Can You Leave Self Tanner on Too Long?

We get real about all those awkward fake tan faux pas and how to avoid them… 

It’s the difference between so hot it hurts Maldives glow and an Oompa Loompa glare… yes we’re talking about what happens when you go from being all ‘aglow’ to ‘over marinated.’

Yes warriors, we’re talking about the number one source of stress when it comes to tanning: can you leave self tanner on too long?

Short answer: yes you can. But it’s also not a make or break situation.

Before you go shying away from tanning all together, let’s break it down and dispel all those awks fears you have so you can feel fabulous and at ease anytime a faux glow beckons you.

Let’s begin with the big question first…

Q. Can you leave self tanner on too long?

A: As we’ve briefly touched on already, yes, when it comes to: ‘can you leave self tanner on too long,’ you can. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t always lead to disastrous results.

Firstly, the fake tan or tanning product you choose to use makes all the difference.

If for example you choose Three Warriors  (a natural, plant-based organic tan), then we’re going to be biased and say you will have a less wild or worrisome experience wondering what happens if you leave fake tan on too long than if you use another brand.

Why? Because our tanning products contain none of the chemicals, toxins or nasties often found in fake tan.

From a health perspective, our tanning products are less likely to harm your body because they won’t create a chemical overload or toxin build up in the body. In fact, we’re passionate about this and it’s a pivotal part of our Three Warriors ethos. 

Read our founder Corbin’s health story here to learn what happens if you leave fake tan on too long and why we aren’t into chemicals and we’re all about natural, organic tan.

Now, from a purely aesthetic perspective, what you really probably want to know more about is can you leave self tanner on too long without turning into an over baked oompa loompa?

Okay here’s the thing… as we said ‘yes’ when it comes to: ‘can you leave fake tan on too long?’ yes, you can.

But if you follow the directions on the bottle or the brand’s website (see below), you can’t go too wrong.

While each individual body and skin type is different, the approximate rule of thumb for the best gradual tan developing times are quite universal...which leads us to the next question…

Q. How long does fake tan take to develop?

A: We’ll keep it real simple warriors. Always read the label and use as directed but for a quick go-to reference when asked ‘how long does fake tan take to develop’ see below…

Three Warriors Tanning Guidelines:

1 hour - For a light and fresh, ever so natural fake tan glow.

2-3 hours - For a medium to warm organic spray tan.

4-5 hours - For a deep, dark holiday worthy gradual tan.

Q. How long does fake tan take to dry?

A: We’re going to be a little cheeky here and throw you a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ response…

No but really, each beautiful body is different and it can come down to a range of factors when waiting for fake tan to dry…

It could depend on your skin’s pores and absorption rate, how many coats of fake tan you did in one go, how thick you applied or contoured your tan or depend entirely on the tanning product you used, i.e. Gradual Tan, Self-Tan Mousse, Spray Tan Solution, Face Tan Mist etc.

But we admit we are being a little cheeky… when it comes to a ‘rule of thumb’ guide for ‘how long does fake tan take to dry’ it’s generally anywhere from 2-10 minutes.

But it does depend entirely on the product (i.e. Three Warriors Face Tan Aqua Mist will dry in seconds whereas Three Warriors Gradual Tan will take longer based on its lotion nature) but if we’re talking ‘how long does fake tan take to develop’ then see the tanning guide above. 

Q. How about sleeping in fake tan?

A: Such a good question because: why not tan before bed and wake up looking fresh faced and ready to ‘glow’?!

When it comes to sleeping in fake tan there are no hard and fast rules. You do you warrior! 

What we would say though is that you do it right before bed, to avoid walking around and brushing sticky or freshly tanned limbs against each other.

We would recommend if sleeping in fake tan that you invest in tanning sheets (be it a fancy ‘fake tan’ specific sheets, old sheets you’re not fussed about or a darker shade that doesn’t show the tell-tale fake tan remnants so easily) and make sure you wear loose, comfy and fake tan friendly sleepwear to bed. It goes without saying really, but just because you want a glow, your bed, sheets and sleepwear doesn’t need to get a tan too, if you get what we mean.

The only thing we’d preface is you make sure you know what your fake tan developing times are, figure out what shade you’re looking for (light and natural or deep bronzed goddess) and make an appropriate decision before you turn in for the night.

Why? Because it’s 100 per cent likely you will be sleeping to the max amount of time the tanning product takes to develop... so if you want a light glow, maybe skip sleeping in fake tan.

Q. How to make fake tan darker?

A: So you’re ready to ramp up your Maldivian glow as if you’ve already been living it up in the tropics for a month? We hear you warrior (and we so salute you!).

You can so easily boost that glow to golden as much as you like by learning just how to make your fake tan darker.

To read on for specific tips that teach you how to make fake tan darker, read our ‘How To Use Three Warriors Guide’ or check out our individual products pages for usage directions. 

But to keep it simple… the sky's the limit. Add a coat of organic tan each day until you get your desired shade. You’ll soon know what works best as part of your regular skin care routine!

Q. How does self tan develop after shower?

A: Ohh such a good question, but also a very technical one. It all comes down to chemistry… no really!

Fake tan contains key ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA) that reacts with the outer layer of dead skin cells which then absorbs the liquid tanning, creating the foundation layer of fake tan.

So the thing is, if asking: does self tan develop after shower? The answer is not so much. The real magic happens during the developing pre-shower stage.

The rinse you do after just removes the sticky fake tan residue and seals the skin, but truthfully when asked ‘does self tan develop after a shower?’... no it doesn’t. It’s all about building that base first warriors! So soak it up, then rinse it off to truly reap the rewards!