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Body Notes
How to clean up a fake tan disaster
Clean up a fake tan disaster Image Credit:

Not much comes close to the mortification of sheepishly arriving at work and desperately trying to cover a pair of tangoed fingers and streaky neck (let’s face it, we’ve all be there). Further adding to the humiliation is the flickering raised eyebrows of colleagues that say, “I know what you’ve been up too”. Oh, the shame!

But it doesn’t have to be like this. As well as practising your application (but even then mishaps happen), tanning experts James Read and James Harknett have shared their top tips to fix a fake tan faux pas. So next time you rock up the office you’ll get more of a admiring glance at the glow you’ve achieved rather than the condescending raised brow. We promise you’ll enjoy the most satisfyingly smug feeling EVER.

1. How to fix… orange hands

Mix the juice of one lemon and a few tablespoons of salt together in a bowl, then spend a few minutes rubbing the mixture between your hands before washing off. If you need a little extra help, up the ante by trying “a mixture of crushed dishwasher tablets and lemon juice,” suggests tanning pro James Read. “The detergent will help bleach out the orange stains.” Wash off after a few minutes and thoroughly moisturise your hands afterwards.

2. How to fix… streaky legs

Uneven tan application can result in zebra-style stripes on your legs. Don’t freak out though – it’s easily fixed. First, “apply an oil-based fine-grained body scrub directly onto dry skin and spend a few minutes massaging it in,” advises tanning guru James Harknett. “The oil will help the fake-tan break down, and the grains will exfoliate your skin.” Next, jump in the shower to wash off the scrub, then shave your legs – shaving will act as a second exfoliation.

3. How to fix… when you’ve gone too dark

If you’ve left tan on for too long and you’re looking more mahogany than golden, “massage a body oil, like baby oil or coconut oil, all over your body,” suggests Harknett. Wait for 30 minutes, then take a soak in a hot bath and use a flannel to buff your body all over to remove the oil. “Oil and hot water help accelerate the breakdown of fake tan,” explains Harknett.

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