Got A Spray Tan Coming Up? Here, Pros Explain Exactly How To Prep Your Skin

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“Exfoliating is the most important step in prepping for a spray tan or self-tanning application," says Kristyn Pradas, celebrity spray tan and body contour artist. So, to narrow down the absolute best exfoliators to use before a spray tan, Elite Daily spoke with Pradas and three other experts to get their product recommendations. Most of them suggest using some sort of body scrub, loofah, or exfoliating mitt, either on their own or together. For more pro tips and details about each product, read on.

Start exfoliating a few days ahead, says Jordan Cook, a St. Moriz expert tanner. This will ensure that you've gotten rid of any old tanning residue, as well as dead skin, to perfect and smooth the surface of your skin. That way, your golden glow will last longer and fade more evenly.

"Exfoliating reveals new skin, which ensures a more even application and longer-lasting results," agrees Nechelle Turner, a national makeup artist and educator with jane iredale. Because most body exfoliants contain some form of oil, Turner prefers to use exfoliating scrubs a few days before your spray tan — skip using them the day of. Otherwise, "the oils can leave a residue that won’t allow the pigment from the spray tan to penetrate."

Finally, Pradas advises waiting at least five days after your spray tan before lightly exfoliating again. Then you can get rid of any "new" dead skin cells so your tan will fade more evenly.

To shop the best exfoliators to use before a spray tan, plus more pre-spray tan tips, scroll on.

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Best Budget Body Exfoliator

St. Moriz Skin Primer is amazing for not only prepping your skin on your body pre-tan, but also for helping remove any old tan that might be proving a little hard to shift pre-application," says Cook. She suggests adding exfoliation into your weekly body care regimen, whether you plan on self-tanning or not, to "help break down any dirt stuck in your precious pores, which then actively helps prevent acne and evens out your skin tone."

Best Body Exfoliator For Bumpy Skin

“One of my favorite exfoliators prior to getting a spray tan is First Aid Beauty KP Bump Eraser with 10% AHA," says Desireé Delia, a licensed esthetician and makeup artist. "It's formulated with glycolic and lactic acids which helps smooth out the skin, making it the perfect match for receiving optimal results in your spray tan.” As a bonus, this body scrub is excellent for treating keratosis pilaris and body breakouts, too — or just smoothing out any rough, bumpy skin.

Best Brightening Body Exfoliator

One of Turner's favorite scrubs is this ACURE Brightening Body Scrub, because "it's 100% vegan, and contains antioxidants” like argan oil, pomegranate, and niacinamide. Antioxidants are great for brightening your skin, aka boosting its glow and creating a more clear and even skin tone. Other exfoliating ingredients in here include clay, sea salt, and walnut shell powder, while aloe and glycerin provide non-oily hydration.

Best Body Exfoliator You Can Use On Your Face, Too

Turner's second pick is this Brooklyn Botany Brown Sugar Scrub. Made with brown sugar and the oils of sweet almond, apricot, jojoba, grapefruit, lemon, orange, and peppermint, she explains that "this exfoliator works double duty, as it can also be used on the face," because it's not too abrasive. This is a fan favorite on Amazon as well, with over 3,00 five-star ratings and reviews.

Best Exfoliating Mitt

Use your exfoliating scrubs in the days leading up to your spray tan, but on the day of, Turner recommends switching to the Magic Mitt from jane Iredale "to gently buff away any remaining dead skin cells, especially on the rougher areas such as the elbows, knuckles, knees, and heels. These areas tend to collect dead skin cells faster, causing the tan to show up a lot darker." Unless you've been diligent with your exfoliating, that is!

One Last, Expert-Approved Exfoliating Combo To Consider

Pradas likes the one-two punch of using the Soap And Glory Scrub Of Your Life and a natural loofah for "deep and thorough" exfoliation. She says a loofah on a paddle, like this one — which comes in a two-pack — is ideal for hard-to-reach areas.


Kristyn Pradas, celebrity spray tan and body contour artist

Nechelle Turner, national makeup artist and educator, jane iredale

Desireé Delia, licensed esthetician and makeup artist

Jordan Cook, St. Moriz expert tanner