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10 Best Exfoliators to Use Before a Spray Tan: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 28th January 2021
Best Exfoliator before Spray Tan

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It’s winter. It’s freezing cold and you feel like you haven’t felt the warmth of the sun on your skin for months.

And we’re guessing that you probably can’t jet off for some winter sun like you might normally do. Your skin might be looking as ghostly translucent as ours right now. So it’s no wonder that you’ve decided that what you need is a good spray tan.

Or perhaps it’s coming up to summer. You’ve got your summer wardrobe ready and you’re all set to head out in little more than your swim kit. But you haven’t been in the sun since last year and your skin is looking a lot paler than you’d like it to for when you head out to the pool or beach.

In fact, it’s so white that it blinds any passer-by who is unfortunate enough to get a glimpse of your shining legs. We’ve all been there. Either way, we imagine that you aren’t so keen on the idea of getting a blotchy spray tan, or one that peels off in large flakes, or that looks dull after just a couple of days.

These are all problems that come about when you go for a spray tan but ignore the necessary exfoliating process that should precede it. We know that you’re busy and that fitting in a spray tan is already going to take up time that you don’t really have to spare, but trust us when we say that it is 100% necessary if you don’t want your spray tan to be a complete waste.

Your skin is covered in dead cells that fall off, mostly without us even noticing. Needless to say, if you’re getting a spray tan, these dead cells that fall off will take the spray tan with you. That’s why it’s so important to exfoliate first. That way you can leave your skin refreshed and smooth, ultimately providing you with a much better, and longer-lasting spray tan.

And just in case you think it seems like too much time to find the right exfoliator for you, we’ve got your back. In fact, we have compiled a list of our nine favorite exfoliators to use before going for a spray tan, and we’ve highlighted who they will work for too.

So you should be able to find the best exfoliator for you no problem. Plus we’ve answered some questions at the end so that you know what to look out for when you’re choosing. Once you’ve been through our list, you’ll be able to find the best option to get your skin glowing like you’ve spent a month on the beach in the Maldives, and it won’t just flake away.

10 Best Exfoliators Before Spray Tan (2021 Update)

1. Brooklyn Botany Arabica Coffee Scrub

We are going to kick off the list with this Arabica Coffee Scrub from Brooklyn Botany. This exfoliator has a salt base, which means that it is better suited for oily or combination skin and less well suited for sensitive skin.

This scrub provides a great combination of exfoliation together with moisturizing. The dead sea salt helps to exfoliate, particularly areas of cellulite or wrinkles, where spray tan could have a tendency to pool or gather.

It then uses soothing coconut oil and shea butter to moisturize the skin and leave it silky smooth, which is just how you want your skin to be before you get a spray tan. This scrub is particularly good for people who are older with aging skin.

It can help fight sun spots, fine lines, and wrinkles because it is loaded with antioxidants. It even contains a little caffeine, which can work to help restrict blood vessels and reduce swelling. Plus it doesn’t contain alcohol, parabens, or sulfates, and is vegan, cruelty-free, and all-natural. That’s the exact kind of remit we are looking for to get the best exfoliating experience for our skin.

Key Ingredients:

  • Dead Sea Salt
  • Organic Kona Coffee
  • Coffee Arabica Seed Oil
  • Organic Sweet Almond Oil
  • Organic Grape Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Cacao Extract
  • Coconut Extract
  • Caffeine
  • Antioxidants
  • No alcohol
  • No parabens
  • No sulfates
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • All-Natural ingredients


  • Exfoliates with dead sea salt
  • Moisturizes with natural oils and shea butter
  • Great for aging skin and stretch marks
  • All-natural ingredients


  • Can be a little oily for some skin types

2. Jergens Natural Glow Color Primer

Next up on the list we have an exfoliator that is a sweeter option. With more of a sugar base than salt, it is better for dry or sensitive skin, as the sugar will be a less harsh exfoliator. This one hasn’t limited itself to entirely natural ingredients like the last one, but it is packed full of healthy fruit juices, like lemon, grapefruit and pineapple, as well as apricot seed powder, cocoa extract and pearl powder.

Not only that, but this fruity exfoliator has been specifically created to help prepare your skin for a spray tan. It only needs to be used once a week, and you can just use it in the shower, but it should help to gently exfoliate your skin so that it won’t flake off.

Using it regularly like this as well will keep your skin in good condition generally. Then it also works as a primer in a similar way to make-up, so that it leaves your skin soft and smooth ahead of tanning.

Key Ingredients:

  • Glycerin
  • Apricot Seed Powder
  • Lemon Juice
  • Grapefruit Juice
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Cocoa Extract
  • Pearl Powder


  • Fruity
  • Primer
  • Specifically for pre-tanning


  • More ingredients that aren’t natural

3. Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliating Cream

The third exfoliator that we want to share with you is by a brand that is well-known for its great skin care products- Clinique. In fact, their profile has recently been raised by working with Emilia Clarke as their global brand ambassador.

She might have come to fame as the mother of dragons, but she is also well-known for having truly beautiful skin. This Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliating Cream is a thick, creamy consistency, which contains a rich exfoliator to rub away persistent flaky skin or dullness.

It is another sugar-based exfoliator, which again makes it better for dry or sensitive skin. As it is such a thick cream, it works particularly well for moisturizing dry skin before you apply the spray tan. The granules work as a gentle exfoliator, plus the menthol leaves a gentle tingling sensation after use.

Key Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Menthol


  • Oil-free
  • Thick cream for moisturizing
  • Gentle exfoliator


  • More expensive than most options on this list

4. M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub

We love this Charcoal Scrub by M3 Naturals and we just can’t shut up about it. It’s got so many organic ingredients that help to work as a more natural exfoliator while maintaining plenty of moisturizing elements.

The main exfoliating ingredient is the dead sea salt, which works as a natural scrub that is well-suited to people with oily or combination skin. This combines with the natural activated charcoal, which helps to provide a deep cleanse for your skin.

It’s also infused with collagen and stem cells, which help to minimize your pores and increase your skin cell longevity. It can even help to reduce the appearance of acne, cellulite, and scars. All of this works together perfectly to help smooth your skin before you apply the spray tan.

By minimizing your pores, the tan will be less likely to gather in your pores, which would make them look bigger. And by boosting your natural collagen, your skin is going to be smoother and softer, which will also help with the smooth application of the tan.

Plus, keeping your skin healthy and exfoliated will make your skin flake off less, so that the tan can last for as long as possible, giving your skin that beautiful warm glow without being patchy.

Key Ingredients:

  • Dead Sea Salt
  • Organic Aloe Vera
  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Kukui Nut Oil
  • Spinach Extract
  • Emulsifying Wax
  • Activated Charcoal


  • Lots of natural ingredients
  • Cruelty-free
  • Made in the USA
  • Boosts natural collagen


  • Some people find that the emulsifying wax dries their skin

5. The Seaweed Bath Co. Detox Exfoliating Body Scrub

If you have softer or more sensitive skin, you probably need a more gentle exfoliator, and this is a great option for you. The bladderwrack seaweed from Maine works as a natural detoxifier, while the French clay helps to wash away any impurities in your skin, leaving it fresh and ready for a smooth application of the spray tan.

In this exfoliator, it is the walnut shell that works as a natural exfoliator, along with the glycerin, which makes it a sugar-based exfoliator and more gentle on the skin. It is also jam-packed full of natural oils, which all work together to help to moisturize and care for the skin after it has been exfoliated.

The coffee extract helps to detoxify the skin, while the green tea is rich in antioxidants. Plus this exfoliator is vegan, cruelty free, with no parabens or gluten and it is made in the USA.

Key Ingredients:

  • Bladderwrack Seaweed
  • Walnut Shell
  • Glycerin
  • Rosemary Leaf Extract’
  • Lavender Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Spearmint Oil
  • Cedarwood Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Sweet Marjoram Oil
  • French Clay
  • Sunflower Seed Oil
  • Coffee Seed Extract
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract
  • Canadian Willowherb Extract
  • Gluten Free
  • Paraben Free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty Free


  • Made in the USA
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Good for soft or sensitive skin
  • Suitable for men and women


  • The dark color can leave residue on your shower/ bath floor

6. Asutra Scrub The Day Away

The simple packaging of this exfoliator reflects the simple ingredients that it uses. It doesn’t use synthetic chemicals, parabens, alcohol, or detergents, nor is it tested on animals. Instead, this exfoliator is packed full of natural ingredients and natural oils.

The dead sea salt contains over 20 healing minerals, which help to gently exfoliate and polish the skin. It is well-suited to rougher or combination skin. The aloe vera then helps to smooth the skin, and the natural oils, of which this exfoliator has an abundance, are the perfect way to detoxify, hydrate, and moisturize your skin.

We love the intense moisturizing properties of this exfoliator, as it really helps to leave your skin smooth and supple, which is ideal for the application of the spray tan.

Key Ingredients:

  • Dead Sea Salt
  • Aloe Vera
  • Coconut Oil
  • Primrose Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Argan Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • No Synthetic Chemicals
  • No Parabens
  • No Alcohol
  • No Detergents
  • Not Tested on Animals
  • Made in the USA


  • Lots of natural ingredients
  • Intensely moisturizing
  • Essential oil aromatherapy


  • Quite oily

7. Ongaro Probiotic Body Scrub

The guys at Ongaro know what’s up. They describe this exfoliator as “Like a facial for your body”. It helps to clean clogged pores and remove dry, dead skin from all over your body. This is ideal for before you get a spray tan, as clogged pores can leave a tan looking very uneven, and dry skin can flake off, taking your tan with it.

This probiotic body scrub uses natural jojoba beads, bamboo and walnut shells to scrub your skin, and it is salt-based, so it is better for oily or combination skin, rather than sensitive skin. It also works well on acne-prone skin, which can make a big difference if you are looking for a tan.

It doesn’t have any harsh chemicals, but it does contain quite a few ingredients that aren’t entirely natural. This exfoliator is less of a moisturizer, but will work really well if you are looking for a deep exfoliation before your spray tan.

Key Ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Walnut Shell Powder
  • Rosemary Leaf Extract
  • Chamomile Flower Extract
  • Apple Extract
  • Green Tea Leaf Extract
  • Orange Extract
  • Lemon Extract
  • Shea Butter
  • Orange Peel Oil


  • Women-owned company
  • Cruelty-free
  • Cleans clogged pores


  • Contains quite a few chemical ingredients too

8. Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Scrub

Most of the exfoliators on our list are pretty gender neutral, but this one is definitely aiming itself at women. That’s not just because it comes in a pink tub (that’s how advertisers let women know that this product is meant for them), but because it also comes with the tagline “Sssshhhhh!

Now he’ll never have to know that all this time you’ve been flaking it…” Okay so it’s a crass packaging, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work as an exfoliator. In fact, this is a great-smelling exfoliator, that really helps to change your skin from being dull and flakey, to smooth and glowing.

It’s a big-sized tub which makes it a more affordable option and it will prep your skin wonderfully before getting your spray tan.

Key Ingredients:

  • Shea Butter
  • Sugar
  • Sea Salt
  • Grapeseed
  • Peach Seed Powder
  • Almond Oils


  • Sea salt exfoliator
  • Thick moisturizing properties
  • More affordable than a lot on this list


  • Overly-gendered packaging
  • Lots of not entirely natural ingredients

9. Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub, Tropical Mango

If you have dry or sensitive skin, but still want to get a good exfoliator, this Shea Sugar Scrub by Tree Hut is a great option for you. As it is sugar based, the exfoliation is more gentle than if it were salt based.

You can pick between various different flavors, like Coconut Lime, Mocha & Coffee Bean, Passion Fruit & Guava, Pear & Chia or Pomegranate Açai, but our favorite is the Tropical Mango flavor. It is so bursting with fruitiness that it feels perfect for making the skin smooth and supple ahead of a spray tan.

It contains 100% pure natural shea butter, which is a wonderful moisturizer for dry or cracked skin, and the other oils are rich in vitamins that will help to keep your skin healthy. It’s a great way to prepare your skin before you get your tan on.

Key Ingredients:

  • Shea Butter
  • Mango Purée
  • Sugar
  • Safflower Seed Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Orange Oil
  • No Parabens
  • No Formaldehyde Donors
  • No Sulfates
  • No alcohol
  • Vegan
  • Made in the USA


  • Lots of natural ingredients
  • Various different flavors
  • Gentle moisturizer for dry or cracked skin


  • Contains polyethylene microbeads, which are plastic beads and bad for the environment

10. Natural Riches Himalayan Salt Scrub

We are going to finish our list with a really deep-cleansing exfoliator by Natural Riches. This is the Himalayan Salt Scrub. This is an all-natural body scrub, and it contains fewer ingredients than any other exfoliator on the list.

In fact, the ingredients we have listed below are the entire list of ingredients from this scrub. Its primary exfoliating material is Himalayan salt, which helps to give your body a deep cleanse as it also detoxifies the skin.

This salt has loads of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron, without any harmful chemicals. The salt scrub not only improves the tone of your skin, but also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite and acne, and it is particularly comforting when rubbed into sore muscles.

The scrub removes dead skin cells and helps to improve skin hydration too, while the shea butter and essential oils help to moisturize your skin afterward. All in all, this is the perfect body scrub if you want to deeply cleanse and exfoliate your skin, then leave it smooth, toned, and moisturized ahead of your spray tan. We really love this one.

Key Ingredients:

  • Himalayan Salt
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Glycerin
  • Sunflower Seed Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Raspberry Extract
  • Lychee Extract
  • Bergamot Essential Oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Arnica Montana Flower Extract


  • All natural
  • Few ingredients
  • Deep cleanse
  • Strong exfoliator
  • Affordable


  • Probably too strong to be used on the face

What to Consider When Buying Exfoliators

What ingredients does it contain?

An exfoliator is used on the skin, so it’s essential that you check the ingredient list before you buy one. Most of the exfoliators on our list contain a lot of natural ingredients rather than chemicals, but there are a lot of exfoliators out there that will use chemicals to exfoliate your skin instead.

Okay so the chemicals might not actually be bad for you, but you have to think about why you would use chemicals when you could use natural products instead. Also, remember to think about whether you have any allergies, or if you know that certain ingredients don’t work as well for you.

For instance, for a lot of people, shea butter and essential oils can be a wonderful way to re-moisturize the skin after exfoliating, but for some people with oilier skin, this can be a nightmare. So make sure you get what works for you, not just what the advertisers tell you.

What skin type do you have?

It is really important that you consider your skin type before you make a purchasing decision for a skin-care product. This is the case regardless of which product you are going for, but it is extra important when it comes to exfoliators.

Using an exfoliator is a great way to wash away the dead skin so that it doesn’t flake off later. It also helps to smooth and rejuvenate your skin. The problem is that if you have dry or sensitive skin, a lot of exfoliators can be too intense for your skin and could just aggravate or even hurt it.

That’s why a more gentle, sugar based exfoliator would be better. On the flip-side, if you have oily or combination skin, or maybe your skin is just a bit rougher, you might find that a gentle exfoliator doesn’t do much. The salt based exfoliators tend to provide a more vigorous exfoliation, which could be a better option for you.

Why should I exfoliate before getting a spray tan?

When you get a spray tan, it’s sprayed onto your existing skin. If your existing skin hasn’t been exfoliated, it is more likely to be covered in lots of small flakes. When these fall off, they will take your spray tan with them.

That will make your tan last for a lot less long, but also could leave it looking pretty patchy. Your spray tan is sort of like a disguise, but it isn’t going to change the skin underneath. That means that it will only look as good as your skin is before you apply it.

You need to provide the best possible surface, which means making it smooth, supple, and non-flakey. That way your tan can glow through, last for longer, and leave you looking properly sun-kissed.


Now that we’ve been through the list of our nine favorite exfoliators before a spray tan, hopefully, you’ll have found one that will work for you too.

Whatever your skin type, whether you need a deep-cleanse or a more gentle exfoliation, there is something out there for everyone. So think about what you really need, and then get the one that will suit you best.

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