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Can You Shave After Tanning?

Tanning is a great way to get the sun-kissed look without spending hours in the sweltering sun. If you’ve used sunless tanner or had a spray tan, can you shave after tanning?

What happens if you shave after tanning? Will you end up with a streaky tan? Keep on reading to find out the answer!

Can You Shave After Tanning?

What Happens When Shaving Before Your Spray Tan?

Shaving before your spray tan plays a big role in your pre-tan preparation. Ideally, you should shave 24 hours before your appointment. 

This allows time for your pores to close and your skin to recover from any irritation caused by the razor. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Exfoliate: Gently exfoliate your skin when shaving. This helps remove dead skin cells, ensuring a smoother canvas for your spray tan.
  • Avoid Oils: Use a shaving cream free of heavy oils as oils can create a barrier on your skin that might prevent the spray tan solution from adhering properly.
  • Moisturize Wisely: Post-shaving, moisturize your skin, especially focusing on dry areas such as elbows, knees, and ankles. However, on the day of your tan, avoid lotion as it can interfere with the tan application.

Shaving opens up your pores and can sometimes cause a film on your skin which impacts how the tan develops.

If you shave too close to your appointment, your spray tan might end up looking streaky. Also, oils left by some razors can lessen the effectiveness of the tan solution.

Always use a clean, sharp razor to minimize irritation and achieve a smoother skin surface. 

Benefits Of Shaving Before Tanning

Here’s why you might want to consider grabbing your razor before your tanning session:

  • Smooth Surface for Even Coverage: Shaving removes hair from your skin, providing a smooth canvas. A hair-free surface allows tanning solutions to coat your skin uniformly, which can result in an even-toned tan.
  • Removal of Dead Skin Cells: Shaving acts as an exfoliating method. It gets rid of the outermost layer of dead skin cells, meaning the tanning solution, whether it’s from spray tanning or a tanning bed, can work more effectively on the newer skin cells below.
  • Enhanced Absorption of Tanning Solution: With the absence of hair and a layer of dead skin, your skin is better able to absorb the tanning solution deeply. This can lead to a more vibrant, lasting tan.

Here’s a quick checklist for shaving before tanning:

  • Exfoliate gently before shaving to lift hairs for a closer shave.
  • Use a sharp, clean razor to minimize irritation.
  • Hydrate your skin after shaving with a moisturizer that’s free from oils or fragrances that could interfere with the tanning solution.
  • Wait a day if possible between shaving and your tanning appointment to allow your pores to close, reducing the risk of irritation.

woman shaving her legs after using tanning products

Can You Shave After Tanning?

After indulging in a tanning session, you might wonder whether it’s safe to shave without risking damage to your newly bronzed skin. 

Shaving is a form of exfoliation, which removes the top layer of skin. Since tanning—whether through sunbeds or a spray tan—also affects the upper layer of your skin, timing your shaving session correctly is essential.

Before a Spray Tan or Sunbed

  • Ideally, shave 24 hours before tanning to reduce sensitivity.
  • Use a new razor to ensure a smooth shave without irritation.
  • Opt for a gentle shaving foam or cream to protect your skin.

After Tanning

  • Wait for some time before shaving to allow your tan to set in; 24-48 hours is prudent.
  • If you must shave after a spray tan, do so with a new razor and light pressure to prevent razor burn and exfoliation.

Shower Considerations

  • Avoid hot showers as they can strip away your tan and increase sensitivity.
  • If you shower before you plan to shave, use a moisturizing body wash to keep your skin hydrated.

Post-Shaving Care

  • Apply a moisturizer to soothe the skin and lock in your tan.
  • Avoid alcohol-based products as they can cause dryness and affect your tan.

Selecting The Best Products For Shaving After Tanning

When looking for the ideal shaving products after a tanning session, opting for gentle and hydrating options is essential. 

Your tanned skin is more sensitive, so your regular shaving accessories might not be suitable.

  • Razors: Choose razors that are sharp and designed for sensitive skin. A dull blade can create friction and exfoliate the tanned outer skin layer, which you want to avoid. The Gillette Mach3 Turbo is often recommended for its gentle yet effective shave.
  • Shaving Creams: Avoid products with alcohol or heavy fragrances that can dry out your skin. Instead, look for moisturizing shaving creams or gels. Natural or organic options with aloe vera and vitamin E are beneficial. 


  • Apply the shaving cream and let it sit for a minute to soften the hair and skin before shaving.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize irritation.
  • After shaving, rinse with cool water, and gently pat your skin dry.
  • Finish with a hydrating, tan-safe moisturizer to soothe your skin and help maintain your tan.

Top Tips For Shaving After Tanning

Top Tips For Shaving After Tanning

When you’ve just achieved that perfect tan, whether from sunbathing or a tanning bed, it’s important to know how to maintain it.

Shaving can be a part of your post-tan routine, but it must be done carefully to avoid damaging your tan. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Wait It Out: Give your skin a brief break after tanning before you shave. This allows your tan to fully develop and helps avoid irritation. Aim to wait at least 24 hours.
  • Hydration is Key: Apply a moisturizer to the areas you plan to shave. Hydrated skin can help preserve your tan and make for a smoother shave.
  • Use a Sharp Razor: A dull razor can strip away your tan and irritate your skin. Always use a sharp, clean razor.
  • Light Pressure: Apply gentle pressure when shaving to avoid exfoliating the tanned skin.
  • Rinse with Cool Water: After shaving, rinse your skin with cool water to close the pores without affecting your tan’s color.
  • Fragrance-Free Products: Opt for shaving creams and after-shave products that are free of fragrance and alcohol to minimize irritation.

Is It Best To Shave Before Or After Using Fake Tan?

When you’re considering using a fake tan product, whether it’s a spray tan or a self-tan lotion, the smoothness of your skin is key to achieving that perfect glow. 

Shaving can play a significant role in how your tan turns out. It’s generally best practice to shave before applying any kind of tanning product. Here’s why:

  • Exfoliation: Shaving acts as an exfoliating method, removing dead skin cells and creating a smooth canvas for the tanning product. By shaving before you tan, you help ensure an even application.
  • Reduced Sensitivity: Post-shave, your skin can be sensitive. Applying a tanning product immediately can cause irritation. Give your skin some time to calm down—most recommendations suggest shaving the night before your tan application.
  • Timing: When it’s time to shave after a fake tan, you’ll want to wait at least eight hours after your tan has dried to prevent the color from patched removal. It’s essential, in this case, to avoid applying too much pressure with the razor.

For both men and women looking for a lasting tan, consider the following tips:

  • Moisturize: After shaving and before tanning, apply a non-oil-based moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Alternative Hair Removal: If you prefer not to shave, consider laser hair removal or waxing at least 48 hours before tanning to avoid any potential reaction with the self-tanning product.
  • Post-Tan Care: To extend the life of your tan, use a tan extender and continue to moisturize regularly.

Is It Best To Shave Before Or After Using Fake Tan?


Shaving before your spray tan is essential to achieve a more even, longer lasting tan.

After your tan has set in, wait 24-48 hours before shaving, and always use a sharp razor with light pressure to minimize irritation.

Hydrating shaving creams or gels are ideal for post-tan shaving, as are moisturizers that are free of fragrances and alcohol. Overall, it’s best to shave before you use any kind of fake tan product.