How To Make Your Tan Last Longer: Follow These 3 Golden Rules

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How To Make Your Tan Last LongerEver wondered how some girls tend to keep their color for what seems like an age? Well I’m about to show you exactly how to make your tan last longer. The great thing about these techniques is they’re so simple to apply and have been proven to be  effective on EVERY girl.

It also doesn’t matter what type of tan you have. What I’m about to show you will work on all of the following:

  • Spray tan
  • Sun tan
  • Tanning lotion
  • Solarium tan
  • And any other that I may have missed!

Rule #1: Exfoliate Like Crazy!

No matter how you’re going to go about getting your tan on, exfoliating beforehand is a must! Our skin is constantly shedding so it’s important to clear out the older dead cells that shed faster, taking with them the color you just added to your skin.

And I don’t just mean giving yourself a gentle scrub, I mean doing the following two steps:

Step One: Start Off With A Dry Scrub

dry scrub for tanning

There are a lot of benefits to scrubbing your skin with a dry brush before getting into the shower. This includes:

  • Stimulates blood flow helping to remove toxins that interfere with skin cell generation.
  • Removes dead skin cells allowing newer cells to absorb color.
  • Reducers cellulite!
  • And a lot more

Scrub your body starting from your feet up, always brushing towards your heart. Use strong circular motions or long measured strokes.

If you don’t have a dry scrub brush, I recommend using something like this.

Step Two: Use An Oil Free Scrub

The reason for this is because if you are applying a lotion or getting a spray tan, that extra oil can lead to streaking and unwanted discoloration. Better yet check out this baking soda scrub which is super simple to make and will give you the best results – http://besskincare.com/diy-microdermabrasion

If you’re not doing this already, I seriously recommend you give it a try. This one technique alone will dramatically make your tan last for a lot longer.

Rule #2: Moisturize The RIGHT Way

Two things to talk about here:

  1. Moisturizing BEFORE getting your tan on.
  2. Moisturizing AFTER your tan appears.

aloe vera for after sunMoisturizing 24 hours prior to tanning and directly after exfoliating using the process in rule #1 will do one thing – strengthen your skin.

By doing this, you’re ensuring your skin is in perfect condition before you start applying color to it. This means it will last a hell of a lot longer and at the same time will show color much more evenly.

Make sure you don’t apply any product during the 24 hours between moisturizing and tanning!

Adding moisture AFTER you get a tan is even more important.

First off, if your tan was from the sun or a tanning bed you are going to want to apply an after sun almost immediately. Remember you are essentially burning your skin so you’re going to want to cool things down right away.

And when it comes to cooling your skin down, there’s nothing better than some fresh Aloe Vera. If you don’t have your own plant, I seriously recommend growing some. All you need is a small pot and one branch to get it started.

If you just had a spray tan or applied a sunless tanning lotion then you MUST wait until after showering before you can apply a moisturizer.

Speaking of showering…

Rule #3: When To Shower

Okay so this one is only going to apply to those who used a sunless tanner. You can shower any time after sunbathing or using a tanning bed.

If you just had a spray tan or applied a self tanning lotion, you must wait at least 12 hours. If you shower earlier than that, you run the risk of washing away the tanner before it is able to be fully absorbed into your skin.


Always apply a sunless tanner in the morning. That way you will have all day to allow it to soak in properly before washing away the excess in the shower.

So there you have it, the 3 golden rules on how to make your tan last longer. If you have any questions about these techniques, please feel free to drop me a comment below and I’ll get right back to you!

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31 comments… add one

  • What is a sunless tanner? And for the Aloe Vera,can you use the one in a bottle?

  • Hey Stephanie,

    Sunless tanner is a product that gives you the look of being tan without having to bake out in the sun or in a tanning bed. There are a ton of products on the shelves and online but if you aren’t big on slathering yourself with synthetic chemicals then you can check out our DIY self-tanning guide we wrote called ‘Getting Baked’ –> http://ow.ly/gI8MQ

    As for the aloe vera, you can definitely use the kind in a bottle but I would just make sure it is pure Aloe Vera and doesn’t have any additives etc..

    Hope that helps :-)

  • For the DIY exfoliator, are we supposed to apply that to our whole body or just our face? I know we are supposed to scrub our bodies but wasn’t sure. Also when you say 3 parts? How much is that exactly?

  • Yep, exfoliate your whole body! As for the 3 parts…we just mean in relation to how big of a batch you’re making. So, if you’re making 1 cup of something, you would use 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup of the other ingredient :-)

    Hope that helps!

  • With regard to a sunless tanner, can you go out into the sun after applying the sunless tanner, or should you wait until after 12hrs/after you have showered?

  • I would wait. Mostly because once you apply your sunless tanner you can’t really then slather yourself with SPF which you should always do before heading out into the sun…unless you want premature wrinkles! lol

    But as always, it’s up to you – but I would wait :)

  • Hello! I have you use a special body wash in the shower. As long as its oil free is that okay to use with the scrub brush?

  • It should be :-)

  • Hey do you have any perfered tanning oils to use? I know all this summer I tanned with baby oil and I was dark but I wasn’t as dark as I would like. any types there?

  • Hey Syndee,

    I don’t actually use tanning oil to be honest…I only use sunscreen. Now that I’m in my 30’s I have to stave off the wrinkles for as long as possible! lol

    I would be careful with using baby oil though for tanning as you can really burn your skin…which is never good in the long run :-)

  • You say apply no product in the 24 hours before tanning, what about some SPF?

  • Of course, always use SPF :)

  • I don’t tan easy but I don’t want to get a fake tan or anything like that. Any suggestions for products I can use to get a better tan?

  • Hey Rebecca,

    I totally understand…fake tans are hit or miss :)

    I actually wrote a Kindle book all about DIY tanning if you want to check that out instead –> http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Baked-Remedies-Tanning-ebook/dp/B00A7FC6SW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360215127&sr=8-1&keywords=getting+baked

    It’s full of recipes that you can make yourself at home to give you the look of a nice even tan without having to bake in a tanning bed or spend big money for a good spray tan :)

    Hope that helps!

  • When you say not to apply any product in the 24 hours before tanning….do you mean don’t even apply tanning lotion immediately before tanning? What do you recommend for moisturizing with the day before?
    I also think it should be noted that with sunless tanners you should not exfoliate AFTER you have achieved a good sunless tan…been there done that…tan goes bye-bye!

  • No you can definitely apply tanning lotion before tanning…in fact, I absolutely suggest that you should! lol

    And no, do not exfoliate right after :-)

  • Hey I plan on tanning for Prom and I’m a really hard tanner….should I tan in a bed if so for how long? And wht lotion/oil should I use? Thanks:)

  • Do you mean your skin just doesn’t really tan that well??

    If so, maybe a self-tanner would be a better option for you. I have a whole book of tanning recipes if you wanted to check that out on Amazon :)

    Here’s the link just in case –> http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Baked-Remedies-Tanning-ebook/dp/B00A7FC6SW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361597765&sr=8-1&keywords=getting+baked

  • hey,
    well my mom tells me that i always need to wear sunblock and all that. i still tan with it on, but could i get a stronger better tan with out it?

  • Definitely always use sunscreen…you don’t want to age prematurely and end up looking younger than you are :)

  • At first you say moisturizer 24 hours before tanning and right before tanning but then you say to not apply product in the 24 hours between moisturizing and tanning. So should I moisturizer right before I tan as well as 24 hours before?

  • 24 hours before and then after you tan :-)

  • At first you say moisturizer 24 hours before tanning and right before tanning but then you say to not apply product in the 24 hours between moisturizing and tanning. So should I moisturizer right before I tan as well as 24 hours before?

  • Hey girl, I already answered you :)

    I said 24 hours before you tan and then after you tan.

    Hope that helps :)

  • Won’t exfoliating take your tan you already have off?

  • Do you mean if you already have an existing fake tan? It may but it will also prep your skin for the new tan you are applying :)

  • I do and am suppose 2 wear sunscreen 24/7. I get spray tanned just bcuz I try and stay out of the sun and am suppose 2. With the spray tan when is it safe for me to apply sunscreen after getting sprayed?

  • Well I would wait until it’s settled properly. So that would be a few hours at least. I would probably do it after you shower – unless it’s at night! lol 😉

  • I tan in a tanning bed and have been for the past 4 months…I have a tan extender lotion I use all the time but don’t have the special body wash that doesn’t contain sulfates or parabens, and I was wondering if there are like any body washes I can buy in a drug store that do not contain these ingredients that I could buy instead of buying the expensive one at the tanning salon.

  • Perhaps look into a simple body soap like Dove. It’s mild, paraben and sulfate-free.
    As far as tanning in a bed goes, make sure you don’t over do it. We all love our tans, but too much UV exposure will lead to wrinkles, hyper pigmentation, and even cancer…I know, I know, I’m singing an old tune, but I just had to say it :)

  • Thank you!


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