Top Tips For A Successful First Time DIY Spray Tanning Experience

There's no doubt that sunless tanning is much better for your health than spending hours exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays. But how do you make sure that your first DIY spray tan is a success? Here are some top tips for sunless tanning newbies.


Much of your spray tanning success depends on you investing in a really good, quality product. This may mean that you have to stretch your budget, but where spray tans are concerned, it's well worth it. Quality spray tan brands should use a formulation of well-balanced ingredients that produce an even, long-lasting colour, without the risk of the dreaded 'orange' glow that some cheap brands produce.

When selecting your spray tan, don't choose a really dark shade if you have very pale skin. A really dark shade can look good immediately after your tan, but will probably end up looking blotchy and messy after a few days, as the colour will be too dark to blend with your natural skin tone. The best thing to do is to begin with a lighter shade and gradually darken it over progressing applications.

Don't try to spray tan your armpits or lips; these areas don't tan naturally, and you could be left with an unnatural-looking effect.

Before you apply your spray tan, you should:

  1. Exfoliate your skin, ideally a day before your tan. This helps the colour to take more evenly and last longer.  
  2. Take a shower and moisturise your skin at the same time the day prior to tanning. This allows time for the moisturiser to hydrate and soften your skin before you apply the tanning product. Don't moisturise right before your DIY tan, as this can prevent the tanning product from being absorbed by your skin, causing a streaky, blotchy effect.  
  3. If you want to shave or wax, do so a couple of days before you apply the tan, so that your skin has a chance to recover.

Aftercare following your spray tan

  1. Be sure to moisturise regularly after your spray tan to help keep your skin hydrated and make your tan last longer. This is because dry skin tends to fall off much more quickly than well-moisturised skin, taking your tan with it.  
  2. The active ingredient in your spray tan product may take up to a day to develop fully, so it's important that you don't shower too soon after the treatment. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully for guidelines on how long to wait before showering, so that you don't wash your new tan away down the drain.  
  3. Avoid wearing very tight clothing immediately after you've applied your spray tan. This is because the friction caused by tight clothes will rub off the tan in places before it has had chance to develop fully; just wait a few days before you get back into your skinny jeans.  
  4. Always wear lightweight, baggy cotton clothes (including underwear) for a day or so after tanning. Cotton allows your skin to breathe, preventing moisture from developing on your skin that could affect your tan.

In conclusion

DIY self-tanning can be a successful experience if you use a good, quality product and follow the guidelines above.  Always read the manufacturer's instructions carefully, before applying the product.