We have all been there. It’s the day before a big event so you deicide to experiment with a fake tan you’ve never used before, only for it to develop way too dark, or worse, go orange and patchy!

The worst thing to do is panic scrub! It will make the patches far worse and appear very uneven.

Follow the simple steps below to find out how to remove a fake tan. If you like the colour of your tan but just have some troublesome streaks or patches, skip to the Quick Fixes section below.


The most important and simple technique to use when removing fake tan is exfoliation of some sort. Exfoliating removes the top layer of your skin cells, which will be holding a lot of the fake tan product, so the most obvious step to try first is attempting to exfoliate this layer off. The best way to do this by using an exfoliating glove, you can buy them from boots or amazon for a very reasonable price, and they’re highly effective. If you make this small investment you will certainly notice a far bigger difference between this and using a regular shower loofa.

To make this process even more effective, apply oil to your skin and leave it to soak in for 30-40 minutes before getting in the shower/bath to exfoliate. Use a body oil if you can, but alternatively, a baby oil or even coconut oil will have the same effect and will be very gentle on your skin. The method behind this madness is that oils will break down the DHA in the fake tan, which is the chemical responsible for the colour development, so letting this process occur before you attempt to scrub it off will really give you a head start.

It’s important not to scrub too hard or frantically, first and foremost you don’t want to damage or dry out your skin. But also, scrubbing too hard can make a patchy situation even worse. You want to ensure you’re scrubbing with an even pressure over your whole body, this way your tan should fade evenly.

Carrying out this process in a bath will always be more effective than a shower, as the hot water will open your pores right up. However, if you only have time for a shower, ensure that the water is nice and hot, as the steam will play a really important role in opening up your pores and allowing the product out.

Tanning Removal Products

A really effective method of fake tan removal are purpose-built tanning removal products. Most major tanning brands have brought out their own versions of tanning remover, and many claim that buying the same branded remover as the tan you’re attempting to remove will give you the most effective result. However, as someone who has mixed and matched many tans and tan removers, I can honestly say I haven’t noticed a difference in effectiveness between using the same branded tan and tan remover, or mixing and matching, so I wouldn’t get too bogged down in this.

However, choosing a good fake tan remover for you is definitely important. I have tried many and for the sake of this post, will talk about my holy grail fake tan remover;

Bondi Sands Tan Eraser: This retails for £14.99 (Although it’s currently on offer for £9.99 here), which is a slightly higher price point than some other big name brands such as St Moriz at £9.99. However, I believe that the difference in price is justified by the fact that this stuff actually works. Simply apply in circular motions to your skin, as you would a fake tan, and leave to soak in for at least 5 minutes (but i’d recommend up to 30- if you have time), and then shower off. I find that with this product, the key to getting the most out of it is to use a wet flannel or small towel while in the shower to scrub the product off your skin. For some reason this little tip works far better than using a loofa or exfoliating gloves with this particular tan remover! You can thank me later.

This is my go-to fake tan remover, however it is not the only one on the market and may not be the right one for you. For a better run down of the pro’s and con’s of a multitude of tan removers, read my blog post: 5 Best Fake Tan Removers.

Home Remedies

If you can’t get to the shops to buy a fake tan remover or exfoliating products, and can’t wait for an amazon delivery before your big event, don’t fear! You’re more than likely to have some solutions to your problem laying around in your kitchen cupboard.

1. Lemon or Lime juice

If you happen to have a lemon or a lime in the kitchen, this can be an excellent natural remedy. This is because lemons contain citric acid which has natural bleaching properties. As well as this being a common way to lighten hair, this can also help with lightening our fake tan patches.

The most preferable way to do this would be to mix lemon juice with brown sugar to make your own DIY body scrub, and then use this in the bath as you would any body scrub. However if sugar is not available, you can apply the lemon juice directly to your skin using a flannel, leave for 5 minutes, and then scrub in the shower. Please be careful when using this method as lemon and lime juice can be very drying.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great household ingredient when it comes to removing fake tan. The best way to use this trick is to mix baking soda together with water to create a sort of paste consistency, before applying this to the skin. Leave on for up to 30 minutes, and rinse!

Quick Fixes

Do you like the colour of your tan but have an annoying patch or streak? Is your tan fading horribly but your outfit covers all but a few areas? If these situations sound familiar, you may find that the solution is not to try and scrub off your tan, but instead to cover it up. There are a few fabulous products on the market for this very purpose:

1. Isle of Paradise Blend It Multi- Purpose Self Tan Blender

This product is absolutely amazing if you love the colour of your tan but have some bothersome areas which give your tanning game away. The product comes in a stick form that you use to swipe over your problem areas, and then use your fingers to massage excess product. This product contains a gradual tanner which will even up patches and streaks in no time.

2. Vita Liberata Body Blur

If you don’t have time to wait for a gradual tan to fix your base, the best option is a body blur, and the best body blur is from Vita Liberata! This is an instant wash off tan which you simply apply to problem areas for an instant cover up and beautiful glow. Please note that this product is more on the expensive side retailing at £29.95, however it’s reputation is backed up by Hollywood makeup artists and A listers alike, and a little really does go a long way.



This concludes my list of most effective ways to remove a fake tan. You can try any number of these tips in combination, and if all hope seems to be lost, you can use the quick fixes so that nobody will guess your secret. Remember that you shed millions of skin cells every day, and that in the end the best tan fader is always time!