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We’ve all been there—taking the time to apply self-tanner only to have it develop and realize your application was not quite as flawless as you thought or—worse yet—the color resembles the hue of a cheesy treat more than that of a bronzed goddess. Whatever the dilemma, self-tanner mishaps are a top skin care concern—and sometimes there’s no solution other than removing your self-tanner and starting over from scratch. Not sure how to go about doing so? We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn how to remove self-tanner to save yourself from the fate of an embarrassing faux tan.
Ready to remove your tan? Follow our step-by-step tutorial below to find out how to remove self-tanner.
Sometimes, it’s best not to follow the rules. If you have a bad feeling about your tan, or you notice it start to develop and realize it’s not for you—don’t wait it out! Jump in the shower early to see if you can keep your tan from developing any further. If you catch it in time, you might be able to remove your tan in just a few quick minutes.
If your tan has developed and you realize it’s not for you, it’s not too late! You can exfoliate to help remove your faux glow. There are a couple of different ways to do this, so take your pick from the options below.
One of the more well-known ways to exfoliate, a body scrub is a mechanical exfoliant that can be used to remove dead skin cells—as well as your tan. Consider using a sugar scrub since they’re gentle on skin.
Editor’s note: If you really messed up and made a mistake while applying self-tanner to your face, you can also reach for a sugar-based face scrub. Try the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Resurface & Energize Kona Coffee Scrub.
Using an exfoliating glove is a particularly great option if you’re trying to remove your tan as it allows you to cover larger areas of your body, such as your legs, in a shorter amount of time. You can use an exfoliating glove or mitt with or without a body scrub to help remove dead skin cells (and of course your tan) from the skin’s surface.
Similar to an exfoliating glove, a loofah sponge is made with fibers that help to exfoliate your skin—just make sure to care for it properly to avoid any bacteria forming. According to Cleveland Clinic, you should dry it out, avoid using it for a few days after you shave, never use it on your face, clean it weekly, and replace it every three to four weeks to avoid any unwanted infections. With those precautions in mind, a loofah is a solid option for sloughing away your tan.
Cleveland Clinic states that washcloths can be a good alternative to loofahs as they’re less likely to end up with anything lodged in them and are easier to clean and dry. They’re also ideal for those with dry, sensitive, or acne-prone skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. So, if you’re in a dire tan situation and your skin doesn’t respond well to other methods of exfoliation, this could be the option for you!
A liquid exfoliant, such as a body wash with a chemical exfoliant, can also be used to remove your tan. Just keep in mind that chemical exfoliants may be best for those with thick, oily skin, according to the AAD.
Dry brushing, as you may have guessed, involves using a dry body brush to slough off dead skin cells from your skin. This method of mechanical exfoliation is typically used at spas, and is a great option if you’re looking to turn removing your tan into a luxurious, spa-like experience.
The most important thing to keep in mind when removing self-tanner is to be patient. Oftentimes, your sunless tan won’t instantly wash off unless you catch it at the right time—and that’s totally OK. Over-exfoliating can lead to skin irritation, so it’s best to exfoliate in moderation. If you find that you still have some self-tanner on your skin, cover up with a turtleneck or makeup in the meantime. Trust us, your skin will thank you!
Now that you know how to remove self-tanner when things don’t go quite as you planned, it’s time to educate yourself on the different types of self-tanning products! Here’s The Best Self-Tanner for Every Situation.