We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve had to frantically look up how to remove fake tan.
You might have had a fully fledged tanning disaster (we’re talking patchy wrists, fluorescent elbows and fingers so multi-tonal that gloves are in order). Or you might simply want to get rid of a four-day-old glow that’s looking a little stripy. We’ve all been there, and thanks to Love Island-induced holiday envy, we’ll probably all be there again. So the art of fake tan removal is something that everyone should be up to speed on.
Yes, even if you’ve invested in the best fake tan and swotted up on all the fake tan tips, chances are you’re not going to get it right 100% of the time. But don’t worry, you’re not alone and it’s perfectly easy to rectify.
There are several things you can do to give yourself a more natural-looking and even glow. We spoke to Jules Von Hep, fake tan guru, celebrity spray tanner and founder of Isle of Paradise, for all the fake tan removal tips and tricks you could possibly ask for.
How to remove fake tan at home
First things first: ‘Don’t panic scrub,’ Jules warns. ‘You’ll end up taking the tan off in patches and it’ll become a snowballing effect.’
Oil helps to break down the DHA (colour element) in self-tanning fluid. This is a good thing to bear in mind if you’ve just had a cracking spray tan; don’t moisturise your body with anything containing oil afterwards.
Alternatively, make a trip down to your local swimming pool if you don’t mind being a bit stripy in public. ‘The chlorine will break down the tan,’ explains Jules. ‘In the showers afterwards, take a pair of exfoliating gloves and work in circular motions. Steam rooms and saunas will soften the tan, too.’
If it’s all gone to pot and you need to get rid of your tan straight away, tanning brands now have products specifically developed to break colour down. That way you can remove fake tan quickly.
Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser was one of the first to market and sold out within three hours of its first launch. Which just goes to show how many of us want to remove and improve fake tan.
It can be used on old tans or freshly applied bronze; simply pump onto skin, smooth over the area you want to diffuse, leave for five minutes, then wipe away with a damp cloth. It’s that easy.
How to remove fake tan from hands and feet
Yellow hands are a perennial problem for the regular fake tanner – so much so that many have had to turn to the best nail salons for professional help.
Patchy hands and blotchy feet are often the biggest giveaway that your tanning sesh has gone wrong, but before you go reaching for a pair of gloves in August, know that it’s totally possible to rectify – even without a fake tan remover.
In fact, a kitchen cupboard staple could be the answer to your prayers.
Add two tablespoons of baking soda to some water and mix to create a paste. Rub this over your hands or feet, leaving it on for a few minutes to ensure you haven’t missed any particularly bad creases. Then wash it off.
The easiest way to wave goodbye to streakiness on your limbs is to run a bath and fill it up with a bath oil. This will soften the tan. While you’re in there, use a remover mitt in circular motions. It will ensure that any stubborn patches are evenly removed. Simple!
How to remove fake tan patches before re-applying
If you’re a regular, self-confessed tanning addict who can’t go a day slathering on some more glow, then it’s actually so important that you are removing your old tan before applying your new one.
Being the clever chap that he is, Jules created Isle of Paradise’s Over It, which works best on a three-day old tan. It also contains glycolic acid to exfoliate skin. Mist your entire body until your skin is saturated, wait five minutes, then jump in the shower and buff it off with a sponge or a flannel.
How to remove fake tan with lemon juice
Vaguely remember hearing something about lemons and brushing it off as an old wives tale? Turns out there’s something in it. ‘The old faithful combination of lemons and sugar mixed together will work to an extent, but you really need a mitt or glove to get deeper,’ Jules explains.
It’s also worth investing in an exfoliating mitt that will help to remove tan build up or mistakes. It’s an essential item in the at-home tanning kit.
How to remove fake tan from your face
Removing fake tan from your face is an altogether more delicate process. You’ve invested in the best eye cream, are religious about applying the best SPF moisturisers, and can’t go a week without a restorative face mask – so vigorously scrubbing your skin to try and remove fake tan from it probably isn’t the best idea.
Enter: your favourite face peel. Liquid exfoliators are a great way of removing face fake tan and taking care of your skin at the same time. Simply dispense a few drops onto one of the best reusable make-up pads and sweep over freshly cleansed skin. Whether your go-to chemical exfoliator is AHA or BHA, these clever acids remove build-up of old skin cells – and with them, your old fake tan – while improving skin tone and texture. So it’s a double win.
How to remove fake tan from clothes
Getting fake tan stains on your favourite, goes-with-everything, white shirt or your super spenny The White Company bedsheets can be an absolute nightmare. You need to try and remove the stain while it is still wet.
Reversing the fabric and running it under cold water will help to loosen the product, but try not to rub it as you could end up smearing it and making it far worse. Instead, mix warm water and some detergent and sponge onto the affected area, repeating until the stain has disappeared.
So there we have it. We’ve just solved all future fake tan disasters from happening. Well, perhaps not all. There’ll always be one…
Keep scrolling for a few fake tan removal essentials below.