Here's what to expect when you first get a spray tan (2023)

Though I grew up in sun-drenched Southern California, I'm a ghost. I once got sunburned on a plane and now I have to wear sunscreen on day flights. Of course, a shine acquired by sunbathing is unrealistic. But as a result, I have always longed for a gem.sun-kissed bronze. After an incident with Mandarine, I realized that for a spray tan to look natural, it has to be done right and taken care of. There had to be a secret.

I decided to talk to two experts, Kristyn Pradas from Pradas Glow and Sophie Evans from St Tropez, to find out the key.flawless artificial tan.

Pradas and Evans know what they are talking about. Pradas was the exclusive spray tan artist for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and has a glittering list of celebrity clients including Bella and Gigi Hadid. Meanwhile, Evans' client list includes Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and even Colin Firth; she's also been a behind-the-scenes fixture at fashion shows ranging from Chanel to Miami Swim Week.

With these two experts, I decided to get to the bottom of the most common questions about spray tanning, and to test these hypotheses, I even followed their advice on my own spray tan.

What should I do before my tan?

Be sure to schedule any other spa treatments before your spray tan, including facials, massages, waxing, and manicures/pedicures. If you decide to shave, you should do it before, but not immediately before. Pradas suggests shaving earlier and rinsing with ice water, as this will close your pores and ensure that your tan doesn't get trapped and show up as little brown dots. He also recommends using fresh razor blades to prevent your tan from fading unevenly.

Pradas and Evans agree that exfoliating before you tan is one of the most important ways to keep your tan looking its best. "The best advice for any client is to exfoliate the entire body the day or night before, or first thing in the morning if your treatment is later in the evening," Evans said. "You can exfoliate right before your spray tan if you're using the right [oil-free] product."

Remember not to use anything on your skin during your tanning appointment. "Avoid wearing perfume, creams, lotions, deodorants and makeup to your spray tan appointment—a clean canvas is always best," Pradas said.

What can I expect during my tan?

You should plan to undress, at least for the most part. "You can go absolutely commando and have no tan lines, or if you want a sleek tan line like the Saint Laurent 2017 campaign, keep your skimpy pieces on-trend and make sure the undergarments don't wobble!" she said Evans. “Just be aware that self-tanners can stain silk and some dry-clean-only fabrics. A good tanning technician will always offer you disposable underwear if you want to ensure your precious little ones stay looking their best.”

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable in what you are wearing. Whether it's a bikini, underwear, or a full command, your tanning artist should be supportive of your choice.

There are some other important facts to share with your spray tanning professional. "You should always tell the person about your previous self-tanning experience and if you have an event, what day the event is, if you have any skin conditions, rashes, dry patches, sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis, discoloration, and/or if there are certain areas that clear up faster," Pradas said.

According to Evans, you also need to tell your artist if you're pregnant, in which case you should see your doctor. If you get the green light, ask your artist to do a skin patch test on her, as she may be more sensitive than normal. Also, let your artist know if she is nursing, as then she should avoid the nipples.

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Do I have to do anything special after my tan?

Some caution is required after spray tanning, as the tan can last up to twelve hours, depending on the solution used. "While your tan is developing, it's important to avoid getting wet. That includes sweating, swimming, showering and/or getting out in the rain!" Pradas said. "You should also avoid tight-fitting clothing, especially low-crotch pants like jeans and some leggings, and tight cuffed pants/sweatpants, etc." Evans also advised against waxing and body treatments such as facials or massages, as they can affect the result of your tan.

How long you should wait before showering depends on the type of spray tan you've been given. Traditional spray tans take eight to 12 hours to develop (sleeping in them and then showering in the morning is best), while certain express solutions allow you to shower after one to three hours. There are also some clear spray tanners that never require a shower, although your tan will stop developing after twelve hours.

If you sleep tanned, be aware that your tan may appear darker than it actually is. But when you wash off the bronzer in the morning, you should have a softer color and a fully developed tan. "When you sleep, your body temperature warms up and your pores open up, allowing the tanning active (DHA) to really penetrate the skin and work to its full potential," Evans said.

While you sleep, it's important to wear long, dark clothing so that when you sweat off a bit of your tan, it stays in your pajamas and not on your crisp white sheets. However, many tan stains can be easily washed off with a little soap and water.

For those who exercise frequently, your tan may also fade unevenly. If that's the case, Evans recommends exfoliating your body every few days and moisturizing daily to ensure your tan is even and flawless-looking.

If you're tanning to prepare for an event, Pradas and Evans recommend spraying a day or two before the party. This allows the color to fully set before the special day.

How long will my tan last?

Pradas and Evans say it really does matter, but basically five to 12 days. Your face and hands will last even less as you (hopefully) wash them more often. So in this case, Evans advised investing in an assetself tanner for facethat you can use every few days.

There are also other products and strategies that will help your tan last as long as possible. "Take warm showers, not too hot, with a pH-balanced body wash, dry off when you go out," Pradas said. "Keep your skin hydrated both inside and out!"

Help your tan last longer

Here's what to expect when you first get a spray tan (2)

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It is important to use body wash and body lotion, which are recommended for post-spray tan care. It is important to keep the skin hydrated. Certain oils, such as mineral oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil, will actually strip your tan, so be careful what you put on your newly tanned body. Pradas also recommends drinking plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from within as well.

What is an organic fake tan?

Pradas said this was a false claim, since basically all tanning products contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a sugar-derived coloring additive that turns dead skin cells brown. “There is no such thing as an organic spray tan. The process of turning sugar into DHA, which turns your skin brown, no longer allows you to call it organic," Pradas said. "Most people are unaware, there is a lack of education and misinformation when it comes to self-tanners and self-tanners. The most important thing when formulating self-tanners is that the source the sugar comes from is not GMO or organic, for example, we mainly use beets in the self-tanner industry.”

Evans found that the way a company extracts its DHA plays a big role in how natural the tanning ingredients are. “It is very common for solutions to use formaldehyde to extract DHA from sugarcane faster. Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas," he said. "If you're using formaldehyde to extract your DHA, then your DHA is certainly not naturally occurring and organic."

So the source and extraction method of spray tanning can (and should) be organic, but spray tanning probably isn't. Adds Pradas, "It's also important that a spray tan is moisturizing so it doesn't dry out the skin, which can make it look like it's cracked," Pradas said. "So make sure your self-tanner contains hyaluronic acid, which locks in skin's moisture, and aloe, which has hydrating and healing properties."

Here's what to expect when you first get a spray tan (3)

Will this make me look orange?

If it's wrong, yes! Think: this episode offriends, aptly named "The One with the Ross Tan". But Pradas assured us: "With the right formula and expert spray tan, you won't look orange."

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It's important that you do your research: go to a salon with good reviews, try not to go too dark, and be sure to look at the artist and the formulas/products they use. If all goes well, you'll look more like a Hadid sister and less like a Cheeto.

And what is the price?

It varies depending on where you live and which salon you choose, and it gets even more expensive if you choose to have the spray tan artist come to your house (which is an option in many places!). The artist's expertise will also make tanning more or less expensive. Evans says the price of a good tan in New York ranges from $75 to $120, while Pradas noted that spray tans can typically range from $25 to $500.

With the guidance of these tanning goddesses, I tried this tip with a spray tan that Pradas kindly offered me. The results? ~brightness~. Her tan doesn't have a sour smell or a hint of orange, and shaving and exfoliating beforehand allowed my skin to be a perfect canvas for my subtle new tan. His expertly contouring "dance" gave me the look of abs that would have taken me months in the gym (and we all know that wouldn't happen). All things considered, I seem to have spent the weekend in St. Barth's, when in fact I was holed up in New York and watchedGoop-Labor.

Curious? You can try a spray tan yourselfprada glitter(they have experts trained by Pradas at the national level) orSaint Tropezat the new 57th Street Nordstrom.Sugary + Tan, also has locations in New York, California, and Pennsylvania.

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