How To Erase Self-Tanning Mistakes

Self-tanner is a great option for anyone looking for a summer glow without risking skin damage from dangerous UV rays. But it’s easy to make mistakes when applying tanner at home and no one wants streaky legs. So if you end up looking a bit too much like spray-on tan Ross, or with patchy coloration, here’s how to erase self-tanning mistakes on your body.

Proper self-tanner application is key to avoiding mistakes that call for removal. If you’re looking to apply a fake tan at home, be sure to prepare. To keep your skin looking even, use an exfoliator on the areas you plan to tan, according to Byrdie. Moisturize dry areas and cover your hands, and from there, you want to go slowly and use deliberate strokes.

“Work on one section at a time, applying the tanner in light, long vertical strokes until smooth and even,” Moe Kittaneh, the founder of Svelta Beauty, told the outlet, “Apply sparingly to feet, ankles, knees, elbows, neck, face, and hands, but be sure to touch on all exposed areas for a natural-looking glow.” And be sure to remove any excess.

But if you do make a mistake in your process, don’t fret. You can always remove self-tanning errors and get back to that sun-kissed look you’re going for.

How to remove self-tanning mistakes

The way that you go about removing self-tanner depends on the area of your body that you’re looking to correct. If it’s on any of your extremities, you can use lemons and lemon juice to remove the tanner (per Southern Living). You can apply a cut lemon, either cold or warmed, directly to the skin and rub. Or, if you prefer, you can use lemon juice on a washcloth or cotton balls and wipe the affected area. These methods with smooth streaks and help you look more evenly tanned.

But if the self-tanner is uneven on your face, lemons and lemon juice are a bit too harsh. Speaking with Byrdie, self-tanning expert, James Read, at Violet Grey suggested making a curdled milk mask with lemon in it and using that on your face instead. “Put a little lemon juice into some milk, then place a lemon wedge in,” he said. “Leave it in for about an hour, allowing the milk to curdle and form a paste.” He also explained that the lemons “activate alpha-hydroxy acids in the milk,” and once that happens you want to leave the mask on your face for about 15 minutes. It will strip the tan off of your face gently and leave your complexion glowing.

So, there you have it folks. Do your best while applying self-tanner, but don’t stress over streaks — it’s nothing a few lemons and some milk can’t fix.

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