spray Tan Too Soon?

If you wash off a spray tan too soon, before it has had sufficient time to develop and set on your skin, several undesirable outcomes can occur:

  1. Uneven Color: The tanning solution needs time to react with the proteins in your skin to create the desired tan. Washing it off prematurely can result in an uneven distribution of color, leading to splotches, streaks, or patches.
  2. Lighter Color: The tan you see immediately after a spray tan is often a partial color. The solution continues to develop for several hours after application. If you wash it off too early, you might have a tan lighter than you intended.
  3. Incomplete Tan: The tanning solution might need more time to fully develop on your skin, leading to an incomplete tan that lacks depth and vibrancy.
  4. Shorter Lifespan: A spray tan that hasn’t had enough time to set correctly may not last as long as it should. Premature washing can cause the color to fade more quickly.
  5. Wasted Effort and Money: Getting a spray tan requires time and money. Washing it off too soon can negate these efforts and expenses.

What Should You Do If You Wash Off A Spray Tan Too Early?

Suppose you accidentally wash off a spray tan too early and notice uneven or unsatisfactory results. In that case, there are a few steps you can take to mitigate the situation potentially:

  1. Contact the Tanning Professional: If you have had your spray tan applied by a professional at a salon, reach out to them immediately to explain the situation. They can offer advice on how to salvage the tan or provide suggestions for touch-ups.
  2. Moisturize: Even if your tan has been compromised, moisturizing your skin can help prolong the remaining color and improve its appearance. Use a gentle, hydrating lotion to prevent further fading.
  3. Bronzing Products: Consider using a temporary bronzing product, such as a bronzing lotion or spray, to help even out the color and provide a brief tan-like appearance. These products can help camouflage any unevenness.
  4. Exfoliate Gently: If you’re still unhappy with the uneven results after a few days, you can consider gently exfoliating your skin. This can help remove rough patches and create a more consistent base for a future tan application.
  5. Wait for It to Fade: In most cases, a prematurely washed-off tan will naturally fade within a few days. As your skin naturally exfoliates, the unevenness may become less noticeable.
  6. Consult a Professional: If you need help with how to proceed or if you want to correct the tan, consider consulting a tanning professional. They might offer advice or recommend specific products to help improve the appearance of the tan.

Everyone’s skin reacts differently to tanning products so results may vary. Following the instructions for your specific tanning product or procedure is always a good idea to achieve the best possible outcome.

What Should You Do If You Wash Off A Spray Tan Too Early?

Use Self-Tanning Products:

Self-tanning products provide a convenient and safe method to attain a sun-kissed appearance without the need for UV ray exposure. If you’ve removed a spray tan prematurely or seek an alternative to traditional tanning techniques, self-tanning products offer an excellent remedy.

Here are some common types of self-tanning products and their features:

  1. Self-Tanning Lotions: These are creamy formulations you apply like regular body lotion. They often provide moisturizing benefits in addition to the tanning effect.
  2. Self-Tanning Sprays: Sprays are easy to apply and can cover large areas quickly. They often come in aerosol cans or pump bottles for controlled application.
  3. Self-Tanning Mousses: Mousses have a lightweight, foamy texture that makes them easy to spread evenly. They dry quickly and can provide a natural-looking tan.
  4. Self-Tanning Gels: These products feature a clear formula, making them advantageous for individuals with oily skin. Their fast-drying nature makes them suitable for facial application.
  5. Self-Tanning Wipes: These are pre-soaked towelettes used to apply the tanning solution. They’re convenient for on-the-go touch-ups.

When using self-tanning products, it’s essential to follow the instructions provided with the product. Here are some general tips for achieving the best results:

  • Prepare your skin by exfoliating before applying the self-tanner for a uniform and smooth result.
  • Apply a thin product layer and blend it well, especially around the knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists.
  • To prevent staining your hands, use a tanning mitt or gloves during the application process.
  • To avoid transferring the product onto your clothing, wait for it to dry before getting dressed.
  • Avoid contact with water or sweating for the recommended development time.
  • Moisturize your skin regularly after applying the self-tanner to help maintain the tan’s appearance.

Get A Touch-Up:

Getting a touch-up for your tan can help maintain its evenness and vibrancy as it starts to naturally fade. Here are some steps to consider when getting a self-tanning touch-up:

  1. Assess the Tan: Before scheduling a touch-up, evaluate your existing tan to determine which areas have faded more noticeably or unevenly. This will help you focus your touch-up efforts where they’re needed most.
  2. Exfoliate: Before applying any additional self-tanner, exfoliate your skin to ensure a smooth and even surface. This step removes any traces of the previous tan and prepares your skin for the new application.
  3. Choose the Right Product: opt for the same self-tanning product you initially used or a similar one from the same brand. This will help maintain consistency in color and application.
  4. Apply Sparingly: Focus on the areas that need the most attention. Apply the self-tanner sparingly to these areas and blend well to avoid overloading the skin with color.
  5. Use a Light Hand: When applying the touch-up product, use a light hand and build up the color gradually. This prevents one from ending up with an overly dark or unnatural-looking tan.
  6. Blending: Make sure to blend the touch-up product seamlessly with the existing tan to avoid harsh lines or uneven patches.
  7. Follow Development Time: Adhere to the recommended development time provided by the product instructions. Avoid water or sweating during this period to allow the self-tanner to set correctly.
  8. Moisturize: After the tan has fully developed, moisturize your skin regularly to extend the life of the touch-up and maintain hydration.
  9. Avoid Over-Tanning: While touch-ups are helpful, apply self-tanner sparingly or in too many layers. This can lead to an overly dark or uneven result.
  10. Professional Help: If you’re unsure about touch-up techniques or want a more expert touch, consider seeking advice from a tanning professional at a salon or spa.

Renew The Tan:

Renewing your tan involves refreshing and maintaining the color of your self-tanned skin as it naturally fades over time. Here’s how you can continue your tan effectively:

  1. Exfoliate: Remove any remnants of the previous tan before renewing your tan. This creates a smooth canvas for the new application.
  2. Choose the Right Self-Tanner: Select a self-tanning product that matches your desired original shade. Consider whether you want a gradual tanner or a more intense color, and choose a product accordingly.
  3. Apply Evenly: Apply the self-tanner evenly across your body, focusing on the most faded areas. Use a tanning mitt or gloves to avoid staining your hands. Blend the product well to prevent streaks or uneven patches.
  4. Start Gradually: If you’re using a self-tanner with a more intense color, start with a lighter application and build up the color over a few days. This prevents sudden color changes that might look unnatural.
  5. Special Attention: Pay extra attention to areas prone to fading unevenly, such as the elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists. Apply the product sparingly and blend carefully in these areas.
  6. Wait for Development: Follow the recommended development time provided by the product instructions. Avoid water, sweating, or activities that might rub off the product during this time.
  7. Moisturize: After your renewed tan has developed, moisturize your skin regularly to prolong the color’s lifespan and maintain hydration.
  8. Maintain a Routine: Depending on your desired level of tan, you should renew it every few days or once a week. Establish a routine that fits your preferences and lifestyle.
  9. Monitor Color: Monitor the color as it develops and fades. If you notice any unevenness or areas that need adjustment, make the necessary changes during your next application.

Remember that self-tanning products provide a temporary tan; renewal is a regular process. By following these steps and practicing good self-tanning techniques, you can enjoy a consistent and natural-looking tan throughout the year.

How To Wash Off Spray Tan?

When it’s time to wash off a spray tan, it’s essential to do so in a way that preserves the evenness and longevity of the color. Here’s how to properly wash off a spray tan:

  1. Wait for the Recommended Time: Follow the waiting period recommended by your tanning technician or the product manufacturer. This usually ranges from 6 to 8 hours after the spray tan application. Waiting allows the tanning solution to develop on your skin entirely.
  2. Use Lukewarm Water: When it’s time to shower, use lukewarm water instead of hot water. Hot water can strip away the tanning solution and cause the tan to fade more quickly.
  3. Gentle Cleanser: Use a soft, sulfate-free body wash or soap. Harsh soaps can accelerate the fading of the tan. Apply the soap lightly and avoid scrubbing vigorously.
  4. Pat Dry: Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel after showering. Avoid rubbing, as this can cause the tan to wear off unevenly.
  5. Moisturize: Apply a hydrating, alcohol-free lotion to your skin immediately after patting dry. Moisturizing helps to extend the life of the tan by maintaining skin hydration.
  6. Avoid Exfoliation: Avoid exfoliating your skin for the first few days after washing off the spray tan. Exfoliation can cause the tan to fade more quickly.
  7. Avoid Chlorine and Saltwater: Chlorine and saltwater can also contribute to faster fading. If possible, avoid swimming in pools or the ocean until you’re ready for a new tan.
  8. Take Shorter Showers: While your tan is on, try to keep your showers shorter to minimize the exposure to water, which can cause the tan to fade.
  9. Stay Hydrated: Maintaining proper hydration by consuming ample water assists in keeping your skin well-hydrated internally, potentially leading to a more enduring tan.
  10. Reapply as Needed: As your spray tan naturally fades, you can consider reapplying or touching up the tan using the same or similar self-tanning products.
How To Prolong A Spray Tan?

How To Prolong A Spray Tan?

Prolonging the life of your spray tan requires careful maintenance and mindful practices. Here’s how you can extend the longevity of your spray tan:

Preparation Before Tanning:

  • Exfoliate: Before getting a spray tan, exfoliate your skin to remove dead cells and create a smooth surface for the tanning solution.
  • Shave or Wax: Shave or wax at least a day before your spray tan to allow the pores to close and prevent uneven color absorption.

Choose The Right Tanning Solution:

  • Opt for Quality Products: Choose a reputable tanning salon or use high-quality self-tanning products known for their long-lasting results.

Application And Aftercare:

  • Follow Instructions: Apply the spray tan according to the instructions provided by your tanning technician or the product manufacturer.
  • Avoid Water and Sweat: For the first 6-8 hours after the spray tan, avoid activities that can cause excessive sweating or contact with water.

Post-Tan Maintenance:

  • Moisturize Regularly: Keeping your skin hydrated with a non-alcoholic, hydrating lotion can help prolong the life of the tan.
  • Use Sulfate-Free Products: Use sulfate-free body washes and soaps to prevent stripping the tan.
  • Pat Dry: After showering, pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it.
  • Avoid Exfoliation: Refrain from using harsh exfoliates, loofahs, or scrubs for the first few days after the tan.

Clothing And Activities:

  • Wear Loose Clothing: Tight clothes can rub against the skin and cause the tan to wear off faster. Opt for loose-fitting attire after your spray tan.
  • Avoid Pools and Hot Tubs: Chlorine and hot tub chemicals can lead to more quickly fading, so try to avoid prolonged exposure to them.
  • Sun Protection: While a spray tan doesn’t provide sun protection, applying sunscreen can prevent the tan from fading due to sun exposure.


  • Consider Light Touch-Ups: If you notice areas fading more quickly, consider using a gradual tanning product for touch-ups.

Hydrate From Within:

  • Stay Hydrated: Sustaining skin health and hydration is facilitated by adequate water consumption, potentially extending the duration of your tan.

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Diet and Exercise: Balanced nutrition and consistent physical activity can enhance skin well-being, indirectly supporting the extension of your tan’s longevity.

Before Tanning:

Preparing your skin correctly before tanning is crucial to achieving the best and most even results. Here are the steps you should consider before tanning:

  1. Exfoliate: Gently exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and create a smooth surface. This helps the tanning product adhere evenly and prevents patchiness.
  2. Shave or Wax: If you plan to remove hair, do so at least a day before tanning to allow your skin’s pores to close. This prevents the tanning solution from settling into open pores.
  3. Avoid Makeup and Lotions: On your tanning session, avoid wearing makeup, moisturizers, lotions, or oils. These can create barriers between your skin and the tanning solution, leading to uneven results.
  4. Wear Loose Clothing: Choose loose, dark-colored clothing to wear to and from your tanning appointment. Tight clothing can rub off the tanning solution and cause uneven color development.
  5. Bring Dark-Colored Underwear or Swimsuit: If you’re tanning in a salon, consider bringing dark-colored underwear or a swimsuit to wear during the session. This will prevent staining lighter garments.
  6. Skip Perfumes and Deodorants: Avoid using perfumes, deodorants, or antiperspirants before tanning, as these products can interfere with the tanning solution’s effectiveness.
  7. Prepare for the Waiting Period: After the tanning session, you’ll need to wait for the tanning solution to develop fully. Plan activities that don’t involve water or excessive sweating during this time.
  8. Protect Nails and Hair: Apply a layer of clear nail polish to your nails to prevent staining. Pull back your hair or use a hair net to keep it away from your face and neck during tanning.
  9. Patch Test: If you’re using a new tanning product or getting a spray tan for the first time, consider doing a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions.

What Should I Do After Getting a Spray Tan?

Don’t Shower For The First Few Hours After Your Spray Tan:

It’s generally recommended to avoid showering for the first few hours after getting a spray tan. This initial period is known as the “development time,” during which the tanning solution interacts with the proteins on your skin’s surface to create the desired tan.

Showering too soon after a spray tan, especially within the first 6-8 hours, can disrupt the tanning process and potentially lead to uneven color development. The tanning solution needs time to react and fully develop on your skin, creating a natural and even tan.

During this waiting period, avoiding activities that can cause excessive sweating or contact with water, such as exercising or swimming, is also advised. These activities can also impact the evenness of the tan.

Wear Loose Clothes For 24 Hours:

Wear Loose Clothing: opt for loose, dark-colored clothing after your spray tan session. Tight clothes can rub against the skin and cause the tanning solution to come off unevenly.

Look Out For Visible Panty Lines:

When you’ve recently gotten a spray tan, it’s essential to be mindful of visible panty lines. The freshly applied tanning solution can transfer onto clothing, and tight undergarments can cause uneven color distribution, leading to noticeable lines.

To avoid this, opt for seamless or minimal coverage underwear, or consider going without it for the first day after your tan. This precaution helps maintain the evenness and quality of your tan while ensuring a natural and flawless appearance.

Apply Baby Powder:

Applying baby powder after a spray tan can help minimize stickiness and prevent the tanning solution from transferring onto clothing.

Gently dusting a light layer of baby powder on areas prone to friction, such as underarms and inner thighs, can enhance your comfort and protect the freshly tanned skin.

Ensure the powder is dehydrated before getting dressed to avoid unwanted marks on your clothes.

Avoid Deodorants And Perfumes:

After getting a spray tan, avoiding deodorants and perfumes for at least the first day is advisable.

Deodorants and perfumes can contain chemicals that might interact with the tanning solution and affect color development. These products can create barriers on the skin, potentially leading to uneven or less vibrant results.

Shower Gently:

After getting a spray tan, be sure to shower gently. Use lukewarm water and a mild, sulfate-free body wash.

Avoid scrubbing or using harsh exfoliates, as these can strip away the tanning solution and lead to uneven color fading.

Instead, pat your skin dry after the shower and apply moisturizer to help maintain the tan’s quality and longevity.

I Washed My Spray Tan Too Early. How Do I Fix This?

I Washed My Spray Tan Too Early. How Do I Fix This?

If you’ve washed your spray tan off too early and are left with uneven or faded results, here are steps to consider for addressing the issue:

Call Your Local Salon:

Contact the salon or tanning technician who applied the spray tan immediately. Explain the situation and ask for their advice. They might offer solutions and recommendations or even suggest a touch-up appointment.

Use Self-Tanning Products To Cover Up:

If it’s not feasible to revisit the salon for a touch-up, you can use self-tanning products at home to even out the tan. Choose a high-quality self-tanner and follow the instructions for application. Focus on the faded areas and blend carefully to achieve a more consistent color.

Prepare For Your Touch-Up:

If a touch-up appointment is the best solution, follow the salon’s recommendations for preparation. This might involve exfoliating before the meeting, wearing loose clothing, and avoiding lotions and perfumes on the touch-up day.

Final Words:

Proper care and timing are essential for achieving the best results in sunless tanning. Whether getting a spray tan or using self-tanning products, patience and attention to detail can make all the difference.

Remember to exfoliate, prepare your skin, and follow the recommended development time before showering while also being cautious about washing off spray tan too early. Opt for loose clothing, avoid tight undergarments, and skip deodorants and perfumes for the first day after your tan.

If you ever encounter issues like washing off your spray tan too early, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice or use self-tanning products for touch-ups. Following these guidelines, you can enjoy a beautiful, natural-looking tan that enhances your confidence and radiance.