How to Remove Self-Tanner, No Matter How Badly You Messed it Up
Whether you've attempted to bronze your pasty legs or tried to contour with self-tanner, odds are you may have made a few mistakes along the way. Getting unwanted streaks, orange palms, or uneven color are familiar mishaps for many people, and if you've ever wondered how to remove self-tanner quickly, we've got your back. We tapped two tanning experts and asked them everything from why we get stains to the DIY methods that help remove them.
What's the best way to remove self-tanner?
There are two main ways to go about removing self-tanner: Physical exfoliants and products made specifically to remove self-tanners. Sophie Evans, a tanning expert for St. Tropez, recommends using the St. Tropez Tan Remover Mousse with the brand's Tan Remover Mitt. "This mousse contains sodium bicarbonate, urea, and cotton extract which will remove all traces of self-tanner," she explains. To use, apply it liberally to the area where you want to remove the tan on dry skin and leave it on for at least three minutes. Next, Evans says to take a warm shower and, with the help of the remover mitt, buff away all unwanted self-tanner.
Additionally, Alexandra DiMarchi, the Tan-Luxe Global Tanning Expert & Celeb Spray Tan Artist, recommends using the brand's Glyco Water. "It's formulated with naturally-derived glycolic acid, which means the exfoliation process will be gentle on the skin and the product will remove the self-tanner without patchiness," she explains. Plus, it also has vitamins, raspberry seed oil, and aloe vera, which leaves skin feeling hydrated and nourished.
If your botched self-tanner isn't too terrible and all you want to do is remove a mildly uneven, or even just a fading self-tan, Evans says that a good physical exfoliation will do. DiMarchi recommends the OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub as it leaves the skin feeling soft and refreshed, while Evans recommends a good ol' dry brush. (Both of them will do the trick.)
How do you remove self-tanner from your face?
"The self-tanner on your face should fade a lot faster than it does on the body, seeing as we're constantly cleansing, removing makeup, etc.," shares DiMarchi, but if you don't want to wait for your self-tan to go away, there are actions you can take. "A good steam cleanse, exfoliation, and toner will work to remove the self-tan and reveal fresh new skin," suggests Evans. She recommends steaming your face to open up the pores, then exfoliating your skin with either a gentle exfoliating cloth or a FOREO device, before applying Clinique's Clarifying Lotion as it delivers a deep exfoliation that will help remove self-tanner.
Are there any DIY methods for removing self-tanner?
Yes! "If you have a severe patch of self-tanner—like a dark spot on your palm or really dark heels—that needs to be completely removed, I would use a hair removal cream like Veet," says Evans. "If you want the area to be a little lighter, apply the cream heavily and leave for half the recommended time. If you want to remove all traces of self-tanner, leave it on for the full recommended time. Wipe off the cream using a warm, damp cloth and moisturize afterward to prevent any skin sensitivity."