Washing off Spray Tan Too Early

Have you ever left the tanning salon with a beautiful glow only to forget the technician’s instructions and you washed off your spray tan too early? This is a common mistake many women do.

You’re advised not to take a shower a few hours after tanning because that’s the time the color is developing on your skin. By leaving the spray tan on for a few hours you allow it to give you a darker result and for better results, you can leave it on for up to 24 hours. 

Tanning is a chemical reaction between your skin and the tanning ingredient and the way it will work on your skin will not be the same on another person’s skin. So the tan results will vary from one person to another because your skin keeps changing and you can’t expect the same results because of different factors like your hormones, humidity, medication, etc.

All the tanning products and their formulas are different and the recommended shower off time will vary from brand to brand or with different products.

If you get a product that has no information on this, the general rule of thumb is to shower off the tanning product after 8 hours if it’s your first time using the product. Don’t sleep with the product overnight if you haven’t used it before because it can give you an off-color, over darkening, or poor fading among other things.

What is a Spray Tan and what does it Entail?

A spray tan is a fine mist that is applied to your body in a small booth and it contains a bronzer, aloe vera, and DHA. The bronzer is the one that gives you the instant tanning effect but washes off in the shower while the DHA helps to keep the tan on your skin for longer.

DHA makes your skin darker after a few hours of the application so that you get a better tan. The aloe vera is a moisturizer so that your skin stays moisturized for a better tan.

A spray tanning process can take about 15 minutes while some take even less. All you need to do is go to a tanning booth with as little clothing as you’re comfortable with, and remember the clothes you wear will get stained by the tanning liquid so don’t wear bright clothes.

The tan has a bronzing liquid that washes off when you shower, but the bronzer isn’t responsible for giving you a tan, this is caused by the chemical reaction with your skin thanks to the DHA in the tanning liquid.

It takes about 2 hours for the chemical reaction to occur, so you can wash off after that but if you want a darker tan, you should leave it on.

It could also be too early to wash off after 4 hours depending on how rich you want your tan to be. However, if you’re in a hurry it’s okay to at least wait for 4 hours before taking a shower.

Consequences of Washing Off your Spray Tan Too Early

  • If you’re a first-time tanner, you might not be aware of these consequences, though they might be simple they make a huge difference in your results. And even taking a shower can either give you good or bad results.
  • If you take a shower after 2 hours you can still get a beautiful tan if you wait for around 20 hours and let the DHA develop on your skin.
  • If you want to acquire a darker tan, it’s a good idea to leave the spray tan overnight, but if you take a shower after 6 hours you might be disappointed at the results.
  • By washing off spray tan too early, you reduce the longevity of the tan which means your tan will not last long.
  • When it’s time to take a shower, it’s not a good idea to use harsh products like body wash or a strong soap because your tan will not fully develop which means you won’t get the dark bronze tan you wanted.
  • Taking a shower too early can also lead to streaking because of the soapy wash you will develop ugly stripes all over.
  • Also, if you don’t wash off your tan properly, you can end up with darker spots on your skin instead of a smooth, beautiful bronze tan.

What to Do After a Spray Tan

After a spray tan, you will be advised on what to expect from what to wear, when to shower, and the type of products you can use.

Wear loose-fitting clothes for about 24 hours

If you can, wear loose-fitting clothes for at least 24 hours after your spray tan session, including your sleeping clothes. If there is friction from your tight clothes it can leave streaks on your skin.

No need to be confused, here we have a complete guide on what to wear during and after spray tan.

Also Read ->

What to Wear During and After a Spray Tan

Look out for visible panty lines (VPLs)

Most tanning salons will give you paper panties to wear for the rest of the day after tanning. They may not be the most fashionable, but they help to prevent VPLs and prevent your panties from getting tanner stains.

To prevent streaking apply baby powder

Deodorants and perfume contain ingredients that may interact with the tanning liquid which can result in patches on your skin.

Sweating can also cause spots and streaks, but to avoid this you can apply baby powder on all the areas that are prone to sweating like the folds in your body that include your armpits, inner elbows, under your butt, and at the back of your knees.

Don’t wash for at least 6 hours

Wait for at least 6 hours after your tanning session to take a first shower after spray tan session so that you can give you skin enough time to absorb that tan for an even shade. You can also opt for other products that take less time to develop a tan. At most wait for 12 hours, but any longer can lead to streaking.

Follow proper precautions when showering

Use lukewarm water to take a shower, but don’t take too long and also don’t use soaps or scrubs. If you’re going to wash your hair ensure that the products you use don’t touch your skin.


Its common of tanning beginners to make such simple mistakes. Now that you have all the answers, you can enjoy your tanning session with no worryies. 

Read more

Should You Get a Spray Tan before Vacation?

Simple Tips for Spray Tan for Wedding
Best Spray tan Primer