How to Remove Self-Tanner

Shannon Farrell
Jessica Alba bikini

Jessica Alba shows off a flawless tan at the beach.
Photo: Pacific Coast News

In our Q&A series, beauty experts address your most bewildering issues. Have a beauty-related quandary of your own? Submit your question in the comments below or via Twitter.

Q: Oops! My self-tanner looks streaky and my palms are bronzed. Can you tell me how to remove self-tanner?

A: Bad tan job? If you forgo a tanning mitt or skip exfoliation the night before, a self-tan can come out a little streaky…or worse, orange. But there’s no need to fret. You don’t need to wait for the color to fade over time. “To remove self-tanner after your color has fully developed, apply an exfoliating product onto the skin and gently massage it in,” says St. Tropez Finishing Expert Sophie Evans. “This will lift the top layer of the self-tan. Then massaging the skin with an oil will lift the tan as well as smooth and nourish skin.”

Removing the tan before it has time to settle in is even easier. “St. Tropez Tan Remover ($18, is also great for removing self-tanner when used within the first four hours of application,” she says. “The tan remover will lighten the tan if used the next day, but will only remove the tan completely if used within the first four hours of application.”

Want a DIY trick? Mix lemon juice and baking soda and then rub the paste over the unwanted color. If only a few streaks or splotches need to be removed, try whitening toothpaste or acetone nail polish remover. Softly rub either solution over the skin to remove excess color, then wash off immediately.

Read more: The 5 Rules of Self-Tanning