How to fix a bad spray tan

Written by tabitha harwell
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How to fix a bad spray tan
Spray tan is a safer alternative than laying in the sun. (woman laying/sun bathing on the beach image by L. Shat from

Spray tans are a smart choice when you want to darken the colour of your skin, but don't want to hazard exposure to the sun. The popular technique can be applied yourself or by a professional at a spa. Occasionally, the process goes awry due to an expired spray, uneven application or -- the most common mistake -- poor colour choice. Fixing or removing the spray tan is a harder procedure than applying it, but it can be done.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Self tanner
  • Body lotion
  • Lemon juice
  • Washcloth
  • Baby oil
  • Baking soda

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  1. 1

    Even out your skin tone by applying a lotion-based self tanner to the areas that are lighter in colour. There are several brands available that allow you to choose which is best for your skin type. When applying the self-tanner, mix it evenly with a body lotion. The body lotion will lessen the effect of the self tanner to even out your skin tone. Use caution when applying this to your face and neck area. If the tanners do not match it could result in an orange glow.

  2. 2

    Lighten your spray tan by applying lemon juice to a washcloth and scrubbing the darker areas. The lemon juice will lighten the spray tan within 5 to 10 minutes. Pay attention when you're scrubbing so you don't create a lighter spot than the rest of your body. If this happens, apply equal amounts of self tanner and lotion to the area to blend with the rest of your skin. This method works well on the face and neck area.

  3. 3

    Fade your spray tan by applying baby oil over your body. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes then rinse it off with a warm shower. While showering, use a body exfoliator to wash away the oil. There are different types of body exfoliators on the market, with varying prices, but generally they are all the same. Fake tan eliminating exfoliators also exist; if you can find one, it should work best.

  4. 4

    Bathing the tan away is another common method for fading a fake tan. Run a warm bath and sprinkle a cup of baking soda into the bath. Let it sit for five minutes and get in and soak for up to 30 minutes. Be sure to saturate your entire body so the tan fades evenly

  5. 5

    Create a paste of baking soda and baby oil and lather it on your body. Add oil to 1 cup of baking soda until it makes a toothpaste-like paste. Spread the paste on your body and leave it on for up to 15 minutes. Wipe off with a warm washcloth. If the area shows no signs of fading, repeat, leaving the paste on for an additional 15 minutes. Do not use this method on your face and neck.

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