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When To Get A Spray Tan Before Vacation


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Jeri Hinckley



Are you planning a vacation and want to achieve that perfect sun-kissed glow without exposing your skin to harmful UV rays? Look no further than a spray tan! Spray tanning is an excellent option for getting a tan before your upcoming trip. Not only does it provide a safe alternative to traditional tanning methods, but it also offers a beautiful and even tan that can last for days.


In this article, we will explore the benefits of spray tanning and how it works. We will also discuss the factors you should consider before getting a spray tan, including timing it just right before your vacation. Additionally, we’ll provide you with tips on preparing for your spray tan, choosing the right shade for your destination, and caring for your tan while on vacation.


So, if you’re ready to achieve that radiant, bronzed look for your holiday, keep reading to discover all the valuable information you need to know about spray tanning before your vacation.


Benefits of Spray Tanning

Spray tanning offers a range of benefits that make it a popular choice for those looking to achieve a natural-looking tan. Here are some of the key advantages of opting for a spray tan:

  1. Safe Alternative to Sun Exposure: One of the primary benefits of spray tanning is that it provides a safer alternative to sunbathing or using tanning beds. UV rays from the sun and tanning beds can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. With spray tanning, you can achieve a beautiful tan without putting your health at risk.
  2. No Sunburns or Uneven Tan Lines: Sunburns can ruin your vacation and leave you in pain, but with a spray tan, there’s no risk of sunburns. Additionally, spray tanning ensures an even application, resulting in no unsightly tan lines. You can confidently wear your swimsuit or summer outfits without worrying about uneven or patchy tanning.
  3. Instant Results: Unlike natural tanning, which can take several days to develop, spray tanning provides instant results. You’ll step out of the salon or booth with a beautiful tan that is ready to be shown off. This is especially convenient if you’re short on time before your vacation and want to achieve that sun-kissed look quickly.
  4. Customizable Tan: One of the great advantages of spray tanning is the ability to customize your tan to your desired shade. Whether you want a subtle glow or a deep, bronzed look, the technician can adjust the formula and application technique to meet your preferences. This allows you to achieve a tan that complements your skin tone and enhances your overall appearance.
  5. Hydrated and Nourished Skin: Many spray tanning solutions contain ingredients like aloe vera and hydrating agents, which can help keep your skin moisturized and nourished. This is a significant advantage, as prolonged exposure to the sun or artificial UV rays can leave your skin dry and dehydrated. With a spray tan, you can enjoy a sun-kissed glow while keeping your skin healthy and supple.

With these benefits in mind, it’s no wonder why spray tanning has become a favored method for achieving a beautiful tan before a vacation. Now that we’ve explored the advantages, let’s take a closer look at how spray tanning actually works.


How Spray Tanning Works

Spray tanning involves the application of a specially formulated solution that contains Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless chemical derived from sugar cane or beets. When applied to the skin, DHA reacts with the amino acids on the skin’s outermost layer, causing a temporary darkening effect.


The process usually takes place in a tanning salon or a designated spray tanning booth. A trained technician or an automated system sprays the solution onto your body using a handheld spray gun or nozzles strategically placed in the booth. The technician will ensure an even application by adjusting the angle and pressure of the spray, allowing for a seamless and natural-looking tan.


After the application, it’s essential to allow the solution to set on the skin for a specific period. Depending on the product, you may need to wait anywhere from a few hours to several hours before showering or engaging in activities that could cause excessive sweating. This waiting period allows the DHA to fully react with the skin, resulting in the development of the desired tan.


It’s worth noting that the initial tan you see immediately after the spray may be slightly darker than the final result. This is because the DHA continues to darken over the next few hours after application. Once the waiting period is over, you can shower to rinse off any excess solution and reveal your beautiful, natural-looking tan.


It’s important to remember that spray tanning only affects the topmost layer of your skin and does not provide any protection against UV rays. Therefore, even with a spray tan, it’s crucial to continue using sunscreen and taking appropriate sun protection measures while on vacation.


Now that we understand how spray tanning works, let’s delve deeper into the factors you should consider before getting a spray tan before your vacation.


Factors to Consider Before Getting a Spray Tan

Before you schedule your spray tan appointment, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure the best possible outcome and experience:

  1. Skin Sensitivity: If you have sensitive skin or a history of allergic reactions, it’s essential to consult with a dermatologist or the spray tan technician to determine if spray tanning is suitable for you. They can perform a patch test to check for any adverse reactions.
  2. Timing: Consider the timing of your spray tan appointment in relation to your vacation. It’s recommended to schedule the spray tan session at least one or two days before your trip. This allows the tan to fully develop and any potential color transfer to subside. Avoid getting a spray tan the day before your departure to give yourself enough time to address any concerns or touch-ups.
  3. Exfoliation and Hair Removal: Prepare your skin for the spray tan by exfoliating thoroughly the day before your appointment. This helps to remove dead skin cells and create a smooth surface for the application. Additionally, if you need to shave or wax, do so at least 24 hours before your spray tan to allow your skin to recover and minimize irritation.
  4. Clothing: Plan your attire for the spray tan session carefully. Wear loose, dark-colored clothing to avoid any potential staining from the tanning solution. Dark-colored underwear or swimwear is also recommended, as the solution may temporarily discolor lighter undergarments.
  5. Makeup and Fragrances: Remove all makeup, lotions, and perfumes before your spray tan session. These products can create a barrier on your skin, interfering with the absorption of the tanning solution and potentially leading to uneven results.
  6. Pregnancy and Medical Conditions: If you are pregnant or have any medical conditions, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider before getting a spray tan. While spray tanning is generally considered safe, certain conditions or medications may interact with the tanning solution or pose risks.

By considering these factors before your spray tan, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. Next, let’s explore how long before your vacation you should schedule your spray tan appointment.


How Long Before Vacation Should You Get a Spray Tan?

Timing is key when it comes to getting a spray tan before your vacation. It’s important to plan your appointment strategically to allow the tan to fully develop and any potential issues to be addressed before you head off on your trip.


For the best results, it is generally recommended to get a spray tan one to two days before your vacation. This timeframe allows the tan to fully develop and settle on your skin, ensuring a natural and even color.


Getting the spray tan too far in advance could result in the color fading significantly by the time you reach your vacation destination. On the other hand, getting the spray tan too close to your departure date may not leave enough time for any touch-ups or corrections, should they be necessary.


Additionally, keep in mind that the initial color you see immediately after the spray tan application may be darker than the final result. The DHA in the tanning solution needs time to fully react with your skin, gradually deepening the tan over the next few hours. Plan your activities accordingly during this waiting period to avoid excessive sweating, as it can cause streaking or uneven color development.


If you have never had a spray tan before, it may be wise to schedule a trial run a few weeks prior to your vacation. This will give you an opportunity to see how your skin reacts to the tanning solution and make any necessary adjustments before the actual trip.


Remember to communicate your vacation plans and timeframe to the spray tan technician. They can provide guidance on the best timing for your appointment and any specific steps you should take post-tan to maintain the color throughout your vacation.


By planning your spray tan appointment one to two days before your vacation, you can ensure a beautiful, long-lasting tan that will make you feel confident and ready to enjoy your time away.


Now that we’ve covered the timing, let’s move on to the preparations you should make before your spray tan appointment.


Preparing for Your Spray Tan

To ensure a flawless and long-lasting spray tan, proper preparation is key. Follow these essential steps before your appointment:

  1. Exfoliate: Before your spray tan, exfoliate your entire body to remove any dead skin cells. Focus on rough areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles. Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating mitt to achieve a smooth and even skin surface. Exfoliating helps the tanning solution adhere better and ensures a more even color.
  2. Shave or Wax: If you need to remove any hair, do so at least 24 hours before your appointment. This allows your skin to recover and minimize the risk of irritation. If you shave shortly before getting a spray tan, it can cause the solution to settle in the open hair follicles, resulting in a speckled appearance.
  3. Avoid Moisturizers and Oils: On the day of your spray tan, refrain from applying any moisturizers, oils, or lotions to your body. These products can create a barrier on the skin, preventing the tanning solution from properly adhering and developing.
  4. Remove Makeup and Deodorant: Before your appointment, remove all makeup, deodorant, and any other products from your skin. These can interfere with the tanning process and lead to uneven results. The technician may provide you with wipes to ensure your skin is clean and product-free.
  5. Wear Loose, Dark Attire: Opt for loose-fitting, dark-colored clothing to wear after your spray tan. This helps to prevent any potential staining from the tanning solution. Avoid tight elastic bands or accessories that could create marks on the skin. Dark-colored undergarments or swimwear are recommended to prevent temporary discoloration.
  6. Prepare for Post-Tan Drying Time: After your spray tan, allow sufficient time for the solution to dry completely before getting dressed. The technician may provide you with disposable undergarments or a robe to wear during the drying period. Avoid sweating or engaging in activities that can cause excessive moisture on the skin, as this may affect the tan’s development.

Following these preparation steps will help ensure that your spray tan adheres well, develops evenly, and lasts longer. Communicate any concerns or questions with the spray tan technician, as they can provide personalized guidance based on your skin type and the desired outcome.


Now that you are well-prepared for your spray tan, let’s explore how to choose the right shade for your vacation destination.


Choosing the Right Shade for Your Vacation

When it comes to choosing the right shade for your spray tan, it’s essential to consider your vacation destination and the look you want to achieve. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  1. Natural Look: If you prefer a natural and subtle tan, opt for a shade that closely matches your current skin tone. This will give you a healthy glow without looking overly bronzed or dramatic. It’s always better to start with a lighter shade and build up gradually if you desire a deeper tan.
  2. Destination: Consider the climate and the activities you’ll be participating in during your vacation. If you’re traveling to a tropical beach destination where you’ll be spending most of your time in swimwear, you may want to go for a darker shade. On the other hand, if you’ll be exploring a city or engaging in various outdoor activities, a lighter shade might be more suitable.
  3. Skin Undertones: Take into account your skin’s undertones when selecting a shade. If you have cool undertones (pink or rosy undertones), choose a spray tan solution with a slightly cooler hue. If you have warm undertones (yellow or golden undertones), opt for a tan solution with warmer tones. This will help create a more natural and harmonious tan that complements your skin.
  4. Trial Run: If you’re unsure about which shade to choose, consider scheduling a trial run a few weeks prior to your vacation. This will allow you to see how the spray tan develops on your skin and how it looks in different lighting. You can then communicate your preferences and shade preferences with the spray tan technician before the actual appointment.
  5. Consult with a Professional: If you’re still uncertain about which shade to choose, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a professional spray tan technician. They have experience working with different skin tones and can recommend the most suitable shade based on your preferences and vacation plans.

Remember, choosing the right shade is subjective and dependent on your personal preferences. Ultimately, it’s about selecting a shade that makes you feel confident and enhances your natural beauty.


Now that you have chosen the perfect shade for your vacation, let’s move on to learn how to care for your spray tan while on your trip.


Caring for Your Spray Tan While on Vacation

Once you’ve achieved that beautiful spray tan for your vacation, it’s important to take proper care of it to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Here are some tips for caring for your spray tan while on your trip:

  1. Avoid Excessive Water Contact: While it’s tempting to spend time in the pool or ocean, extended exposure to water can cause your spray tan to fade more quickly. Try to limit the time spent in water and pat yourself dry instead of rubbing your skin with a towel after swimming. Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays while ensuring your tan stays intact.
  2. Moisturize Daily: Hydrated skin helps prolong the life of your spray tan. Moisturize your entire body daily with a gentle, oil-free moisturizer. Look for a moisturizer that is specifically formulated for use with a spray tan to avoid any potential ingredients that could reduce the lifespan of your tan or cause uneven fading.
  3. Avoid Exfoliating: Steer clear of any exfoliating scrubs or harsh loofahs while on vacation. Exfoliation can remove layers of dead skin cells, which may lead to the premature fading of your spray tan. If you need to remove any dry or flaky skin, be gentle and opt for a soft washcloth or gentle exfoliating mitt.
  4. Avoid Oil-Based Products: Oil-based products, such as certain lotions or makeup removers, can break down the DHA in your spray tan and cause it to fade unevenly. Stick to oil-free and water-based beauty products while on your vacation to maintain the longevity of your tan.
  5. Avoid Activities That Cause Excessive Sweating: Excessive sweating can cause your spray tan to fade faster. Avoid participating in activities that would make you sweat excessively, such as intense workouts or exposure to high temperatures for prolonged periods. If you do sweat, gently pat your skin dry with a towel but avoid rubbing or wiping as it can remove your tan.
  6. Avoid Chlorine and Saltwater: Chlorine in swimming pools and saltwater in the ocean can both contribute to the fading of your spray tan. If possible, rinse off after swimming to minimize exposure. Applying a layer of water-resistant sunscreen or a tan extender before swimming can also provide an additional barrier of protection for your tan.

By following these tips, you can help extend the life of your spray tan and maintain its beautiful appearance throughout your vacation. Remember, proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring your tan stays radiant and flawless for as long as possible.


Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about spray tanning before a vacation.


FAQs About Spray Tanning Before a Vacation

Before getting a spray tan before your vacation, it’s natural to have some questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about spray tanning:

  1. Will a spray tan protect my skin from the sun?
  2. No, a spray tan does not provide any protection from the sun. While the tan may give the illusion of a sun-kissed complexion, it does not contain SPF. It’s important to continue using sunscreen and practicing sun safety measures to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

  3. How long does a spray tan typically last?
  4. A spray tan usually lasts between 5 to 10 days, depending on various factors such as your skin type, maintenance, and the quality of the spray tan. Proper aftercare, including moisturizing regularly and avoiding excessive water contact, can help prolong the life of your tan.

  5. Can I still go swimming with a spray tan?
  6. Yes, you can still go swimming with a spray tan. However, extended exposure to water, especially chlorine and saltwater, can cause the tan to fade more quickly. Rinse off after swimming and pat your skin dry gently to minimize the impact on your tan.

  7. Can I shave or wax after getting a spray tan?
  8. It’s best to shave or wax at least 24 hours prior to your spray tan appointment. Shaving or waxing shortly after your spray tan can remove some of the tan along with the hair. If you need to remove hair after your tan, opt for a gentle touch and avoid any harsh exfoliation.

  9. Will a spray tan stain my clothes?
  10. While a spray tan may transfer some color initially, it should not permanently stain your clothes. It’s best to wear loose, dark-colored clothing immediately after your spray tan session to reduce the risk of any temporary discoloration.

  11. Is spray tanning safe during pregnancy?
  12. Spray tanning is generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, it’s always recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before getting a spray tan or using any beauty products while pregnant to ensure it is safe for you and your baby.

  13. Can I apply sunscreen over my spray tan?
  14. Absolutely! It’s important to continue protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays even with a spray tan. Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen over your spray tan to keep your skin safe from sunburn and to prevent your tan from fading due to UV exposure.

These answers should help address some of the common concerns and inquiries regarding spray tanning before a vacation. If you have any specific questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to a spray tan technician or a dermatologist for personalized advice.


Now, let’s conclude our article on spray tanning before a vacation.



Spray tanning before a vacation is an excellent way to achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed glow without the harmful effects of UV rays. By understanding the benefits of spray tanning, how it works, and the factors to consider, you can make the most out of your spray tan experience. Timing your spray tan appointment appropriately, preparing your skin, and choosing the right shade for your destination are crucial steps to ensure a flawless and long-lasting tan.


While on vacation, taking care of your spray tan by avoiding excessive water contact, moisturizing regularly, and protecting your skin from the sun will help maintain the vibrancy and longevity of your tan. Remember to follow the recommended aftercare practices provided by your spray tan technician to ensure the best results.


By addressing frequently asked questions and providing guidance on important considerations, this article has equipped you with the knowledge needed to confidently plan and prepare for your spray tan before your vacation.


Now, go ahead and embrace that sun-kissed glow as you embark on your well-deserved getaway! Enjoy your vacation with confidence, knowing that your spray tan will have you looking radiant and feeling fabulous.