Maintaining an airbrush/spray tan can take a little work, but if you put the time and effort into it, your tan can last up to ten days.
One of the biggest things you should remember is not to wash off the bronzer and DHA too soon! I routinely get spray tans, but in the beginning I would get too worried about the color being too dark or get too impatient, and I would wash before the DHA had time to do its magic. I tell people to wait at least 8-12 hours before showering, the longer you wait, the better! Make sure your first shower you are only rinsing off the bronzer, not scrubbing with your loofah brush! When you do use soap on your next wash, make sure it is a mild cleansing body wash. I actually use Natural Concepts from WalMart. It’s a decent, cheap body wash that does not contain soap or AHA(alpha hydroxy acid). AHA can cause premature exfoliation, and that is a bad thing when you are trying to maintain a spray tan. I would also suggest steering clear of any Dove products or Bath and Body Works products when you are trying to maintain your sunless tan.
Avoid long showers/baths!
Always avoid long hot showers and baths, and do not scrub your skin. If you must use a washcloth, make sure it is a soft one, but using your hands and your mild body wash works the best. When you are finished showering, pat your skin, don’t rub! The friction from the towel can make your tan rub right off!
Now, I know we all like to go to the pool or sit in a hot tub when we have a beautiful tan, but the chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs can actually remove the tan, or at least, shorten the longevity of your tan. If you must go in the pool/hot tub, remember to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! That will help, but you will still see some fading. Shea Body Butter is the best product for this that I have found.
Moisturize with Body Butter!
Moisturizer is a spray tanner’s best friend. The more you moisturize, the longer your tan will last. Apply morning and evening at the very least, and again, make sure the moisturizer does not have AHA(Alpha Hydroxy Acid). I like using Shea Body Butter , it also has a nice sheen when applied over your tan.
Take care when exercising–the sweat and friction can definately cause problems with premature fade or uneven fade. Wear loose clothes if you can, and try to make sure your bra fits well and does not dig into any areas. When those areas sweat, the bra acts like an exfoliant!
Spray tans have definitely come a long way. They aren’t perfect, and even with the best care the face and hands tend to fade faster than the rest of the body, and certain areas such as between the breasts can sometimes look blotchy, but in my opinion the health benefits far outweigh the few imperfections you can get. Spray tans offer a safe alternative to UV tanning, and generally provide a great color.
There are products available to help extend your tan. Many of the spray tanning companies, including my company, offer their own products, such as moisturizers, tan extenders( with DHA), and body washes intended primarily for people who spray tan. I suggest at the very least to purchase the aerosol personal bronzer, especially due to the fading issues of faces and hands. The personal bronzer gives you the abilitiy to self-spray small areas of the body that have prematurely faded.
With the above suggestions, you now have the tools and knowledge to extend the life of your spray tan as long as you can. With regular spray tans and good maintenance, your body will become used to the DHA and over time it will take less tanning sessions to achieve the same or better results.