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How to Remove Fake Tan

24 April 2023
How to Remove Fake Tan


Here at SOSU HQ, we pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about tanning. However, from time-to-time, even with all the best tips and tricks in the world, the naturally bronzed Goddess you had envisaged, may indeed turn up looking more like a new cast member for 101 Dalmatians. Although this can be challenging, don’t fret! We have you covered! Here are our tried and tested methods on how to remove fake tan. We will look at what removes fake tan, how to remove tan quickly, and even how to remove tan at home.


The best ways to remove fake tan


Even pro-tanners struggle to get rid of dark spots or patchiness when trying to get fake tan off. You may even find your freshly applied tan turns out streaky and uneven! Darker spots and patches generally arise in naturally drier areas such as the knuckles, elbows, knees, heels, and toes. Patchiness or uneven streaky tan can also occur over areas of old/dead skin cells. A playground for fake tan as it’s super attracted to those dry areas and will ‘catch’ or develop more intensely here. This happens to every tanner, so again, do not worry!

Let’s dive deeper. What are the best ways to get rid of fake tan mishaps?




Exfoliation is a tanner's bestie! A body scrub or brush is wonderful but we recommend using an exfoliation glove or indeed, our very own exfoliation mitt to remove fake tan more thoroughly. Do this throughout the week to keep your skin in tip-top shape for regular tanning. This will also remove old fake tan. Do this in the bath or shower. The bath is preferable as you soak for longer. Give your skin time to become more supple. Warm water opens the pores and softens the skin. Using your exfoliation mitt, in gentle massaging circular motions, remove old tan and dead skin cells. Then watch them swirl down the plug hole.

Added Tip!  Smother yourself in your favourite moisturiser to hydrate and replenish! Exfoliation and moisturising go hand in hand, like peas and carrots! Do this twice a week, and we promise you will have improved your tan game tenfold!


Scrub and moisturiser for tan removal


Tan Removal Mousse


What if you find yourself in an absolute tan tizzy, and need to get your self-tanner off asap? This is our ultimate in how to remove fake tan quickly! Our tan removal products are mild cruelty-free, vegan chemical exfoliators that can be used to remove self-tanner all over the body. It will remove all types of tan but is best used with our Dripping Gold range of tans and our new Hydra Whip Clear Tan (fabulously nourishing and hydrating for anyone who wants a tan without transfer – be sure to check it out). Our Tan Removal Mousse can also use to ‘spot remove’ your SOS tan faux pas, fast! Apply to dry skin, liberally if using all over the body. Alternatively, use cotton balls or cotton buds if you’re targeting a specific area.  Leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Then gently buff off with your tan removal mitt, or our exfoliation mitt, shower, pat dry and, you guessed it … moisturise.


Tan removal mousse


Baby Oil


Baby oil is a wonderful non-invasive method of removing fake tan. This is an effective and straightforward simple little method and will remove fake tan quickly. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your bath at home. Apply your baby oil all over. Leave it to soak on the skin for 30-odd minutes. Then exfoliate using your exfoliating mitt, again in circular motions to loosen that old tan up. Rinse, pat dry, and moisturise. This combination is kryptonite to false tan. All in all, this is a more natural and wonderful way to speed up all-over tan removal. If you don’t have baby oil, adding bath oil to your bath water will help speed up tan removal.  Or why not try another natural oil alternative such as coconut oil or olive oil? Either work as well as baby oil, are in no way harsh, and all are hydrating!

Added Tip: Use an older towel with a roughened texture to help shift any small patches you find when patting dry.




Normally when it comes to keeping your tan, we’d advise you to avoid the sauna at all costs.  Why? The heat accelerates your fake tan wearing off. But in the case of SOS removal, this is an excellent and, let’s be honest, very relaxing way to remove any old remnants of tan.  If you want a good overall skin detox and tan removal, get yourself into your local sauna or steam room. Chill out and relax. When we sit in this type of humidity, we sweat and our pores open as we perspire in the heat. The combination of the humidity and sweat will ensure you see your fake tan wash away with a little exfoliation in the shower thereafter.


Added Tip: Once you’ve exfoliated and showered, switch from warm to cold water to close up your pores and cool the body down again.


Common mistakes to avoid when removing fake tan


‘How to remove fake tan’ – we’ve all typed this into the all-knowing Dr. Google. A reem of hacks on how to remove fake tan will show in the search. Unfortunately, many of these quick ‘at home’ fixes or ‘hacks’ are harsh and often highly abrasive ways of removing fake tan which can often lead to skin irritation harming the skin’s epidermis. This is the top layer of skin that protects our body daily from all the world’s elements. Steer clear of anything that promotes using or combing baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and bleach! These cause more harm than good to your skin and inevitably, do not work on a multitude of levels.

Another more common mistake is bathing in scolding hot water and over-scrubbing! This will overheat, leave the skin raw and strip the skin of its natural hydrating properties and oils whilst diminishing its natural PH levels. Do not scald or over-scrub your body to remove tan. Removing tan is not worth causing injury to yourself.

We don’t advise any of the above methods of removal as most will result in severe skin irritation at best or indeed, a trip to A&E at worst! Please avoid these types of hacks at all costs!


How to remove fake tan from your face


When you remove face tan, you can indeed use exfoliation and facial scrubs. You can also use the sauna and oils as you would for your body but there is one key difference. The skin on your face is thinner by nature and tan will wear quicker than that of the body as it’s exposed to more frequent washing and creams. Just treat the face gently. Use a lighter touch and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate using your favourite moisturiser.


What to do after washing off fake tan?


Some key things to remember in aftercare are to be gentle, use warm water, pat your skin dry, and hydration is key! Be sure to moisturise all over for a supple hydrated post-tan removal glow. Products with coconut, shea butter, or aloe vera are great options for moisturisers and are super hydrating.


How long should you wait before reapplying tan?


We advise you to wait for at least 24 hrs before attempting to reapply fake tan. Give your skin some time to settle and build its natural barrier and PH balance back up for a gorgeous even tan to develop.

Remember, even with the odd tanning hiccup, using a false tan is a wonderfully safe and caring alternative to achieving a glowing base without the need for sun exposure. You won’t have to worry about dark spots, premature ageing, fine lines, wrinkles, or skin damage. You can glow all year round and still be kind to your skin at the same time when using fake tan products to bronze. So for next time, be sure to check out our tips on applying self tan and how to fake tan your face

Happy tanning!

Love SOSU Cosmetics x



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