Will Spray Tan Ruin My Manicure?

Spray tanning and manicures are two popular beauty treatments that many individuals indulge in. Spray tanning is a modern solution to achieve a bronzed look without the harmful effects of UV exposure.

It involves spraying a solution containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) onto the skin. A manicure is a cosmetic beauty treatment for the fingernails and hands. It involves cleaning, shaping, and often painting the nails.

However, a common concern arises when combining the two: will a spray tan ruin a manicure?

This article delves deep into the topic, providing evidence-based insights and expert opinions.

Will Spray Tan Ruin My Manicure?

No, A spray tan will not ruin your manicure if you take the necessary precautions.

The direct impact of a spray tan on a manicure largely depends on several factors.

Firstly, the target of spray tan solutions is primarily the skin cells, especially the dead ones on the outermost layer.

However, if the solution isn’t completely dry and comes in contact with the nails, it could cause discoloration or staining.

The time between getting a manicure and a spray tan can also influence the outcome.

For instance, freshly applied nail polish might be more susceptible to staining.

Why Does Spray Tan Affect Manicures?

It varies according to the science behind this interaction is rooted in the chemical makeup of the tanning solution and the nail polish.

DHA, the active ingredient in most tanning solutions, is designed to darken the skin.

However, when it comes in contact with nail polish, especially lighter shades, it can result in discoloration.

The type of nail polish (gel, acrylic, regular) and the specific formula of the spray tan can also play roles in this interaction.

Solutions and Precautions

To ensure the longevity and appearance of both the tan and the manicure, certain precautions can be taken:

  • Pre-Tan Preparations: Before tanning, apply a clear base coat to the nails. This acts as a barrier, reducing the risk of staining.
  • Post-Tan Care: After tanning, avoid soaking, scrubbing, or using nail polish removers as they can strip the tan.
  • Barrier Products: Specialized products, like barrier creams, can be applied around the nails to prevent staining.

Best Practices

For optimal results:

  • Timing: It’s recommended to get a manicure before a spray tan. This ensures the nail polish is dry and reduces the risk of staining.
  • Manicure Type: Gel or acrylic manicures are less porous than regular ones, making them less likely to stain.
  • Aftercare: Post-tan, avoid activities that might compromise the tan or the manicure, like swimming or using harsh chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) Should you get a manicure before or after spray tan?

It’s advisable to get a manicure before a spray tan. This recommendation stems from the potential reaction between the chemicals in spray tan solutions and nail polish or acrylics.

Spray tan solutions contain DHA, which can react with nail polish and acrylics, causing discoloration and weakening the bond of nail enhancements.

2) How soon after a manicure can I get a spray tan?

Waiting at least a day after a manicure before getting a spray tan is recommended. This waiting period allows the nail polish to cure correctly, reducing the risk of any adverse reactions with the tanning solution.


Navigating the world of beauty treatments can be complex.

However, with the right knowledge and precautions, one can enjoy the benefits of both spray tans and manicures without compromise.

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