There’s nothing worse than streaky, patchy post-tan skin. And sometimes it’s so damn stubborn to get off you start thinking your pins will look like giant cheesy puffs forever.
Truth be told, the only thing more important than learning how to apply fake tan is knowing how to remove fake tan, fast. And when you don’t have a clue, you have Reddit.
From products in your kitchen pantry to a good old soak in the bath, turns out there are more than a few nifty little DIY methods you can try to remove your unwanted fake tan quickly and effectively.
Avid self-tanner and Redditor Jnamo94 started off the thread on the Makeup Addiction subreddit explaining, “I just recently picked up a bottle of Loving Tan and it is fading off disgustingly patchy and weird around my hands and wrists. It is day 5 of this tan and still looks amazing everywhere else but I definitely want to scrub off my arms. Exfoliating with a scrub has not worked at all nor has soaking my skin then using one of those exfoliator mitts. Any other tips for removing stubborn fake tan??”
She asked and Reddit delivered.
User UQ4120 offered this bizarre DIY hack for getting fake tan off: “I got you. This happened to me after a late night intoxicated shower/self-tan application. It looked amazing on my legs but streaked all over my hands. I forgot to wash it off before going to bed. I looked like a tie-dye cheetah.”
Oh, UQ4120. You are all of us.
“Mix 1:1 ratio of baking soda + dish soap and stir into a paste. Scrub the paste into the skin with a loofah/nail brush. The really stubborn streaks took a little extra scrubbing but I completely removed the Loving Tan Extra Dark from my hands after an overnight set,” wrote UQ4120.
While we’re pretty sure we all want to try out this trick straight away (so handy that all of these products already live in our kitchen), it’s worth noting that there’s a chance this concoction could cause skin irritation as baking soda is quite abrasive – so it’s best to do a skin patch test before proceeding.
Other members of the tan clan were quick to dish up their own tried and tested fake tan removal techniques. One user suggested soaking in warm water to get rid of old tan: “If you can access a hot tub or pool and dip for maybe 15 minutes, it will come off. Especially after a hot tub. Otherwise try soaking in a warm bath with baby oil added and gently removing with a washcloth. It may take a few baths to completely come off, but after one it will be significantly faded. Good luck!”
Another Redditor suggested buffing away dead skin cells to get rid of that dry skin and fake tan build-up, “I know it sounds harsh, but I use a pumice stone on the spots [that are] stubborn. DO NOT apply a lot of pressure when using it - just lightly 'scrub' it over the spots in circular motions in a warm shower. Happy tanning!” Not a fan of tackling that spray tan with a pumice stone? Try your luck with a body scrub or exfoliating gloves instead.
If you don’t want to go down the DIY fake tan remover route, Ambre Luxe Tan Remover Foam, ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Soap and Le Tan Charcoal Exfoliating Mitt are some great alternatives for nixing those fake tan disasters.
Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.