How to Prepare for an Airbrush Spray Tan

Airbrush Spray Tan

Whether you’re preparing for a big event or just prefer your skin with a healthy glow, an airbrush spray tan is an excellent way to get the color you want without risking sun damage.

Have you ever had a spray tan before? Are you curious about skin preparation for your first appointment?

If so, you’re in the right place. Learn everything you need to know for a long-lasting tan below.

The Night Before

Your preparations should begin the night before your tan is scheduled. Here are some tips that can help you set yourself up for a great spray tan experience:


It’s best to shower the night before you’ve scheduled your tan. If you shower right before the appointment, exposure to heat and steam could have an adverse impact on your results.

When you shower, use clear, liquid body wash (bar soaps and high-pH products can hinder spray tan results). Shave if needed, too, so you arrive with smooth skin. 


Speaking of smooth skin, be sure to exfoliate the night before your spray tan as well. Exfoliating removes dead cells from your skin and leaves the smoothest surface possible — allowing your spray tan to last longer and appear more even.

How to Exfoliate

Exfoliate with an oil-free scrub (they might leave residue behind that interferes with your spray tan) and an exfoliating mitt or glove. Avoid loofahs because they don’t provide sufficient exfoliation compared to other products.

Pay special attention to areas that tend to have rough or dry skin. The knees, ankles, and elbows are some of the most critical body parts to focus on. 

Avoid Lotion and Oil

After you shower, shave, and exfoliate, avoid applying any products like lotions and oils.

These products can interact with the spray tan solution and cause discoloration. They may also contribute to an uneven application.

The Day Of

After showering, shaving, and exfoliating, you can head to bed and rest easy, knowing you’ve prepped your skin for your spray tan. The next day, follow these steps before your appointment to ensure you get the best results: 

Skip Perfume and Deodorant

Avoid applying deodorant or spraying perfume on the day of your appointment. Like lotions and oils, perfume and deodorant may cause discoloration if they interact with the spray tan solution.

If you can’t go without deodorant, be sure to remove it completely before you get sprayed. 

Skip or Remove Makeup

It’s best to avoid wearing makeup on the day of your spray tan appointment. Mascara and eyeliner are okay, but you should skip products that go directly on your skin (foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, etc.).

If your appointment is later in the day and you don’t want to go makeup free beforehand, wash your face thoroughly and remove all makeup before you receive your spray tan.

Choose Your Outfit

Plan your outfit properly, starting with what you’ll wear when you get tanned. Some people choose to wear nothing at all, while others prefer wearing a bathing suit or underwear.

Consider your tan lines if you decide to wear some kind of clothing while getting sprayed. For example, if you’ll be wearing a strapless dress to an event, wearing a bikini top with straps will leave visible tan lines on your shoulders.

Choose the outfit you’ll wear home from the tan, too. It’s best to wear loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing after a spray tan. Tight clothing may mess up the tan and cause the color to transfer to other areas.

Check the Weather

Check to see if rain or snow is on the horizon before you leave for your appointment. Bring an umbrella to protect yourself (and your tan) if wet weather is forecasted. 

Bonus Tips

Along with the recommendations for the night before and the day of, remember these bonus tips. They’ll help you handle aftercare properly and maximize your results:

Schedule Other Appointments Appropriately

If you have other appointments planned — like waxing or a manicure/pedicure — schedule them at least 24 hours before your spray tan.

Waxing the day of can cause the tanning solution to settle in your pores and create dark spots that resemble blackheads.

If you have to get your nails done right before the appointment, ask the technician to avoid lotion or oils, as they can interfere with the spray tan application.

Pack a Towel

Keep a towel in your car so you can sit on it while you drive home. A towel prevents you from accidentally transferring color and staining your car seat.

Schedule an Airbrush Tan Today

Now that you know how to prepare for your upcoming sunless tanning appointment, it’s time to take action. Follow the steps listed above, and you’ll be sure to see great results from your spray tan. 

In addition to following these guidelines, another way to ensure you get a good-looking spray tan is to choose a reputable tanning salon.

If you’re looking for an airbrush spray tan in New Jersey, we’re here to help at Soleil Tans. Our staff uses the Norvell sunless tanning unit to produce customized results with formulas adjusted to your skin type.

Contact us today to book an appointment.