ABOUT THE WRITER: Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.
Here is a simple equation for you: pale skin + winter = Liz has skin that’s so white she is practically a human torch in the dark. Since it's winter, many fellow pale people have been booking appointments at the spray tan salon like clockwork. However, the trouble with booking tans on the regular, is that annoying patchy look you get when you get fresh tan over old tan. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone in to get bronzed and noticed dark blotchy areas, only soon to then realise I missed scrubbing off some of the old tan prior. Not cleaning off fake tan is a bit like not exfoliating properly before a session (a huge no no). The new tan clings to the old tan like it’s dead skin cells, meaning it can’t sink in properly and instead creates a darker stain look.
Since no one likes the scaly look, I started to hunt down whether there was an effective way to strip off the remnants of the old fake tan without scrubbing your skin within an inch of its life. Here to your patchy skin rescue is my guaranteed, no-fuss guide to removing fake tan.
Step One: Making your skin soft
Before embarking on your tan removal mission, it’s always a clever idea to soften up your skin to make the formula easier to remove. Having a warm bath or shower before your scrub-a-thon breaks down the chemical compounds of the tan, making it easier to get off.
Step Two: Use a fake tan remover
You could scrub until your skin is raw and still have stubborn tan flecks all over the joint. You could lie in a bathtub full of lemons and squeeze their acidic juice all over yourself before scrubbing with salt. You could even go for a few dips in chlorinated or salted water to try to dissolve the formula in stages. But let’s be honest, all of these methods are HARD and TIME-CONSUMING. It all seems like a lot of work. Also, experts are divided over how effective these methods really are. Think about it, if you go swimming, only certain parts of your body are underwater for the whole time, so the result could still be patchy. Not to mention all this stuff is very irritating on your delicate skin.
Enter the fake tan remover! Who knew these mythical products actually existed? Because until recently, I had no flipping idea, and I get pretty excited by anything that makes my life easier. I tried a few and quite liked them (shout out to ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Scrub) but my favourite by far was Antheia’s Express Fake Tan Remover. Normally the whole kit is a two-step process, one that removes the tan, and one that restores the skin’s moisture. I opted for the Express process, which is the first step only.
So how does it work? Spray the stuff on, wait two minutes, wipe the stuff off. It’s literally that easy! The formula works by using “non-harmful ingredients” and “botanical extracts” to dissolve fake tan pigments. The Express kit includes one Express Tan Remover Base, one spray bottle, three full-body removal sachets and one muslin cloth to wipe it all off with. Since my cupboard is swamped with beauty products, I did my own little micro peel and moisturise after step one, but those who aren’t as cosmetically blessed might want to buy the second step as well.
According to their website, the second stage of the process involves applying Antheia’s Liquid Micro-Peel to completely remove any tan residue, exfoliate dead skin cells and balance your pH levels after all the tanning. The best part about this step is that you can use it even when you don’t want tan scrubbed off, just as a way to keep your dry skin at bay, and as a pre-tan prep step.
So next time you want to go for back-to-back tans and don’t wanna be a patchy mess, or to irritate your delicate skin with aggressive removal guff, get on board the lazy girl way! Fake Tan removal: you and your glowing skin are welcome.