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Can You Wear Makeup After Spray Tan? – Aftercare FAQs

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
Updated
Makeup After Spray Tan

For many women, wearing makeup is essential. But what happens when summer is approaching, and you’re planning to get a beautiful spray tan?

Applying makeup after a spray tan raises a lot of questions.

Our article addresses all of that. Safety concerns and makeup suggestions after a spray tanning session are all discussed below.

TL;DR: Yes, you can wear makeup after spray tanning, but you’ll need to wait. Curious? Let’s find out!

Is It Safe to Wear Makeup After a Spray Tan?

Is It Safe

Yes and no.

Timing is everything when it comes to your spray tan. You need to wait at least 60 to 120 minutes before applying full makeup. 

To play it on the safer side, wait for 6 to 8 hours.

So the rule of thumb is that the longer you wait, the better it is. This is because the time will help the spray tan develop properly.

Plus, it will also prevent a blotchy tan.

People with sensitive skin have reported that applying makeup over a spray tan caused acne and other skin problems

As such, spray tan after care is VERY important.

But liquid foundations aren’t the only cosmetics in your makeup routine. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the types of make-up you can use AFTER your spray tanning process:

  • Foundation: Better to use powder foundations over liquid foundations. Avoid wearing a thick foundation, too.
  • Eyeliner: Safe to use
  • Mascara: Safe to use
  • Eye Shadows: Safe to use, as long as you use soft shades and avoid other parts of your face
  • Lipstick: Safe to use, as long as it doesn’t touch other parts of your face. You can also opt for lip tints instead.

What is Spray Tan Made of, Anyway?

Getting a sunless tan is a great alternative to traditional sun tanning. It’s quick, easy, and safe.

Most sunless tanning products contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This is a color additive.

Once DHA comes in contact with your skin, it reacts with the dead skin cells on your skin’s surface. 

As a result, this creates a darker shade.

But the real question is: Is a spray tan solution SAFE?

Yes, it is!

DHA

DHA, the active ingredient in a spray tan, is NOT a dye. Rather, it’s a plant-based carbohydrate found in sugar beets or sugar cane.

However, if your skin is on the sensitive side, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test

  • You can apply a small amount of spray tan on a part of your skin (e.g. hand).
  • Then wait for a few minutes or hours to see what happens.

And always remember: Never, EVER, inhale or ingest DHA!

It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic use, i.e. application on your skin.

But it is dangerous when inhaled or ingested.

Can I Wear Makeup Before a Spray Tan?

Can I Wear It

Most makeup products contain oil. This includes your eye makeup, BB cream, you name it.

Any product that contains oil PREVENTS the tanning solution from sticking to your dead skin cells.

If you wear makeup, this will form a barrier between your skin and the spray tan solution.

The result? A patchy, uneven tan. Unlike makeup, you can’t even wash it off. 

Talk about a nightmare before your beach trip!

So, unfortunately, the answer is: No, you CANNOT apply makeup before your spray tanning session.

What if you apply makeup that’s powder-based? That’s also a NO. Why?

  • Once the spray tan hits your skin, it will “wash off” the makeup.
  • It will slide off of your skin. And again, this will make your spray tan come out ugly and botched.

“Oh no! I ended up wearing makeup. What do I do?”

Don’t worry!

  • If you’re already at the tanning salon: Most spray tanning salons will have wipes so that you can remove makeup.
  • If you’re at home (or anywhere else): You can buy and use water-based makeup removers.

Similarly, you shouldn’t use oil-based removers as the residue may get leftover.

Below are some great water-based removers we recommend:

What Kind of Makeup Should I Apply After a Spray Tan?

Most makeups come in 2 different forms: powder and liquid products.

While there are pros and cons to each, many women use liquid makeup. This is because it’s easier to apply and remove.

However, liquid makeups aren’t great in achieving your golden glow.

When applied to freshly tanned skin, it may make your skin appear patched or blotched. So, stick to powder makeup.

This is especially if you’re getting spray tanned before your weddingNo one wants a wedding disaster!

But now that your regular makeup won’t match your new skin tone, what should you do? Read on to find out.

Makeup Tips for a Brighter, Golden Glow

Makeup Tips

1. Wait Before You Choose New Makeup

Remember, you cannot take a shower right after a tan. This includes getting your face wet and applying makeup.

After 6 to 8 hours, you’re allowed to take your first shower. You’ll notice that your skin will appear lighter.

Why? That’s because most spray tans DARKEN during the first few hours of application. 

So once you wash that off, it can become a shade or two lighter.

That’s why it pays to wait and see how your skin tone will actually look like AFTER a shower. 

But to play it safe, just wait at least 6 hours before you wash your body after a spray tan.

As such, don’t buy a new expensive foundation or colors immediately—wait and see what happens. 

That way, you can wear a foundation that matches your tanned face.

2. Explore Different Color Options

After your tan, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a whole new range of color cosmetics. 

With a new skin tone, don’t be afraid to try different colors!

Some women prefer to go bare-faced after a sunless tan. If you don’t regularly tan, choose this option so you won’t spend too much on new makeup.

But what if a spray tanning session is a regular occurrence for you? 

As a regular tanner, it’s a good idea to invest in a second set of cosmetics to match your golden glow.

  • Foundation/BB Cream and Concealer: Get a shade or two darker over a creamy foundation. For a cheaper alternative, consider a bronzer, which will darken your normal foundation.
  • Mascara and Eyeliner: Apply mascara on both upper and lower lashes to make your eyes look bigger. A bold and dark shade will give your face a sensual appearance.
  • Eye Shadow: Neutral, nude, or sparkly colors work well on a tanned face. Overall, it’s better to keep it simple.
  • Cheeks: Use a creamy blush with soft shades. A dark blush may overpower your tanned face.
  • Lipstick: Choose glow-enhancing colors, such as rose, peach, or brown shades. You can also consider a dewy lip gloss.

To find the right color or shade for you, you should apply multiple testers before buying one.

You can also get a multi-color eyeshadow palette so you have more options to choose from.

When you’re unsure, consult with your spray tan artist to get a professional opinion. 

They’re the ones who will be able to recommend and give you the best kind of advice.

3. Enhance Your Glow

After a spray tanning session, it’s important to keep your complexion look glowing. 

There are 2 ways to do that.

Avoid Heavy Makeup After a Spray Tan

The first method is to avoid heavy makeup products. Wearing makeup is clogging enough, what more if the formulas are heavy?

Applying layers of liquid foundation or heavy powder can make your tan wear off faster. Plus, it won’t show off your golden glow, either!

Remember: Simplicity is best. Choose light makeup with neutral or nude colors.

Keep Skin Moisturized

The second is to keep your skin moisturized.

A good moisturizer will not only make your tan last longer, but it’ll also improve your glowing complexion.

Things to Remember Before and After Spray Tanning

Things to Remember

Here are a few spray tanning tips to help you through your tanning appointment.

Before Your Spray Tanning Appointment

  • Exfoliate and take a shower before your appointment to prevent rough skin.
  • Moisturize your skin after a bath.
  • Avoid getting a wax or shaving right before the session.
  • Do NOT apply makeup or deodorant.
  • Wear loose clothes.

After Spray Tanning

  • Don’t get your face wet or take a shower for 6-8 hours minimum. This is important since it will affect how long your spray tan will last exactly.
  • Avoid sweating (no, really!). Use baby powder in areas where you usually sweat.
  • Do NOT use makeup products, perfume, or deodorant immediately after spray tanning.
  • Ask your spray tan artist which products you should use after (such as soaplotion, etc.).
  • Avoid outdoor activities, such as swimming, to protect skin health.

Final Thoughts

Spray tanning is an easy and quick way to achieve a golden glow. But many women wonder about the relationship between makeup and spray tanning.

Namely, can you have makeup and spray tan together?

Yes, you can apply makeup after spray tanning, but you will need to wait for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours. 

If you’re still unsure, always confirm with your spray tan artist for their professional opinion.

A good pro tip is to also do your research on the prices of spray tanning before trying it out. 

Make sure you get your money’s worth. Happy tanning!