When To Shower After a Spray Tan

Wondering when to shower after a spray tan?

Does your colour guide look too dark and you’re panicking that you’re going to turn out exactly like that colour?

To answer that question about when you can wash off a spray tan, it really depends on the type of spray tan you had applied at the salon.

By what type of spray tan, we mean the brand and whether or not it was a standard ‘9-hour development tan’, or the latest innovation in spray tanning, the ‘express tan‘.

Showering after a normal spray tan

This is the standard spray tan that you will be used to receiving at your local spray tan salon. You must wait 9 hours until you can shower after a spray tan.

The salon you had your spray tan applied in will probably let you know how long you are to leave your colour guide on. The colour guide is the brown spray that is left on your skin after the tan has been applied.

In this development time, you are responsible for making sure you don’t damage the colour guide till it’s time to shower. That means no washing your hands, spilling drinks or going to the gym. If you do damage the colour guide you might risk the tan looking uneven. For example, if you spill some water on your arm, the colour guide will wash off that area causing it to not develop as much as the rest of the body.

Once your 9 hours is up, you can wash your colour guide off in the shower. For your first shower after a spray tan, wash your tan off with pure water in the shower, which means no soap or shampoo. If you are looking at your spray tan, and you think – “my word this is really brown”, don’t worry, it’s just a colour guide so your therapist doesn’t miss a bit. You’ll end up just as brown as what you asked for. If however your really worried about it developing too dark, just wash it off in half the time and you’ll be half as brown!

Showering after Express, 1 Hour or Rapid Spray Tans

When it comes to when you should wash off your express spray tan, things are a little different and we will explain why. 

The Express, 1 hour or a rapid spray tan, are all the same thing. Basically, these tans get to work faster, meaning you can shower them off before you go out or go to bed. This is rather convenient when life is busy, or you’re asked to come in for a shift at work!

It works like this: 1 hour for a light, 2 hours for medium, 3 hours for dark or keeps going for even darker.

Once you wash this type of spray tan off, you will be brown but you’ll be even browner the next day. The thing is, even though you are allowed to wash it off, it still takes 9 hours to develop into the shade you wanted.

Don’t damage your tan till you wash it off, and try to wear loose clothing after you’ve washed it off as well. That means no jeans, leggings or tight bras. Avoid perfume on bare skin till the next day.

Do I shower before a spray tan?

Yes, it’s best to shower before tanning but not just before in case your pores remain open from the heat.

Showering before a spray tan ensures you are free from oils, moisturisers, deodorants and makeup. Ideally, shower 1-5 hours before a spray tan and no less.

Can I bathe After a Shower?

Yes, you can go for a quick bath after a spray tan and it won’t affect your colour if you make it a short dip. Try to limit the time you spend in the bath to 5 minutes maximum so it doesn’t affect the colour.

When can I use soap or shower gel after a spray tan?

When a client is spray-tanned, they are covered in a sunless tanning solution, but also a cosmetic bronzer which is added into tan solutions to give the therapist an application guide. When you wash off the product, use your hands and warm water to rinse. It is best to avoid soap and shower gel, but you can use it on intimate areas and underarms.

Soap residue disrupts the pH of the skin, and there are theories to suggest it can damage the skin’s acid mantle. The acid mantle is a layer of oils, fatty acids, and amino acids. Amino acids are what tan clings to in order to turn you brown, therefore if there is a possibility your amino acids are damaged, then your tan will be too. Soap can worsen skin conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and dry the skin in general.

If your going to wash with a product, it is recommended that you use an oil-free shower gel or cleanser containing natural ingredients.

When can I wash my hair after a spray tan?

You can wah your hair 9 hours after a spray tan, but there are a few tips to achieve this without causing tan streaks. Rinse your body of the colour guide till the water turns clear, flip your head over and wash your hair this way as some shampoos can be chemically harsh which could potentially damage the spray tan.

If I wait over the development time will my tan get darker than usual?

No, even if you wait 24 hours to shower h your spray tan off you will not get any darker than usual. Tans stop developing after 9 hours, so waiting longer won’t make a difference. It will not make your tan appear uneven either, you will just smell a bit biscuity!

What happens if I wash a spray tan off early?

If you wash off a spray tan too early, you will simply be lighter than the expected result. The reason for this is that you have not allowed the product to sit on your skin for the full development time which is usually 8-9 hours depending on the brand.

Thankfully, even if you wash a spray tan off early, for example, 1-7 hours before reaching the full development time, the product will still have had an effect on your skin and cause it to tan.


Is soap bad for your skin – https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/is-soap-bad-for-skin#How-to-ditch-your-soap-for-good