Wave goodbye to streaks, stains & patches with our easy-to-follow guide

Fake tan is a great (and safe) way to achieve a sun-kissed glow. Get it right, and it can look as though we’ve spent two weeks in St Tropez. But get it wrong, and we end up with uneven streaks, patches and telltale orange palms. For a seamless tan, we recommend following our top tips on how to master the art of applying fake tan.

For those occasions where it does go wrong or it’s starting to look patchy after a few days of wear, don’t fret – there are several steps we can take to remove fake tan at home, whether it’s from the face or body. Here, the experts reveal all.

How to remove fake tan from your face

"Keep it gentle," says Claire Lambert, Skinny Tan’s resident tanning expert. "Using a gentle exfoliator twice a week, alongside regular cleansing, can help break down a tan." Eventually, a fresh base for a new application will be all that remains.

It’s also worth noting that face tan will fade faster than on the body. "As many of us have a daily skincare routine consisting of several steps, including exfoliation, skin cell turnover happens faster," adds Michaella Bolder, celebrity and St.Tropez skincare and tanning expert.

For top exfoliation tips and how to find the best exfoliator for individual needs, check out our easy-to-follow tutorial.

How to remove fake tan from legs & arms

For stubborn tan on legs and arms, the experts recommend using a specifically formulated self-tan eraser. 

Jules Von Hep, tanning guru and founder of Isle of Paradise, swears by his very own Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser.

"Spray it onto skin, massage it until a lather is formed and leave for five minutes," he recommends.

Then simply wash it off in the shower, buffing skin gently in circular motions until the colour has been completely removed. For hard-to-remove areas, double your efforts with an exfoliating mitt.

How to remove fake tan from hands & feet

"The trick here is to ensure that we moisturise the hands and feet prior to tan application," says Jules, "that way there will be no 'tan-over' – my term for the moment where you wake up and see that you’ve messed up your tan."

As well as moisturising, Jules recommends "wiping palms, in-between fingers and buffing knuckles on a dry towel immediately after application."

For those telltale orange hands, one trick to remove or lessen their appearance is to "use a lactic acid skincare product on the surface of the hands, followed by an exfoliating make-up wipe," says Jules. "It won’t completely strip it off, but it’ll help fade the tan rapidly."

How to remove fake tan from your back

The very trickiest of areas to both apply fake tan and remove it, the back is a solo tanner’s nemesis. But Michaella has a top tip for living out the enemies to lovers trope with this tricky tanning area.

“Apply a tan remover on to the back using a long armed body brush or a tanning band to disperse the mixture over the skin and gently rub it in for a few moments. Leave it for five to 10 minutes before washing it off in the shower.”

Try Botanics’ Natural Bristle Body Brush to reach those troublesome areas.

Any other top tips to remove fake tan at home?

"The best way to remove a tan is to tease it off slowly but surely over the course of three days," says Jules. "To do this, simply mix a spoonful of sugar with body wash and then with every wash, a light layer of tan will come off giving a gradual but even fade." After the final day, Jules recommends using a self-tan eraser.

If the tan is streaky, Michaella assures us this can be easily fixed by "exfoliating the problem area as soon as possible, then – using a tanning mitt – lightly dab your chosen self-tan product onto areas that are missing tan."

"Once the tan is applied, buff the area to help blend the new tan into the existing one," she adds.

5 of the best products to help remove fake tan

Whether streaks, patches or dodgy orange hands are the concern, we’ve got all post-tanning woes covered. Here are five Team H&B-approved products for seamless fake tan removal.

Shop more fake tan removers in our full range.

Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser

• Size: 200ml

• Exfoliating micellar water

• Contains glycolic acid

• Not suitable for broken skin 

• Vegan-friendly

• Cruelty-free 

Designed to be used at least three days after initial tan application, this self-tan eraser is not only effective at removing patches and leftover tan, but also leaves limbs feeling soft and fresh. Brimming with glycolic acid, it gently sloughs away dulling dead skin cells and fake tan to reveal brighter, more even-looking skin.

Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser

• Size: 200ml

• Foaming cleanser

• Easy to use 

• Vegan-friendly

• Cruelty-free

This foaming formula really does work. As with Over It, it’s best used at least three days after initial tan application. Simply apply a generous layer directly on to skin before waiting five minutes and then washing it off in the shower using a wet face cloth to help wipe away lingering tan.

St.Tropez Fake Tan Remover & Primer Mousse

• Size: 200ml

• Remover and primer

• Suitable for sensitive skin

• Works on stubborn areas 

Another brilliant self-tan remover, this magic mousse gets to work quickly to help remove every last trace of fake tan while also readying skin for its next, fresh layer of tan. Effective from day one after tan application, it features cotton extract and other nourishing ingredients to leave skin looking smooth, refreshed and perfectly prepped.

Skinny Tan Miracle Tan Eraser

• Size: 200ml

• Remover and primer

• Jelly-like texture

• Vegan-friendly

• Cruelty-free

Banish remnants of old tan and prime skin for the next application all in one go with this self-tan remover. A hydrating scrub, its jelly-like formula uses a hybrid of physical and chemical exfoliants, including pumice and salicylic acid for removing dead skin cells and moisturising glycerin to smooth and prep the skin.

Iconic Bronze Self Tan Eraser

• Size: 175ml

• Vegan-friendly

• Cruelty-free

What more could we want from a tan eraser than something that’s tough on tan but soft on skin? This brilliant remover is just that, and is able to buff away leftover tan in just 10 minutes. Apply liberally to dry skin (preferably three to four days after applying self-tan), and then use a wet face cloth in a warm shower to smooth away leftover product. For any seriously stubborn areas, grab an exfoliating mitt for an extra helping hand.

Ready to create a clean canvas for another round of self-tanning? Shop all of our fake tan removers.