Spray Tans & How To Make Them Last

A good spray tan is one of my favorite beauty hacks. I try my best to stay out of the sun because of the damage it does to your skin, so making the color last is important to me. I’m kinda a spray tan addict. No, but seriously, I get spray tans like once a week, so I totally know what I’m talking about. I used to only get tanned when I had an event, but then I realized the realness behind “everyone is a better person when they are tan.” A little color goes a long way- your teeth look whiter, your eyes look brighter, you look like you lost 5 pounds. It's the real deal. 

If you’re in the area (San Diego), I recommend you try out Bare Ops in Flower Hill Mall. I also recommend Alex as a person, she’s perfect. I go here every like week and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t get complimented on my color. You even get 20% off on your first tan. 

Being a spray tan frequent, I learned really quickly that a good spray tan starts well before you strip down to your birthday suit. And making it last has everything to do with the aftercare the days following your spray. There are hundreds of products on the market for extending your tan, which can make narrowing it down really tricky. I tried quite a few, and wound up blotchy and splotchy a few times before I found the products that were the real deal. I’m going to spare you the trial and error. Here’s what Sydney Says to make your tan last 5ever:

  1. Shave & exfoliate. First things first- you need to pregame. Your longest lasting tan starts before you even get to the salon. This means prepping your skin. Before you get your spray tan you need to remove all unwanted hair and exfoliate. I suggest starting the night before your spray.

    For exfoliation, I like to use my Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish.

  2. In the morning, it’s game time. Don’t even look at your lotions or deodorant. That stuff is off limits and you should know better.

  3. For your spray tan appointment you want to wear loose clothes. I usually wear pajamas- sweatpants and a t-shirt. I opt for dark colored PJs since it’s common for the solution to transfer from your skin onto whatever you’re wearing. Oh. And no undies or bra. You don’t want any lines.

  4. At your appointment, talk to your tanning artist about which solution is right for you. I usually ask for the solution that takes longer to develop (in 6-8 hours) because I think it dries out your skin less. Also make sure you discuss how long you should wait to wash off the solution to achieve the color you are looking for. I like looking dark, so I keep it on as long as possible. Still, I always make sure to set an alarm on my phone reminding me to shower.

  5. When it’s time to rinse off, I literally spend the least amount of time in the water as possible. It’s also important that the water isn’t super hot.

  6. Post tan maintenance is key. If you want your tan to last for a week or more you should avoid the following:

    • Exfoliators

    • Super hot showers

    • Chlorine

  7. The biggest secret to maintaining your glow is to stay moisturized. You need to make sure to apply tons of lotion after every shower. This is key to your tan’s longevity. It’s important to use a lotion that is paraben free because lotions that contain parabens will literally eat away at your tan. Nobody wants to look like they have a skin disease, so make sure you check the label on your lotion bottle.

Now that we’ve covered the art of spray tans, let’s talk about some of the products that will maintain and enhance your color. 

When you notice your tan starting to fade or you want to boost your color, I recommend using St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse. You apply the mousse onto your body with a mitt (purchased separately) and rub it into your skin. I like this product because it fades evenly and dries quickly. I like to leave it on for 3 hours before rinsing off. It creates a dark tan. I love this product and use it every few days. 


Don't forget the mitt!


The tan on your face is usually the quickest to fade because you wash your face both in the morning and at night. To compensate, I use, Isle of Paradise- Self Tanning Drops. 

You can add the drops to any cream, lotion, oil, etc to achieve a sun kissed glow. I add one drop to my moisturizer when I see the color on my face starting to lighten. The drops combine avocado, chia seed, and coconut oils to ensure fully hydrated skin. 

The great thing about these drops is that you can customize your tan depending on how dark you want to be. You decide how many drops you want to add and how tan you want your skin. You can experiment to figure out your own ratio. They are v versatile. Make sure you wash your hands after you use this product because it will tan your palms. 

Another tan extender for the face that I’m obsessed with is the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads. I swipe my face evenly with one of these pads and once it dries, I top it off with my moisturizer. I prefer these pads to the Isle of Paradise drops when I travel. 


These Glow Pads provide a yummy color year round. They are made with active Vitamin D that help give the face believable color, as well as tighten pores and exfoliate. There is a slight spray tan solution scent, but nothing that us big girls can’t handle. They are also extremely unfckupable. 

Glow on ladies.

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