What to Wear For Spray Tan Sessions 

If you’re planning to travel somewhere hot and summery, but your skin currently looks more like a festive ham than a golden goddess – it might be time to try a spray tan! Here’s our guide to what to wear for spray tan sessions to get the most out of your treatment.

If you’ve never gotten a spray tan, your mind will probably be full of questions before your appointment. One of those questions may be, “what should I wear to my session?” Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of spray tanning and the best things to wear to a spray tan session. 

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The Rise of Spray Tans 

Years ago, tanning seemed easy. You threw on a swimsuit, put on some tan lotion that smelled like coconut, and headed out to a sunny spot. The results of these grassroots tanning sessions varied a lot depending on the person. 

The hoped-for tan often ended as sunburn or an uneven, “half-baked” look that doesn’t flatter anyone. And, of course, regardless of how the tan looked, many people didn’t realize they were at risk for sun damage and skin cancer. 

what to wear for spray tan
The dreaded bikini tan line: Image by Mario A.P.

Once skin cancer awareness went mainstream, sunscreen and covering up became the norm. People sought new ways to give themselves the golden glow that made them look like they had just returned from Miami, and spray tanning was a natural choice. 

Spray tanning has been around for a while but had previously been looked at unfavorably due to its telltale orange result. Thankfully, new formulations in faux tan products have made it possible to get beautiful, genuine-looking results from spray tanning. It’s quick, easy, and helps you look healthy and radiant all year. 

Why Does It Matter What You Wear To A Spray Tan Session? 

Staining is the most obvious factor when deciding what to wear to a spray tan session. Before we get too far into it, let’s look at some of the ingredients in spray tan solution. 

Regardless of the type of spray tan your tanning specialist uses, it has the same active ingredient: dihydroxyacetone. This is a sugar-derived chemical that causes skin cells to turn brown. 

It is colorless, but many spray tanning solutions add a brownish tint to the mix to help guide the technicians when applying it. The added pigment is why you may look tan immediately after a spray tan, even though the tanning chemical takes hours to develop. The tint is also notorious for staining fabrics. 

Before Your Spray Tan

You can wear whatever you like to your tanning session. If you’re coming from work, you can wear your work clothes and bring along your tanning clothes in a tote bag

If you’re wearing any jewelry, you’ll want to take that off before you get there. It can be easy to forget you’re wearing jewelry, especially if you always wear it. If you wear it during a tanning session, you can end up with strange-looking jewelry-shaped tan lines, and worse yet, the chemicals can damage the stones and precious metals in your rings, necklaces, and earrings.

During Your Spray Tan 

You must wear proper attire during your spray tan session (unless you opt to tan naked, of course!)

Swimsuits and Underwear 

During a spray tan, some people simply wear whatever they’re planning on wearing to the beach, usually a favorite style of swimsuit or bikini. The issue with this is that it will create tan lines, so you need to make sure whichever swimwear you wear for your spray tan is a similar style to what you’ll be taking to the beach!

There seems to be a split when it comes to tan lines. Some people really like them. They feel that the lines look more natural since people generally tan in swimsuits. Some people may even find tan lines sexy. However, other folks just don’t like the look of tan lines. They prefer a sleek, all-over tan that looks like they were born with it. 

If you don’t mind tan lines, then a swimsuit or your bra and underwear work fine. Just be sure that whatever you wear is something you don’t mind being stained. 

Consider the shape of your garments as well. ask yourself if what you’re wearing will create the kind of tan line you want? You may be okay with a cute bikini tan line, but perhaps not with a “granny panty” line. Either way, be sure that your garments are straight so you don’t end up with wonky lines. 

Tanning Nude

Yes, you can be naked for your spray tan. Many people do it, and spray tan technicians are used to it. If you’ve never done it before, you may feel a bit self-conscious, but if you want a uniform, full-body tan, being in the buff is the way to do it. 

Many tanning salons also offer small disposable paper panties and bras to cover your genitals and nipples and protect your delicate areas from the tanning chemicals. You can also bring your own string bikini bottoms for this purpose. 

After Your Spray Tan 

So, your spray tan is done; you’re feeling relaxed, pampered, and ready to go back out into the world to wait for your full color to develop. But what to wear? 

Dark Colors

This is a no-brainer. Even if the tanning solution your salon uses appears to go on clear, there is still going to be some residue that can show up if you wear something light. Stick with black, navy blue, dark green, deep red, or dark brown clothing. 

Loose-Fitting Attire 

Once your spray tan is on, it will take some time for it to set. You want it to be set evenly and naturally, with no unsightly smears, streaks, or dots. To ensure you get the look you’re hoping for, avoid tight clothing and anything that can press into or rub against your skin, like tight belts, seams, or zippers that sit against your body. 

Consider wearing a tank top, loose-fitting yoga pants, or a relaxed-fit sun dress. Loose body suits are also a helpful piece of clothing after a spray tan. They’re comfortable, and you can opt for a long sleeve version if it’s chilly or if you want to keep your new tan undercover for the moment. 

If it is wintertime where you live and you’re tanning for a trip to somewhere warmer, a dark-colored, soft sweatshirt and sweatpants are a great choice after your spray tan. Your winter coat shouldn’t cause any issues, but if you had your face tanned, you’ll want to avoid any tight hats that can rub the tan off your forehead. Stick with a loose scarf or hood around your head. 

Don’t Forget Your Feet!

Feet are a tricky spot for spray tans. It’s not easy to make a faux tan look natural on the feet because the skin has many nooks and crannies, and the tan needs to fade just right toward the bottom of the foot so it doesn’t look drawn-on. If you’ve tried to use tanning lotion at home, you’ll know that ankles can be the bane of an even tan!

An experienced tan technician will know how to create a natural-looking spray tan on your feet. Don’t mess it up with tight socks or shoes! These can rub your tan off and make it look uneven. Opt for airy shoes like slip-on sandals or soft, loose socks and roomy boots if it’s winter. 

Final Words – What To Wear For Spray Tan

Getting a spray tan can make you feel beautiful, and it’s much better for your skin than tanning with UV rays. Spray tans can look amazing if applied correctly and if you maintain them properly. 

What to wear for a spray tan is mainly up to you, but some common sense planning and preparation can go a long way toward getting and keeping the golden glow you want. Happy tanning! 

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