How long will my spray tan last?One of the most common questions that a spray tan artist will get from clients is "how long will my spray tan last?"

While the answer isn't the same across the board, you can typically expect a spray tan to last anywhere from 7-14 days.

There are a number of factors that come into play here, including:

  • What type of spray tan solution was used?
  • How dark is the color compared to your natural skin tone?
  • Did you use a tan extender lotion?
  • Did you properly exfoliate and prep your skin before the appointment?
  • Did you use any self-tanner to fill in the tan?
  • What type of climate do you live in?

These are just some of the things to consider when trying to understand how long your spray tan will last.

What type of spray tan solution was used?

All products are not created equal and they use a variety of ingredients to create the best spray tan solution possible.  Some products contain ingredients, such as aloe vera, which help to moisturize the skin and make the tan last longer.  This is not always the case because it ultimately depends on the mix of ingredients that are used for the solution.

Another ingredient used to help with the color and longevity of the spray is erythrulose.  Erythrulose is very similar to dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in that it creates a similar reaction.  However, the reaction time with the skin is a bit slower and therefore helps create a darker, and sometimes, longer-lasting tan.

How dark was the color/solution?

Comparing the spray tan solution used with the natural skin-tone of the client is essential in understanding exactly how long the tan will last.  If you use a darker color on a lighter skin-tone, odds are that you will begin to notice it fading as the skin exfoliates and starts to "turn over".  The exfoliation process is a cycle in which the top layer of skin essentially falls off the body.

You can imagine the difference in a dark spray and a pale complexion and how easy it would be to spot and blemish as the spray tan begins to fade.  Most people who experience this start using a tan extender lotion as early on in the process as possible.  Other people may even try to use a self-tanner to help fill in the spots where the tan has faded more quickly - such as creases in the elbows, knees, or anywhere where there is a lot of friction (such as under the breasts).

Tan Extender Lotion

The section above referenced the use of a tan extending lotion to help increase the life of your spray tan.  As the name says, a tan extender lotion contains a small percentage of DHA and helps to fill in spots as the tan begins to fade.

If you look at some of the best tan extender lotions on the market, they not only contain DHA, but also many hydrating properties which help to moisturize the skin.  Skin that is hydrated and moisturized will always have a more beautiful and flawless color, and the tan will also last longer.

Proper Exfoliation

A lot of spray tan business owners complain that their clients don't follow the proper pre-tan care tips.  The tips include information such as exfoliating 1-2 days before your tan.  If you follow these steps properly, not only does it help the spray tan adhere to the skin better, but it will also allow for a more beautiful, long-lasting tan.

Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin from the body in order to create, what most spray tan artists consider, a blank "canvas" to apply the tan to.  If you don't exfoliate, oftentimes the tan won't turn out as good as it otherwise could.  Additionally, you can have issues with "alligator skin", where the really dry parts of your skin look flaky and don't absorb as much solution as the other parts.

Self-Tanner

Occasionally we will see people attempting to use a self-tanner in addition to receiving a spray tan.  This isn't ideal.  Even if you are someone who tries to use the best self-tanner on the market.

While the tan extender lotions are made to go on over a spray tan, a self-tanner is not.  You certainly use to it fill in some blank areas or anywhere where the tan is obviously coming off, but if you try to layer it on top of your tan, you will come out looking uneven, and more important unnatural.

And as a spray tanner, and a spray tan artist, we don't want that.

Climate

For those of you who are new to getting spray tans, or have never had one before, seeing the climate as a reason for your tan not lasting as long may sound strange.  The fact of the matter is, the climate can be a huge factor in how your spray tan will look and last.

First, the spray tanner you are going to probably select their spray tan solution based on a number of factors, including climate.  A lot of people in warm and humid climates try to avoid solutions, such as Sjolie Sunless, that contain aloe vera.  Now, not all of Sjolie's products contain aloe, but the original products they produce do.  In fact, that is one reason why their products are so good.

The aloe helps to moisturize the skin which helps the tan last longer.  However, if you are in a humid climate, such as in Florida, that "tacky" feeling from the aloe will not bode well for you and your clients.  If you do decide to use something that has aloe in it, you will probably need to use a finishing powder to help cut down on the tacky feeling.

In closing

While our answer to the question "how long does a spray tan last" may seem like such a broad range, it is the best answer that we can give you.  There are so many factors to consider when you are trying to determine how long a spray tan will last.

If you search the web, the most common answer you will see is probably "10 days".  This is accurate for most people, but some people end up short of that, or past that (up to 14 days).

With the proper care and application, your spray tan can last up to two weeks.

I hope this article was helpful for you.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to me directly - grant@happytans.com.

Grant

Grant Kantsios

Sunless tanning business & marketing coach

Hey everyone!  My name is Grant and I've been in the sunless tanning industry for over 9 years.  I started in the industry working for Sjolie Sunless, one of the largest companies in the sunless tanning industry.  Since then, I've had a passion for helping sunless tanning business owners through my work at happytans, with the happytans podcast and website builder. In addition, I created Sunless Evolution with world-renowned spray tan artist Jimmy Coco, who sprays A-list celebrities like the Kardashians and Ashley Graham.

Disclosure: Some of these are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. I do have experience with each of the products or services listed below so I feel fully comfortable recommending them. Please do not spend any money on the products unless you feel you need them to achieve your goals. It turns out a lot of the things I use are free so you should be able to do the same.

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