How to remove fake tan

Nikki ParkinsonBeauty 17 Comments

I’ve got those long-weekend feels happening. And by feels I mean prepping, planning and packing.

We’re heading to the beach. The forecast is hot, hot, and hot – so like all good girls who like to be sun-safe, I’m packing the hat, beach shelter and I’ve booked in for a spray tan.

While ever it’s warm enough to show my legs or shoulders to the world, I’m going to faux tan it up.

Now, this is not in any way meant to diss white skin. Some of my friends have the most gorgeous porcelain white skin, without nary a freckle to be seen.

My version of white is more motley.

For me, a spray tan smoothes out the motley and makes me feel more confident in clothes that expose a bit of skin.

This is not necessarily a confidence trick needed by everyone but it’s one of which I’m a frequent embracer.

You can read my 15 fake tan tips for the full low-down on all things faux but today, I’m focussing on a very important step in the fake tan process.

How to remove fake tan

Tips for how to remove a fake tan

If you’re a semi-regular fake tanner like myself, then there is a high-percentage chance that there will be remnants of the previous tan on your skin. If you’ve moisturised religiously through your tanning period then the remnants won’t even be patchy, and therefore difficult to detect.

Don’t be fooled by this trickery. Those remnants are there and need attention on the day of your tan.

For a faux tan to stick, the skin needs to be free from dead skin cells, including skin cells attached to the previous tan.

The key word here is exfoliation but there are exfoliators and exfoliators. Typically the exfoliators will be a scrub formulation, a chemical formulation or good old-fashioned elbow grease in the form of a tanning removal mit.

See below for some product suggestions. Whatever method chosen, it’s important that there isn’t a hint of moisturising happening in exfoliating process.

Moisturising is for AFTER you’ve showered off your tanning application and for every morning and night thereafter. Moisturising before a tan will also prevent the tan from sticking.


I’ve used all of the products below. They work and set your skin up with a foundation for a very good tan result.

How to remove fake tan

1. TanGO Exfoliating Mit $19.95: I love my mit. You can see the tan coming off so you know it’s doing its thing. I also love that it’s re-useable, time and again.

2. frank body original coffee scrub $14.95: I’ve been a frank fan since the beginning and this scrub may not be good for my shower’s cleanliness but it sure does do the trick to get my skin exfoliated and prepped for a fake tan.

3. Cocoa Brown Tough Stuff body scrub $15.95:  This product is part of a stable of faux tan products and very much works to get your skin ready for its next tan.

4. Antheia Express Tan Remover kit $55: This particular tan removal system has me super excited. You mix up the formula (sachet into liquid) and spritz and wipe with the supplied cloth to remove. The amino acids dissolve away the tan. Step two – the micro peel – is all about restoring the skin and remove any remaining tan.

So tell me, are you a regular fake tanner? What do you use to prep your skin? What are your favourite products? If you salon tan, hit us with your recommendations. 

Comments 17

  1. One of my friend Ella faced a lot problem with it. I remember she used Solvaderm brand Dermaxsol facial moisturizer, an integrative approach product and got good results, she said, Dermaxsol moisturizes and blends naturally with the color of our skin reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  2. I love to fake it as well … I find a good rough towel gets rid of the dead skin cells. Have a warm shower … Step out and while skins still damp scrub with towel … Works a treat!

  3. Obvious tip, but do not use any exfoliator that has oil or nourishing qualities. Skin has to be bare bare bare! I use a pair of scrub gloves that I get from The Body Shop to remove my old tan.

  4. I must confess I am also a Tanoholic….even in Winter! I discovered a secret tip for when you wake up in the morning only to discover you’ve made a grave tanning error… Toothpaste! Its great if you have excess build up on your hands, ankles or elbows but don’t want to scrub off the tan altogether! I love Frank too, he’s a good friend of mine!

  5. I’m a committed tanorexic (all year round) but I’m also a DIY girl. I’ve only ever had a professional spray tan once. It was great, but for the time and cost, the results I get at home are just as good. I have more types of tan than I care to admit – mousse, cream, gel, gradual, spray. Yep, I got ’em all and they’re taking over my bathroom. My current fave really surprised me – I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I do. It’s ModelCo Natural Tan and it smells beautiful, is very nourishing to the skin and develops into a very realistic and beautiful honey colour. Absolutely love it. It’s a lot like Eco Tan, but without the price tag. Faux tans forever!!!!!

  6. I have never had a spray tan Nikki but I do use gradual tanner most days! I have this really good fake tan remover by Le tan,but I prefer to do an all over body scrub to get rid of dry skin and make my skin all soft and smooth,I usually make my own with coconut oil,brown sugar and some essential oil usually lavender.
    I agree a faux tan evens out your skin tone,and hides viens and scars,I’m naturally olive but I do love people with porcelain skin as well.Enjoy your beach prep Nikki Xx

  7. I haven’t had a spray tan for a few years, but I do use gradual tanner on my legs and sometimes shoulders. Amazing what a lovely light tan does for your mood!

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