Self-tanning gives us a healthy glow. But it can also cause undesirable blemishes. Temporary dark patches on elbows and ankles, orange palms, and uneven fading aren’t attractive. Those are the reasons you need the best self-tan remover.
So, how do you get fake tan off ASAP? Commercial fake tan removers like the ones made by Bondi Sands and St. Tropez help get the job done gently and quickly, but they aren’t the only options. Let’s discuss how to scrub off fake tan.
What is the best fake tan remover?
St. Tropez makes some of the best sunless tanning products, but they also offer a tan remover mousse that’s loved by model Ashley Graham. Like many users, she’s likely satisfied with how it dissolves the color while it moisturizes the skin.
One of the effective ingredients in tan remover is oil because it breaks down the DHA and softens the skin for exfoliation. Think about it this way: what you’re trying to do is clear off the top layer of skin because that’s what’s tan. Self-tanning products with DHA interact with the epidermis to turn it brown. Once that bronzed surface is removed, the natural skin color is renewed. Therefore, slathering on the baby oil can help solve the problem. Take a warm shower or sit in the steam room, then cover yourself in coconut or mineral oil and wait about 30 minutes before exfoliating and cleansing.
Unfortunately, baby oil is very greasy and hard to clean off later. That’s where the best fake tan remover products are superior – they don’t leave the skin oily.
However, even self-tan remover requires a little elbow grease. Even after you let it work for a few minutes, you’ll need to use a washcloth or loofah to massage the skin to get rid of the color. Beauty expert Zoe Foster-Blake suggests using a damp white eraser because it’s gentle and effective.
We’ve also seen people suggesting toothpaste and baking soda, but those will leave the skin dehydrated and possibly irritated. Yes, we know that many self tan removers contain baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), but they have balanced formulas. Lemon juice and vinegar are also possibilities, but they have a strong odor and sting open cuts or razor rash.
Lastly, you can go swimming in a pool because the chlorine will fade a fake tan, too. But if you prefer minimal effort and maximum results, check out the fake tan remover reviews below.
|The best self tan removers||Why we love them|
|St. Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Remover Mousse||
|Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser||
|Australian Glow Tan Removal Mousse||
|TAN-LUXE Glyco Water||
|Tanologist Self Tan Eraser + Primer - Exfoliating Tan Remover||
|Tan Eraser® Exfoliating Sunless Tan Removal Foam Cleanser||
|Palmer's Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Oil with Vitamin E||
Best Self Tan Removers in 2023
St. Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan Remover Mousse
It’s called “Prep & Maintain” because it doesn’t just remove fake tan, but it also primes the surface for the next time you self-tan. Reviewers say just one use will fade a new-looking tan down to almost nothing.
How do you use this tan remover? To take off a fake tan, apply it to dry skin before you shower. Work in sections, putting on a generous amount and massaging it into the skin. Wait at least 5 minutes for it to absorb and do its job. If you’ve got a dark tan, free to add more to keep the skin damp as it will perform better.
Next, shower in warm water and use either the St. Tropez Tan Remover Mitt or a soft washcloth to exfoliate with circular movements. Users say that the mitt works well but it tends to leave the skin red. (If you over-exfoliate then reapply self-tanning product, the color may end up patchy.) If any dark spots are leftover, rub in a little oil and wash again.
What’s nice is that the formula has probiotics and cotton extract to purify and balance the skin. Plus, it contains no phthalates, parabens, or sulfates.
- Erases a fake tan within minutes
- Doubles as a primer before self-tanning
- Gentle for sensitive skin; no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates
- Features cotton extract and probiotics to rebalance and purify the skin
- Still requires a little effort to rub off the tan
Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser
The Bondi Sands tan remover is similar to St. Tropez in that it’s a foam that takes approximately 5 minutes to work. Put it on, wait, and shower. It’s moisturizing enough to leave the skin feeling smooth and soft.
On the downside, the brand suggests waiting at least three days after getting a fake tan before trying to remove it with this product. Furthermore, it smells a bit like hair dye, so it’s not the most pleasant thing to use. But at least it doesn’t have any bleach or harsh chemicals in it.
On the bright side, this tan eraser works on all brands of self tanners. It doesn’t require much scrubbing – you can even use an old T-shirt or soft flannel to exfoliate the skin after the 5 minutes are up. (Keep in mind that some reviewers suggest waiting up to 15 minutes because then the color is even easier to remove.) The magic inside that makes it work so well involves castor oil and dimethyl isosorbide.
- Foamy tan remover that takes about 5 minutes to work
- Leaves skin soft
- No harsh chemicals
- Minimal scrubbing required
- Works on all brands of self tanner
- Doesn’t have a pleasant scent
Australian Glow Tan Removal Mousse
This self tan remover doesn’t smell all that great either. It has dimethyl isosorbide, the same active ingredient as the Bondi Sands remover. But helpfully, the odor doesn’t linger on the skin after you shower.
It works best once the fake tan has started to fade. At that point, it really only needs about 5 minutes to erase it before you shower. However, on a new tan, be sure to let it sit 2 to 3 times longer.
The formula is pH-balanced, paraben-free, and packed with moisturizers like coconut water, glycerin, and aloe juice. It’s even fortified with antioxidants like vitamin E and kakadu plum with vitamin C. That’s good news for healthy skin.
If there’s any bad news, it’s that the foam may stain light-colored fabrics.
Finally, the product works with all brands of sunless tanners and it comes in eco-friendly packaging.
- Only needs a few minutes to fade a fake tan
- pH-balanced and moisturizing
- Enriched with antioxidants and natural nutrients
- No parabens
- Doesn’t smell very nice
- Might stain light-colored fabric
TAN-LUXE Glyco Water
This one isn’t foam but instead a liquid that dispenses as a mist. The highlights are that it’s water-based and practically odorless. Plus, it won’t clog pores.
Similar to the competition, it needs to be applied to dry skin and left on for at least 5 minutes. Then you can rinse off in warm water with a little scrubbing.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem as popular yet as much as other self tan removers. That could be because it’s a little pricey. Sadly, our editor wasn’t able to try it because she’s allergic to Cocamidopropyl betaine, a surfactant it contains.
By checking the ingredients list, we see that it’s paraben-free and fortified with castor and raspberry seed oils, vitamin E, and aloe. The active tan removal components appear to be sodium bicarbonate, urea, and glycolic acid. Since both glycolic acid and urea are exfoliants that dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, we can see why it works.
There’s also an artificial fragrance, which in this case may actually be a masking fragrance to hide odors from the other ingredients.
- Odorless, clear mist with glycolic acid and urea to dissolve a fake tan
- Enriched with vitamin E, aloe, and raspberry seed oil
- Takes about 5 minutes to work
- Not as affordable as other options
Tanologist Self Tan Eraser + Primer – Exfoliating Tan Remover
Here’s a budget-friendly self tan remover that also features 3% glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin. This active ingredient also turns it into a primer to prep your skin for sunless tanning. It gets rid of dead cells so that the surface is smooth and renewed and ready to absorb new tanning product.
If you have only a few spots like your ankles to take care of, put a little bit on a cotton pad and massage the area. Otherwise, spritz your body to remove the old tan and wait at least 5 minutes before showering.
The manufacturer says that the tan eraser works best if it’s been at least three days since your last self-tanning application.
Some users seem content with the results they get while others are unsatisfied. The main point they all agree on is that the formula doesn’t dry out the skin. Where they disagree is whether or not it works as fast as promised. One complaint we saw said that it took about a quarter bottle to adequately cover the body and it still didn’t remove as much tan as they hoped.
The label says the formula is paraben-free. It contains skin-friendly ingredients like vitamin C, panthenol, aloe, and vitamin E.
- Requires only a few minutes to fade a fake tan
- Spray-on formula is infused with vitamins and aloe
- Active ingredient is 3% glycolic acid
- Complaints that it’s not as effective as it promises
- Works better on fake tan that’s already fading
Tan Eraser® Exfoliating Sunless Tan Removal Foam Cleanser
The Tan Eraser set us up with realistic expectations. It says that it takes 5 to 10 minutes to work, and that’s in alignment with the performance of the other foam-based tan removers. Let’s be honest, most other products say to wait 5 minutes but it almost always takes longer.
Moreover, this is a spray tan primer, not just a tan remover. It works with both professional and consumer-grade sunless tanners. It’s perfect for clearing off the old color and preparing for a new tan.
We also love the cherry scent even though it’s a little artificial-smelling. It’s so much better than the hair dye odor!
The bottle contains just under 7 ounces, so it can do the entire body about 4 or 5 times.
- Foam self tan remover that works in minutes
- Doubles as primer before getting a new spray tan
- Works on commercial and consumer self tans
- Has a cherry scent
- It’s not easy to find the label online – the manufacturer description simply says “no harsh ingredients”
Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Body Oil with Vitamin E
Does baby oil remove self tan? It will but it will make you feel greasy. Try this body oil instead. It has an enticing fragrance and it’s designed to moisturize dry skin. However, do not use this method immediately before self-tanning because the oil will cause the tan to look patchy.
If you’re going to use body oil to remove fake tan, put on a lot of it and dress in old clothes. Sit around and let it soak in for about half an hour before you go take a nice, warm bath with Epsom salt. Finish up with your regular body wash and your skin should look like new.
With regards to Palmer’s body oil, we like it because it’s made with sustainably-harvested cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil. It’s free of parabens and phthalates and has a downright yummy fragrance.
- Made with sustainably-harvested coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter
- Delicious fragrance
- Moisturizes up to 24 hours
- No parabens or phthalates
- Don’t use it right before spray tanning because oil will make the tan look patchy
We hope our reviews helped you find the best fake tan remover today. We never knew how handy it was to have one until we tried it.
If you discovered a skincare product today that makes your life easier, we’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave us a comment below.