There is no easier or faster way to get that sultry summer glow than to apply a spray tan. Modern formulas and application processes have made it more fool-proof than ever before to get beautiful results.
Still, mishaps are common – and frustrating, too. Nobody wants that telltale orange hue giving away their secret to a gorgeous bronze! In this guide, I’ll help my fellow spray-tanners to tackle this common problem – in seven easy, safe and effective ways.
7 Easy Ways to Remove Unwanted Spray Tan
Fortunately, the removal of unwanted spray tan from the skin is a relatively simple and straightforward process. You might need to gather up a few ingredients from around your house, and you may be tested in terms of patience, but rest assured that it can definitely be done! Don’t stress about trying to hide your skin when you can remove the offending color yourself at home.
Important: If you have any skin that’s open or damaged, some or most of these methods may not be safe to try. Practice caution and avoid using methods that actively hurt!
DIY Methods for Removing a Bad Spray Tan from Hands and Feet
Exfoliate Dead Skin – and Bad Color
Instead of using your usual body wash or hand wash, swap it out for something that exfoliates. There are a ton of options on the market in terms of exfoliating products, but if you don’t have any on-hand here is a simple recipe that I’ve used to eliminate unwanted spray tan from my hands:
Coconut oil and coffee grounds.
Okay, that’s not much of a recipe, but it works! Exfoliating essentially sloughs off dead skin cells. In this case, those same skin cells have been tinted by the spray tanning product. In addition to using an exfoliating scrub, consider using a loofah, exfoliating mitt or cloth to amplify the effectiveness of this method. Avoid over-scrubbing!
Make Your Own “Tan Eraser”
Self-tan erasers are available on the market in many beauty outlets, but there’s a good chance you might not have one exactly when you need it – not unless you’re an avid self-tanner. Fortunately, there are a lot of things that you can use from around your home to do the trick! If you’re frowning with disapproval at your latest self-tanning venture, consider these 4 nifty tricks:
- Olive oil or baby oil diluted in water for a soak.
- Baking soda and warm water.
- 1 cup of sugar and ¾ cup of lemon juice applied to the skin and then rinsed.
- ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of lemon juice to form a paste, which is then applied to the skin and rinsed after a few minutes.
Tip: If you use any method with baking soda, be careful not to overdo it. Your skin could become very dry from using this ingredient too much.
Shave or Wax Away a Bad Tan
Waxing and shaving not only remove hair from the body. They also remove layers of dead skin, much like exfoliating does! You might not be able to completely wax or shave away the pigment left by the spray tan, but at the very least you can expect to see a diminishment in color. Sometimes, if you’ve acted quickly enough, this can effectively remove the color in its entirety.
Whitening Toothpaste is an Effective Lightener
One of the most common problems with spray tanning is the pigmentation that can be left behind on or under fingernails and in the crevasses of palms.
Whitening toothpaste can be used to gently remove the color from these sensitive areas. To get the most out of this method, make sure to have a spare toothbrush or other type of brush on-hand. Proceed to apply the toothpaste to your hands and then use small, circular motions with the brush to clean your skin. Rinse your hands and wash them immediately. (Not for sensitive, dry or damaged skin)
Nail Polish Remover Banishes Spray Tan from Nails
Acetone, the active ingredient in most nail polish removers, is an effective and easy way to banish spray tanning stains from your nails. Simply use it the same way that you would if you were removing your nail polish: apply a small amount to a cotton ball, work the cotton ball over the nails, and then rinse your hands thoroughly when finished.
Buff it Away with a Pumice Stone
Have your feet been colored by spray tan in a way that you definitely did not want? The soles of our feet are naturally lighter than the rest of our bodies, so the stark shade of spray tan can make things look a little “off.” A pumice stone effectively buffs away dead skin cells from feet and calloused areas. This simple beauty tool can do the same for your spray tan!
I recommend soaking your feet for a few minutes to soften the skin before going in with the pumice stone. Softer skin is more susceptible to many spray tan removal methods, including this one. Avoid going too long or too hard with the stone, lest you cause abrasions to your skin. Ouch!
Keep in mind that these methods are not guaranteed to take away all of the color that’s causing you concern. One or more of the methods above may, in fact, do exactly that. But if you only experience a lightening of the color rather than complete removal, don’t be alarmed. Self-tanning products are designed to penetrate the skin and settle in for long-lasting color, after all!
5 Self-Tanning Mistakes That You Could Be Making
Self-tanning is a pretty straightforward process, but it still requires patience, attention to detail and some level of skill. Are your self-tanning results falling short of expectation? You could be making one of these five common errors. Luckily, I’m here to tell you how you can avoid these mistakes in the future!
Skipping the Exfoliation
Your skin needs to be prepped for the spray tanning that it’s about to undergo. Essentially, you need to create a clean and even canvas for the product to adhere to. If your skin hasn’t been exfoliated, there will likely be areas that are still rough. This results in patchy spray tans and unwanted pigmentation – especially around the knees, elbows and other rougher spots on the body.
To avoid this problem, simply exfoliate in the shower before spray tanning. Make sure to rinse and dry your skin well, afterward.
Using Your Bare Hands
You absolutely should invest in a specialized mitt to apply your self-tanning solution, especially if this is something you intend to do regularly. Using your bare hands to apply the product not only makes it harder to get even results, but it also causes hands to become far too pigmented in the process – which doesn’t look very natural.
Applying Too Liberally on Rough, Dry Skin
The rougher, drier areas of the body will be more receptive to the tanning product applied to your skin, so go over these spots with a light hand. If your knees, ankles, and elbows are looking a shade or two too dark, this is very likely to be the reason why. Lighten it up on the application, and you’ll experience much more even results.
Bathing in Self-Tanner
While no harm will come of it, there is such a thing as applying too much tanning solution to your skin. With a high-quality tanning product, you should only need to make a single pass over your skin to get the sun-kissed coloration that you crave. Don’t slather on layers of the stuff, lest you want to have an uneven, patchy or streaky tan.
Rushing to Get Dressed
I know, I know: You’ve got places to go, people to see and things to do. You can’t very well spend all day lounging around in your underwear as your self-tanner dries! But if you do get dressed before the tanning product is totally, 100% dry, you’re going to have a bad time. Not only will it get on your clothes, but it will also end up looking less stellar than it did before you got dressed.
Instead of rushing, take your time and schedule your spray tanning for a day where you have little or nothing to do – at least, nothing that requires getting dressed.
Spray Tan is a Summer Essential, but Act with Care
It’s simply not enough to just slather on a bunch of tanning spray and hope for the best. You’re looking for beautiful, even and long-lasting results, aren’t you? So, slow down, take your time and treat your skin well before, during and after the spray tanning process. You’ll experience superior results and much less mess.