Spray tanning is a safe and effective way to get that beach bronzed glow without the risk of sunburn or UV poisoning and is growing in popularity over other methods of artificial tanning like tanning beds. This growth in popularity may be the openness of many celebrities about their own spray tanning sessions in order to look their best for a role or a red-carpet walk.

Spray tanning is essentially what it sounds like—a tanning solution is sprayed by an application specialist to coat the body in full, providing complete coverage and minimizing any tan lines.

To prepare for your first spray tanning session or to get the most out of your next spray tan, here are a few tips to maximize the results of your spray tan.

  1. Schedule Appointment At Least 2 Days Out. This timeframe will allow plenty of time for your new tan to “settle in” and have any blemishes or accidental smears touched up.
  2. Exfoliate Prior To Appointment. Spray tans adhere best to dry skin, so be sure to opt for a body scrub that is not heavy in oils or moisturizers. Your best bet may be using exfoliating gloves while in the shower—skipping your regular scrub and the post-shower lotion.
  3. Shave 12 HOURS beforehand. Shaving too soon before your spray tan can cause the tanning solution to irritate your skin as your cells are most sensitive after shaving (not only does it remove hairs, but shaving is also a great exfoliator).
  4. Minimize Post Appointment Moisturizing. Most lotions have heavy butters and oils to nourish dry skin and can cause the spray tanning solution to work its way out of your skin. Instead, opt for lightweight lotions and only apply when it is really necessary.
  5. Keep Using Sunscreen. A spray tan does not increase the amount of melanin in your cells, so you are still at risk for burning, especially if you have sensitive skin to begin with. Use a lightweight sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher.
  6. Minimize Chlorine Exposure. Short periods in the pool are fine but spending all day in a chlorinated pool can cause the life of your spray tan to be cut short.
  7. Don’t Layer Spray Tans. While the idea of applying a spray tan over your current layer may give the impression of an even darker and better tan—but that isn’t how spray tanning works. Its not a layer of paint or stain. If you plan to maintain a tan throughout the summer (or year), then enjoy your spray tan for about a week and a half and then remove it with a tan-removing mitt. Once your skin is refreshed and clear of any old spray tan, schedule your next visit.