It doesn’t matter how great the self-tan or how much practice you’ve had, DIY fake tanning is a fiddly process to do at-home. Period. From rectifying a fiasco and forgetting to wash your hands to removing old fake tan before applying a new base, a good tan eraser is a worthy addition to your tanning arsenal. We asked Michaella Bolder, Skincare and Tanning Expert for the insider tips and tricks to removing a fake tan with minimal effort and maximum effect, plus the best products to correct any mishaps. 

How To Remove Your Fake Tan

“First use a self-tan removal product with an exfoliating texture that will buff and dissolve your fake tan without irritation,” suggests Michaella. “Next, jump in the shower to rinse off and use a buffing mitt or gloves to gently exfoliate the skin in circular motion. This will help to break up and remove unwanted tan from the surface of the skin. Always follow with a moisturiser to nourish and replace lost oils.”

How To Correct A Mistake 

We’ve all been there! “If you are trying to rectify a mistake during application and while your tan is still wet, don’t be afraid to add more product to your mitt and buff another dose of tan firmly and quickly over the area you want to correct, “advises Michaella. “However, if you are trying to correct an area after the tan has settled and you have showered, either add an extra dose into areas ‘missing’ tan OR add a pump of tan remover to lift and dilute tan in areas that have settled too dark or patchy.” Wait for the tan remover to settle for ten minutes on dry skin before showering then buff the area to lift away. Repeat the process twice if necessary.

How Fake Tan Removers Work

The key ingredient is Bicarbonate of Soda that helps to gently break the bond of dead skin cells laying on the surface of the skin without harming the skin’s barrier function. If you want to go that extra mile, a tanning buffing glove will enhance this even more. In fact, Michaella’s top tip is to use these removers all year-round. “They are a great product to use to help improve the skin’s cell turnover even when you’re not using self-tan.”

The 5 Ingredients To Avoid With A Fake Tan 

Michaella advises all her clients to steer clear of: 

-Exfoliators. Or anything that encourages cell turnover for at least 3-4 days post self-tan. 

-Essential Oils. These break up the process of your fake tan. 

-Hot Baths. They stimulate the cell removal process so your tan will fade quicker. 

– Body oils. Before or after a tan. Too much grease for your tan. 

– Acid based (chemical) exfoliators before you apply self-tan and for 3-4 days after. This also applies to products on the face.

10 Fake Tan Removers That Correct And Perfect  

Tan-Luxe Glyco Water Self-Tan Eraser, £17.60

Don’t be put off by the super light watery consistency, this exfoliating treatment quickly dissolves self-tan residue and streaks. Spritz it onto dry skin – face or body – and let it melt in before rinsing and gently wiping off with a dry cloth. You’ll be left with a gorgeous silky veil on skin. 

Hawaiian Tropic Self Tan Eraser, £10 

Fairly new on the scene, this self-tan eraser is infused with Hawaiian Tropic’s signature tropical scent. Easily removing old tan build-up in less than five minutes. Apply the foam in the shower and wait a few minutes before rinsing it off, then watch your tan go down the drain.

St.Tropez Tan Remover Prep & Maintain Mousse, £14.50

One of the original pioneers of fake tan, this mousse makes tan removal hassle-free. Apply the foam generously on your body then leave for five minutes allowing the combination of detoxifying cotton extract and probiotics to clean and prime.

Sienna X Eraser Self Tan Remover and Mitt, £9.99

Complete with a mitt, this combo should be applied all over your body for easy colour removal. Packed with aloe vera and willow bark to gently exfoliate but soothe skin as you go. Ditch the mitt for more targeted spots and instead replace with a cotton pad. 

He-Shi Tan Remover & Primer, £14.73

We’ve been hooked since being introduced to this Japanese tanning brand. This product is the brand’s bestseller – and for good reason. Use it to perfect your tan or use it all over to remove the old colour in one go. Added moisture lock technology also ensures longer-lasting hydration, so your skin is beautifully prepped before your next application. 

Isle of Paradise Over It Remover, £14.36

Regular Handbook readers will know how much we rate this brand. This spray-on remover fuses glycolic acid and micellar water to gently resurface the skin, removing dead skin cells and fake tan remnants from the top layer of your body. Spritz it all over your body, or just on the patches that need an extra hand, lather it up and leave for five minutes before rinsing off in the shower. Smells gorge too. 

Rose and Caramel Purity Self Tan Removing Bubble Bath, £22.99

Make a boring chore like tan removal a little more luxe with this innovative bubble bath that requires almost zero effort. Simply pour the unscented bubble bath into your tub, lie back for 20 minutes then buff your skin with the exfoliating mitts. If you have any particularly stubborn areas of tan, then apply the liquid straight to your body. Voila!

Bare by Vogue Self-Tan Eraser, £15.50

This is a great choice for sensitive skin as it’s incredibly gentle to both apply and remove. There’s no need for any tough rubbing action with this soft foam formula. Use it in the shower, massaging into any stubborn stains, then see colour come away within ten minutes. Rich and hydrating, it’s formulated with a blend of botanical ingredients like goji berry, oatmeal, camomile, and pomegranate to nourish and hydrate skin while also locking in moisture to prevent tan from drying it out. 

Tanologist Self-Tan Erase + Primer, £11.99

Get your money’s with this multi-purpose fake tan remover that can be used as a primer before you tan and as an eraser to correct mistakes (hence the name!) This foaming bathroom essential is quick, easy to apply and kind on the face too. 

Skinny Tan Self-Tan Eraser, £13.39

With its unique creamy jelly-like texture (similar to that of an exfoliator) and exotic fruity scent, this feels far more like a pampering product than a tanning essential. Simply rub on dry skin, leave for five minutes then rinse off. It’s packed with chemical exfoliants (pumice and salicylic acid) that help buff away tan effortlessly, as well as moisturising ingredients (glycerin and urea) that work to soften and hydrate skin, so it’s in the best state for a new layer of tan.

The products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, The Handbook may make a small commission on some of the products purchased through affiliate links.

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