How to Fix a Spray Tan Gone Wrong

July 01, 2022
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
Person touching shoulder

A spray tan is a great sunless tanning method if you’re looking to achieve glowier, more even skin fast. It gives you a sun-kissed look — minus the UV damage — and can give you a boost of confidence before a big event. That is, unless you accidentally get a streaky, patchy or orange spray tan. If that’s the case, even though it may be hard not to, don’t panic.

It’s surprisingly easy to fix a spray tan gone wrong, with products you likely already have. To find out how to correct an unfortunate spray tan at home, we spoke to Sophie Evans, ST. TROPEZ skin finishing expert and celebrity self-tanner.

How to Fix an Uneven Spray Tan

If your spray tan is looking streaky, blotchy or otherwise uneven, Evans says it can still be easily fixed. She suggests scrubbing the skin with an exfoliating mitt, such as the ST. TROPEZ Remover Mitt, to help lighten the too-dark patches. While regular exfoliating will also help lighten your tan, Evans recommends using a mitt in small, circular motions for added precision.

To further even out your spray tan, you’re going to want to reach for a self-tanner — preferably one that goes on bronze instead of clear, so you can see where you’re placing the product. Pro tip: Apply your self-tanner with a makeup brush for ultimate precision.

“To fill in serious light patches, I like to use ST. TROPEZ Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse, as the built-in bronzer looks amazing from the get-go,” says Evans. Another great option is the L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion. Just be sure to apply a regular body lotion to the darker patches first to prevent them from deepening too.

ST. TROPEZ Luxe Whipped Crème Mousse

How to Fix a Too Dark Spray Tan

A too-dark spray tan can end up looking orange, rather than naturally touched by the sun. Luckily, Evans says this is also easy to fix. “The fastest way to do this is by applying a true body oil, I like using baby oil or coconut oil,” she says. “Drench the skin in oil and leave on for about five to ten minutes before taking a warm shower with exfoliation. You will see your spray tan instantly drop a few shades.” Note: If you leave the oil on for any longer, “it will cause the color to lock in more and do the reverse of what we wanted to achieve.”

After letting the oil sit, it’s time to exfoliate in the shower. “Exfoliating after about five minutes is essential as we want to lighten the spray tan,” says Evans. “Use a gentle exfoliator, not a gritty, heavy scrub which can rip or tear at your tan.” We love the Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish, which will gently exfoliate and moisturize your skin with a blend of honey, shea butter and sweet almond oil.

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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