One of those frequently asked after-tan questions that us spray tan artists get is, “can I shave after my spray tan?” If you’re well-versed in spray tan care, you probably know that it’s advised for clients to do all of their shaving, showering and exfoliating prior to their appointment. Although this is the standard, that doesn't mean you won’t have a client from time to time that wonders if it is possible for them to shave afterward without ruining their tan. The reason should be that it’s recommended for clients to perform their shower prep prior to their tan so that the skin is in the best condition to receive the spray tan solution. As we always say, the number one goal is to create a spray tan that doesn’t look like a spray tan, right!? The result of a spray tan should be seamless and look as natural as possible. In order to create this result, spray tan skin prep is crucial! As an artist, we know that having a flawless spray tan means relying on clients to do their part in the process. So let’s go over the ins and outs of the answer to this frequently asked question!
Cons of Post-Tan Shaving
Shaving causes exfoliation to take place on the skin, which means when we shave, we are also removing a portion of that top layer of skin along with the body hair. Any additional exfoliation performed to the skin post-tan will cause faster fading. If there’s skin cells being removed from shaving, that means that the color from the spray tan is coming with it. This is usually something we try to avoid so that our clients can have the most incredible looking glow for as long as possible! However, a tan that is well taken care of can last up to two weeks! I don’t know about you, but my hair grows fast! In the summertime especially, this would make for some pretty furry legs for us ladies! It’s likely that you’ll have a client come to you that has a concern about shaving, either because they’re concerned about the hair growth after their tan or because they forgot to shave before their appointment. In this situation, it’s important to inform your clients that shaving will disrupt the depth of the color and the longevity of the tan. With that being said, this isn’t a black and white answer! Not all hope is lost when it comes to post-tan shaving.
Best Practices for Post-Tan Shaving
Luckily, there is some gray area when it comes to the concern of post-tan shaving. As we mentioned previously, you'll want to make sure your client’s know the risk of shaving with a fresh tan, but it is possible to do this without completely ruining the results altogether.
If the client plans to shave after their spray tan appointment, it’s important that they understand that shaving should only be done after the tan has fully developed. The typical time frame of spray tan development includes a waiting period of 8 hours before the initial rinse and then the fully developed color can be seen after 24 hours. Since shaving involves exfoliating the skin and using some sort of wash in the shower, the tan won’t develop properly if the body is shaved before the 24 hour development period. Shaving within the development period will most definitely affect the result of the tan and the depth of color achieved.
Have a Gentle Touch
Shaving with a light touch is the key to keeping the tan looking bronze as long as possible. Using gentle pressure with a razor, preferably that has a fresh, sharp blade, will allow the client to easily remove the hair without disrupting the tan too much.
Another aspect that should be kept in mind when it comes to shaving after the tan is developed has to do with the moisture strip found on most razors. When a client is prepping for their tan, it’s best to use a razor that doesn't have a moisture strip. The moisture strip prompts the risk of leaving a residue on the skin that can create a barrier between the spray tan solution and the skin. Having a barrier on the skin prior to a spray tan will cause the tan to not fully develop or can cause a “streaky” appearance on the legs once the tan is developed.
Although the answer to the question about shaving after a spray tan is both “yes” and “no,” I hope this gives you some more insight in how shaving can affect the result of a tan and how it can be done in a way that helps with the integrity of the color. Now you know how to best respond to this question when it’s posed by a client in the future! To get the scoop on other frequently asked questions, as well as more spray tan tips and tricks, head on over to the Beauty Business Babes Podcast on iTunes or Spotify!