Spray tan 101: What to wear to a spray tan and what not to wear

Do you want to know what to wear to a spray tan? We’re going to tell you everything you need to know before your tan appointment – from what clothes to avoid wearing, to what kind of underwear is best, and more. By following our advice, you can ensure that your spray tan looks amazing and lasts for as long as possible.

What to wear to a spray tan

A spray tan can help you achieve a sun-kissed glow without having to spend hours in the sun. It’s a great way to get that natural-looking tan without any of the risks associated with UV rays. I seriously have had hundreds of spray tans in my life! I am going to share with you some tried and true tan tips and important things to keep in mind when heading to your tanning session. Whether this is your first spray tan or your hundredth, we are going to help you get the absolute best results and a lovely glowing tan!

This post is all about what to wear and what not to wear when getting a spray tan.  

What do you wear when getting a spray tan?

So, you’re heading to your tan session, and what to know what to wear. We’ve got you covered friends! I would 1000% recommend wearing loose, dark clothing that will not stick to you. Tight clothing can leave indentations in your skin when it is removed, so wearing something loose and comfortable is highly recommended! So, what can you wear then? We have some suggestions just for you below!

  • Nothing at all! I know, I know, this isn’t going to be for everyone. I mean, essentially you’re getting naked right in front of a stranger! And, it could be even more awkward if it’s your first time. But, if I am being honest, this is truly the best way to achieve a tan and not have any visible or ugly tan lines on your entire body!
  • Black or disposable thong underwear – If you aren’t totally comfortable in the nude, then this is going to be your next best option in our opinion. Some locations will have disposable thongs, and those are a great choice. You could wear underwear as well, but make sure it’s dark!
  • A bikini or swimwear – Another great choice if you aren’t comfortable wearing no clothes! Pro tip: Make sure you wear a dark-colored suit, even black so that the spray tan doesn’t stain your swimsuit!
  • Sports bra and booty shorts – If you aren’t comfortable getting a spray tan in the nude, or in nothing but a thong and even a bikini feels too invasive, then a sports bra and booty shorts or running would be a great option. Just remember, you want to wear dark or black clothing so the tan doesn’t stain!
  • Go Barefoot –the reason being is you want to match the color of the top of your foot to the rest of your newly glowing tanned body! Your tan technician should have some type of barrier cream or sticky foot bottoms like the (tent foot protection below) to step on so you don’t have to worry about the bottom of your feet being stained a super dark color and looking unnatural. After your tan, if you don’t have something to cover the bottom of your feet -even pore strips, you’re gonna have super sticky feet. I’ve even seen paper towels used to step on. Just make sure there is something!!!
  • Fingernail covers -this might seem a bit odd, but if you wear nail polish, especially light colors, you want to cover your fingernails to prevent your nail polish, dip powder or shellac nails from discoloring. Another option if you don’t wear finger nail polish, is to paint a clear top coat before you get your spray tan and then you can remove the nail polish after your spray tan and your nails will look natural. And, don’t forget the barrier cream over your palms of your hands so they don’t look too brown compared to the rest of your body!
  • Flip flops or sandals – going to and right before your spray tan, you want to wear flip flops or sandals that will be easy to slip on and off. You don’t want to have to take off and (even worse) put back on tennis shoes, socks or boots. This will most definitely leave a line that won’t look right, especially if you are getting a tan for vacation or during the summer.
  • Hair up in bun -so your ponytail isn’t on your neck. An even better idea is a hair net or protective hair cap! Just make sure if you do wear a net or cap, you have it pulled just behind your hairline so there isn’t a stark contrast between your hairline and your tan.

Do you wear a bra for spray tan?

We would not recommend wearing one, although you can wear it to and from. The reason being, if you wear a bra, you most likely will have strap marks. That could be okay if it’s winter and you’ll be covering up your shoulders, but for the summer, this will probably create an unnatural look. You don’t want to have tan lines, especially if you are being sprayed for an occasion where you will show the tops of your shoulders, or if you are getting a spray tan prior to vacation or even in the summer. We’d also recommend a strapless bra wearing to your appointment and to put on when your appointment is complete.

What do you wear when getting a spray tan

Can I wear jeans to get a spray tan?

If you choose to wear jeans, we recommend making them loose, like boyfriend jeans or a relaxed fit. Tight jeans will not work because they will leave indentations in your skin, which defeats the entire purpose of getting a spray tan!

How long after a spray tan can I wear tight clothes?

That is going to depend on the type of tan formula your tan artist uses. I know mine has one that dries very quickly and you can actually shower after 4 hours. Typically you cannot shower for about 4-8 hours after a spray tan, so we would recommend staying away from tight clothes for that long.

What to wear after a spray tan in the summer?

In the summer when you are going to be wearing shorts and skirts, opt for a loose clothes like a dress or skirt with a tank top. Definitely no tight clothes unless they are what you wear DURING the spray tan (see our above suggestions for what is ideal to wear). Loose shorts and a relaxed fit or loose tank top would be ideal!

What to wear to a spray tan

What to wear for a spray tan in the winter?

Regardless of the temperature, you still want to choose loose-fitting clothes with fabric that will not stick to your skin. Big, baggy sweats will work or even joggers that are not too fitted. On top, grab a baggy tank or pull-over; a relaxed fit shirt. My favorite thing to wear is loose sweatpants and a tank top with a zip-up hoodie over the tank!

Do you wear clothes during spray tan?

This is a personal preference. Most of the time your tanning consultant will recommend whatever is most comfortable. I like to wear thong underwear and go braless.

How to prepare for a spray tan?

This is arguably the most important part of your spray tan! You want to make sure you are clean, exfoliated, and dry before your tanning appointment. There is nothing worse then leaving your spray tan and having one part of your body parts unevenly sprayed or looking like areas of the body was missed after your spray tan!

Below we’ve listed what we recommend doing to best prepare for your spray tan.

  • No makeup –you don’t want any oils or ingredients in your make-up to block the success of an even spray tan, especially on your face! One thing you could wear is lip balm because it doesn’t really matter if your lips are tan. In fact, that might look odd! HAHAHAHA!
  • Use an exfoliating soap – this is because an exfoliating soap will really prime your skin for your tan. It not only cleans your skin, but it also evens out and sloughs off any dead skin cells or residue left on your skin from lotions or perfumes. I love this L’occitane cleansing and exfoliating soap, and it’s small enough to keep with you so if you have to shower before your spray tan you’ll have it!
  • Shave – to make sure you are getting the most even tan possible, you definitely want to remove any hair!
  • No lotion – this is hard one for me after a shower, but it’s important to keep your skin free of any lotion so your tan can bind to your skin.
  • No perfume or body sprays – similarly to why you don’t want to wear lotion, when you wear perfume, the particles go on the skin, and, you want that even tan! So, no perfume or body sprays.
  • No deodorant –similar to the reason you don’t want to wear lotion or perfume, deodorant will stick to the skin, and even though it’s under your arms, you don’t want any unevenness due to having oils or perfumes or deodorants on your skin. If you must wear deodorant, bring it, and after you have dried from your tan, you can put on your deodorant.
  • No Jewelry –this one is pretty obvious, but it’s always a good reminder to take off your rings or necklaces, a watch and any bracelets. Your tanning consultant should definitely help remind you, but jewelry will interfere with an even tan!

FAQs: What to wear to a spray tan?

You can wear anything you are comfortable in. We recommend loose, dark clothes that will not stick to you after. Most likely, you will be dry when you leave the tanning studio, but, you could be a little sticky. And, you don’t want your clothing sticking to your skin and pulling any color off your skin causing an uneven tan!

How long does a spray tan last

How long does a spray tan last?

That really depends on your aftercare. You definitely want life of your tan to last a long time. Here are a few tips that have worked for us!

  1. Right after your spray tanner leaves the room, a good idea is to completely dry your skin! Don’t put any clothes back until you have totally dry skin!
  2. For your first shower, just rinse your spray tan. Do not use soap. Think about removing the stickiness from the tan solution, not the color. I know this seems gross but you should be pretty clean if you prepared for your spray tan properly (see above.)
  3. When you towel off, especially after your first shower, don’t rub the towel on your skin. Blot the water drops to dry! When you rub, you can remove some of the tan treatment and we don’t want that!
  4. Use scent-free soap and stay away from soaps with dyes in them if you want your tan to last as long as possible.
  5. Make sure you choose non-scented lotions, and do not have any type of mineral oils for 3-5 days after your tan!  I am OBSESSED with this living light vanilla sky hand and body lotion.  It’s free of parabens, mineral oils, synthetic colors or PEGs, nor is it tested on animals.  LOVE!
  6. No exfoliating soaps or body washes. Stay away from anything with granules. You don’t want to strip the skin until you are ready for your next spray tan!  This Vanicream gentle body wash will not strip your skin or your tan!

What not to wear to your spray tan

  • White articles of clothing (your spray tan will stain your white clothes right after)
  • Socks
  • Sneakers
  • No tight clothes (no leggings, yoga pants, no biker shorts, no jeans)

The key to a great spray tan is ensuring that you’ve prepared your skin properly.  Make sure to have your loose clothes ready and know what to wear after the process has been done! We hope this article answered some of your questions about getting a spray tan and we’d love to hear from you too, so leave us a comment below if there’s anything else we can help with or answer for you. Happy tanning! This post is all about what to wear to a spray tan!


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