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Now that you have a beautiful Sunless Spray tan, how do you help it stay looking beautiful, and last as long as possible?

Steps to help your tan last longer and fade more evenly include any or all of below:

Pretan exfoliation done regularly, and correctly, will help a tan fade more smoothly and more evenly.

UV Free self tanning products only penetrate and tint the top protective “dead skin cell” surface layer of the skin.  (the stratum corneum)

Millions of these dead cells fall off daily, as part of the normal skin renewal process.  (they appear transparent when untanned, brown colored when sunless tanned)

As these “tanned” cells fall away, they take tiny bits of your sunless tan color with them. Therefore your tan will appear to lighten over a period of days, and depending on how evenly these cells detach, can fade unevenly.


To obtain a smoother looking, even tan, and also help it to last longer and fade better, use regular exfoliation, before you reapply your self tanning product or visit the spray salon.
When you exfoliate, you are removing any loose dead skin cells that are beginning to fall off. This allows the sunless solution to penetrate more deeply, and saturate more of the tightly “attached” cells, that will adhere longer before they fall off. You also lessen rough areas, over-dry areas, and buildup of dead skin cells that can cause the tan coloration to be uneven or “dirty” looking.

Most people find exfoliating thoroughly (but gently)  once a week, before their spray tan session is most effective. However, before reapplying a sunless tanning product,  one must, exfoliate BEFORE the tan starts to look bad. Once the skin starts to look crackly, spotted, and with dramatic pale and dark spots, and unevenness it can be very difficult to evenly exfoliate the  skin.  Try to exfoliate and reapply before skin reaches this point.

Macro dry skin (ichthyosis) detail

For some clients this could be in 5 days, 7 days, or 10 days. Each clients natural exfoliation rate, age, skin health, skin dryness/oiliness skin care routine, and lifestyle and health with effect how slow or fast this occurs.

A lighter/softer mid week exfoliation (every few days depending on clients needs), while reapplying an at home DHA containing product can be used to extend a tan for a few additional days.

Exfoliating to often (daily for example) can cause the tan to fade faster, unless you reapply a sunless tanning product after exfoliation.

Daily or regular moisturizing in conjunction with an exfoliation routine is recommended to help your tan fade even slower. Base this on your clients needs, skin health, humidity levels etc.

Tampa Bay Tan provides several moisturizing products for your clients needs, both lotion and spray options. (HERE)  Remind clients if the use heavy creams, and body butters, that they may need to exfoliate more heavily to remove these from the skin, as they can leave a thick layer of product on the skin which will effect tan solution penetration.

Many clients like to use commercial or homemade scrubs, and though they can work, they can have some downsides, depending on ingredients. Most scrubs leave a fine layer of smoothing silicones, moisturizers, lotions, or in some cases oils, on the skin surface. This helps the skin feel soft and smooth after the exfoliation. But (depending on your clients skin), and ingredients used, this may also, cause the tan to develop lighter, fade unevenly or fade faster. You may not “feel” this layer, but it is still present. That is what makes the skin feel soft and smooth to your touch, after the scrubbing action of the exfoliate.

The TBT scrub is specially formulated for Pre Tan use, and will not hamper Self Tanning Product Penetration. It is available as a retail product HERE.

Another alternative, many clients like is the Smitten exfoliation mitt (available HERE) or other used with a mild, non moisturizing transparent (not milky) gel or liquid soap. This will exfoliate the skin evenly, without coating the skin. Client can adjust pressure on the skin, based on the amount of exfoliation needed, or their skin sensitivity. The feet, hands, knees and elbows can scrubbed more heavily, as needed.

Avoid bar soaps or heavy milky, opaque, moisturizing soaps just before tanning, these can coat the skin. All shower scrubs and shave products should be thoroughly cleansed from the skin. Using the exfoliating mitt after shaving or using scrub products, can help remove residue.

Most daily lotions will work well, brand based on client preference. Do avoid Dove products which coat skin heavily. Daily use of oils, butters or thick creams to moisturize skin, can create a build up layer on some users.  (some examples are any product that is hard at room temperature such as Coconut, Coco or other solid oils)

Contrary to popular Internet comments, Mineral oil (Baby oil) is not a problem in lotions or moisturizers for most clients.

For your clients needs, TBT carries a line of retail or salon applied body moisturizing products that complement their Airbrush Tanning Solution products. see HERE . For best results apply moisturizer to shower damp skin to help seal the water into the skin surface.

Some clients like daily motorizing, some do every other day, some do not need any. Clients skin and environment, and habits will dictate their need.

Use of a DHA containing lotion or spray product as needed, between professional sprays. Lotions are HERE. These are often used a few times a week, rather then daily. Daily use can create build up, so adjust based on clients needs.


Use gentle mild gel soaps and a soft washcloth, sponge, or soft nylon mesh “poofy” ball for daily showers. I recommend avoiding Dove Soaps and lotion products as they can coat the skin. Gel cleanser that are translucent or transparent are recommended, as they are less likely to coat the skin. Brand is a personal choice, most work fine.

Avoid all bar soaps, even glycerin based, “gentle” or natural bar soaps, are not recommend. They all tend to coat the skin, and in many cases will over dry the skin if used daily.

DHA Level Used:

Regular tanning once a week will deepen and build color, as more skin cells are tinted, with time this can give tan a richer less translucent “deeper” look, when using the correct DHA depth for your skin needs.

To dark a product can cause faster and more uneven fading. This also will create more build up that can leave patches of tan that are hard to remove, and can look orangy or brassy.

Often a slightly lighter product, (lower DHA level) will still give very good color, with smoother fading and longer wear for the client.

Skin can change throughout the year based on climate, temperatures, use of central heat (dries out the skin) hormones, medication. All can effect tan wear and fade.

Adjust solution based on skin needs, as changes occur.

A moisturizing product such at Tan Extraordinaire or Revive may work better in winter,when skin is dryer, this is also a good time to lower DHA level  on products used, to improve tan fade.

Body Areas that fade faster:

Some areas of the body normally fade faster, face, chest neck , hands and feet. Have client lightly exfoliate these areas, and Reapply a DHA spray or lotion to them more often, between salon visits.

Legs fade faster from regular shaving. A sharper blade changed often (triple or quad blades do well) or an electrical razor will fade tan less, but client may need to reapply tanning products to these ares between salon visits. An over the counter bronzer only cosmetic or spray can help boost a faded tan for an event.

Erythrulose Products:

Consider a longer lasting, slower fading solution that contains the Tanning ingredient Erythrulose such as TBT’s TanFastic product. Not all client find Erythrulose products help. But if it suits your client, the tan typically will last 3 or more days longer (assuming DHA level is not to high, and other issues above are addressed as needed)  More information on Erythrulose HERE.