Self Tanning

Do I Have to Shower Before Self Tanning

3 Mins read

Self-tanning is a popular way to achieve a sun-kissed glow without exposing yourself to harmful UV rays. However, if you want to achieve the best possible results, it’s important to properly prep your skin beforehand.

This means exfoliating, moisturizing, and yes – showering.

When you shower before self-tanning, you remove any oils, dirt, and sweat that may be on your skin. This creates a clean, even canvas for the self-tanner to adhere to.

Skipping this step can lead to patchy or streaky results, as the self-tanner may cling to areas with more oil or sweat.

So, while it may seem like an extra step, taking a quick shower before applying self-tanner can make a big difference in the final outcome of your tan.

Can Skipping a Shower Affect Your Self-Tanning Results?

In short, yes. Skipping a shower before self-tanning can have negative effects on your results. As mentioned before, oils, dirt, and sweat can create an uneven surface for the self-tanner to adhere to.

Additionally, if you have any residual skincare products on your skin, such as moisturizer or makeup, this can also affect the outcome of your tan. These products can create a barrier between your skin and the self-tanner, leading to patchy or uneven results.

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Ultimately, while it may be tempting to skip a shower and go straight to self-tanning, doing so can compromise the quality of your tan.

How Showering Affects Self-Tanning: The Science Behind It

So, why is showering before self-tanning so important? Let’s look at the science behind it.

When you shower, you remove dead skin cells, oils, and dirt from the surface of your skin. This creates a smoother, more even surface for the self-tanner to adhere to. Additionally, the warm water from the shower opens up your pores, allowing the self-tanner to penetrate deeper into your skin for a more natural-looking glow.

Furthermore, showering helps to balance your skin’s pH levels. If your skin’s pH is too acidic or too alkaline, it can affect the way self-tanner interacts with your skin. By showering beforehand, you help to create a neutral pH environment for the self-tanner to work its magic.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Prepping for Self-Tanning

Now that we know the importance of showering before self-tanning, let’s discuss some common mistakes to avoid when prepping your skin for a tan.

  • Don’t use bar soap: Bar soap can leave behind a residue on your skin that can affect the outcome of your tan. Instead, use a gentle, non-oily body wash.
  • Don’t forget to exfoliate: Exfoliating before self-tanning helps to remove dead skin cells, creating a smoother surface for the self-tanner to adhere to.
  • Don’t moisturize too much: While it’s important to moisturize, using too much can create a barrier between your skin and the self-tanner. Use a light, non-oily moisturizer before self-tanning.
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By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a flawless self-tan.

Reasons to Shower Before Self-Tanning: Get the Best Results

To recap, here are the key reasons why you should shower before self-tanning:

  • Creates a clean, even canvas for the self-tanner to adhere to
  • Removes oils, dirt, and sweat that can affect the outcome of your tan
  • Helps to balance your skin’s pH levels
  • Opens up your pores for a more natural-looking glow

By taking the time to shower before self-tanning, you’ll be setting yourself up for the best possible results.

Tips for a Perfect Pre-Tan Shower: What to Do and What to Avoid

So, what should you do (and avoid) when showering before self-tanning? Here are some tips:


  • Use a gentle, non-oily body wash
  • Exfoliate using a gentle scrub or loofah
  • Rinse off with warm water
  • Pat dry with a towel


  • Bar soap
  • Hot water (it can dry out your skin)
  • Over-moisturizing
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Following these tips will help ensure that your skin is prepped and ready for a flawless self-tan.

Essential Skin Prep Steps Before Applying Self-Tanner

In addition to showering, there are some other essential skin prep steps to take before applying self-tanner:

  • Shave or wax at least 24 hours beforehand
  • Avoid using any other skincare products for a few hours before self-tanning
  • Apply a light, non-oily moisturizer to any dry areas (such as knees and elbows)

By taking these extra steps, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance at a flawless self-tan.

Self-Tanning Hacks: How to Get a Flawless Tan Without a Shower

While showering before self-tanning is the ideal way to prep your skin, there are some self-tanning hacks you can try if you don’t have time for a shower:

  • Use a toner or micellar water to remove any oils or sweat from your skin
  • Apply self-tanner in thin, even layers to avoid streaks
  • Use a tanning mitt or latex gloves to avoid staining your hands
  • Blend self-tanner into your hairline and neck for a more natural look

While these hacks aren’t a substitute for a proper pre-tan shower, they can still help you achieve a flawless self-tan in a pinch.