It’s a shame when good people who are trying to be safe by staying out of the sun’s harmful UV rays have to suffer a bad spray tan–but it happens. Depending on the expertise of a spray tan technician and the formula used, you can walk out of a salon looking like the perfect glowing picture of sun-kissed health or emerge appearing absolutely orange. While we all want a good tan, no one wants to leave a spray tan looking like a different person.
If you’ve just been hit with the worst spray tan of your life and you’re darker or way more tangerine than you expected, don’t panic. Here are a few tips on how to fix a bad spray tan and get on with your life.
How To Fix A Bad Spray Tan At Home
How To Avoid A Bad Stay Tan Before It Happens
Your spray tan technician (as those who perform the application are called) probably has the best intentions. A tech with years of experience will likely provide you with an even layer of tanning product, but mistakes can and do happen—including receiving a too-dark formula and finding streaks on your body.
To avoid spray tan errors, remember that it’s really up to you to do the prep work beforehand. If you haven’t exfoliated areas of your body like your knees, elbows, and ankles—and applied lotion to your body prior to tanning—there’s a chance these areas can become concentrated with tanning formula that makes them look darker than the rest of your body.
Your technician should, ideally, ask you what kind of tan you’re going for prior to beginning the process. If you want to look like you spent 12 days in Hawaii, your tan is obviously going to be darker than if you just want a natural glow that’s one or two shades darker than your skin tone. Offer up the information if it isn’t asked of you. Make sure you aren't wearing any makeup or deodorant to the salon and (this is really important) don’t put your clothes back on or walk out that salon door until your spray tan is completely dry.
If you’ve followed all of these rules and your spray tan is still so bad you’re thinking of hiding out for a week, follow these steps to mitigate the damage.
Fixing A Bad Spray Tan: Take A Bath Or Hot Shower
Fill your bathtub with warm water, grab a bottle of coconut or baby oil, and go to town applying the oil to your body and face with a cotton ball. You don’t have to rub too hard or anything, but allow the oil to be absorbed by your skin before climbing into a bath. Warm water or a hot shower is the best remedy when it comes to making a dark tan lighter (your therapist probably told you not to shower for six to eight hours after your tan for this exact reason: it will make it fade slightly).
What you always tell people not to do is take hot showers or be in any kind of jacuzzi because that will take your tan off faster,” Sarah Burdge, owner of Spray Tan in Ten NYC, told Huffington Post. “So if it’s too dark, you’re going to tell them to do the opposite you’d normally do.”
Use a loofah sponge or body exfoliant and gently rub the product into your skin in a circular motion. This will also help lift your tan shade.
Coffee grinds are an excellent natural exfoliant. Use this organic coffee scrub, which also contains moisturizing coconut and shea butter, all over your body to help lighten your fake bake.
Return To The Salon To Fix The Problem
Returning to a spray tan technician who you feel messed up your tan may strike you a little like returning to the scene of a crime, but the truth is: even the best in the business make mistakes sometimes. If your tan is too dark, there probably isn’t a whole lot that can be done for you (keep soaking in those baths and exfoliating). But if you are spotty or streaky, a good technician may be able to correct or mask these spray tan errors.
The next time you venture out for a spray tan (because admit it: you’ll be back), prevent mistakes to the best of your ability by prepping your skin before an appointment and never getting a spray tan from a new salon or technician right before an event. Better to be pale than pumpkin at your best friend’s wedding.
For more tanning tips, check out The Super Affordable Self Tanner Celebrities Swear By For The Red Carpet and The Scary Downside To Spray Tans No One Tells You About on SHEFinds.com.
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