Things tend to turn out a lot better when you do a little planning ahead of time. Like when you’re getting ready for a vacation. Or organizing a party. And there are certainly things that you can do to insure the best spray tan possible. Here are my 10 tips for achieving the most beautiful, long-lasting airbrush tan of your life.


  1. Research spray-tan experts in your community. Make sure they have good reviews and a website that showcases a gallery of their work. Remember, your spray tan will be on your body for five to ten days, so choose wisely. You don’t want to end up with a sub-par spray tan from someone who only uses a “once size fits all” solution or doesn’t even have a photo gallery.


  1. Make an appointment with a spray-tan professional and talk to him or her about your tan. If you’re tanning for your destination wedding, be sure to speak this person about your “dream” bridal tan, and discuss your schedule leading up to the big day.


  1. The day before your spray tan, it’s important to exfoliate. This will remove dead skin and provide a smooth surface for your tan. Don’t forget to exfoliate your back!


  1. If possible, shaving and waxing should be done the night before, or the morning of an afternoon or evening tan. Rinse with cold water if you shave the day of your tan—this will help close your pores.


  1. On the day of your sunless tan, try to shower one to four hours before your session. Use natural or organic soap, or preferably, nothing at all. Your skin should be free of any soap, shampoo, or conditioner residue.


  1. Wear dark, loose-fitting clothing and flip-flops. Tight-fitting clothing worn on a fresh spray tan can rub the solution off and leave your tan looking patchy.


  1. Arrive with clean skin and no makeup, perfume, lotion, sunscreen, or deodorant.


  1. For optimal color after your spray tan, don’t shower or sweat excessively for the next eight to ten hours following your session. Rapid tans rinse after three to six hours, depending on the specific recommendation.


  1. The first shower after your spray-tan session should be with cool water, using no soap. You may see the tanning bronzer rinse off, but don’t worry—your tan will remain on your skin. It’s just the body bronzer in many solutions that’s rinsing off. Then pat your skin dry after your shower. To increase the life of your tan, don’t rub your skin with a towel.


  1. Lastly, avoid long, hot baths and showers—hot temperatures will open your pores and release the tan more quickly. You should also avoid long bouts in swimming pools and hot tubs. And most importantly, moisturize your skin twice a day and drink plenty of water. Now you’ll be able to enjoy your gorgeous tan for a full five to ten days!