When to Shower After Tanning

Whether you have spent numerous hours on the sunbed or paid for the perfect spray tan, your next step is to make sure that your tan lasts for as long as possible.

This being said, the question often asked by avid tanners is when to shower after tanning via sunbed or spray session?

When to Shower After Tanning – Recommended Times

The table below shows a brief outline of how long you need to stay away from the shower after a UV or spray tan session.

UV Tanning BedNo wait time
UV Tanning Bed with Bronzers2 hours
Spray TanningAt least 4 hours
Spray Tanning with BronzerAt least 8 hours

This table still does not quite answer all the questions that you may have when it comes to showering after a UV or spray tan. Nor, does it cover the different types of spray tans.

In this article, we aim to highlight the DOs, DON’Ts, and how to shower after your tanning sessions.

Showering After UV Tanning

While it is a fact that the tanning process can take 24-48 hours to complete, having a shower will in no way wash away your tan from the effects of the UV light of a sunbed from a tanning salon.

UV rays activate cells that are known as melanocytes. Once activated, these cells start with the production of melanin which changes the pigment of the skin. Soap and water will most certainly not reverse this process. In other words, you can shower anytime you want to after visiting the sunbed!

Lotions and Bronzers

It is true that after your shower, any tanning lotion or cosmetic bronzer will wash away. This does not really matter as most bronzers are only active during the tanning session.

If, however, you are using a bronzer that is supposed to carry on working for a few hours after your tanning session then you can wait a few hours before getting in the shower to wash off.

How to Keep Your Color After UV Tanning

Avoiding the shower will definitely not make you lose any color after UV tanning. You may lose a few friends if you avoid the shower for long periods of time after sunbed tanning, but your color will more than likely stay.

The trick to keeping your color when making use of UV tanning methods is to keep the skin hydrated, especially after you shower. Bear in mind that dry skin does not hold color very well and your tan will definitely fade if you do not moisturize daily.

Try to use a thick, moisturizing lotion after you have showered particularly after each tanning session.

Showering Before and After Your Session

Believe it or not, there is actually more than one good time to shower when it comes to UV tanning. The first time is right before you go for your session! A pre-tan shower can actually benefit you by enhancing your tanning session.

In actual fact, the heat from a shower helps to expand the pores enabling them to open up and take in more oxygen. Oxygen is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to melanin production.

Better yet, if you exfoliate before your tanning session you are able to clear the skin from dirt and dead skin cells which can actually block the UV rays and prevent them from penetrating the skin properly during a UV tanning session.

A nice warm shower before and after your tanning session is very beneficial and will not in any way impact the color results of your tan. After you have been on a tanning bed it is usually a good thing to have a shower anyway, as you more than likely will work up a sweat while on the sunbed.

Tips on How to Maintain Your Tan

Now that you know that a shower before and after a tanning session is not going to affect your golden glow it is also important to know how to maintain that lushful glow for a while.

Here are a few tips on how to maintain your tan:

  • Make sure that your skin does not dry out. Try and opt for a lukewarm shower instead of a piping hot one. The warmer the water temperature the more your skin is going to dehydrate. When your skin dehydrates it is more likely to peel and result in a faded tan.
  • Another tip is to apply shower oil to the skin when showering. This can help you to keep your skin hydrated and hold your tan for longer periods of time. There are many shower oils on the market that are designed to give your skin a high dose of hydration.
  • Keri Shower & Bath Moisture Rich Oil is a light bath oil that can be bought from Amazon and is gentle enough to use with each and every shower that you take.
  • Another good product is OGX Extra Creamy + Coconut Miracle Oil Ultra Moisture Body Wash. Treat your whole body to moisture with this creamy, ultra-hydrating blend. Massage generously all over the body in the shower.
  • Another tip is to drink plenty of water. This is not just beneficial to your skin, but to your body as a whole. The more water you drink, the more you will see that your skin is becoming smoother and plumper so as to maintain that beautiful-looking golden tanned skin.

Showering after a spray tan

Showering After A Spray Tan

The Golden Rules to Follow Right After A Spray Tanning session:

  • Stay away from all moisture.
  • Don’t work out for at least 24 hours.
  • Do not use any moisturizer or liquid foundation.
  • Do not get your tan wet.

What about washing off a spray tan too early?

You must ideally wait at least four to six hours after spray tanning to jump into the shower. This allows your skin to have enough time to absorb the solution and ensure an even shade. Bear in mind that the longer your spray tan stays on before showering the better the results.

If you shower too early you could find yourself looking blotchy and streaky. The best results with a spray tan are achieved after 24 hours.

Once you get in the shower do not get a fright if you notice some of your golden glow washing down the drain. This is just the excess solution coming off your skin and is quite normal if you have waited the correct amount of time before attempting your first shower.

You will still look as bronzed as ever when you get out of the shower. Softly use the back of your hand with spray-tan-friendly body wash to rinse the excess solution off.

About 40% of the color change happens within the first 2 hours of your spray tan. It is also important to note that even after you have washed the bronzer off, the color will still carry on developing for up to 18-24 hours.

When you get out of the shower you should then moisturize to lock in that tan It is recommended to moisturize at least twice a day to maintain your new bronzed glow.

Use Only Warm Water

If you absolutely have to shower shortly after your spray tan session does not use any soaps or body washes before the 24-hour mark. This can cause your tan to not fully develop as it should. Use only warm water and refrain from washing your hair or scrubbing your skin.

Be Gentle

Do not scrub your body after a spray tan. Rather gently rub the body so that the top layer of your spray tan is not rinsed away.

Pat Yourself Dry

Do not rub yourself too hard when drying off so as to avoid the risk of smudging your tan or erasing it completely. Try to be as gentle with your skin as possible so as to preserve your tan for as long as possible. Pat yourself dry carefully after every shower especially after the first shower that you take after receiving your tan.

Preserving Your Spray Tan

Always use paraben-free, sulfate-free, and alcohol-free products on your skin after a spray tan. This will help to stop your skin from drying out and preserve your tan for longer. Take time to check the ingredient labels to make sure that your products do not contain these chemicals.

Norvell Prolong Sunless Tanning Color Extender Moisturizing Lotion helps to create and maintain a perfect tan. Norvell’s daily moisturizer is designed to moisturize while at the same time the DHA gradually develops sunless color intensity over multiple applications.

Self Tan Moisturizer Maintainer Tan Extender Lotion With Bronzer 2 Oz – Post Spray Tan Moisturizer Tan Extender. This paraben-free lotion was formulated with a natural blend of ingredients from around the world in order to find this all-natural blend of ingredients.

This moisturizer nourishes, revitalizes, hydrates, and enhances the smoothness in order to achieve a flawless, smooth, and sleek look.


  • Do not have long hot showers as these will speed up the exfoliation process and significantly reduce your tan.
  • Avoid swimming pools and saltwater.
  • Do not use bars of soap, face toners, or moisturizers with mineral oil as these lighten your tan and cause fading.
  • These mineral oils are also found in many personal care products and cosmetics so be sure to look at the label before use.
  • Always press softly when shaving and be sure to use a new, sharp razor as well as a proper blade to minimize any physical friction on your skin. Remember that shaving exfoliates the skin which can fade your tan. It is recommended to not shave for at least 12 hours after you have had your treatment done.
  • Steer clear of body scrubs and loofahs as they will also shorten the life span of your tan.

Here are some other post-spray tan care tips to help you stay bronzed and beautiful for up to two weeks:

  • Make sure to exfoliate when you are in the shower at least 4 hours before you go for your spray tan.
  • When exfoliating make sure to use an exfoliator that’s oil-free and made from organic ingredients. This helps the tanning solution to stick to your skin, as well as gives your pores time to close up so as to develop an even color.
  • Make sure to shave a few hours before your appointment, earlier if you have sensitive skin.
  • Don’t arrive at your tanning booth appointment wearing makeup or jewelry.
  • Always remember to moisturize in the morning and at night after getting a spray tan.
  • Do not do any vigorous exercise for up to 24 hours after your spray tan so as to avoid perspiration from affecting your spray tan.

Washing Your Hair After A Spray Tan

Nobody likes the feel of dirty or greasy hair, but how can you wash your hair without causing streaks on your newly administered spray tan?

And you thought fake tan could get complicated?

If you are going to be going somewhere special and washing your hair is an absolute necessity, then try to lean over a little bit in the shower so that the hair products do not run down your back. Even better, if you have shorter hair then just give it a wash over the sink. By doing it this way you won’t impact your sunless tan at all.

It is, however, recommended that you wait at least two days before washing your hair after you’ve been indoor tanning. The reason for this is that many hair products contain SLES which is a foaming agent that contains a chemical to reduce the surface tension in the water.

Another alternative is to use a dry shampoo such as Indie Hair Come Clean Dry Shampoo. This shampoo soaks up oils to give hair a clean look and can be sprayed into dry hair.

Milkshake Dry Shampoo is also a great choice leaving the scalp feeling clean and fresh with unwanted residue. This dry shampoo contains hemp seed oil, which nourishes and softens the scalp and hair.

Now you’re more prepared now that you know when to shower after tanning!