How A Spray Tan Almost Ruined My Sister's Wedding

And how to make sure it doesn't ruin ANY day of yours.
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And how to make sure it doesn't ruin ANY day of yours.

Two nights before my sister’s wedding, we all decided to get spray tans. My cousin’s wife came to do them for us in the privacy of our own home, which was great. When she arrived, I asked 98 questions (I overthink everything), spanning from “Will the spray tan react with my face wash?” to “Can I leave my bikini top on?” The answers were such that I ended up not spraying my face and yes, I was allowed to leave my nipples tucked away.

I dutifully exfoliated my entire body, got my spray tan, and waited a full 24 hours to shower. My sister, however, woke up the next morning, showered, dried herself and noticed that, on the day before her wedding, her spray tan was patchy and looked more like dirt than glamour. Here is the tragic photo that was hastily sent around for advice:


There are several reasons a spray tan can become patchy, and many steps you can take to avoid this problem. When your tan becomes patchy, it is because your skin is flaking off. If you exfoliate beforehand, like I did (bragging), you will get rid of all the dead skin cells and your skin surface will be even enough for a perfect tan.


Exfoliating is the most important part of the spray-tan process. My sister claims that she did exfoliate beforehand, but we can never be sure. I exfoliated the day before by using Ahava Natural Dead Sea Mud.

Note the bikini top.

Note the bikini top.

If my sister did exfoliate (this is still up for debate--guilty until proven innocent), there are other things that could have gone wrong. Before a spray tan, you should:

· Not use any oily products, as this can cause a barrier between the product and your skin and lead to an uneven tan. If you want to moisturise before your spray tan, do so with oil-free moisturisers.

· Wax, shave or epilate at least 24 hours before.

· Remove all deodorant and perfume, as this can make your spray tan green.

Once your spray tan is over, you need to still be looking after it, or you can end up looking a lot like the picture of my sister. You should:

· Wait as long as possible before showering--aim for 24 hours (don’t worry, it washes off your bedsheets--I asked this eight times before committing to anything).

· Don’t get sweaty. Use this time to not exercise and not feel guilty for it.

· Don’t exfoliate. It will make your tan fade and all the hard work will be for nothing.

· Do not rub your skin dry after showering; rather dab and pat.

But what do you do if you’ve already mucked it all up or, for whatever reason, you wake up the day before your wedding looking like someone rubbed sand all over you? 

Firstly, relax. It has been scientifically proven that stressing makes your spray tan peel off. OK, I made that up, but really, there’s no reason to stress--it is very fixable. 

All you need to do is follow what my sister did: exfoliate lightly to remove the patchy build-up without removing the tan altogether. She used Mineral Line Dead Sea Body Peeling Scrub, which contains moisturising oils that will also help even out your tan. After, she washed this off in circular motions, using a body brush in the same circular motions in the areas where the damage was the worst. This helped to preserve the good-looking parts of the tan while removing the patchy mess. 

I'm pleased to report that she looked like a blotch-free princess in time for her vows.

Let’s review, shall we? Always exfoliate before a spray tan. Never don’t exfoliate. Always be truthful about exfoliating. Probably don’t get a spray tan two days before your wedding.