The Importance of Proper Preparation for a Spray Tan!

Most people don’t realize how important their role is in the results and longevity of a spray tan. I can’t stress this valuable information enough!

What does exfoliation have to do with spray tan results and longevity?

Let’s start from the beginning. We all exfoliate our dead skin cells naturally, all day, every day. How much exfoliation that occurs depends on the condition of our skin and how we take care of it. If you have dry skin and don’t usually moisturize, you may exfoliate quicker than someone who moisturizes on a daily basis. Considering DHA (the main ingredient in spray tan solution that colors the skin) colors the top surface of our skin (dead skin cells), it’s important to exfoliate all of the loose skin cells BEFORE your spray tan is applied. This results in a nice even absorption of the DHA, fading the tan slowly and evenly.The natural and inevitable exfoliation that occurs, will be less noticeable because your skin will slowly shed as the tan naturally fades or lightens.

Imagine dry flaky skin… Now imagine the skin cells that are laying on top being sprayed. Because it wasn’t exfoliated, all of the cells that were about to fall off are now tanned. These skin cells will still fall off, but when they do, it will be quicker and there is no telling how much will fall off in one single area. Since the tan hasn’t had time to naturally fade, the contrast of your natural skin color and the freshly tanned skin that hasn’t shed will be very noticeable. The appearance is a dirty looking tan or white freckling. Not very attractive.

Does the product that is used for exfoliation matter when preparing for a tan?

YES! Many exfoliation products have moisturizing agents in them, such as oils and extracts. This is great if the object is to smooth and hydrate your skin WITHOUT A SPRAY TAN. But, this is obviously not the purpose of exfoliating when getting ready for a spray tan. If you are preparing for a spray tan, these ingredients will form a barrier that blocks the solution from being absorbed into the skin, and making it impossible for your technician to integrate face and body contouring into your session as well. Some of the worse products to prepare for a tan are heavily fragranced, such as Victoria Secret and Bath and Body Works. If you’re not sure whether you can use a product you currently have in your cabinet, ask your spray tan technician or check the ingredient label. Brazilian Mobile Tans offers an exfoliating wash that is specially formulated to allow optimal tanning results. Occasionally I may run out and have to use grocery store products. The best one I’ve come across so far is Soft Soap Coconut Scrub. I advise clients to use a wash cloth and the exfoliating wash to evenly exfoliate the entire body the night before the tan, without being too harsh. You need some skin to tan! Extra exfoliating should be done on extra dry patches, such as the bottom and sides of the feet, and ankles. Brazilian Mobile Tans applies sticky feet to our clients to ensure no absorption on the soles of the feet when moving around in the spray booth. One suggestion that should be noted is that people normally leave conditioner on their hair while washing their body. Rinsing off the conditioner will run down the back and may form a barrier. Remember to wash your body AFTER rinsing your hair out. I also wanted to point out why you should prepare for the tan the night before. Doing this will give your skin time to close it’s pores. Shaving, warm water, and exfoliation causes pores to open and slowly close over time. Prepping the night before also allows some skin cell growth for the spray tan solution to latch onto. That’s why it’s important not to over-do it when exfoliating. You just want to even out your skin and get rid of loose skin cells, not make your skin soft as a baby’s bottom.

What else is there to do in preparation?

Besides exfoliating and using the proper exfoliating wash, clients should shave, do not moisturize, and avoid makeup, perfume, or deodorant once exfoliating for the tan. You should moisturize up until the preparation of the tan, just not for the preparation of the tan.

How do I maintain the tan?

Take short warm showers to start. Long hot showers or soaking in a tub soften the skin, leading to your tan rolling off along with the softened dead skin cells with the slightest friction, such as rubbing a towel on your skin to dry off. Shower only with your hands and a spray tan safe body wash. Brazilian Mobile Tans offers a great body wash specially formulated for spray tans. A decent grocery store replacement would be Soft Soap Shea butter and Almond Oil. The name of this product is a little misleading because any spray tan scary ingredients are very little and are basically last on the list. Go figure… Marketing. Anyway, back to the shower… You should pat dry after showering, never rubbing. Same rules apply when sweating.

After showering, always apply a spray tan safe lotion every day. Again, heavily fragranced products are NOT ok. The biggest problems with most lotions are ingredients such as oils, especially mineral oil, which is found in many lotions. Another huge problem ingredient is petrolatum! These ingredients will strip your tan in the ugliest ways. Alcohol will dry your skin leading to quicker exfoliation and most likely uneven fading. Brazilian Mobile Tans offers a tanning extender lotion, but if need be, the only grocery store product I have found to be decent is St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter.

Some of you may have noticed the first things to fade are your hands and face. This is because you wash these two areas the most. Makeup wipes wash and exfoliate the tan away, not only because of the rubbing, but also because of the alcohol or oil used as one of the main ingredients. Other things to keep in mind is using foam makeup applicators or the use of salicylic acid, which is found in facial products that clear the skin. Chlorine pools will fade your tan as well.


*Exfoliate evenly with a wash cloth and a spray tan safe exfoliating wash, getting extra good around the feet and ankles.
*Rinse your hair conditioner out before washing your body
*Avoid perfume, moisturizer, makeup, and deodorant
*Wash with your hands only using a spray tan safe body wash
*Try to shave less often
*Avoid long or hot showers
*Pat dry ONLY
*Moisturize every day after showering with a spray tan safe lotion to increase the longevity of your tan
*Avoid spraying perfume directly on the skin, rubbing foam applicators, makeup wipes, or using products with drying agents
*If you sweat, avoid rubbing the skin. Remember to pat dry. Friction is your enemy!
*Avoid chlorine pools and hot tubs

I’ve tried to cover everything I could possibly think of. If anyone has any questions or other advice, please feel free to comment! Thanks and Happy Tanning!!!

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Brazilian Mobile Tans

1048 Irvine Ave. #183,

Newport Beach, CA 92660

Phone. 949-526-0211



Fullerton Location

2937 Hemlock Place,

Fullerton, CA 92835

Phone. 949-526-0211



Mobile service area is within 15 miles of each location. Any travel outside of service area has a fee of $2 per mile after the first 15 miles. Mobile travel to locations within or outside of service area is discretionary. We ask for at least a 24 hour notice on cancellations. Time is scheduled per person, including service time, and travel time to and from your address. Cancellations with less than 24 hour notice may be subject to a $25 fee upon rebooking.


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