3 Hacks for Getting Rid of Your Lingering Spray Tan

Updated 09/23/16

 Free People

I get spray tans often. I think of them as a little secret (well, not so secret as of this moment) treatment that makes a world of difference. I’m super pale by nature, and I never want to change that—that can be where you get into orange fake-tan territory—but a little spritz of bronze keeps me looking healthy, glowy, and a little bit contoured. It’s the type of thing that makes you look better, but no one can immediately tell why.

Because of all the aforementioned reasons, I tend to get spray tans every week or two over the summer. (Once you get used to them, you can’t not have one—trust me.) But between tan sessions, I need to ensure I make my color last as long as possible but also completely scrub it off before getting a fresh spray. This can prove to be more difficult than it sounds, and I’ve had plenty of creepy-looking color patches to prove it. So in the interest of keeping my faux tan looking top-notch—and dishing on a few secrets—I had my spray-tan guru, St. Tropez finishing expert Sophie Evans, send over her best advice. As it turns out, you barely have to buy anything at all to successfully remove your tan and prepare for the next one. That’s right—all the necessary products can be found in your fridge, medicine cabinet, or pantry. Keep reading to find out exactly how to do it.

“If you need to fix a mistake fast and it’s dark marks or streaks, the quickest way is to apply baby oil to the darker area and leave it on for 10 minutes. This allows the exfoliation to be more effective. Scrub your skin with an exfoliator, my favorite is the St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Polish ($18), and then buff the skin using a hot, damp washcloth.”

St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Polish $18
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Specially formulated to work with your self-tanner (rather than against it), this exfoliating body polish keeps your skin even, soft, and prepped for your next tan.

“Hair-removal cream is also very effective. Apply it with a Q-tip onto the darker area, leave the formula for half the time recommended on the bottle, then remove. If you leave the hair-removal cream for the full time, it can create lighter patches—you want to make the skin match throughout.”

“Use lemon juice mixed with baking soda to remove your tan entirely. Saturate your skin, then leave the concoction for about five minutes. Remove it with a cleansing wipe (exfoliating cleansing wipes will yield the best results!).”

Simple Exfoliating Facial Wipes $5
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Using clean, non-irritating ingredients, these facial wipes gently lift dead skin cells, cleanse, and exfoliate in just one swipe.

For more advice on the topic, peek at the one mistake I made that ruined my spray tan.

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