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The Ultimate Guide to Self-Tan Removal

The Ultimate Guide to Self-Tan Removal
Fragrance Direct Blog
Writer and expert4 years ago
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Whether you’ve applied fake tan for a special occasion or you’re a year-round fanatic, understanding how to take it off properly is as important as knowing how to apply it.

Getting fake tan off can be tricky, but it’s necessary some of the time to avoid unsightly patchiness and colour build-up. Even the most perfectly applied tan can fade unevenly, and in those cases it’s usually best to strip it back down and start again.

There are several ways to remove fake tan at home, some of which take a little longer than others. If you’ve got time to spare, lucky you! If you’ve had a total tanning disaster and need to get the colour off asap, there are some things you can try to help hit the reset button.

Wondering how to remove fake tan? Read on for our tried-and-tested tips and tricks and get yourself glowing again in no time.

Removing Fake Tan Streaks

If your tan hasn’t developed into a full-blown disaster, you can deal with any unfortunate streaks by removing some of the colour in that area and smoothing over with a little more product – easy!

Choose your favourite method from below and focus on the streaky area, then reapply a small amount of product and rub it in. Evenly this time.

Take a bath

This is our one-hundred per cent favourite way to remove old or patchy fake tan. Run yourself a warm steamy bath and mix in some drops of your favourite bath oil or essential oil. Sink into the water with a cup of tea and a good book, or pop on an eye mask and use the time to meditate.

The oils and the hot water will work together to loosen up your tan, washing some of it away and making any that remains easy to remove with a towel when you get out. The longer you soak, the better the results should be (as if we needed a reason to stay in the bath all night!).

When you get out of the bath, dry yourself thoroughly by rubbing a towel over your skin in small circles. You can use the towel to scrub away any bits of tan that remain – you should find the colour comes away easily after you’ve soaked, and you’ll be left squeaky clean and ready to moisturise.

This technique works best if you have plenty of time to deal with your skin, and is the gentlest way to remove fake tan. If you’re in a hurry, choose one of our quicker but less luxurious options below.


Double the effects of your tan-removing bath or try this one in the shower for a quicker fix.

NOTE: You mustn’t panic-exfoliate the tan you want to remove, as you could end up irritating the area.

Choose an exfoliator that’s made with oils which will help to break down the product on your skin. Rub the exfoliator into your skin in small circles focusing on any particularly patchy areas and on hands, knees, and elbows, which are often the driest. When you’ve fully exfoliated, rinse the scrub away with warm water and dry yourself thoroughly – gone? We hope so!

Dry brush

If you don’t want to use a product to remove your tan, you can try exfoliating with a dry brush to buff away any patchy or residual colour. Dry body brushing is an important part of our weekly skincare routine, and the practice works wonders when it comes to removing leftover fake tan.

Dry body brushing is an easy and effective way to remove dead skin, which means it can help remove dry fake-tanned skin. Brush your body from your toes to your collarbone, using small upward circular motions, then hop in the bath or shower and let the water rinse away any old skin or tan.

We love dry brushing the most because it also primes skin to absorb products better post-shower, can help prevent any ingrown hairs, and can improve the overall appearance of skin. Need we say more?

Use lemon juice

Another easy way to get unwanted tan stains off is by using lemon juice. Lemon juice for fake tan removal is simple – just dab your skin with a soaked cotton wool ball or pad until the product lifts away.

To enhance the effects of lemon juice to remove fake tan, try mixing it with some sugar for a DIY body scrub. Work the scrub into your skin and let the sugar granules and lemon break down any built-up product, then rinse it away with warm water.

Rub with an oil

By now, you know how effective oil can be when it comes to removing fake tan. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to take a bath or even to exfoliate, try rubbing a little oil into your skin. Leave it to work for ten minutes, then rinse away or wipe off the excess with a towel. Not only will the oil help break down your self-tan, but you’ll also be left with super-soft feeling skin.

How to remove fake tan from clothes and sheets

We’ve all been there – fake tan stains on light clothes and sheets often look like they’re never going to come out, but in our experience, they do (most of the time).

Grab a stain remover and dab the fabric to start lifting out the colour. Then, put it in the washing machine and run it through a hot wash with any other stained or regular light-coloured clothing.

NOTE: Try to remove the stain as soon as you notice it.

Keep exploring the Fragrance Direct blog for more lifestyle, skincare, and beauty advice. Whether it’s everything you need to know about beauty sleep, tips for maintaining glowing summer skin, or the ultimate guide to facial cleansing, we have you covered over at FD HQ. Check back in next week for more!

Fragrance Direct Blog
Writer and expert
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