Spray tans are the bomb if you want a golden glow all year long. But before you sprint to the salon, you should know what to do before your appointment.

Here are six steps to help you prepare for a spray tan, which might lead to better, longer-lasting results.

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Ready to get your glow on? Here’s what you should do in the days leading up to your spray tan appointment.

1. Know what to expect

If it’s your first time, you might panic when the spray nozzles turn on. But fear not! Your tan technician can help walk you through the process so you don’t wind up like Ross. They’ll also go over your desired results and suggest which shade would be the best fit.

BTW, you might want to stick to a lighter shade if it’s your first time. That way, you can gauge the right shade moving forward. Also, spray tan results tend to look darker before you take a shower. So, don’t worry if the initial shade is darker than you expected.

2. Remove body hair

Ain’t no shame in the body hair game! Just keep in mind, a spray tan can dry out or discolor your hair. We’re talking bright orange pubes here, people. So, you might want to shave 1 or 2 days before you head in for your visit.

PSA: Don’t book a body wax right before your spray tan. Spray tanning directly onto open pores can create dark dots and irritate the skin.

3. Exfoliate and cleanse your skin

Showering before your spray tan appointment isn’t just good manners. It can also give you better results! Sweat can stop the spray tan from absorbing evenly into your skin, and you def don’t want that.

You should also exfoliate for at least 3 days before your spray tan. This gives your body a more even base and can lead to better results. Dry brushes, scrubs, or a loofah should do the trick.

4. Go natural

You should not moisturize before a spray tan. Sunscreens, lotions, makeup, and deodorant can create a barrier between the tan and your skin. This can lead to an uneven tone and splotchy appearance.

If you’re concerned about sweaty or chafing pits, baby powder is a great deodorant alternative. It can absorb moisture and it’s easy to wipe off.

Oh, and don’t worry about your skin being dry. Your tanning technician may have a special moisturizing lotion that can be applied before your service that won’t affect absorption. Also, some spray tan solutions contain products to help moisturize, making the application unnecessary.

P.S. Retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids increase cell turnover, which might make your tan fade faster. Avoid these products for at least 24 hours before your appointment.

5. Dress the part

Spray tan takes time to set. That’s why you should opt for loose-fitting clothes the day of your appointment. Super tight clothing can rub against your skin and cause smudges. Your best bet is to wear dark clothes or an old t-shirt so you don’t have to worry about stains.

FYI: You should also leave your jewelry behind. Rings, necklaces, and bracelets can also mess up your results.

6. Talk with your spray tan technician

Having an honest chat with your spray tan technician pre-spray can go a long way. Here are some things to bring up:

  • Do you want to contour?
  • Do you want your face spray tanned?
  • What shade would work best for your skin tone?
  • Do you have any skin sensitivities they should know about?

Spray tanning tends to be super safe. Spray tanning solutions contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) — a color additive approved by the FDA. There’s no strong evidence to show DHA can cause long-term health concerns. But there are still some risks to watch out for.

DHA inhalation

The FDA doesn’t recommend applying spray tan on the lips, nose, or around the eyes. Spray tanning is designed for your skin, not your lungs. Breathing the solution in can cause coughing or a sore throat.

To avoid inhaling spray tan, close your mouth and wear a nose plug during your session. You can also ask your salon to avoid spraying on or near your face.

Allergies and skin sensitivities

DHA might trigger irritation or itching in folks who have certain skin concerns. You should talk with a dermatologist before spray tanning if you have:

Sun damage

A 2018 study showed that peeps who get sunless tans don’t protect themselves as well from the sun’s harmful rays. While we need more research to prove that this trend is correct, it’s still a good time to talk sunscreen.

If you’re going outdoors to show off your tan, remember to be sun safe. Use sunscreen daily, even if it’s yucky out. You can also wear hats and protective clothing to further reduce your risk of sun damage.

In case you haven’t noticed, people love to get their glow on. In fact, a 2017 study showed that 9.5 percent of participants engaged in intentional outdoor tanning. But that beauty can come at a cost. It’s well known that tanning can increase your risk of sunburn, sun spots, wrinkles, and dry skin.

Tanning can also greatly increase your risk of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, a single tanning bed session can increase your risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 67 percent, melanoma by 20 percent, and basal cell carcinoma by 29 percent. That said, spray tanning is much safer.

Spray tanning can also come in clutch if you only want your summer glow to last a few weeks. Plus, unlike regular tanning, the results are almost immediate.

Spray tans can give you a sun-kissed look without the risks of UV rays. Preparing your skin before you tan can extend your tan’s lifespan and can help yield better results. Just be sure to talk with your tanning technician before your appointment. They can recommend the best shade and product for your unique skin sitch.

You should also take a shower and exfoliate before your spray sesh. This helps wash away any product residue and dead skin cells, which can lead to an uneven result. Oh, and don’t forget to wear dark, baggy clothes to your appointment.