The 6 Best Sunscreens For Spray Tans, According To Experts
Extend your glow as long as possible.
To keep your spray tan looking great for as long as possible, all the products you use, including sunscreen, should provide plenty of moisture, according to Bondi Sands Chief Marketing Officer Alexandra Peek. Hydration is key because skin that’s properly moisturized will maintain the life of its tan for longer, so naturally, the best sunscreens for spray tans are loaded with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients. In addition, you’ll want to look for a broad-spectrum SPF that’s free of oils and alcohol, according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, who adds that you’ll want to “opt for a lotion or cream-based sunscreen as opposed to an aerosol spray to better hydrate the skin and prolong your spray tan.”
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Sunscreens For Spray Tans
To ensure that you’re getting a sunscreen that will not only protect your skin but also locks in moisture, Dr. Shirazi says to look for a sunscreen with “hydrating and nourishing ingredients like glycerin, aloe vera, niacinamide, shea butter, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid.”
You’ll also want to avoid aerosolized, alcohol-based sunscreens. Dr. Shirazi notes, “Alcohol based products, especially if listed amongst the first ingredients — alcohol denat — can shorten your spray tan’s lifespan.”
And according to Natalia Radosz, founder of Glow2Go in New York City, a buzzword to watch out for is “quick-drying.” Rodosz adds, “If it is quick dry, it probably has a high alcohol content.”
Some of Peek’s clients opt for sunscreens with added self-tanner or bronzer to help them maintain their faux glow for as long as possible. For those who prefer mineral sunscreens, she advises finding one that won’t leave behind a white cast, which won’t harm a tan, but will impact your tan’s appearance. “Essentially it comes down to your routine and what you’re looking for in a sunscreen product,” says Peek. “Everyone has a different preference on level of protection, application type, formula, or finish on skin.”
Additional Spray Tan Maintenance Tips
For the longest-lasting spray tan, it’s all about your pre- and post-tan maintenance, says Peek, who recommends exfoliating (and shaving or waxing, if you choose to do so) 24 hours prior to your tanning session for the most flawless application. Then, be consistent about moisturizing afterwards using both lotions and sunscreens. Radosz explains, “Not only will it keep your tan lasting longer, it will keep your skin from getting dry and flakey.”
With all that in mind, it’s time to shop for the best sunscreens for spray tans. Keep scrolling to find everything from hydrating body sunscreens to moisture-rich facial SPF with bronzer or tint.
Alexander Peek is the Chief Marketing Officer for Bondi Sands, the Australian self-tanning and skin care brand based in Melbourne. As CMO, she oversees brand and product development, as was as social and digital teams. She joined the company in 2016.
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist with La Jolla Dermatology. She specializes in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology, and is the owner her eponymous skincare line, AziMD Skincare. Dr. Shirazi earned her medical degree from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School’s Wellman Center for Photomedicine.
Natalia Radosz, is the founder/owner of Glow2Go, a NYC-based spray tanning business that covers the tri-state area. Radosz offers customized spray tan experiences based on a customer’s hues and skin tones.
1. The Expert Pick: A Hydrating, Oil-Free Sunscreen With SPF 50
Radosz recommends Sun Bum as a “very hydrating” sunscreen that can “keep a spray tan looking [its] best.” The Sun Bum SPF 50 sunscreen features a hypoallergenic formula that’s rich in vitamin E to protect as it moisturizes. It comes in a large, 8-ounce bottle that offers up to 80 minutes of water-resistant coverage. As one Amazon shopper raved, “Perfect with a spray tan.” Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, reef-safe, and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free.
Glowing review: “This is my 4th time buying this lotion - not only does it smell amazing, but it moisturizes your skin and doesn't wash off right away.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 50 | Water-Resistant For: 80 minutes | Size: 8 ounces
2. The Best Gel Lotion Sunscreen For Spray Tans
Part of Neutrogena’s best-selling Hydro Boost line, this Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen is designed to deliver a dose of hydration while providing SPF 30 protection. The oil-free formula has a refreshing, lightweight feel and absorbs into skin quickly, leaving no perceptible residue behind (despite being deeply hydrating). Its hydrating powers come from the line’s hero ingredient, hyaluronic acid, while glycerin, a moisture-attracting humectant, provides plenty of more hydration, too. And 80 minutes of water resistance top things off; and for less than $16, you get a generous 5-ounce tube.
Glowing review: “[It] is honestly such a nice sunscreen that does not leave you chalky. I found it so difficult to find an affordable sunscreen that does not have a white cast and this one is the best one. It leaves you dewy but not in an oily way. I have really dry skin so anyone would know that something this hydrating is a lifesaver.”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 30 | Water-Resistant For: 80 minutes | Size: 5 ounces
3. The Best Under-$10 Face Sunscreen For Spray Tans
Bondi Sands, which makes both self-tanning products for at-home and professional use, also has their own line of sunscreens, which includes its popular fragrance-free facial sunscreen lotion. The sheer, light lotion provides plenty of moisture courtesy of aloe and vitamin E, and the noncomedogenic, oil-free formula is well-tolerated by people with skin sensitivities and acne. Plus, it’s reef-friendly, reasonably priced, has a high SPF of 50, and Peek say it’s a favorite with the Bondi Sands team.
Glowing review: “Bought this after seeing it on tiktok and fell in love!! i’m pretty tan so other sunscreens tend to leave a white cast but this one is completely clear on my skin. i also love this because it leaves a good base for my makeup to go over top. would recommend!!”
Sunscreen Type: Chemical | SPF: 50 | Water-Resistant For: 80 minutes | Size: 2.53 ounces
4. The Best Mineral Sunscreen For Spray Tans
There are many benefits to mineral sunscreens, but one negative is that both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the two ingredients used in mineral (aka physical) sunscreens, tend to leave behind a white cast that can diminish your spray tan’s appearance. And while no mineral sunscreen will ever be truly invisible, COOLA’s Mineral Body Sunscreen blends in much more imperceptibly than most (be prepared to rub this into your skin for a bit, though!). The vegan and cruelty-free formula is full of antioxidants and hydrating ingredients like safflower oil, coconut oil, meadowfoam, glycerin, and aloe, and it has an SPF of 30 and a water resistant rating of up to 80 minutes. The brand’s yummy, Tropical Coconut scent rounds out the formula. It’s also available in SPF 50 within the same listing.
Glowing review: “Great product, moisturized my skin and no white film, a beautiful glow with a hint of tropical smell, this is my everyday sunscreen for my arms and shoulders.”
Sunscreen Type: Mineral | SPF: 30 | Water-Resistant For: 80 minutes | Size: 5 ounces
5. The Best Face Sunscreen With Bronzer
A hydrating sunscreen with an added bronzer, like Pacifica’s Mineral Bronzing Face Shade, can amplify the effects of your faux tan. This sunscreen boasts a zinc oxide-based formula with SPF 30 that provides up to 80 minutes of water-resistant coverage, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free, to boot. Made with a coconut-derived probiotic, nourishing shea butter, aloe vera, and caffeine, it’s a great option for daily use for anyone looking for an added bit of glow.
Glowing review: “I have a medium tan skin tone so it has been difficult to find a tinted mineral sunscreen with adequate zinc oxide that won't leave a white cast (despite being tinted), greasy so you look shiny for a long time,or matches the skin tone perfectly. I have tried many different tinted mineral sunscreens costing up to $50 and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has come close to this one. Blends very smoothly and quickly, it has a lightweight feel, scent is not overwhelming, not at all greasy/shiny,absorbs quickly, no cast at all,and matches my skin tone EXACTLY. WOW THIS ONE IS PERFECT. It ends up being perfect to substitute for foundation.”
Sunscreen Type: Mineral | SPF: 30 | Water-Resistant For: 80 minutes | Size: 1.7 ounces
6. The Best Tinted Mineral Sunscreen For Everyday Wear
This liquid tint sunscreen from Babo Botanicals is chock-full of moisturizing ingredients to keep your spray tan base looking its best. The mineral sunscreen is infused with passion fruit seed oil and raspberry seed oil for a hydrating finish and sweet white lupine protects against blue light with its natural antioxidant properties. The SPF 50 formula is fragrance free and ultra-lightweight for an easy-to-wear daily sunscreen that adds the perfect subtle tint without adding a white cast. It’s sensitive skin-approved and as one fan raved, “I found my holy grail.”
Glowing review: “I tried so many mineral sunscreens. All of them left a white cast or was super sticky.But this one is just incredible! My face is super pale, but neck is a little bit darker. So I bought both the original and tintedversion, mixes them and it matches perfect! Leaves no cast, absorbs so fast and leaves your skin super hydrated! Not only this… You see I am a super sunscreen nerd :) So I checked the ingredients and also UVA/UVB balance on ewg.org and it’s excellent!If you didn’t buy it yet, definitely give it a shot!”
Sunscreen Type: Mineral | SPF: 50 | Water-Resistant For: Not specified | Size: 1.7 ounces
Alexandra Peek, Chief Marketing Officer, Bondi Sands
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, MD, board-certified dermatologist with La Jolla Dermatology
Natalia Radosz, founder/owner of Glow2Go