How to quickly remove old fake tan and get rid of patchy-looking skin

If you’re a keen fake tanner, you’ll know the frustration of meticulously layering on your formula only to find a few days later it begins to fade and go patchy. While there’s no way to make fake tan sit on skin forever, sadly, there are ways you can quickly remove the old colour and get skin ready for a fresh coat of self tan.

From viral social media hacks using household items to tried and tested products that promise to put an end to patchiness, here’s how you can get your skin looking ready for this week’s warm weather…

Method one: baby oil

It’s something you probably have in a cupboard at home but might not have thought to use on fake tan patches. If you don’t have any other tan remover knocking around, it’s well worth coating your skin in this and letting it sit for a while before showering it off with the help of a mitt or a flannel.

Since the oil loosen fake tan pigment, it makes it much easier to rub away. Even better, this hack is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

Method two: Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser, £14.99 here


There are plenty of tan erasing mousses on the market that work in very similar ways, but this version from Skinny Tan has rave reviews from users. It also only needs to sit on the skin for five minutes for the sodium bicarbonate-infused formula to get to work on stubborn tan stains.

One happy Lookfantastic user said of it: “This is amazing for me! I apply it and leave it on for 5-10 minutes, then wipe my tan off with a wet flannel and I can always see so much tan coming off on the flannel.”

Method three: lemon juice

It’s a hack that goes back decades. In fact, Jennifer Lopez memorably recommends it to a bride having a serious fake tan faux-pas in the noughties iconic rom-com, The Wedding Planner. If you’ve ever wondered if this method actually works, according to TikTok, it does.

Some users mix lemon with sugar to make it more of a scrub, while others squeeze it on a mitt to buff the liquid on. A word of caution, however: lemon juice is an acid, so if you have sensitive skin this might not be for you. If you aren’t sure, always patch test.

Method four: St Tropez Tan Remover Mitt,£6 here

This specially designed mitt removes tan build up and buffs away dry skin, leaving it ready to reapply a new base. Simply wet skin and gently buff in circular motions on the areas you want the tan removing. You might need a bit of extra buffing around areas like your elbows and ankles as these spots can hold more fake tan pigment.

The mitt has five star reviews on Cult Beauty, with one user noting: “Bought this when it was on offer for a fiver and wasn’t expecting much. It’s actually way better than I anticipated. The fabric is rough but not uncomfortably so, it works really well in exfoliating wet skin.”

Method five: Lusso Tan Original Tan Removing Bath Bomb,£9 here

It sounds too good to be true, but there is a method of removing tan that involves you soaking in a bath with a bath bomb. What’s more, users seem delighted by the results of it, with one saying on Lusso’s website that it “took every bit of tan off” with very little scrubbing needed.

The instructions are simple: plop one of these balls into hot water, let yourself soak in it for a while then grab an exfoliating mitt of any sorts and gently buff at your skin.

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