Can You Put Makeup On After A Spray Tan

Can You Put Makeup On After A Spray Tan?

Looking to get that sun-kissed look without all the skin damage? Spray tans have you covered! 

Spray tanning solutions have improved a lot in recent years, allowing you to get a natural look in mere minutes. But there’s still one question that many spray tanners have. 

Can you put makeup on after a spray tan?

This is a tricky question, and you’re likely to hear conflicting answers depending on who you ask. To solve this conundrum once and for all, we have to take a look at how tanning formulas work and how they respond to makeup.

About Sunless Spray Tans

Spray tanning is nothing new. The chemical ingredients that color the skin have been around since the 1920s. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that it became approved by the FDA for spray tans.

By this point, sun tanning was a cultural phenomenon! Everyone wanted to look like they spent the day lounging by the beach or pool. Unfortunately, scientists were also starting to learn more about the link between sun tanning and skin cancer.

Sunless spray tans were the solution to that problem. Even today, it continues to be a safer alternative to get a natural glow without the potential health problems.

These days, getting a spray tan is a cinch! The process is very simple and only takes a few minutes. Professionals can even use the solution to contour your body to help you look your best. 

Check out this video to learn more about how spray tan is applied.

How Do Spray Tans Work?

The magic behind spray tans is the solution! Tanning solution contains dihydroxyacetone, which is commonly referred to as DHA. When the DHA gets on your skin, it interacts with amino acids to cause a chemical reaction.

Don’t worry! The chemical reaction is safe. Basically, the interaction creates dark pigments called melanoidins. The melanoidins are what give your skin its deeper color.

The change is temporary. Usually, spray tans last about 10 days with proper skincare. 

Tanning solutions come with varying concentrations of DHA, which makes it easy for you to choose the shade you’re after. Not only that, but the DHA continues to develop after your tan. Some fast-set solutions will only take a few hours. But traditionally, it will take upwards of 12 hours. Some solutions may take as long as 24 hours to develop its true color!

Can You Put Makeup on After a Spray Tan?

Now that you understand a bit more about how spray tans work, is applying makeup afterward safe?

To put it simply: you should never apply makeup immediately after getting a spray tan! Doing so would only ruin the finish. 

Remember, the active ingredients need time to fully develop into that darkened shade. When you put makeup on top of it, you’re only preventing the DHA from doing its job.

It’s recommended that you wait at least six to eight hours before applying makeup. This is especially true with foundations, primers, lotions, or anything else that’s going to cover your face.

Avoiding Water

The main issue with makeup is water content. Most products have some water in it. Cream-based foundations, liquid lippies, and other wet products can be between 80 and 95 percent water! They may also contain high concentrations of oil, which is just as bad.

Liquids will wash away the DHA. That’s why experts will tell you to wait 12 to 24 hours before washing your face or taking a shower. Any sooner and you run the risk of removing the DHA. 

This results in a splotchy appearance.

What About Powdered Makeup?

Mineral-based makeup products are a bit different. They can still do damage to your tan, but the effects won’t be as major. We recommend avoiding makeup altogether. However, if you must apply some, stick to powdered products.

But even then, do so sparingly and wait at least 60 minutes before you put it on. If possible, wait for two hours!


We know that putting on makeup is a daily ritual you never want to avoid. But if you just got a spray tan, it’s best to hold off a bit!

The DHA in sunless tanning solutions needs some time to sit on the skin and develop the rich color you’re after. When you add liquid makeup products to the mix, you run the risk of ruining your tan. It’s best to wait at least six to eight hours before you do your makeup. 

If you have any questions about makeup and sunless tanning, drop us a comment below!

Spray tans and makeup just don’t mix. Plan ahead and give your tan plenty of time to develop before you apply makeup to ensure that it’s not ruined by the product.

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