Spray Tanning 101

Spray Tanning 101 - Kortni Jeane
Spray tans 101
There's a sort of fear around spray tanning because...well...nobody wants it to look like they got a spray tan! There's a lot of spray tan horror stories out there (think Ross from Friends  🙈) so we're here to make sure you get the glow up you want. Running a swimsuit company year-round has made us experts! Living in Utah, it's impossible to have a natural tan year-round, so we've got a few tricks up our sleeve for those of you looking to get a spray tan or even learn how to give one! We tried out one of Soel Beauty's spray tan kits to give one of our employees the perfect Summer glow. We worked out all the kinks for you and learned all the tricks so you don't have to!
Spray tan prep
To get the natural looking results you want, the right prep is crucial! So, here's some things you'll need to know before you go:
shower + exfoliate
Showering is the best way to get the surface layer of dead skin to easily rub off. Before getting a spray tan or using any self-tanning product, this step is essential because it removes the very top layer of skin, allowing the product to go onto newer skin, creating an even and lasting tan. Check out this blog post for an easy DIY exfoliator and tips on how to get the best shave to prep for your spray tan. And last but not least, be prepared to not shower for at least 8 hours after getting your tan.
wear dark, loose-fitting clothing
After your tan, the product won't be completely set right away and can rub off on clothing. To avoid dark stains, wear loose fitting clothing, preferably in dark colors. We suggest a comfy black dress with an easily washable bra underneath. This will also prevent the product from rubbing off your skin, leaving unwanted lines and splotches. So, the looser the clothing, the better! As an added note, if the salon isn't providing one, you'll want to wear a black or dark swimsuit that allows for the least amount of tan lines.
don't apply any products beforehand
The day of your spray tan, you won't want to apply moisturizers, creams, or makeup. Extra moisture won't allow the tan to set like it needs to. Instead of reaching for the lotion after showering and exfoliating, wait until after the tan completely sets. Makeup also prevents the tanning solution from setting, so make sure to wash it all off in the shower beforehand and wait to apply it until you're sure your tan has set afterwards. For your appointment you'll want to go in clean of any products and put your hair up to to avoid any other issues. There is, however, one exception. Often before your tan, your assistant will give you barrier cream to apply to your entire body. This helps the tanning solution go on easily and stick, so it should be the only product you apply pre-tan.
spray tan process
Now that your skin is ready, it's time to begin the tanning process! Every stylist does things different, however Soel Beauty suggests to follow these steps:
chest, neck, then face
With tanning, we start with the upper body and work our way down. You'll get a nice even spray on your chest, neck, and face to begin. Most importantly, you'll want to make sure the solution isn't dripping, but rather going on as a thin mist, coating each part of your body. 
legs + arms
Next comes the arms. You'll want to make sure you are turning your arms, with one side sprayed then rotating to the other. Then the same goes for the legs. You'll get the front and back sprayed as well as the inside as you turn your leg out. Skipping this part will result in a funky tan! Tanning solution doesn't take well where skin meets skin, so for these areas you may need to bend or stretch to eliminate folds and let it dry a little before touching skin together. After your arms and legs are finished, it's time to make sure the back and tummy are covered and you're almost done!
use the drying technique
After the tan is evenly coated all over your body, it's time to dry! Using the spray tan gun, you can get a special air drying technique by simply not pushing the button for the tanning solution to come out. This give a great airbrush finish and ensures that no areas drip or smudge while they're wet.
No smears or smudges
Viola! Now that your spray tan is done, it's time to take care of it to make it last as long as possible.
don't shower for 8+ hours
After you're finished, your tan takes a few hours to set, so don't shower for at least eight hours. It's best to let it set overnight or more. Then, when it's time to shower you will see some bronzer come off, but no worries! That is totally normal and you won't lose all of your color.don't sweat
For the next 8-24 hours, you won't want to sweat or participate in any strenuous activity because it will keep the tan from setting evenly. Instead, stay dry and don't worry!
apply moisturizer + tan extender daily
Now's the best part, make that tan last! You'll want to apply moisturizer and tan extender daily. Moisturizer will keep your uppermost layer of skin from shedding longer, which is where the tan is set. Tan extender creates an even, finished look throughout the next couple of weeks.
Spray tan magic
That's all folks! Spray tanning isn't as scary as it seems. The end results are worth it if you know what mistakes to avoid. To learn more about self-tanning products, check out our How-to Blog with Brooke Stapleton. And, if you have tips to share we'd love to hear them! Comment down below what you do to achieve the perfect summer glow.
Kortni Jeane + Team


  • Melea on

    I do wish I could have a natural tan year round but maybe I’ll try a spray tan this year.

  • Sonya Servin on

    Her tan is so natural looking❤️

  • Cami on

    Wow really good tips! I remember watching the movie Sleepover growing up and having a fear of self tanner because Nancy turns orange!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published