You are excited to get a sunkissed skin glow using your favorite fake tan, but you just shaved your armpits, legs, and pubic region. Should you wait? It is a question that I receive a lot. And the answer is YES.
In this article, I will answer how long after shaving can you fake tan, and I will explain why. Then, I will provide shaving tips before and after applying a fake tan to help you achieve and keep a smooth, bronzed skin finish. Before I conclude, I will also answer some frequently asked questions regarding shaving and fake tanning. Let’s begin!
How long after shaving can you fake tan?
To answer how long after shaving can you fake tan, you should wait 24 to 48 hours after shaving before applying your fake tan.
Why should you wait at least 24 hours after shaving before you can fake tan?
You should wait at least 24 hours after shaving before applying your fake tan for two reasons. These are to avoid skin irritation and pore gaps.
When you shave, the blades do not only cut unwanted hair. They also scrape the stratum corneum or the uppermost layer of the skin. This process sweeps away the dead skin cells, leaving microscopic tears on the surface. These tears are almost invisible to the naked eye unless you press on the razor hard, which can lead to actual cuts or nicks.
These microabrasions take 24 to 48 hours to heal and close completely. Applying fake tan on an open wound can increase the possibility of skin rashes, itching, and irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin. That is why you must wait at least a day after shaving before you can fake tan.
Removing unwanted hair through shaving, waxing, and threading can open the pores. If you apply fake tan immediately, you can deposit excess pigments to the open pores, leaving ink spots on the skin. Because the pores collect more pigments, you can get an uneven fake tan finish.
Waiting 24 to 48 hours allows the pores to close and the cuts and nicks to heal, providing a smooth skin canvas for fake tanning.
Shaving tips before applying fake tan
It is best to shave before applying a fake tan. Shaving gives you a clear and smooth skin surface for an even bronzed skin finish.
Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, and frees ingrown hair. It is a good skin preparation step before shaving and fake tanning, especially for people with rough patches on the skin. It will also make it easier to use an electric shaver for ingrown hairs.
However, exfoliating also scrapes protective skin barriers responsible for water retention and preventing skin cracks, making the skin dry and prone to irritation. That is why you want to be gentle when exfoliating the skin.
There are two types of exfoliants. First, physical exfoliants like scrubs, brushes, and shower cloths. Second, chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Between the two types of exfoliants, dermatologist Dr. Gray recommends using chemical exfoliants over physical exfoliants because they are less aggressive on the skin.
Also, dermatologists advise that you exfoliate one to two days before you shave and two to three days before you fake tan. Exfoliating and shaving on the same day can be too much on the skin.
Prepare your skin for shaving
Take a shower and wash your skin before shaving. This step can help soften the skin and the hair, making it easier to shave. Dermatologists recommend gels, shaving creams, or hair conditioners to create a barrier between the skin and the blade. It will lessen the friction and the possibility of burns, cuts, nicks, rashes, and irritation.
Best Shaving Cream And Hair Conditioner To Soften Hair
Use the right razor
Use a sharp, high-quality razor to cut all the hair in a single pass. If you use a dull razor, you will likely glide it back and forth aggressively, causing skin burns, rashes, cuts, nicks, and irritation. All of these skin concerns can later develop into post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation sometimes known as dark spots from shaving.
There are two types of razors that you can use: a manual disposable razor or an electric razor. Manual disposable razors can provide a clean shave but can more likely irritate the skin. In contrast, electric shavers are safer but do not provide a super close shave.
The right razor depends on the profile of the person using it and which area of the body you will use it. Remember to designate different razors for the body, face, and intimate regions to avoid the spread of bacteria and possible infection.
To help narrow your options, check out our reviews of the best electric shavers for women’s legs (which you can also use for your arms and armpits) and the best electric shaver for women’s pubic hair. One razor worth buying is the Venus Pubic Hair Razor. It is an excellent shaving tool for your intimate area.
Shave in the direction of the grain
Shaving in the direction of the grain reduces the risk of cuts, nicks, and skin irritation. You want to prevent skin concerns and avoid waiting more time for the skin to heal before applying a fake tan.
Moisturize your skin
The most crucial step after shaving is applying moisturizer. It will replenish the lost moisture and create a protective skin barrier for the skin to avoid any skin irritation. You want your skin to look healthy and glowing when using your fake tan. Dermatologists recommend the following face and body moisturizers.
Most Dermatologically-Recommended Face and Body Moisturizers
Shaving tips after applying fake tan
Sometimes, you will notice hair growing after applying a fake tan. Can you shave them? The answer is also YES. However, know you can scrape some skin stains as you shave. Here are some tips to prolong your sun-kissed skin tone:
- Skip the exfoliation to preserve the skin color
- Use a gentle body wash for wet shaving
- Avoid alcohol-based shaving creams and gels
- Use a new or clean razor to protect the skin from cuts, nicks, and irritation
- Apply tinted moisturizers with the same tone as your tan to replenish the lost pigments
Should you shave before or after a fake tan?
It is best to shave before applying a fake tan. Shaving removes unwanted hair and exfoliates the skin, making it supple and smooth, ready for fake tanning. Always shave at least 24 hours prior to fake tanning to avoid possible skin irritation and for an even bronze skin glow.
That said, know that if you grow some hair after a fake tan, you can also shave it. However, be aware that shaving can scrape some of the pigments.
How long does fake tan take to dry?
It takes about ten to twenty minutes for fake tan formulas to dry. However, fake tan can feel slightly sticky on the skin for hours after application. Avoid tight clothing and showering after applying fake tan to prevent the pigment transfer and wash off.
Should I exfoliate before tanning?
Yes. Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells and even out the skin’s surface. You should exfoliate at least 24 hours before applying a fake tan. However, if you intend to shave before the fake tan, I recommend exfoliating two days before and then shaving a day before the fake tan. Exfoliating and shaving on the same day can be too much on the skin and cause possible skin irritation.
Should I moisturize before fake tanning?
Yes. Like exfoliating, you should moisturize your skin for at least 24 hours before applying fake tan to keep the skin hydrated. Moisturizers act as a skin barrier. Applying it right before you fake tan can prevent the skin from absorbing the tanning formula.
Pay special attention to moisturizing the elbows, knees, and ankles. They tend to have darker skin tones compared to other skin surfaces. Moisturizing them well will help build enough barriers to avoid absorbing too much stain.
Can I moisturize my skin after fake tanning?
Yes. You can moisturize your skin after applying a fake tan to keep your skin hydrated and glowing. Wait several hours before moisturizing to allow the faux tan to dry completely.
Can I fake tan my face?
Yes. You can apply fake tan on your face. Remember to choose products that are specifically formulated for the face.
Can I fake tan my intimate areas?
You can apply fake tan on your buttocks and close to the bikini line. Fake tans are for external use only. Avoid getting close to your intimate regions and the eyes, nose, and mouth.
For everyone asking how long after shaving can you fake tan, the answer is you should wait 24 to 48 hours. There are two reasons why.
First, shaving cuts unwanted hair and scrapes the stratum corneum, or the uppermost layer of the skin. It can leave microabrasions, sometimes invisible to the naked eye. Applying fake tan on open these cuts can irritate the skin.
Second, shaving can leave the pores open. If you apply fake tan immediately, the pigments can fill the open pores, making them look darker. The result of your fake tan can have ink dots because of the excess pigments deposited on the pores.
Waiting for at least 24 hours will allow the skin cuts to heal and the pores to close completely. Also, for best results, follow the shaving tips before and after fake tanning that I listed above.
Diana used to work as an Assistant Salon Manager in Los Angeles, CA before she started writing for Union of Barbers. With over 10 years of experience, she has tried hundreds of hair care products and has seen, styled, and treated all types of hair. Now, she shares all of the things she has learned in the hair industry and gives advice on everything about hair. When she’s not writing, you can find Diana at the beach on her yoga mat!