There are some beauty products that can instantly brighten your day, boosting your self-esteem like nothing else. Fake tan is one of those products (you can read Eliza’s guide to the best fake tan here).
Feeling a bit bleurgh? A fresh coat of tan and you’ll feel like a new woman. Take it from me – a self-confessed self-tanning addict.
But, as brilliant as being sun-kissed can be, there’s nothing worse than a fake tan mishap. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there: from orange palms to streaky legs, if you accidentally prep wrong, your golden glow can quickly become an embarrassing beauty blunder.
If you’ve woken up to a not-so-glowing finish, worry not. Because I’ve tried enough formulas in my time (and suffered horrifying mishaps along the way) to help you remove fake tan like a pro. Here’s everything you need to know…
More on fake tan:
- I use the same fake tan as Ryan Gosling in the ‘Barbie’ movie – here’s why it’s the best
- I tried three brand new express tan launches – this is how they performed against the clock
- These fake tan drops are the easiest way to cheat a healthy glow this summer
How do I remove orange tan from hands?
Now I don’t want to tan-shame you, but if you didn’t use a mitt, you need to go back to fake tan application 101. A good self-tan mitt will not only protect your palms from the dreaded telltale staining, it will lead to a flawless, filter-like finish. Plus, they’re cheap. Velvotan Self Tanning Applicator Mitt, £3.99, applies tan like a pro and is a steal at under a fiver. Alternatively, for more of a luxe feel, the Bondi Sands Reusable Application Mitt, £4.99 is a must-try.
This clever foam dissolves fake tan without scrubbing your skin raw. It’s also infused with skin-nourishing ingredients like goji berry, oatmeal and chamomile, so your skin is left feeling soft, rather than stripped. Apply a pump or two to palms, rub your hands together and leave to dry for 5-10 minutes. Then, wash your hands and use a cloth to scrub away any stubborn excess.
How do I remove orange tan from feet?
We’ve all been there…you applied your fake tan, then walked around your room after doing so. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? Wrong! If you forgot to put a towel down, there’s a good chance you’ve ended up walking all over fake tan residue – meaning the soles of your feet now resemble an overcooked sausage.
As the skin on your soles is much hardier than that on the rest of your body, you can be a bit more rigorous with your tan-removal technique. I like to use a foot file or pumice (STARSKIN VIP Fab Foot File, £7, LookFantastic is great) to buff away any dry skin. Not only will it remove fake tan stains, you’ll give yourself a mini pedi, too. Win, win.
Generally, when choosing the best tan for tricky areas like hands and feet, I opt for a mist like Isle of Paradise’s bestselling water, £15.95,Space NK and corresponding mister, £10.95, Boots. These are the easiest way to ensure even application.
How do I remove even the most stubborn tan?
Maybe your fake tan was fine when you first applied it, but now that it’s wearing off, it’s gone a bit crusty-looking and gross. Here, your first port of call is to try a fake tan remover. I love the Bare By Vogue one mentioned previously, but Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser, £15.99, Boots and St Tropez Fake Tan Remover Prep & Maintain Mousse, £14.50, Boots, are also great.
But if your tan is really stubborn you might need an extra helping hand. A good tan-removing hack is to take an ultra-long soak in the bath. Oils break down fake tan, so pop a few drops of bath oil (Neal’s Yard Remedies Soothing Bath Oil, £19, is perfect for a self-care session) and let the nourishing ingredients work their magic. The oil will soften your skin and help fade your fake tan, fast.
If those patchy bits are still clinging on, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Reach for a grainy, oil-based exfoliator (I’m obsessed with Mirror Water Buff Body Exfoliator, £47) and an exfoliating glove (These Exfoliating Gloves, £1.50, Boots will do) and gently buff away. Make sure you use lots of water and oil, so as to not rub your skin raw – trust me, it will work.
How do I remove streaks in my tan?
The key to avoiding streaky tan lines once again lies in your prep. Always make sure you use a mitt and don’t moisturise for 12 hours pre-tanning. But saying ‘I told you so’ won’t help anyone, so if you’ve got streaks, don’t worry – I can help.
They are most common on your legs, where you’ve either missed patches or over-moisturised and diluted the formula. You can either try a fake tan remover (as above) or try my trusty ‘shave and slap on another layer’ technique.
Shaving your legs will help to gently exfoliate away the top layer of tan, fading any streaks and patchy areas. Then, apply another coat of tan to even out any white bits. Scared of overdoing it? Try a gradual formula, such as Tan-Luxe The Gradual Illuminating Tanning Lotion, £25, to blur streaks and ensure your golden glow is subtle, not scary.
How to get rid of green armpits?
If you know, you know. This happens when you apply fake tan to freshly deodorised pits – and it’s not the look you want. So if your underarms are more radioactive than radiant right now, there are a few things you can do.
Number one: shave. As above, it will help to exfoliate away the top layer of tan. Next, apply a generous amount of Bio-Oil, £9.99, Boots to the area and leave for 30 minutes. Tissue off with cotton wool and wash with warm, soapy water – and say goodbye to green armpits.