Should You Moisturize After a Spray Tan? The Experts Weigh In

You likely already know that hydrated skin is happy skin, but moisturizing after a spray tan has a few more caveats than moisturizing regularly. Should you moisturize after a spray tan? If so, how often? What moisturizer should you use?

These are all great questions and we’re here to answer them! We’ll share everything you need to know about moisturizing after a spray tan, as well as other spray tan tips to help make your tan look great and last longer.

Moisturizing After a Spray Tan: What You Need to Know

Properly moisturizing after a spray tan can help your tan last longer, look better, and will improve the health of your skin. But, there are a few things to keep in mind. Moisturizing after a spray tan is a little different than your normal routine. It’s important to know when you should moisturize and the best after-tan moisturizers.

When Should You Moisturize After a Spray Tan?

Because the tanning solution takes a little while to develop, you shouldn’t start moisturizing until after your first shower, which should be at least eight hours after your tan but no more than 24 hours later. If you moisturize before your first shower, you may run the risk of streaking your spray tan (and no one wants to have a zebra tan!).

After you moisturize that first time, you should begin to moisturize regularly to keep your skin hydrated. After day three, we suggest moisturizing at least two times a day. The best time to moisturize is right after a shower. That way, you lock in any extra moisture. Your skin will thank you!

Best After-Tan Moisturizers

Now that you know when to moisturize after a spray tan, let’s talk about what moisturizers to use and which ones to avoid. Moisturized skin will absorb the spray tan solution better and help you maintain your glow, but some lotions will actually strip your spray tan and cause more harm than good. We want to share some of those harmful ingredients and ingredients that will actually exfoliate your tan before you’re ready.

Different cosmetic products with shea butter on wooden table

Choosing a good after-tan moisturizer is key to helping you maintain your tan. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Maui Babe After Browning Tanning Lotion - This after-tan enhancer seals in your tan and prevents it from fading. It also moisturizes your skin natural ingredients including Macadamia Nut Oil and Aloe.

  • Vanilla Bean Daily Moisturizer by Custom Tan Co - This moisturizer provides intense 24-hour hydration and works to lock in your tan while protecting and revitalizing the health of your skin.

  • SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Body Wash & Deep Moisturizing Lotion - This hydrating duo features a moisturizing body wash and lotion. Together, they help cleanse and revitalize your skin with 100% chemical-free, all-natural, and organic ingredients such as coconut oil, vitamin E, vitamin K, and fatty acids.

  • Vaseline Intensive Care Body Lotion, Cocoa Radiant - Vaseline has been a staple in bathroom cabinets for decades, and for good reason. This specific product features cocoa butter, an ingredient known for soothing and healing dry, dull and cracked skin. It also combines glycerin, a humectant that draws moisture deep down into the skin's surface.

  • Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion - Aveeno is another moisturizing staple. The brand has been dermatologist recommended for nearly 60 years and the Active Naturals line is fragrance-free and good for sensitive skin.

  • Hempz Pure Herbal Extracts - Hempz has been a tanning salon favorite for years because it’s fresh, light, and uses natural help seed oil to hydrate.

When moisturizing after a spray tan, these ingredients and products are your BFF:

  • Shea butter

  • Fragrance-free

  • Oil-free

  • Aloe-vera

  • Coconut oil

When it comes to moisturizing after a spray tan, less is usually more. Look for ingredient lists that are short and sweet. Bonus points if you can pronounce all the ingredients and know what they are!

After-Tan Moisturizers to Avoid

Not all moisturizers are created equal. Some moisturizers contain ingredients that actually dry out your skin (kind of counter-intuitive since you’re trying to moisturize), some contain ingredients that will streak your spray tan, and some are exfoliants and as we know, you should only exfoliate after a tan when you’re ready to say goodbye and prepare for your next appointment.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some ingredients to avoid when moisturizing after a spray tan:

  • Mineral oil

  • Fragrances

  • Most essential oils

  • Anti-aging products

  • Toners

  • Hair removal products

  • Retin-a

  • Make-up removal products

When moisturizing after a spray tan, you want to be careful you’re not using products that will dry out your skin or limit the life of your tan. While moisturizing is definitely important to keep your skin happy and healthy, you want to make sure to choose a moisturizer that will do its job well.

Other Spray Tan Care Tips

In addition to moisturizing after a spray tan, there are many other spray tan care tips you can follow to extend the life of your tan. Taking care of your tan starts even before you head to the salon, so let’s look at more before and after spray tan care tips.

Before a Spray Tan

Be ready for your next spray tan appointment with these handy tips:

  • Shower at least 4 hours before your appointment, if not more. You want to give your pores time to close to avoid discoloration.

  • Do all exfoliating, moisturizing, and shaving at least 4 hours before, as well.

  • Complete all other beauty services first, like nails, waxing, facials, and massages, at least 24 hours before your tan if possible.

  • Arrive at your appointment with clean, bare skin. No makeup, no lotions, no oils, etc.

  • Bring dark, loose-fitting clothes and sandals to your appointment for after your tan. Comfy t-shirt dresses are perfect!

  • Don’t wear a bra or undies right after your tan.

After A Spray Tan

You’re all bronzed and ready to go! These tips will help you maintain your glow for longer:

  • Wait at least four hours before showering and when you do, only use warm water. Avoid long, hot showers (as relaxing as they might be!).

  • Don’t exfoliate until you’re ready to say goodbye to your tan and prepare for your next appointment.

  • Moisturize with a mineral oil-free moisturizer twice a day.

  • Ensure that the lotion you use is as natural and organic as possible

Many people wonder whether or not moisturizing after a spray tan is a good idea and now you know the facts! Wait to moisturize until after your first shower, only use a moisturizer that’s natural, organic, and won’t strip your tan, and moisturize twice a day (ideally right after the shower) to lock in max moisture.