Wave bye-bye to streaks, stains & patches

Fake tan is a great (and safe) way to achieve an all-over glow. Get it right, and it'll look like you’ve spent two weeks in St Tropez. But get it wrong, and you could end up with uneven streaks, patches and telltale orange hands. For a seamless tan, we recommend following our top tips on how to master the art of applying fake tan

And 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 you can take to remove fake tan from your face and 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 your tan." Eventually, you’ll be left with a fresh base for a new application. 

It’s also worth noting that your face tan will fade faster than your 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 tanning and facialist expert. 

And if you’re worried about applying fake tan on your face, Claire recommends using bespoke face tanning drops, which can be mixed in with your daily moisturiser or make-up. "You can dial it up or down – by adding drops – for a natural-looking glow," she says. 

For a foolproof fake tan, try Skinny Tan Coconut Water Self Tanning Drops, £16.99. It’s a great option for anyone who’s afraid of their faux glow going wrong. Just mix a few drops (anywhere between one and 10) with your favourite moisturiser before applying onto skin. After a few hours, you’ll notice a radiant, sun-kissed colour developing.

How to remove fake tan from your legs & arms 

For stubborn tan on your 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, £17.95. 

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

You then simply wash it off in the shower, buffing skin gently until the colour’s completely removed. For stubborn areas, you might want to double your efforts with an exfoliating mitt. 

How to remove fake tan from your hands & feet 

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

As well as moisturising, Jules recommends "wiping your palms, in-between your fingers and buffing your knuckles on a dry towel immediately after you’ve applied fake tan." 

If you've woken up to telltale orange hands, one trick to remove or lessen their appearance is to "use a lactic acid skincare product on the surface of your 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." Try Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Exfoliating Pads, a bargain at £5 for 60 pads.  

Any other top tips to remove fake tan? 

"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 in with your body wash and then each time you 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 your tan is streaky or you wake up to streaks, Michaella assures us that you can easily fix this 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 you’ve applied the tan, buff the area to help blend the new tan into your existing one," she adds.

4 of the best products to help remove fake tan

Whether you’re worried about streaks, patches or dodgy orange hands, we’ve got all your post-tanning woes covered. Here are some of our favourite products for seamless fake tan removal. 

Isle of Paradise Over It Magic Self-Tan Eraser, £17.95

• Size: 200ml

• Exfoliating micellar water

• Contains glycolic acid

• Not suitable for broken skin 

Designed to be used at least three days after initial tan application, this self-tan eraser is the final step to removing patches and leftover tan. 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, £15.99

• Size: 200ml

• Foaming cleanser

• Easy to use 

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

Cocoa Brown Fresh Start Tan Eraser, £9.99

• Size: 190ml

• Gentle formula

• Easy to use 

Gentle yet hard-working, this self-tan eraser gets to work in five minutes to help lift and remove existing fake tan. It’s especially great for stubborn areas, such as elbows and hands. But if you find there’s still tan left over, you can also use an exfoliating mitt on top of the eraser.

St.Tropez Fake Tan Remover & Primer Mousse, £14.50

• 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. Featuring cotton extract and other nourishing ingredients, this mousse leaves skin looking smooth, refreshed and perfectly prepped.

All prices correct on date of publication