Summer is slowly fading away, and so are our tans. I'm not much of a sun worshiper anymore, like I was in my teens, but it's nice to have a little bit of color every once in a while. Getting older, busier and more aware of skin cancer risks, tanning outside or in a bed isn't worth it to me anymore. When I have an event, like a wedding, pool party or a beach vacation, I'm always booking a session at Arizona Airbrush Studio. (To get the skinny, read a previous post by clicking here.) What happens if your vacation is a week long and you want your tan to last the entire time you're there, rather than the first couple of days? Continue reading for TFK spray tanning tips!

For as long as I've been spray tanning, which has been about 14 years (2005 was a very orange year for me), I've always had a prep-routine to get my skin spray tan ready. Over the years, I've perfected it and realized that it's not exactly common sense for those of you who are beginner spray-tanners, so read along!

Pre-Spray Tan

1. Book the Appointment - You will want to book your appointment based on when you’ll have downtime afterwards to hang out and allow yourself to be abnormally dark, smelly and not move around too much. I always book my appointment for evenings. I want the appointment to be early enough so that I can wait two hours after the appointment to let my tan set in before showering and late enough so that I have enough time after work and before my appointment to exfoliate.

2. Pack a Bag - If you’re going straight from work, you’ll definitely need to plan ahead and pack a bag for the items you’ll be wearing after your tanning appointment. If you’re coming home first before your appointment, make sure to mentally “pack your bag” so that you know what you need for the appointment. I have an expensive black knit dress that is long enough to cover the back of my thighs when I sit down, loose enough to not rub the tan off and light enough so that I don’t sweat on my drive home. Those Arizona summers get hot! If you don’t have something to cover the back of your legs, you can always lay a towel on your drivers seat. This isn’t necessary, but I like to take precautions just in case. Bring a loose pair of old flip flops so that your shoes aren’t rubbing your tan off and in case you get a little bit of spray tan on them. TMI - I usually will not wear any underwear on my drive home. I do not want any rub lines to show when I’m in a swimsuit. These other items are usually offered at the tanning salon, but just in case bring a hair clip/pony tail holder and makeup remover wipes or face wash if you’re coming straight from work. 

3. Shave - I used to be a fanatic about showering right before a tan so that I can be freshly shaved. Depending on how often you shave, this will prevent you from needing to do it again a day or two after your tan, which can reduce your tan coloring slightly. However, the older I get the more sensitive my skin has been. Now after I shave I need to apply a serum that prevents breakouts and ingrown hairs. I’ve found that shaving about 8 hours before a spray tan is better for me so that I can allow my lotions to soak in and this way my dry skin doesn’t soak up the spray tan in my pores if I shower right before my tan.

4. Exfoliate - This is a very important step! I use a sugar scrub when I shower prior to my tan. I suggest exfoliating at least 24-48 hours before your tan. This helps to shed any dry dead skin so that your tan will last longer. If I go tanning straight from work, I will use an exfoliating wipe at Arizona Airbrush Studio when I’m in the booth right before tanning. This helps to get the sweat and dirt off of your skin from that day.

5. Hairnet + Lotion - As you undress for your tan, you’ll want to put a hairnet on and pull it back about a half inch so that a small part of your hairline shows. By doing this, you won’t get a line on your face from the hairnet. Then place a thin layer of lotion on the bottoms of your feet, back of your heel, and palms of your hands. If I have recently had a light colored manicure or pedicure done, I will also put some lotion on my nails.

Post-Spray Tan

1. Air Dry - Let your self air dry with an air hose before putting your loose fitting clothes on. The tanning technician will provide you with this tool. Make sure you get all the skin creases like your air pits, elbows, under the knees, etc.

2. Wipe of Lotions - Before getting dressed, use a paper towel to wipe off your palms, the bottoms of your feet and your nail beds. This will remove any excess lotion and spray tan solution.

3. Relax - Like I mentioned in the pre-spray tan prep, bring a towel for the driver’s seat if you’re driving home. I will also lay a towel on my couch and watch TV. Do not do laundry, don’t wash dishes, don’t do anything that will result in sweating, keep away for your dog - Simon loves to lick my legs. I usually will change into a dark baggy shirt and loose pajama pants for that exact reason. 

4. Hand Wash - Once your time is up (I do rapid spray, which allows you to shower after 1-4 hours. Regular spray tan must stay on your skin for at least 8 hours, it is okay if you wait longer), take a luke-warm shower. Do not use hot water. Do not use a loofah. Do not use anything that has exfoliates in it. I will use a Sulfate-free hydrating body wash and I’ll wash myself with my hands. When I get out of the shower, I’ll try to air dry or at least pat myself dry with a towel instead of rubbing. 

5. Hydrate - Make sure to lather your body with lotion to keep your skin hydrated. Avoid lotions with Mineral Oil, alcohol or parabens. If you’re going to be at the pool or the beach, make sure you stay away from spray sunscreens as it can result in streaking your spray tan. Use a sunscreen lotion, White Girl Sunscreen is found to be the best option for spray tans. Also, salt water is found to be a little harsher on your spray tan then chlorine.

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The Foxy Kat deal… For every TFK reader, mention “The Foxy Kat Special” when you call in to make your appointment or add it to your comments when you book online. You’ll receive $10 off your tan. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new client to Arizona Airbrush Studio or if you’ve been before. After you go into the studio for your tan, you’ll have the option to purchase a 3-tan package for half off, which isn’t available to anyone else!

The cost… If you select an 8-hour tan as your first tan, it will be $20 with “The Foxy Kat Special.” After that the 3-tan special for the 8-hour tan will be $45 total (instead of $90.) If you select a rapid tan as your first tan, it will be $30 with “The Foxy Kat Special.” After that the 3-tan special for the rapid tan will be $60 total (instead of $120.) Essentially, you’re getting one and a half tans for free!

All Photography by Rachel Fischer | Rachel Fischer Photos @rachellfischer

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