A Buyer’s Guide to the Best Lotion After Spray Tan

Moisturizing is one of the best ways to maintain the glow of a spray tan, but it can be a streaky mess if it’s not done right. 

best lotion after spray tan

In this guide, we will break down when to moisturize the tan, what to look for in the lotion, go over aftercare tips so you can make the most out of your spray tan, and review 5 of the best lotion after spray tan options.

What is the Best Time to Moisturize After a Spray Tan?

Spray tans take a little while to develop and it’s important to respect the time so the end result is rewarding and streak-free. Moisturize after your first shower, and wait for 4 to 24 hours before spreading lotion around the tanned areas. 

Do not moisturize right away after application, even if the skin feels dry or the glow seems to have faded away. The lotion will simply mix with the bronze and it’ll turn into an unusual zebra tan. 

After the first shower, moisturize every day in the morning and at night. It is best if the skin is wet so the moisture sinks in well.

Ingredients to Look Out For in an After-Tan Lotion

Moisturizing a spray tan is simple and highly-effective, only if the ingredient list complements the coverage and longevity of the tan. Some ingredients and features to prioritize in the after-tan lotion are:

  • Shea butter for hydration
  • Oil free for streak-free spread
  • Fragrance free so the tan’s smell isn’t interfered with
  • Aloe vera for soothing the skin
  • Coconut oil for soft skin and adding glow

There are also a few ingredients to avoid in the after-tan lotion:

  • Mineral oil as it introduces streaks
  • Essential oils as they limit the life of the lotion
  • Anti-aging products as they can be drying
  • Toners as they tend to act as a bleaching agent

Aftercare Tips to Maintain the Glow of Spray Tan

Aside from moisturizing, there are a few more elements that help a spray tan look better and last longer. Being mindful of them is the key to happy and healthy skin. Here’s a brief description of all of the elements:

Avoid Moisture

An important step to keep in mind, avoiding all sorts of moisture is key to letting the tan develop in its own time, and helps prevent streaks. Do not shower, sit in a hot tub, exert yourself in a workout session, or even spread moisturizer for at least four hours after the application.

Generally the heavier the coat, the longer the wait should be, but it shouldn’t be more than 24 hours. This allows the tan to fully absorb into the skin, remove the oily residue easily and cover the tanned area well.

Wear Comfy Clothing

This is very important – take out your comfiest full sleeve shirt and pants to wear after the tan. Make sure it is loose-fitting, dark colored, and old – so if there are any stains from the tan, it doesn’t hurt to throw away the clothes.

Comfortable clothing like this will help the tan develop evenly and cover a large area – so you essentially get the most out of your spray tan. Also, wearing clothes that keep the whole body covered avoids the tan from rubbing off onto your hands and other parts of the body.

Stay Out of the Shower

In line with avoiding moisture, staying out of the shower is one of the best ways to ensure the tan lasts long and glows well. Have the first shower at least four to eight hours after the application. Just make sure it doesn’t exceed 24 hours – that’ll cause skin dryness and risk losing the glow.

Shower with cold water, gently wiping off the surface bronze with mild oil-free cleansers and then pat the body dry. Do not switch to hot showers or exfoliate, as that would slough off dead skin cells and fade the bronze tone. 

Also, do not rub the towel to dry, this can add weird splotches to the area.

Moisturize Well

Arguably the best way to maintain the spray tan is by moisturizing and improving the hydration content of the skin. Make sure to look for oil-free lotions as they do not leave streaks or blotches on the skin.

Also, remember to moisturize after your first shower. Lotion up after four to eight hours while the skin is wet so the tan can develop in time, and the moisture can lock into the skin. This helps improve the tan’s longevity as well.

Do Not Touch the Skin

One piece of advice given by dermatologists is to keep your hands off the skin as much as possible. Touching carries over germs, dirt, and dead skin cells, which results in clogged pores, acne, and in some cases, skin inflammation. 

When the tan is developing, keep hands off the bronzed area to avoid rubbing off the tone and causing discoloration. Aside from keeping your hands off, take care of the posture you sit in

Don’t cross your arms, legs, or sit cross legged until at least four hours have passed after the application. Also, sleep with your body fully covered.

Reviews on 5 of the Best Lotion After Spray Tan

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Oil with Vitamin E

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Oil with Vitamin E Check Price on Amazon

A holy grail for many, Palmer’s cocoa butter moisturizing body oil is one of the lightest oils to ever be formulated. It goes on smoothly, does not leave an oily film on top, and absorbs quickly into the skin – leaving it hydrated and glowing.

It works especially well after spray tanning. The cocoa butter complements the bronze tones, and the vitamin E nourishes the skin so the tan lasts long and looks great. 

Speaking of lasting long, the Palmer’s cocoa butter body oil locks in moisture for up to 48 hours. You can set it and forget it when traveling to the beach or hiking up a mountain, when freshening up is a luxury.


  • Cocoa butter and Vitamin E added
  • Ethically sourced ingredients
  • Plant-based formula
  • 48 hour moisture lock
  • Paraben free
  • Phthalate free
  • Cruelty free
  • For all skin types
  • Absorbs fast into the skin
  • Lightly scented, does not overpower or interfere with the spray tan
  • Wouldn’t suit oily skin as well

Nivea Nourishing and Skin Firming Body Lotion with Q10 and Vitamin C

Nivea Nourishing and Skin Firming Body Lotion with Q10 and Vitamin C Check Price on Amazon

The perfect pick for people with extremely dry skin, the Nivea nourishing body lotion is enriched with ample hydration from Q10, and incredible skin rejuvenating antioxidants from vitamin C.

It is creamy, applies well on spray tans, and fades away cellulite when used consistently for over two weeks. True to claim, it firms up the skin and there’s a noticeable difference within a month of using it. Not to mention, spray tans shine brighter and fade away evenly.


  • Rich with antioxidants
  • Q10 and vitamin C added
  • Recommended for dry skin
  • Firms up the skin
  • Creamy formula, goes on smooth on the body and spreads evenly
  • Clean fragrance, the scent is fresh and fades away fast
  • The moisturization does not last as long

Jergens Soothing and Refreshing Aloe Vera Body Lotion with Cucumber Extract

Jergens Soothing and Refreshing Aloe Vera Body Lotion with Cucumber Extract Check Price on Amazon

A reminder of tropical beaches and nature, the Jergens aloe and cucumber body lotion combines the two most cooling ingredients to soothe inflamed skin, and revive so you look younger by the day.

Applying the Jergens refreshing body lotion after a spray tan introduces a healthy glow to the skin that stays locked for 24 hours, and nourishes the bronze so it looks dewy and young. 

It is best to use it while the tanned area is wet, so the formula is quickly absorbed and there are no blotches of uneven tan or discoloration.


  • Aloe vera and cucumber extract added
  • Cooling properties
  • Enriched with hydralucence blend
  • Fast absorbing
  • 24 hour moisture lock
  • Lightweight, absorbs into the skin well
  • Relieves dry skin and promotes skin nourishment
  • The spout may be blocked by dried up lotion

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Body Lotion for Dry Skin

Vaseline Intensive Care Essential Healing Body Lotion for Dry Skin Check Price on Amazon

A must have for people with eczema and cracked skin problems, the Vaseline intensive care body lotion is formulated with jelly microdroplets. These droplets aid the development of new skin within three weeks of consistent application. 

This lotion includes oat extract that gently sloughs away dead skin cells and removes the surface tan evenly. You’ll be left with skin that has a radiant glow, feels soft and heals faster. 

The formula is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic – meaning it won’t clog pores, perfect for people with oily and sensitive skin.


  • Infused with Vaseline jelly microdroplets
  • Oat extract added
  • Heals cracked and dry skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Ideal for sensitive skin
  • Non-scented, works well with spray tans, and doesn’t irritate sensitive noses
  • Lasts for over a year even with consistent use
  • The push dispenser makes it hard to pump out lotion when its almost empty

SheaMoisture Hydrating Paraben Free Body Lotion for Dry Skin

SheaMoisture Hydrating Paraben Free Body Lotion for Dry Skin Check Price on Amazon

Perfect for gentle massages, the SheaMoisture body lotion is made up of rich, natural ingredients, with shea butter the most pronounced, along with some coconut oil. These promote skin rejuvenation, longer nourishment and faster healing. 

It is thick enough to cover cracks and thin enough to be absorbed quickly into the skin. When applied on damp skin, it leaves a healthy glow and brings out the radiant tones of a spray tan, so it looks natural and lasts long. Not to mention, it’s quite affordable.


  • All natural ingredients
  • Semi-thick consistency
  • Raw shea butter added
  • Coconut oil added
  • Paraben free
  • Phthalates free
  • Mineral oil free
  • Suitable for dry skin
  • Great fragrance, it’s the blend consists of shea butter, coconut oil, myrrh, and frankincense
  • Locks in moisture for over 24 hours, skin feels silky smooth
  • The thick consistency would not work for oily skin

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you spray tan?

It depends on how long the spray tan lasts, but generally, it is okay to bronze up after every 9 to 12 days. This allows the tan enough time to develop, the skin to adjust to the ingredients, as well as maintain the glow to its full benefit.

How long is a spray tan supposed to last?

It depends on how heavy the coat of spray tan is – the lighter it is, the quicker it is going to fade. Generally, the tan should last around 7 to 10 days. Make sure to moisturize well, keep your hands off the tan, and stay away from oil-based products to get the most out of the bronze glow.

Does spray tan come off in the pool?

Yes, a spray tan can fade faster if you’re swimming in a pool for long hours. This is because chlorine is a bleaching agent, so while it eats away at the germs, it’s also going to fade the sprayed-on tones of bronze.

Does a hot tub take off a spray tan?

Yes, a hot tub is one of the easiest ways to take off or fade away a spray tan. The hot water softens the skin, carries away the dead skin cells, and allows the skin to regenerate which strips away the spray tan.

How do you sleep with a spray tan?

If the tan is still developing, make sure to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing that covers every inch of the tan – like full sleeve shirts and baggy pants. This way the spray tan won’t smudge, streak, or spread on the hands and face.

Final Thoughts

Hydration is key to happy skin – especially with a spray tan. So, make sure to follow the aftercare tips, moisturize well, and remember to keep your hands off your skin! Before you know it, you’ll be confidently using the best lotion after spray tans that money can buy.

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