How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Tanning?

How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Tanning?

There's something about a fresh tan that makes you feel like a new person. Proper care will make your beautiful bronze glow last for longer. However, you can ruin the results of your tan if you don't follow specific steps before and after. 

One of the most common questions about tanning is how long you should wait to shower after application. You don't want to shower too early or too late. We are going to go over everything you need to know about tanning. You'll find out when to shower and how to shower to get the best results. 

Different Types of Tanners 

All tanners are not created equal, and the type of tanner you have will dictate how long you wait before you shower. 

Spray Tan 

Spray tanning products are made with dihydroxyacetone (DHA). It triggers the amino acids in your skin, causing a tan to develop. Spray tan is applied using a machine that distributes it in a fine mist, creating an even tan over your whole body. The tan is only temporary and generally only lasts three to seven days before it begins to fade. 

Tanning Lotion

There are many different types of tanning lotions on the market. The amount of DHA in the product will determine how dark you will get in a single application. Your skin type will also play a part in how your plan develops. 

Tanning Mousse

A tanning mousse has a foaming formulation that’s easy to apply. If you're new to self-tanning, look for one with a built-in bronzer so you can see where you're applying it. The key to any type of tanning product is to get an even complexion and not have a smudgy tan, so you should pay attention to where you’re placing it. 

Gradual Tan

A gradual tan develops over time. You can start with one layer, and if it doesn't look dark enough, or you didn't apply it perfectly, you can add another layer. Some gradual tans can be added to your moisturizer and built up over several days. 

Tanning Oils

Tanning oil isn't the same as the above tanners, which don't involve the sun. Tanning oil is also different from olive oil or baby oil. It can accelerate the effects of UV rays and increase your body's melanin production. However, you should still be careful with how much sun exposure you get and use sunblock. You could end up with a bad sunburn instead of a tan, and that's definitely not the goal. 

What To Do Before Tanning 

When you use tanning products, the tanning agents sit on the top layer of your skin. You don't want dry skin, hair, or skin products to be in the way. Below are some tips to remember before tanning for the best results.

Hair Removal

You don't want to do any hair removal after tanning because it can lead to patchiness. Instead, wax at least 24 hours before tanning. If you shave, you can do it up to 4 hours before tanning. You don't want to shave and tan back to back because your hair follicles won't have time to settle. 

Skin Prep

Prepping your skin is crucial before you tan. Exfoliate a few days before to remove any dry patches, and pay extra attention to areas like your knees and elbows, which commonly experience dry skin. You can use a body scrub or a body buffer in the shower to do this. 

Try Spongellé's Botanica Body Buffers, which are infused with body wash and can help exfoliate. They also provide the skin with nourishing herbal extracts. 

You also want to shower before tanning to remove any dirt or excess oil on the skin. 

Don't Apply Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a useful go-to product for both day and night, but you never want to apply it before tanning. You should avoid all moisturizers 12 hours before you tan as it can leave a film of residue over your skin, hindering the tanner's effectiveness. 

This rule also applies to your face if you're going to tan it. Avoid using your skincare products for 12 hours before tanning. Schedule your tan for mid-day if you can't imagine not doing your nighttime skincare routine. 

How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Tanning? 

After tanning, you can't immediately jump into the shower. You may stress out about how long you should wait or if you even should shower on the same day. Some people feel dirty after they tan, and you can totally shower. The time you have to wait will depend on the type of tanner used. 

It also depends on if there was a bronzer in the tanner. Bronzer is what gives you instant results and will require a little longer to settle onto your skin before you can get wet. 

After getting a spray tan, wait to shower for a minimum of eight to 10 hours. You can shower a few hours sooner if the spray tan doesn't contain bronzer. If you can go longer than eight to 10 hours, you may have even better results, depending on the formulation you chose. The maximum time to leave spray tan on your skin is 24 hours. 

They do make rapid spray tan solutions that allow you to shower two to five hours after your session if you can't wait. Tanning lotion also doesn't take long to develop and can be washed off after two to three hours. Meanwhile, mousse and gradual tanners take at least six to eight hours to develop. You can shower immediately after using a tanning oil since that's a natural tan and not a solution that can be washed off. 

How To Shower After Tanning 

Now that you know when you can shower, let's go over how to shower after tanning. There are some dos and don'ts when it comes to this first shower. It may not be what you're used to doing.

When you shower after using tanner, use warm water. You also don't want to spend a lot of time under the water. Get in and get out. 

Think of it as more of a rinse-off than your normal shower. You don't want to wash your hair, shave, or scrub your body. Using soap will stop the tan from developing, and you won't get the best results. 

You can use your hands to rub your body down, but don't use a buffer, loofa, or washcloth. This shower is not the time for scrubbing or exfoliating since it will cause patchiness. Instead, gently wash you body with your hands and an oil-free body wash, like Spongelle’s Honey Blossom Body Wash.

Our body wash is formulated with Fision® Hydrate Pro, which gently cleanses, so you won’t have to worry about washing off your spray tan. It also replenishes and soothes your skin’s natural barrier with a moisturizing combination of amino acids, glycerin, and pro-vitamin B5.This will keep your skin healthy and nourished after every spray tan experience.

When it's time to dry off, pat yourself dry instead of rubbing your skin. If you scrub or rub your skin, you may end up with an uneven tan. 

Next, apply moisturizer to help lock in the tan. Try Spongellé's Body Lotion in Sugar Dahlia. The formula contains shea butter, jojoba oil, and vitamin E to nourish your skin. You can apply it twice daily to keep your tan looking glowy and fresh. Plus, you'll smell amazing!

Avoid Products With Harsh Chemicals 

Avoiding products with harsh chemicals is key to keeping your tan looking good. Many body washes, lotions, and products can contain chemicals that will remove the tanner from your skin. These chemicals include parabens and sulfates. 

Parabens act as preservatives in many beauty products, which can prevent bacteria and prolong the shelf-life. Sulfates are a chemical that comes from sulfuric acid in the form of a salt. This ingredient is what makes a product foam up. You can usually find sulfates in body washes, shampoos, and toothpastes. 

People with sensitive skin sometimes have to avoid these chemicals altogether. You may need to switch to different products if you experience dry skin or redness after using certain beauty care items. Talk to a dermatologist about your symptoms and what you should avoid. 

Parabens and sulfates may be harmful to your overall health, but they are definitely bad for your spray tan. You'll notice your tan smudge and start to come off. Avoid problems by using products that don't contain harsh chemicals. 

Spongelle body washes are free of harsh chemicals that could ruin spray tans. You won't have to worry about washing off your tan or a negative skin reaction with options like our Coconut Verbena Body Wash or Papaya Yuzu body Wash.These washes nourish and hydrate to replenish your skin’s natural barrier and keep your skin silky soft afte every use.

How To Remove Tanner

Eventually, your tanner will begin to fade and get blotchy. It will be time to remove the tanner and start again. Luckily, there are many ways to get your tanner off. 

You can use products that were made specifically to remove fake tan, but there are also items you can use that you already have on hand. 

Exfoliating Tool

Owning an exfoliating tool is an absolute must when it comes to removing tanner. Soak in a warm bath for 30 minutes to an hour before exfoliating using a mitt or a buffer. Make circular motions across your body to remove dead skin cells and tanner.

Baby Oil

Baby oil can help the exfoliation process. You can also use coconut oil or olive oil. Slather your skin with oil and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Then, get in the shower and use an exfoliating buffer from Spongellé to remove the oil and your tanner. 

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

This DIY concoction is helpful for removing tanner, and, bonus — you likely already have everything on hand. It's also a way to help your tan fade if you go too dark or look orange. 

You just have to mix lemon juice, baking soda, and baby oil and allow it to sit on your skin for 10-15 minutes. Rinse it off using your buffer as you did before for the best results. 

Sugar Scrub

Another way to exfoliate your body is by using a sugar scrub. The coarse sugar helps remove dead skin cells and tanner. You can make it at home by using two parts sugar and one part oil. The sugar can be white or brown, and the oil can be coconut, olive, or baby oil. Use the scrub in the shower by rubbing it in circular motions over your body and then washing it off. 

Other Aftercare Tips for Tanning 

Once your tanner is on, you obviously want it to last as long as possible. Here are some more tips and tricks for looking like a bronzed goddess.


You can exfoliate three days after your tanner has been applied. It will remove the top layer of dead skin but won't remove the tan. 


After exfoliating three days post tanner, you can top it off with a gradual tanner. It will extend the life of your tan. 

Loose Clothing: 

Wearing loose clothing while your tanner develops before your first shower is a must. However, you may want to stay in flowy clothes since tight clothes can rub and cause lines or patches. 


Wear long pajamas to bed to avoid skin-to-skin contact. If you get hot and sweat while you sleep, your skin touching your skin will create dark transfer marks on your body and also end up all over your sheets. 


You can mix tanning drops in with your serum or moisturizer to tan your face. Your face will match your body, and they are formulated for the skin on your face. 


You can use a small amount of instant tan in your foundation. It will give you a darker shade to use after your tan, so your makeup still matches. 

Perfectly Tanned

Now you have all the necessary information to keep your tan looking amazing. Don't hop in the shower too fast, or your tan won't have time to develop. Once it is time, using Spongellé products during and after your shower can help your skin stay beautifully bronzed and glowy. 


Dihydroxyacetone, Tanning Cream, Sunless Tanning | DermNet NZ

What Are Parabens, and Why Don't They Belong in Cosmetics? | Environmental Working Group

How to apply self-tanner | AAD