Orange hands are a dead giveaway. Those of us who aren’t blessed with sun-kissed, olive skin naturally, have all been there–we’ve tried (and probably failed) to figure out how to get fake tan off hands. While fake tan is a lifesaver, if you can’t remove your fake tan stains in time for your event, you might even have to change your outfit plans… And we don’t want that!
How to remove fake tan from hands
From helping us look slimmer to blurring imperfections and generally making us appear healthier and more vibrant, the benefits of having a bronzed glow far outweigh the emotional rollercoaster of getting a spray tan, or, for the extra game among us, the inevitable mishaps involved in doing our own at home with DIY faux self-tanners.
Tan Temple salon owner, Jacci Haslam says the most important aspect when tanning at home is to “wear loose, dark clothes so your tan doesn’t rub onto your couch or elsewhere. If it does, a warm washcloth takes it off easily.”
But what’s a girl to do when she successfully avoided staining her sofa, but her hands, elbows, and knees are 50 shades of patchy orange? Thankfully, there are a few effective expert remedies and products to even out your tan so you don’t have to walk around looking like Ross in that infamous Friends episode. Here are 8 hacks to remove fake tan from your hands:
1. Lemon Juice
Besides looking great on the rim of a cocktail glass, lemon is actually a fab beauty helper thanks to its bleaching qualities. If you need to tone down your fake tan, dampen a towel with fresh lemon juice, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds, and gently rub it over your fake tan to lighten the shade.
Lemon juice can be a handy (no pun intended) way to get fake tan off your hands. This won’t remove the tan on your hands completely but can help to tone it down. Dampen a washcloth with lemon juice and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so. Gently wipe it over the problem areas to help break down the product and lighten the color.
I know this one sounds a little crazy, but the bleaching quality of whitening toothpaste can actually help remove small stains from your fake tan. Whitening toothpaste is a great option if you need to remove small fake tan stains, such as in between your toes or fingers. Apply a small amount to a toothbrush and scrub the tan away!
3. Baking soda
We know that baking soda is a magic little ingredient but did you know it can help get fake tan off your hands?
No? I didn’t either but it works like a dream.
If you take two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with a little bit of water until you have a paste-like consistency. Apply this to the streaks or orange patches on your hands and wait for 10 minutes or so before washing off. This is a brilliant DIY scrub when you just want to strip tan off larger areas, such as your legs or arms.
4. White vinegar
Just like apple cider vinegar, this pantry must-have can do it all, including removing fake tan, thanks to its acidity. Dab some onto the skin with a cotton pad, let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse off to visibly lighten the shade of your tan.
5. Take a bath
This is by far the most relaxing method to remove fake tan off your hands. After the stress of a blotchy tan it’s time to run yourself a bubble bath! Block out a decent amount of time and make sure to add essential oils to the water. The water and oils will slowly soften up the cells, making the tan easier to remove.
Once you’re nice and soaked, take an exfoliating soap and scrub-a-dub-dub. Your blotchy fake tan will come off in no time.
“My go-to tan stain remover is ModelCo’s tan-removing soap. It completely removes tan stains with ease and lasts FOREVER.”
Buy ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Soap HERE.
6. Nail polish remover
This is a very effective, though rather harsh method of removing fake tan, so it’s best to only use it for very small areas and opt for a really gentle solution, like OPI Aloe Polish Remover. The acetone in nail polish remover will break down the tan, even after it has set on your skin, which is why you shouldn’t get your nails done right after a fake tan session. However, if you need to lighten a small patch somewhere, just rub some nail polish remover on it and see the tan disappear.
Buy OPI Aloe Polish Remover HERE.
7. Tan remover scrub
It’s all about exfoliation when wanting to remove a tan, and the easiest way to do this is by using an exfoliator especially made for this purpose. A scrub like this yummy one from Frank Body can be used to prep the skin for a fake tan, but also to correct small areas that might have become a bit too dark.
8. Enzyme mask
If you don’t like rubbing and scrubbing, let enzymes do their magic to remove an old or blotchy tan. A product like this Pumpkin Enzyme Mask from Peter Thomas Roth will actually do the hard work for you; effortlessly erasing dead skin cells to reveal new, untanned skin after rinsing off. It’s perfect as a prep, or when the shade of your face is miles away from matching your neck; we’ve all been there.
Buy Pumpkin Enzyme Mask HERE
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Before you fake tan next time, here’s the secret ingredient to avoid fake tan stains
The humble moisturiser.This isn’t super handy after the fact but prevention is key in avoiding fake tan faux pas. Be sure to take the time to exfoliate properly before your application. Moisturiser will act as a barrier between your skin and the product. Applying a light moisturizer to your hands, feet, elbows, and knees will prevent the tan from being unnaturally dark or streaky in these tricky areas.
Know another hack to get fake tan off hands? Share it with us in the comments below.
Nadine is a beauty writer who's always on the hunt for the perfect nude lipstick and the best Instagram filter. She has a weakness for handbags and never says no to a cup of strong coffee. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.