Thursday, August 6, 2015

How to Fix a Bad Spray Tan

If you know me or have ever seen a picture, you know that I'm pale as pale can be. After thirty-some years I'm used to it, but it still sometimes gets annoying, like during bathing suit season when you feel like a ghost in our tan-obsessed country. Anyway, last summer I got my first spray tan before we went to Disney in May and I loved it! At first it was a little darker than I'd hoped, but it faded to a nice color after a few days. I got a spray tan again last July before going on a girls weekend and the results were great, so I figured I'd do it again this summer.

I went to a salon that does an organic airbrush tan, where a woman sprays you with the gun versus getting into a scary contraption that will probably make you Ross Gellar orange. No problems either time other than, like I said, it being a little too dark the first couple of days.

And then last month, this happened:

It's hard to do it justice in pictures, and I didn't even get good ones of my feet and legs, but trust me friends, it wasn't F'ing pretty.

My hands and feet had huge white spots where the technician had missed, and the tops of my feet and toes just looked dirty. On top of that, my legs were super blotchy. F that!!!! Needless to say I was calling the salon and asking them to fix it ASAP (they were really nice about it and gave me a credit for a future treatment although I don't know I'll be going back). Luckily my face, arms and torso looked even and turned out great, but I was REALLY tan. Way more tan than I should have been since I asked for it to be super light. And even though I went back for a touch up, it didn't help as much as I expected ... basically, I had to wear maxi dresses for a bunch of days in a row to cover up the hot mess on the bottom half.

During this fiasco I learned quite a few lessons about fixing a spray tan, so I'll share them with you and hope you never have to use them:

Grab some St. Tropez
I got a sample of One Night Only, a "wash off, no-commitment bronzing gel," in the sun safety kit at Sephora a couple of years ago and still had the bottle, so I thought maybe it would even out the bad spots. Turns out it worked great, but if you're trying to look lighter/remove, it's not necessarily the best solution. I like this because it's really light and easy to blend in, but make sure to wash your hands ASAP because it will look like you have chocolate all over them otherwise. I took the plunge and bought the full-sized tube and have been using it all summer. It's great for your face because that's the first part of the spray tan that fades. Even if your tan isn't botched, you're going to have to put some bronzer on to make your face match your body after a few days.

Rubbing alcohol is your friend
I never knew this was even a way to get self tanner off, but when I was at the dermatologist for my annual skin check, I mentioned that the splotches on my arms were because of the tan, and she said she sees it all the time and uses rubbing alcohol because sometimes it's hard to see if a spot is something wrong or else just tanner. I ran home and soaked a cotton pad and started rubbing and the tan started to come right off! Granted, if it's just some streaks, they'll come off easily, but if you're talking like an entire leg, that's going to take some time and pressure. I've found that alcohol worked best when it was a small spot, and especially after it had been over a week and was starting to rub off anyway.

Lemon juice and baking soda are hit or miss
This is another tip I found on the Internet and it *kind of* worked, but not as well as I hoped. Just squeeze some juice from a lemon into a few spoonfuls of baking soda and mix it up to make a paste, then rub it on the areas you want to remove. I did see a slight difference, but not much. You can also use lemon juice on its own, which is supposed to work because of the acidity.

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate
This is the most important tip, even if you're using other methods to remove the tan. The more you exfoliate, the more layers of skin you're removing. Keep in mind to get an even spray tan in the first place, you absolutely need to exfoliate the night before (NOT the day of, it will leave residue on your skin). And if you want to keep your tan preserved, definitely stay away from exfoliating. But if you end up in the same boat as me and need to get rid of a bad tan fast, I recommend Alba Botanica Sea Salt Body Scrub since it's made from all-natural ingredients and also has a nice grit to it, so it really does the job.

Any tips that I missed? Have you ever had a spray tan disaster? Share away!


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