If you've never gotten a spray tan before, you're not alone.
Though the DIY route is often more convenient, the staying power and precision of an in-salon spray tan can't be beat. Your specialist can use the spray tanning formula to contour out some extra definition in your abs, or make your legs look longer and leaner—seriously. Even if you're breaking out, or have a eczema or psoriasis flare-up, everything becomes less apparent under a sheer bronze veil, and you can expect to keep your glow going strong for up to two weeks, provided you moisturize accordingly.
We spoke to Vita Liberata founder Alyson Hogg on how to navigate the nuances of your first-ever spray tan, including how to mentally prepare for your Showgirls moment in front of a perfect stranger. Read on for your rookie's guide to spray tanning.
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We get it—standing completely naked in front of a stranger, positioned in a starfish-esque shape, can be quite the intimidating task, but rest assured you don't have to strip down entirely. "We usually have disposable panties or a bra in case you're not 100% comfortable being nude, and our spray tanners are great at making people feel at ease and unafraid," Hogg tells us. "You only have to undress to your level of comfort, and our tanistas are more interested in the skin they're about to treat."
Eat Your Veggies
Weirdly enough, the leafy greens you have for lunch can impact how well your color develops. "Prior to the spray tan, I recommend eating green vegetables that are high in lysine like kale, spinach, or avocado," Hogg tells us. "This is a really important amino acid for tanning, and will improve the color you achieve."
Lay Off the Moisturizer
Though you'll want to exfoliate with an oil-free scrub beforehand (just as you would with at-home tanner) Hogg suggests skipping the lotion roughly 12 hours before your appointment. "Moisturizers or cream soaps can leave a residue film on the skin, which can block the development and effectiveness of the spray tan," she explains. That being said, you'll want to avoid moisturizing immediately after as well, though it's completely safe to apply once you've showered.
Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes
In the case of Vita Liberata's formula, you don't have to worry about your tan rubbing off onto your clothing, but as a protective measure, it would be smart not to wear white. "The tan doesn't transfer, so you can re-dress straight away, but don't wear anything too tight, and avoid contact with water for 6 to 8 hours," Hogg says. Looks like your hot yoga class will just have to wait.
Don't Shower Afterwards
You'll want to avoid the shower for 6 to 8 hours post-tan in order to let it develop fully, so plan to either wear it through the workday if you have your tan done in the morning, or sleep on it. If you're starting with a pale base color, Hogg suggests avoiding the shower for a full day.