You’ve turned up to the tanning salon ready to take on a gorgeous new glow, only to realize you forgot to shave! This could easily lead you to panic and think that your spray tan is ruined before it has even been applied, and who wants a patchy tan?
Is your tan really ruined if you forgot to shave before a spray tan? It is always recommended to shave before a spray tan, but if you forget to do so, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your spray tan is ruined. Body hair can get in the way of a spray tan, but in some cases, it won’t make too much of a difference.
It is definitely better to shave a day before your spray tan, but if you forget to do so, then you can wait the recommended amount of time to shave after your spray tan to achieve a smoother look and feel.
Below is everything you need to know when it comes to shaving your legs before and after a spray tan, and what to do if you forget to shave!
Does Body Hair Affect A Spray Tan?
Body hair can affect a spray tan, but the results can vary. Thicker hair can get in the way of the spray tan adhering to the skin, and this can lead to a streaky, patchy tan. It acts as a barrier for the spray tan product, so it does not spray onto the skin evenly.
This does not mean that you have to be completely hair-free when going for a spray tan, but you should ideally shave the areas that you usually shave. This is because the hair in these areas will be slightly blunter, making them thicker than the hair on the rest of your body.
Hair that is too thick, such as hair on your legs, can result in a patchy, streaky tan, which is definitely not something you would be looking for!
For more information, check out our article Is Shaving Before A Spray Tan Important?
Can You Shave Your Legs After A Spray Tan?
If you have forgotten to shave your legs before a spray tan, you might still want to find a way to enjoy soft, silky smooth legs. Thankfully, you can shave your legs after a spray tan, but there are some precautions to keep in mind!
You might be tempted to shave your legs straight away after a spray tan, but you need to wait the right amount of time for the shaving to not ruin your tan.
Spray tan products contain dihydroxyacetone, DHA, which is a compound that reacts with the amino acids in your skin, mostly the top layer of dead skin cells, as well as the oxygen in the air, to darken the color of your skin.
This process takes quite some time to develop, so shaving too soon before the tan develops can really ruin the even look you would be going for.
How Long You Should Wait To Shave After A Spray Tan?
You have to wait a certain amount of time after having a spray tan done to shave, to give the spray tan time to develop fully onto your skin, so that shaving won’t cause a patchy or streaky tan.
The general recommendation is to wait at least 8 hours before shaving your legs after a spray tan. This gives the product enough time to develop, so that it will not be disturbed by shaving.
Shaving not only removes the hair from your skin, but it also exfoliates your skin. This means that some of the top layer of your skin is shed off, which is where the tan sits. So shaving can lighten your tan and cause it to appear patchy if done too soon.
Just keep in mind that your tan color might lighten after shaving, even if you have waited the recommended amount of time or longer, so it really does help to remember to shave before going for your spray tan!
You should also consider that shaving is less likely to affect your spray tan if you prepare your skin properly for the spray tan, including exfoliating, moisturizing, and not applying any harsh products to your skin.
How To Fix A Patchy Tan After Shaving
If you shaved too soon after getting a spray tan, you might land up with a patchy spray tan! This might be really concerning – as you would want to enjoy an even, smooth, radiant glow, not have to worry about orange streaks – but there are some ways to fix this.
Here are some of the ways that you can fix a patchy spray tan after shaving:
One of the best ways to even out a patchy tan is to exfoliate your skin, to remove the top layer of dead skin cells which are holding onto the patchy tan, to be able to lighten the color and hopefully even it out more.
This will lighten your tan and remove most of the color, but it will even out the tan more and it will help to hide the streaks and patches.
This is a good step to follow if you are then wanting to spray tan over your legs again, as it lightens it enough, and prepares your skin to hold onto a new spray tan more evenly.
Use Lemon And Baking Soda
Lemon juice and baking soda are both great kitchen items that you can use to remove a streaky spray tan after shaving.
To use these, combine lemon juice and baking soda together until it forms a paste. Rub this paste into your legs, or where the streaks and patches are. Leave it to sit on your skin for a few minutes, and then wash it away in the shower.
The acid in the lemon juice, along with the natural exfoliant baking soda, will help to strip away the tan, or at least most of it, which will go a long way to decrease the appearance of streaks and patches.
This will also lighten the spray tan, but its best to have it lightened rather than have streaks!
If you do not want to lighten your tan with exfoliation or using baking soda and lemon juice, then you can cover up the patches and streaks using bronzer or self-tanner (like this one from Jergens).
Bronzer offers a quick cover up when you are going out, but the bronzer will wash off after your first shower.
Self-tanner offers a longer solution, and it will last for up to 10 days after it has been applied. The only issue with using self-tanner would be that you do not apply it properly, and you are just left with more streaks and patches that are more pronounced.
How To Shave Your Legs Before A Spray Tan
It is a very good idea to shave your legs before a spray tan, to properly prepare your skin to hold onto the spray tan. You should however only shave the day before your spray tan, and not just before.
Here are some tips on how to shave your legs properly before a spray tan:
- Shave the day before your appointment. If this is not possible, the soonest you can shave is 4 hours before.
- Soak your legs in warm water before shaving.
- Take a cold shower after shaving to close up pores.
- Use an oil-free shaving product, so that no product is left on your skin.
- Moisturize your skin with an oil-free moisturizer after shaving, to soothe skin and hydrate it in preparation for the spray tan.
- Shave with the hair, not shaving against it.
- Use an anti-septic lotion or a toner to close up pores and prevent ingrown hairs and infection.
Along with shaving your legs prior to a spray tan, you should also exfoliate your skin with a gentle body scrub or exfoliating mitt, and make sure to moisturize your skin well. Moisturized, exfoliate, and smooth skin holds onto a spray tan best!
How To Shave Your Legs After A Spray Tan
The chances are that you would need to shave your legs at some point after a spray tan, whether it be the next day or the week after. There are some precautions you need to take when shaving your legs after a spray tan, to ensure you do not strip the color from your legs.
Here are some tips on how to shave your leg after a spray tan:
- Wait at least 8 hours before shaving after a spray tan.
- Use a new razor, as it is less likely to cause nicks and cuts, and being sharper, it will remove less of the tan on your skin.
- Use an oil-free body wash to shave your legs. Do not use shaving cream, as these often contain alcohol, which can strip the tan from your skin. There are some body washes and products that are specifically designed to be used for spray-tan follow up.
- Do not press too hard against your skin when shaving, move lightly and gently along the top of your skin to prevent too much exfoliation.
Following the above tips will help preserve your spray tan for longer, and it will still allow you to have silky smooth legs! Just try to delay shaving as much as you can to allow the spray tan to fully develop.
Should I Wax Instead Of Shave Before A Spray Tan?
It is fine to shave before a spray tan, but many consider waxing to be the better option. This is because waxing keeps hair away for longer, so it means that you won’t have to shave or wax too soon after your spray tan, which could help preserve your tan for longer.
Waxing also has an exfoliating effect on the skin, so it also does its part to prepare your skin for holding onto a self-tan better as well.
Make sure to only waxy 24-48 hours before your spray tan, and not sooner, as your skin might not recover in time for the spray tan to adhere properly and evenly.
If you have never waxed your legs before, then you do not need to start now, just because you are having a spray tan done. You can still shave your legs, as long as you follow some tips on how to do so properly before a spray tan!
Do I Have To Shave Before A Spray Tan?
You do not have to shave before a spray tan if you do not usually use any hair removal methods or products.
If you have chosen to avoid shaving, waxing, or using other hair removal methods, then you do not need to do so before a spray tan. Good spray tan technicians will be able to work with your body the way that it is, and still give you a beautiful, even tan all over.
Should I Quickly Shave Before A Spray Tan If I Forgot To?
You might be tempted to delay your spray tan appointment by an hour to be able to rush home and shave your legs – but do not do this!
You need to give your skin at least 4-8 hours to recover after shaving before having a spray tan, so doing this will only lead to your skin feeling really sensitive during the spray tan, and the spray tan turning out patchy because your pores have not closed.
Your spray tan technician will also advise against this, so rather do not let the thought cross your mind!
Can I Use Self-Tanner If I Haven’t Shaved?
If you are planning on applying self-tanner at home, you might be wondering if you need to shave first or not.
It is generally better to shave the day before applying self-tanner, but if you haven’t planned this far ahead, it is fine to apply self-tanner to unshaved legs.
You will just need to ensure that you work the self-tanning product into your skin properly, so that the hairs do not act as a barrier between the product and your skin.
Forgot To Shave Before Spray Tan – Is It Ruined?
Your spray tan should not be completely ruined if you have forgotten to shave, and the best thing you can do is to notify your spray tan technician that you have not shaved, and carry on with the spray tan as usual.
Do not try to quickly shave before your appointment, as your skin would not have enough time to recover before the spray tan product is applied.
When shaving before a spray tan appointment, you should only do so 24 hours to 8 hours before, as this allows your skin to recover and be ready to hold the spray tan evenly.
After your spray tan, when you are wanting to shave especially because you forgot to do so before the application, it is best to wait 8 hours up to a day before shaving. This is because the spray tan solution needs time to fully develop on your skin, and shaving too soon can cause patches, streaks and lightening.
What happens if I shave right before a spray tan appointment?
If you shave too soon before a spray tan appointment, you pores will not close properly. When this happens, your pores can fill with spray tan solution, and this will cause little dots or flecks to appear on your legs.
Should I shower right before a spray tan?
Avoid showering right before a spray tan, as showering will open up your pores, and spray tanning with open pores leads to dots and flecks.
Have a lukewarm shower 4 hours or more before your spray tan appointment.