Spray Tans and Ray-Bans: My summertime jam

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This time of year, when I tell my co-workers I’ll have to skip happy hour because I’m getting a spray tan, they tend to give me puzzled looks. Why do you need a spray tan? It’s summer! Well, duh…as if they haven’t noticed, we’re cooped up in the office all day and usually don’t get the chance to soak up a ton of sun. Plus, my fair skin doesn’t exactly allow me to bask for hours on end to get the natural tan I’d like.

Actually, spray tans are as much of a summer necessity as my favorite pair of sunglasses! I can get the instant cosmetic color I want and still gradually develop a little natural tan when I’m in the sun. It’s also perfect for balancing out pesky tan lines I get from wearing swimsuits by the pool or tank tops for jogging.

But, those sweat-inducing activities do complicate things a bit. Maintaining your summer spray tan can get a little more tricky than usual, but it’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. Take a look at my maintenance routine for a spray tan that looks great and lasts long, and be sure to let me know if you have any questions!

1. Give It a Rest

The hours immediately after your spray tan are the most critical and potentially threatening to its quality and longevity. Just as you’d avoid showering or sweating directly after your spray any time of year, you will need to stay out of the sun (avoid sweat) and the pool or lake for the first day or two after your spray tan. If you’re like me, there’s not much time for summer fun during the work week, so I usually spray on Thursdays to let me color set and develop, then I’m ready for whatever come Saturday.

2. Lather Up!

After your spray has fully developed, there’s really no risk of streaking, so you’re all good to swim and sweat until your heart’s content. Your primary concerns are actually that the chlorine and salt water in the pool or ocean exfoliates your skin, and too much sun will make your skin dry and flaky. So, even more than usual, moisturizing is vital. I apply the spray-tan extending moisturizer I get from my spray tan salon multiple times a day to make sure I get the most out of my spray. Another crucial lifehack: Using a highly waterproof sunscreen when you’re swimming will create a barrier between the salt and chlorine and protect your skin from exfoliation.

3. The Right Stuff

Speaking of sunscreen, many SPFs are oil based, and we know that oil can strip the tan from your skin. So, along with choosing a waterproof sunscreen for protection from chlorine and salt, make sure it’s also oil-free. And, for your daily moisturizer,

don’t take any chances with oils and scented lotions that will damage your tan. Skip reading the labels, and go for a product that gives you that hydrates and takes care of skin but is also designed specifically to benefit your spray tan. Just ask the salon where you spray about the options!

I also always keep a self-tan touch-up product hand, so I can easily fix any minor issues that might occur. These products also allow me to continue to balance out tan lines between sprays.

4. Take Care

The good news is you can get natural tan from the sun through your spray tan, but that also means you can still burn. While a “base tan” from UV tanning or sun exposure can help you stay in the sun longer without getting a sunburn, spray tans are purely cosmetic. We’ve already talked about the importance of sunscreen for a number of reasons, but this point can’t be overstated! Soaking up some rays in moderation is great, but burning will wreck your spray tan and is also so bad for your skin. Again, your spray tan will not act as a base tan, so just use common sense. Enjoy the summer sunshine while it lasts, but make sure to wear sunscreen if you’re going to be out long enough to burn.

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