Can I Shave Before & After Spray Tanning?

Shaving is a common way to remove your body hair, but can you do it before and after a spray tan?

The answer is yes.

It would be best if you shaved before tanning, and you can shave after spray tanning, but it depends on a few factors.

Scroll through this guide to assess whether shaving your legs after you’ve fake tanned will leave you smooth and de-haired or, unfortunately, patchy.

How fake tan works

The top few layers of the skin are temporarily stained with fake tan.

The DHA in fake tan reacts with the oxygen in the air and the amino acids in the skin, causing a gradual darkening effect. It’s much like if you bit an apple and left it out!

The skin renewal process

Now, we move on to the skin and how it sheds.

The epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) is constantly renewing itself. The lower layers of the epidermis form new cells, which surface in roughly four weeks, replacing the older cells.

Can I shave after tanning?

Fake tan temporarily stains the top few layers of the skin, and because the skin is constantly renewing itself, it will be temporary, usually lasting around one week.

Yes, you can shave after spray tanning, but be aware that some of your colour may come off, especially if you soak in the bath or shower for long periods before shaving.

Shaving is less likely to affect your tan if you:

  • Have prepped well for your tan (See spray tan preparation)
  • Moisturised daily (no oils)
  • Have not dried your body with a towel straight after showering/bathing/swimming as this softens the skin, making you more susceptible to peeling skin

How to shave before tanning

  • Shave 12-24 hours before a spray tan.
  • Don’t forget to shave, wax or epilate before your spray tan.
  • Always use a new razor, as blunt blades are harsh on your skin.
  • Soak in warm water before shaving.
  • Use shaving gel or cream.
  • Shave with the hair, not against it.
  • Post-shave, use an antiseptic or toner, as this will close pores and prevent infection.
  • Moisturise your skin, and you are done!

How to shave after spray tanning

  • You can shave 9 hours after a spray tan as it will have fully developed by then (this applies to rapid tans, too).
  • Using a new razor, such as a blunt one with a dull blade, will remove a fair amount of your skin and the hair.
  • Use an oil-free shaving product, as oil removes fake tan.
  • Don’t shave too often.
  • Don’t press down too hard on the razor. Lightly glide the blade over your skin.
  • Avoid exfoliating.
  • Moisturise your skin daily or twice daily if you can.
  • Don’t dry your skin with a towel after washing; try to air dry.
  • Don’t use any harsh chemicals.

How to prolong your tan

  • Get a spray tan; they are usually even better quality than the bottle false tan.
  • Exfoliate in the coming days of your spray/sunless tanning session. This will allow the sunless tanner to stain the newest skin cells, prolonging the life of your tan. I recommend the best product in pre-tan preparation, “The Tan Eraser”.
  • Get waxed instead of shaving, but only do so at least a few days before your appointment. If you don’t follow this advice, you risk getting dark spots inside your open pores.
  • Epilate as an alternative to shaving. The same logic applies to epilating as waxing, although it is only for the brave! Epilating allows you to manually pull out your hair at the root with a small rotating machine. I use one every three days to keep up with my hair growth.
  • Top up your tan using a gradual tanner that you trust. I recommend Vita Liberata’s gradual tan or Noutvan’s mousse, which is fabulous!
  • Don’t rub your body with a towel straight after swimming/showering/bathing, or going in a sauna/jacuzzi/steam room.
  • Moisturise to keep your skin tone even and hydrated, but don’t use oil.

Should I shave if I usually keep my body hair?

No, you don’t have to shave for a spray tan. The only difference is the application, especially for men.