The Expert Guide On How To Get Fake Tan Off
The Expert Guide On How To Get Fake Tan Off

The Expert Guide On How To Get Fake Tan Off

4 minutes read

You were all systems go for achieving that faux tropical glow, then in less than 24-hours later you’re frantically asking Google for answers to: ‘What removes fake tan fast?’ 

If this sums you up: A brightly-hued carrot-esq face and body, patchy knees, elbows and palms, or legs that sport stripes like mint humbugs – then let us help you out of this fake tan nightmare. (Note to self – bookmark this page.) 

We asked tanning experts to share simple ways on how to get fake tan off fast so you can glow on with your life.  

How Do You Fix Self-Tanner Mistakes

So firstly, pat yourself on the back for sunless tanning – as we all know there is no such thing as a healthy UV-based tan and sunburn is a sign of skin cell damage. Now here’s the advice on how to remove any unwanted tanning mistakes.  

What removes fake tan?

If you made some rookie mistakes, think: inferior product, the wrong shade or formulation for you, or perhaps you didn’t follow the spa gurus guide – to achieve pro results at home. Whatever the reason things went wrong – here is the most common tanning faux pas we have come across:  

Discoloured elbows, knees and ankles; hands don’t match the body, the colours are just not right (maybe too orangey or dark), or it is just wearing off unevenly. 

However, there’s no need to panic as we have this expert-backed three-step routine on how to get tan off fast at home.  

Close up body scrub

1. Steam

Convert your bathroom into a DIY steam bath. If you are a fitness club member, you can make use of their high tech facilities, steam or sauna rooms. The warm and humid environment causes pores to open wide and effectively removes dirt that might have accumulated underneath. It also encourages dead skin cells to flake away hence reducing the colour of your tan.

2. Oils

If you don’t already know, self-tanning products contain colour additive dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied topically, it reacts with dead cells in the epidermis and simulates a tan. Oils, on the other hand, break down DHA and can fade fake tan faster. 

Does baby oil remove fake tan? It does. So lather up or soak yourself in oil. You can choose from baby oil, coconut, or olive oil. Leave for 10 mins. 

If you want to add a bit of self-care and relaxation into this method, use bath oil or a shower gel with essential oils such as Clarins Tonic Bath and Shower Concentrate. This bath and shower cleansing concentrate activates when used in hot, steamy showers and gives you added wellness benefits. It is formulated with essential oils, rosemary and geranium known for removing dead skin cells and peppermint known for its ultra-cleansing abilities. Leave it for 30 mins to absorb.

3. Exfoliate

Exfoliation comes next. Use exfoliating mitts, loofah, or washcloth and gently rub your skin in circular motions to loosen the tan and exfoliate. Remove dead skin cells and remaining self-tanning residue with Exfoliating Body Scrub and apply Moisture-Rich Body Lotion for maximum nourishment and hydration. 

For the face, use Gentle Peeling Smooth Away Cream or a Nourishing Oil Scrub followed by your usual skincare routine. Facial exfoliators eliminate dead skin cells and impurities. 

Clarins’ beauty coach Rebecca Jones recommends exfoliating the face and body every two weeks to remove tan thoroughly. She says: “This way, it will thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate the body and would make a clean canvas and remove dead skin cells so that the (new) tan will blend and absorb more evenly.”

Word of Caution: Self-tanner dyes or stains the outermost layers of skin, and it makes perfect sense that exfoliation is the key to removing tan build-up. However, experts warn against over-exfoliating. Deep exfoliation can irritate and harm the skin, so be patient and slow down. 

You can also try these two extra tips to get fake tan off quickly:

Baking soda

Baking soda exfoliates dead cells and unclogs pores. It is an effective DIY self-tan remover. Take two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with a little bit of coconut oil, olive oil, or water to make a paste consistency. Gently scrub in a circular motion, leave for a few minutes and rinse off. It’s great for knuckles, elbows and knees.  


If you want to remove your tan, sweat it out. It might be a good excuse to keep yourself moving and take out those matching workout outfits. Excessive sweating will slide your tan right off. Go for a swim in the sea or pool afterwards for a double tan stripping action. 

How long does it take for self-tanner to go away?

Many elements come into play; it depends on the formula, intensity of the pigments, plus your skin type and tone. For example, a drier skin type might soak up and hold onto the tan for longer and it clings onto rougher skin texture like elbow and knees for longer. 

To avoid fake tan mistakes, watch Clarins Self-Tan Masterclass on how to properly apply your self-tan for that covetable summer glow. Summer is just around the corner; make sure your sun care essentials are ready. Head to your nearest Clarins counter for summer glow-up tips from your trusted local beauty advisor. 

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