Have you ended up with tiger stripes? Are your orange palms a dead giveaway of your fake bronze? Have you accidentally turned yourself into one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas?
No tan is perfect, and neither is the person applying the tan. While you can get it pretty much right after the first few tans, you may be in need of a solution to a tan emergency.
If you do happen to have a mishap, it’s best to red rid of the whole tan – and go straight for the specialty products. Tan removers are available along with the fake tan at pharmacies. They come in scrubs, peels, or oils, and should be used with a tan removing mitt or glove.
The tan liquid sticks to the top layer of dead skin cells, so you need to scrub it all away. Bathing with bath oil, swimming in a chlorinated pool, and using a steam room can all help soften the tan and break it down, making for an easier scrub.
A quick Google search can find you a load of home remedies. Different sources suggest everything from lemon juice and baking soda scrub, to something a little more far-fetched like soaking in vodka.
Whichever method you choose, scrubbing away your tan is essential. The most important thing to remember about scrubbing is to do it evenly, so you don’t end up patchy.
Try: ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Scrub (it smells like grapefruit!)
Try: Bliss Incredi-peel. This is a slightly harsher method, as it contains acetone (the same stuff that is in nail polish remover).
The best way to deal with a disaster is to stop it from happening in the first place. A good tan starts with well-prepared skin; prepped skin is vital for any fake tan, whether it is sprayed in the salon or slathered on at home.
Start by exfoliating all over; it gives you a fresh ‘canvas’ to work with by getting rid of the gunk and dead skin cells that mill work against your tan. Because the tanning liquid reacts with the top layer of skin, you want it to be even and smooth. For the best possible result, exfoliate for a few showers before your tan and your skin will be silky smooth.
It is also recommended that you shave your legs to help make your skin even smoother for tan application. If you frequently tan without shaving your legs, you may end up with noticeably orange hairs.
Top tip: keep your legs hydrated (but not overly moist/greasy) with an oil-free moisturiser. Using anything with oil on your skin will just mess up your tan.
Once you’re ready to tan, you have the choice of using a gradual or instant solution. Gradual looks more natural and is less likely to end in disaster, but if you’re strapped for time and need and instant tan, start with a light to medium shade. Once you’ve done the damage with a dark orangey-bronze, there is no going back. Alternatively, dilute your tanning liquid with a little bit of oil-free moisturiser, ensuring they’re totally blended so you don’t end up with streaks and spots.
For a gradual tan, try Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturiser; it’s one of the most popular products among experts, bloggers, and your average tanner.
If you’re in need of an instant glow, try Clarins Self-Tanning Instant Gel. It is a little bit pricey but it is hailed as having one of the best colour payoffs of any instant tan.