Patchy or Streaky Self-Tanner *Can* Be Removed—Here's the Quickest Way to Do It

How to remove self-tanner



Self-tanning can be extremely hit or miss. As Who What Wear beauty director Erin Jahns once said, self-tanning formulas have come a long way, but it's still possible to overdo it if you're not careful. But don't worry. We've got you covered for when that happens. It's not the end of the world if your tan turns out patchy or streaky, according to Tan-Luxe global tanning expert Lex DiMarchi. Self-tanner is actually much easier to remove than you think. Even if you're looking to slough off an older tan to make way for a fresh one, there are ways to do that too!

For all the deets, keep scrolling. We asked DiMarchi for the best ways to remove self-tanner and included a few recommended items to help you do so.

How to Remove Self-Tanner From Your Hands After Applying

After applying self-tanner, there are a few DIY ways to remove it from your hands. One quick way is to use a washcloth to clean your palms and hands right after. The washcloth will provide light exfoliation and, if done fast enough, should keep your hands from appearing stained. If more than a few minutes have passed, DiMarchi recommends using a soap that lightly exfoliates, like Ouai's Hand Wash ($32).

DiMarchi also says a few other handy skincare items can help you remove self-tanner from your hands. "If you've already tanned your hands as the last step of application, then I would recommend using a peel pad or makeup wipe to remove any residue from your palms," she shares.

This exfoliating washcloth is designed to gently buff away dead skin. It can be used on both the body and face.

DiMarchi loves this wash to remove a tan because it contains exfoliating jojoba esters and hydration-boosting ingredients like castor, avocado, and rosehip oil.

This exfoliating wash is infused with pumice stone and honey but is gentle enough to be used daily.

If trying to remove a tan from your hands quickly, opt for an exfoliating pad, and make sure to get in between your fingers and around the cuticle area. 

These Biomdera makeup-removing wipes are made for sensitive skin and gentle enough to use when removing self-tanner from your hands.

How to Remove Self-Tanner From Your Body

How to remove self-tanner



If you'd like to remove self-tanner from your entire body, DiMarchi says you can do the same thing as above. "My favorite way [to remove self-tanner] is to dry exfoliate with my towel immediately after stepping out of the shower while my skin is still soft," she says. "I will scrub my body with my towel, and it literally strips all my self-tanner away." 

Although physical exfoliation can remove quite a bit of your tan, a good old-fashioned tan remover can also be the way to go. Most self-tan removers are made with chemical exfoliants like AHAs to help remove any lingering color. DiMarchi recommends Tan-Luxe's Glyco Water Self-Tan Eraser ($35). Pro tip: Most self-tan removers can also act as a primer for a fresh tan due to their exfoliating properties. A good exfoliation can remove an unwanted tan and provide a smooth canvas for a fresh one if you want to use it that way later.

Use an exfoliating body towel to remove a tan or prep for a new one.

The Best Self-Tan Removers

This treatment water has glycolic acid to exfoliate, while raspberry seed and castor oil hydrate the skin.

When looking to remove excess color, use this tan eraser on dry skin for the best results. 

This exfoliating glycolic tan remover also contains micellar water to tone and refresh the skin.

This remover from Loving Tan contains fruit extracts and exfoliants to gently lift away self-tanner without drying out your skin.

Tanologist's Self Tan Eraser is a foaming formula that's gentle enough to be used on the face.