Shaving Before or After Spray Tan

If you are considering getting a tan, then you are in good company. You are probably thinking of getting a glow to your skin that others look at and envy, because of how effortlessly gorgeous you look. However, the days leading up to your tanning session can be quite confusing when you have no idea on what you should do and how you should prepare your skin for the process.

One of the frequently asked questions is to do with shaving, and many people do not know whether they should do it before or after the tanning session. It gets even more tricky when you want to remove any annoying hairs through other methods such as laser treatments and waxing. The major concern is whether you can remove your hairs before or after the procedure, and we will answer that in this article.

Can you shave before or after the procedure?

The answer to this question is both no – and yes.

In reality, it really depends on your skin, as well as the situation itself.

When it comes to sunless tanners, it is pretty easy to say you should shave before the session happens, at least one or two days before, instead of doing it afterwards when the skin is sensitive. However, for spray tans, it is not that easy to know, even though most salons will inform you that you should shave before the process happens.

The best way to answer the question, therefore, is approaching it in a logical manner, and explain the science behind it.

The connection between tanning and shaving

When you are tanning the skin, you are exposing the upper layers of the skin to UV rays more than usual, which will then trigger the cells to begin producing melanin – especially when you use the method of tanning beds. Shaving is removing the hair from the skin, but you are not just removing the hair – you are also removing some of the upper layer of your skin, even if it is just slightly.

When you consider it this way, you can see they are complete opposites of the same process. The basic information you need to keep in mind is:

  • When you are fake tanning, the UV rays will penetrate the skin, and they will activate the melanocytes (the skin cells that are responsible for producing melanin). This will then result in a tan forming after the process is over.
  • The melanocytes are within deeper layers of the skin, so they do not have anything to do with the upper layers.
  • Shaving involves peeling hair off from the upper layers of the skin, as well as a thin sheet of the skin
  • The upper layer of the skin is where the color visibly appears
  • Shaving will exfoliate the skin, aside from removing the hair.

Basic tips for shaving after a spray tan

While shaving immediately after the tanning application is not advisable, there are exceptions to the rule, which will allow you to shave after your session. However, make sure you adhere to them as carefully as possible, since you do not want to undo the work you have already accomplished.

Also do not forget to use a quality lotion after spray tan to make your tan last longer.

Here are some of them.

Wait for a bit of time to pass

We understand that you want to shave as soon as possible, but shaving on the same day you finished your tanning session is a bad idea. Here’s why:

When you apply spray tans or self-tanners in general, the skin meets the active ingredient, DHA (also known as dihydroxyacetone). The chemical causes redness, and enhances blood circulation to the surface of the skin, which allows for greater UV absorption. For this entire time, the skin is highly sensitive and appears blushed, until the dye settles in.

It is better to wait for some considerable time, like at least 12 hours, before shaving. This allows the skin to heal itself, and it will reduce the discomfort you get from the shave.

Avoid using razors that are already in use

You must ensure the razor you are using is a new one – and it is not necessarily due to hygiene reasons. It all has to do with the efficiency of the razor itself – a used one will wear down, and it is likely to remove skin instead of the hair alone, unlike a completely new razor.

Stay away from shaving foam

Like we mentioned earlier, shaving removes hairs and dead skin cells on the surface as well. Since you are removing this layer, you are also creating some micro-cuts or tears on the surface – you cannot avoid them entirely, they are entirely microscopic, and will not be visible unless you cut deep into the skin.

Usually, the time it takes to close the pores after shaving is about 24 to 48 hours, and the skin heals itself completely. If you happen to apply a product that contains alcohol on the skin, such as a shaving foam, it is equal to applying salt on an open wound; even though it is a really small one. In addition, alcohol is among the easiest tools to remove a fake tan – and shaving creams have alcohol.

We are probably sure you do not want to have stinging skin when you shave, so avoid shaving foams entirely. However, if it is impossible for you to stay comfortably without shaving foam, get one that is specifically for artificial tanning – it might help you in the shaving process, and avoid removing the tan before you want it to fade out. If getting these special shaving foams is not possible though, use a conditioner or gel (but they must be sulfate-free).

Stroke the skin gently when shaving

You do not want to scrape away the tan, so keep things as gentle as possible by pressing the razor lightly on the skin.

Avoid shaving regularly

If you are thinking of shaving each morning during your shower, you might as well stay without a tan anyway. You will only be scraping at your skin, and you are accelerating the fading away of the tan itself.

In addition, regular shaving will exfoliate the skin faster than its usual replacement rate. Since the dead cells are leaving the skin quickly, more dead cells come in to replace them.

Different hair types and shaving

Yes, different hair types have different requirements when it comes to shaving. For instance, lighter hair will have less struggle in shaving compared to coarse hair. Some things to keep in mind are:

  • Dark hair – this has a lot of trouble, which forces you to apply more pressure. This forces the pores to open, and then the tanning solution enters these pores and settles in them, boosting melanin production, and resulting in ‘polka dot’ skin tone.
  • Light hair – if you have this, consider yourself fortunate, since you do not need to worry too much about shaving close to the spray tan session.

Shaving before the spray tan

This is a better option in many cases, due to a number of reasons, which include:

  • As mentioned before, the process of shaving exfoliates the skin since it removes dead skin cells. In fact, many tanning salons and specialists will tell you that it is much better to shave before the tanning day comes, rather than afterwards, which will improve your results.
  • Since the skin is smooth after a shave, it will allow the tanning specialist to work with a smoother surface, or you will have a more consistent result if you are doing it yourself. It will also allow the tanning solution to spread out as evenly as possible, which means you do not need to struggle with correcting dry patches, or facing blisters because of the skin reacting negatively.

You might be thinking of using an electric razor, although this has certain disadvantages and advantages. The good thing is that it is less likely to irritate the skin as it is smoother, and it will remove less dead skin because the shave is not quite close. However, it can be tiring if your hair grows really fast, as the skin might not remain smooth for long. In such instances, using both electric and the normal shaving razor is best, for adequate results.

Final thoughts

When all is said and done, the final decision will rest with you – you will decide whether you want to shave before or after. Just remember to take care of the skin very well, as shaving and other hair removal treatments such as laser, waxing and plucking will leave the skin particularly sensitive, and you need to be extra careful when doing it after getting a tan.

If you do the shaving before, make sure to do it a full day before the session, and wait for 12 hours at the least, if you want to do it after. When it comes to spray tans, the longer you wait to shave before or after the session, the better the tan will be. Finally, ensure the products you use for the shaving are of good quality.

Further reading

What to Wear During and After a Spray Tan

spray tanning tips, – Bodyandsoul.au

Pick the right skin care acid – Self

Guide to spray tan – womenhealthmag