5 Ways to Remove Self Tanner

Augusta Falletta
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Image via Gentl and Hyers/Getty Images

Whether you’re a self-tanner pro or you’re still trying to get the hang of the whole “applying without getting orange palms” thing, the most important thing you need to know is how to remove self tanner. Streaks, stains, or using the wrong color, the need to remove self tanner is real, and we’re sharing five tips for doing just that below.

Exfoliate: Let’s get one thing straight: Before you even begin using self tanner, you should be exfoliating so that the application can be as smooth as possible. However, if you get to the point of needing to remove the tanner, exfoliation is also key. Get yourself a body scrub (or a face scrub if you’re trying to remove tanner from your face) and use circular motions to scrub away any unwanted color.

Baking soda: Need to exfoliate but don’t have a body scrub? DIY a solution with baking soda and a bit of water. Use a damp washcloth with baking soda to exfoliate wherever you need to remove the self tanner color from.

MORE: How to Find the Best Self Tanner for Your Skin

Baby Oil: Dry skin will make self tanner look patchy and uneven, but moisturizing your skin will help to lift the color you want to remove. Think of this trick the same way you think about using a hair mask. Apply a layer of baby oil to the area you want to treat (whether that means your legs, arms, face, or entire body) and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. Then, hop in a warm bath and remove the baby oil, which will help to also remove the tanner.

Lemon juice: This one’s particularly great for the little random streaks and spots that weren’t exactly applied properly. Because of the astringent agent in lemons that can lighten things like your hair and freckles, it also works to lighten self tanner marks. For the smaller streaks you want to lighten up, dab a cotton ball in a lemon juice and water mixture, and gently dab the cotton ball on your skin repeatedly to take up the tanner color.

Tan remover: When it’s bad enough that none of the other options work, use a special remover, like St. Tropez Tan Remover. It’s typically used to remove the self tanner that’s on your palms and fingers, but it also works everywhere else on your body to remove unwanted color.

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