Q. I have already applied fake tan, but I just bought a different brand today and I want to try it. Should I wait until this tanner fades? Remove it (if so, how?)? Or, go ahead and apply the new on top of the old? – Caitlyn


A:  Great question Caitlyn! With summer in full swing, and the big-limb reveal a daily occurrence (stressful, we know), there’s been no better time to (faux) tan up. While fake tanning has come a long way since the days of orange streaks and pungent tell-tale smell, mistakes can, and do, happen. Now that it’s officially body-baring weather, it’s important that you choose your tanning routine wisely to keep mishaps to a minimum. Here, we’ll answer your question, as well as offering a few nifty tips that will have you nailing the tan game in no time. It’s time to get glowing…

Okay, let’s cut right to the chase – you should never apply your tan on top of an existing tan. (Unless it’s with a gradual tanning product that you are using to build up your colour). A dark lotion or mousse on top of an existing tan will highlight the breakup of the older colour, resulting in patchy, not-at-all natural-looking skin (eek!). So, enjoy your tan for about one and a half weeks, then scrub down and start fresh. Our four trusted, tried and tested methods for removing a tan are as follows:

1. Exfoliate, wash, apply, repeat

Scrub, scrub, scrub! Use a light body polish mixed with a 50c coin size amount of bath or massage oil to ensure an even fade all over. Repeat this step a few times, before doing a strong scrub on those areas that hold the most tan: knees, elbows and ankles. You’re then good to go.

2. Run a bath

If you aren’t a fan of the big messy scrub down, another relaxing alternative is to run a bath and fill it with a bath oil to soak your skin – the oil will help to soften the tan. You can then use a Tan Remover or Exfoliating Mitt, and work in circular motions around your body – this will encourage the tan to fade (Sigourney shows you exactly how to master this here).

3. Squeeze some lemon on it

An old faithful wive’s tale (that actually works) to remove fake tan is with lemon – and it works some serious magic. Simply douse a damp cloth with lemon or lime juice, then pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Make sure it’s not too hot, then rub it over your tan and you’ll find the colour is instantly removed. Too easy!

4. Take a dip

Head for a swim in your local pool – random, we know, but surprisingly effective. Self-tanners contain an ingredient called DHA that reacts with chlorine to reduce the life of a tan, and lightening properties that strip away skin cells resulting in the break down of a tan. We like to call it the lazy girls guide to removing a tan. And, when the temperature is hitting up to 30 degrees daily, it definitely makes for a more refreshing, and less laborious way of dealing with the dreaded tan removal. So you could say you’re killing two birds with one stone. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that…

Story by Stephanie Russo

Comment (2)

  1. January 24, 2017

    Really wish my younger self saw this article… I am a victim of fake tan layering and let me tell you – NOT pretty!!

  2. January 24, 2017

    I’ve heard that a lemon removes a tan but never thought it was true. Definitely keeping this in mind for the future