How to Remove Sunless Tanner

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At some point or another when using sunless tanner, you’re going to have an ut-oh moment and need to get the stuff off…pronto.  (Hey, it happens to the best of us!)  Whether you want to remove your sunless tanner because it looks orange, or it looks like someone attacked you with a paint roller brush and you have streaks from here to there, or just because it’s started to fade unevenly….fret not, it can be removed!

Here are your options (and in some cases they don’t work miracles the first time around so give them another go if that’s the case):

Baking Soda and Lemon

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Combine the two ingredients and mix well until a creamy paste forms.  Apply it to your skin and let it sit for a few minutes and then gently scrub and wipe it off using a cleansing cloth/wash cloth.

Lemon and Sugar

  • 1 cup raw/coarse sugar
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice

Combine the two ingredients and mix well until a paste forms.  Apply to skin and let it sit a few minutes.  Massage into skin and scrub away that sunless tanner.  Rinse with water.

Baby Oil

Cover your body in baby oil and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Rinse.  (This won’t remove your tan but it will lighten it).

Exfoliating Mitt and Lemon

Pour some lemon juice onto an exfoliating mitt and start buffing your skin with it

Take a Long Bath

Soak in the bathtub and take a bubble bath for 20 minutes.  This will “loosen” the tan.  Scrub after soaking and your tan should wash right off.

Hair Removal Cream

Apply hair removal cream to the area(s) and wipe it off.  (Hair removal cream…not hair bleach)

Tips for Applying Sunless Tanner

Sunless

The Basic Rule of Sunless Tanner (whether you’re using gels, lotions or sprays)

Never go more than 2 shades darker than your natural skin color (otherwise you’ll end up looking cheap, fake, orange and like an oompa loompa…none of which are attractive)

 

Back side view of a young, blonde woman's perfect body.

The Proper Way to Apply Sunless Tanners

Exfoliate.  This step is very important yet a lot of people skip over it.  Exfoliating helps ensure an even and smooth application.  Exfoliating scrubs away any dry and dead skin which is important in achieving a flawless application.  Dry areas (such as elbows and knees) absorb the tanner more than other areas therefore, those dry areas end up looking darker.  You want to exfoliate everywhere but you want to exfoliate the most in those rough and dry areas.  Also, when exfoliating, don’t use an exfoliator that is very oily or greasy.  These types of exfoliators leave behind a greasy/oily residue which repels tanner.  The best exfoliating method to use in this case is plain sugar (or plain sugar mixed with a tablespoon of water).  You can apply this standing in the shower without the water running because the dry exfoliation method actually does a better job exfoliating than doing it under the running shower water.

Shave or Wax.  You should shave or wax prior to applying sunless tanner.  If you wait until after applying the sunless tanner to do either of these, you’re going to mess it up.  (And I don’t mean 5 minutes later….later in the day, later that night, etc.)  Shaving and waxing will actually lift up some of your tanner and will leave you looking uneven and/or blotchy.

Dry Yourself.  Make sure your body is completely dry before applying any sunless tanner.  Also, do not apply lotion prior to applying sunless tanner except on dry and rough areas (such as elbows and knees).

Protect your Nails.  Prior to applying sunless tanner, you should apply a little bit of Vaseline to your nails and toe nails.  If you don’t, the sunless tanner can stain nails or get around the nail beds and cuticles leaving you with dirty looking nails (which no one should ever want).  This is also important in protecting your manicure and pedicure.  If you want to avoid this all together, slap on a pair of latex gloves and you won’t need to worry about getting orange hands or nails.  (But you’ll still have to protect your toenails).

Top to Bottom.  The proper way to apply sunless tanner is from the top of your body to the bottom of your body, not bottom to top.  (You can dilute your self tanner for those rough and dry areas by mixing it with some lotion too…if you aren’t using the spray sunless tanner.)

Clean Up.  After you’ve applied your sunless tanner, take a damp washcloth and gently buff those rough and dry areas (such as the elbows and knees).  This will help them from ending up darker than other areas of your body.  It’s also very important to carefully wash your hands after applying sunless tanner.  If you don’t you will end up with orange palms and markings between your fingers.  But be very careful when washing them because if you take your hands and dive them into running water you’ll most likely end up splashing further up your arms.  It’s not a bad idea to exfoliate your hands after applying sunless tanner either….this just ensures you really got it all.

Let it Dry.  Let the sunless tanner dry completely.  Do not try to throw on clothes immediately after applying the sunless tanner or you will end up staining your clothes or messing up your tan (or both).

 

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The Quick Version

  • Exfoliate
  • Shave or wax
  • Dry yourself completely (no lotion except on dry areas such as elbows and knees)
  • Apply Vaseline to nails or slap on a pair of latex gloves
  • Apply from top to bottom (do your face separately if you are using a special facial sunless tanner)
  • Buff rough and dry spots with a damp washcloth after applying sunless tanner
  • Wash/Exfoliate hands (very carefully) after you are completely done applying sunless tanner
  • Let it dry

Sephora Collection Instant Airbrush Foundation

sephora

This was my first time using any type of spray on airbrush foundation for my face.  I love the results but I don’t love the process of applying it.

This comes with a dial twist top that allows you to pick between three different shades…to me this was somewhat complicated because there wasn’t a clear indicator of which one you picked….all had the little arrows pointing forward.  Anyways, you are supposed to hold and spray your face from 10 inches away, which I did.

The coverage is great!  It concealed any blemishes and imperfections and evened out my skin tone completely.  It’s also very buildable and you can give yourself extra coverage if needed.  The finish definitely looked flawless and airbrushed.  (Better than I expected it to look!)  It also leaves a dewy finish so if you want a matte finish you’re going to need to apply a finishing powder or some kind of mattifying powder.  It feels very lightweight and not at all heavy or thick and greasy.  It also sets and dries very quickly as well.  I’ve had it on for a couple of hours now and so far it’s holding up great!

Now the downside….it’s MESSY!  Being that you are spraying this on, you have a pretty good hold on where you are spraying it, but, since it is a spray, there’s always going to be a little extra that goes elsewhere unfortunately.  I would suggest wearing a shower cap over your hair when applying this.  Just pulling it back isn’t going to do the job because your going to end up with this spray on your roots and hairline.  Also, I would suggest doing this with either an old shirt on or wrap a towel or some kind of salon cape around your shoulders when applying it.  I had an old hoody on when I applied it and ended up with a nice mist of foundation over the shoulder areas from where the extra mist fell.  You really need to be careful when spraying it because if you’re not careful you will end up with tinted walls and countertops or carpeting.  Because of the messy factor, I would not use this product for any touch ups on the go because when you’re in a hurry, who has time to go through all these steps to prevent the product from getting all over themselves and their surroundings?

Overall, I will continue to use this product but only when I have the time to apply it at my house when i’m not in a rush and I will never use it for touchups on the go unless by some miracle I find a way to keep it from ending up on other areas aside from just my face.

 

Pros:

  • Applies quickly
  • Excellent coverage
  • Buildable coverage
  • Provides a flawless and airbrushed finished look
  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting

Cons:

  • Messy
  • Not great for touchups on the go

Neutrogena Sunless Tanning Micro Mist

Mist

It could be a really great product….if it actually worked for me!

This isn’t my first time trying this product….I’ve actually tried it quite a few times.  I always start out liking it until about the second or third time I use it at which point I decide that I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy (probably because I am so pissed off at it).

I used this product once on Friday night in combination with a different sunless tanner lotion.  (I spray this on after applying the lotion because I feel like it evens out the lotion).  While spraying, the nozzle seemed to clog up a little but I shook it a couple of times and it seemed to work ok again.  I woke up the next day with a pretty golden glow….no streaks or nasty orange color.

I used it again on Sunday afternoon after taking a shower.  This is where it all went downhill.  I put on the other sunless tanner lotion first and started spraying.  Once again, the nozzle seemed to start clogging up because it started spraying less and less.  I shook it multiple times which didn’t do anything.  Then, after I did one half of my left leg, it wouldn’t spray at all.  I shook it, nothing.  I popped the cap off and made sure it wasn’t clogged up (which it wasn’t) and tried to spray it again, nothing.

So, now I have a left thigh that’s darker than the lower half and a right left that didn’t even get sprayed….COOL! (Thanks Neutrogena, that’s exactly the look I was going for….NOT!)  And, I’m also out the 9 bucks it cost me with over 3/4 of the bottle remaining and I can’t get my money back because the product has been used.  (Which I understand…but it still sucks).

This is what happened almost every time I’ve used this product in the past.  Since it’s still selling and out there on the market…I’m going to say it’s me or maybe I just have the luck of getting every “lemon” out there of this product.  Ugh.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t leave streaky-orange marks
  • Produces a pretty golden glow
  • Not the worst smelling sunless tanner out there
  • Easy to use (when it works)
  • Delivers an even application
  • Doesn’t stain hands
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Stops working after the 2nd or 3rd use (at least for me it does–deal breaker!)
  • Nozzle clogs up
  • Doesn’t smell very pleasant when you sweat….and for some reason it seems to make me sweat more easily than normal (gross, I know)
  • Cannot get it wet for a while after applying
  • Doesn’t dry super quickly
  • Can dry out skin