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To keep your spray tan looking great for as long as possible, all the products you use, including sunscreen, should provide plenty of moisture, Blair James and Alexandra Peek of Bondi Sands tell Elite Daily. They explain that 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 (like glycerin, aloe, hyaluronic acid, and plant-derived oils). Beyond choosing moisturizing sunscreens, both James and Peek say that the best sunscreen for you is the one that you like and will use. Some of James’ and 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, they advise 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.”
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.
To shop the best sunscreens to use with a spray tan, keep scrolling.
1. The Best Under-$10 Body Sunscreen For Spray Tans
Part of Neutrogena’s best-selling Hydro Boost line, their Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen is designed for people who are prone to dry skin. 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. An SPF 30 rating and 80 minutes of water resistance top things off; and for less than $10, you get a generous 5-ounce tube.
2. 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 their popular fragrance-free sunscreen lotion. The sheer, light lotion provides plenty of moisture courtesy of aloe and vitamin E, and the noncomedogenic formula is well-tolerated by people with skin sensitivities and acne. Plus, it’s reasonably priced, has a high SPF of 50, and James and Peek say it’s a favorite with the Bondi Sands team.
3. The Best Face Sunscreen With Bronzer
A sunscreen with an added tint or 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, shea butter, aloe vera, and caffeine, it’s a great option for daily use for anyone looking for an added bit of glow.
4. The Best Sunscreen Spray For Spray Tans
Unlike some sticky-feeling spray sunscreens, Australian Gold’s Botanical SPF 30 Spray, which has a water-resistant rating of 80 minutes, feels lightweight and lovely. Plus, it’s made with all sorts of good-for-skin ingredients, including eucalyptus, glycerin, red algae extract, kakadu plum, and vitamin E, many of which are rich in antioxidants that provide protection from free radicals. It dries down quickly and doesn’t leave a tacky or greasy residue behind, and it has a nice, citrus-y fragrance that makes it even more pleasurable to use.
5. 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.
Blair James, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Bondi Sands
Alexandra Peek, Chief Marketing Officer, Bondi Sands