Notebook

Seven Things to Know Before Getting A Spray Tan

With summer just around the corner, so are all of the fun invitations to outdoor events, cottage weekends, and beach days. These invitations also usually come with the unavoidable: showing off a bit more skin than you likely do in the fall, winter and spring months.

While it is wonderful to embrace your skin the way it is, there is also something really fun about giving yourself a bit of an extra "glow" for special occasions. Even though I have grown to love my pasty complexion, I recently treated myself to a few spray tans and fully fell in love with the experience.

Should you decide to treat yourself and do the same, here are a few things you may want to know ahead of time.

PREPARATION + AFTERCARE ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT

When preparing for your spray tan, be sure to wax / shave at least 24 hours in advance, and don't wear any makeup, lotions or deodorant to your appointment. It is also important to exfoliate really well beforehand to remove any dead skin or dry patches that could interfere with an even application — I recommend using Crawford Street's Sugar Scrub for this step.

Every spray tan is different, but most require you to leave the tan on anywhere from 2-8 hours before rinsing it off quickly in the shower. It is important to ensure that your showers aren't too hot, as this can contribute to dry skin (which can cause your tan to flake off or fade faster). With this in mind, it is also important to moisturize your entire body regularly, as this will give the spray tan extra staying power.

YOU CAN WEAR AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE WHILE GETTING TANNED

It is important to think about the majority of the clothing you will be wearing after you get spray tanned, as this will likely determine the types of tan lines you want to achieve. For example: if you are planning to wear high-waisted bikini bottoms for the entire week after your spray tan, you should likely avoid wearing low-waisted underwear while getting tanned. Most men and women opt to go topless, but it all depends on what your level of comfortability is.

Bonus tip: Avoid wearing undergarments with lace detailing unless you want the lace pattern spray tanned on you. It's better to stick to solids.

PLAN YOUR DAY IN ADVANCE

Not all spray tans are created equal. Some formulas fully develop in 2-3 hours, where as some formulas require you to wait 8 hours before washing off. Think about what you're going to be doing the day of your tan to ensure you're not only choosing formula that fits with your schedule, but you're also avoiding things during the developing period that would sacrifice the quality of your tan (i.e. exercise).

GET YOUR OTHER BEAUTY SERVICES DONE FIRST

If you are planning on booking other beauty-related appointments (i.e. manicure, pedicure, etc.) have those services done prior to your spray tan. The last thing you want to do after getting a spray tan is soak your feet in hot water and have your skin exfoliated — it will completely wash away the tan or leave you with awful streaks.

Bonus tip: Having your nails painted during a spray tan will eliminate the risk of having them stained by the formula.

IF YOU DO YOUR RESEARCH, YOU WILL NOT END UP ORANGE

If you do your research and read reviews ahead of time, you will avoid the catastrophe of getting a tan from a place that is inexperienced or does not have up-to-date technology. Most places now offer customizable tans, where the artists will choose a formula that will work best with the shades and undertones of your skin. Like I mentioned before, I have very pale skin as I am a natural redhead, and I have never once ended up with a tan that was orange or too dark for my colouring.

WEAR DARK, LOOSE-FITTING CLOTHING TO YOUR APPOINTMENT

This seems to be a well-known fact about spray tanning, but it's one that is definitely worth mentioning. It is important to wear dark, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment. This is not only to save your lighter clothing from being stained, but it is also to save your tan from being compromised by tight clothing rubbing against the skin.

SPRAY TANS ARE NOT "BASE TANS"

No matter what you've heard, getting a spray tan doesn't work as getting a "base tan" — you don't just get a spray tan and become invincible against the powers of the sun. It is just as important to take precautions against getting burnt with or without a spray tan — that means applying and reapplying sunscreen, wearing a hat, and choosing to sit in the shade when possible.