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If you ask me, the only thing more important than learning how to apply fake tan is knowing how to remove it, fast.

The sad reality is, no faux glow lasts forever – which means you need to be able to get rid of the remnants (preferably without scrubbing your skin into oblivion).

Here’s how to remove your beloved fake tan quickly and easily, in five simple steps…

STEP 1: Soften your skin

Before you get stuck into removing your faux glow, it’s a good idea to soften your skin with a warm shower or bath first. ANTHEIA co-founder Brie Stevenson explains this will help break down the DHA ingredient in the tanning formula, so it comes off more easily. The expert also loves “a steam room or sauna, for the same reason.”

STEP 2: Use a fake tan remover

Chlorine and lemon juice are often touted as good fake tan removers, but experts are divided. St.Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Michael Brown says, “Swimming in chlorine and salt water can be beneficial for an all-over tan-fading effect,” but warns your skin may wind up looking patchy, “as only certain areas are under water at certain times.” He also says lemon juice can be effective, especially to help “buff away mishap areas around the feet or hands.”

Brie, on the other hand, warns that DIY measures such as these “may be irritating” and favours “only very gentle ingredients”. One thing most experts (including Brie) do agree on though is that using an oil-based removal method can be detrimental, as it can hydrate the skin too much, causing your tan to stick to it for longer.

The good news is, there are plenty of effective fake tan remover products on the market. bh recommends ANTHEIA Express Fake Tan Remover and ModelCo Tan Remover Exfoliating Scrub, which are formulated to soften the DHA ingredient in your fake tan, allowing you to wipe the unwanted colour away.

STEP 3: Up your exfoliation

“Using an exfoliator like a body polish and/or an exfoliating mitt is your best bet to help remove excess build-up of tan,” says Michael. But that’s not all. As he explains, gently sloughing away those dead skin cells will also help “smooth your skin’s texture” for a more even fake tan application next time! Try St. Tropez Tan Build Up Remover Mitt, Bondi Sands Exfoliating Glove or Jbronze Exfoliating Mitt, which can also be used to apply your fake tan (#winning).

STEP 4: Restore your skin

Fake tan may make you look like a goddess, but that doesn’t mean your skin can’t still look spectacular all on its own. The secret? “Removing the dead skin [and any remaining] excess tan build-up”, says Brie. Sensitive-skinned beauties will love ANTHEIA Liquid Micro-Peel, while Paula’s Choice Resist Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA is also ideal for all skin types. The best part? They’ll also leave your skin silky smooth and perfectly prepped for your next fake tan application!

STEP 5: Prep for next time

Ready to re-apply your fake tan? To ensure the best possible result, ensure your skin is as hydrated as humanly possible. Why? Well, as Michael explains, “Fake tan is just like wearing foundation on the face – it needs moisture to sit closely, as well as smoothly on the skin.”

Thankfully, the best tanning products are generally formulated to be a lot less drying these days, but Michael still recommends focusing especially on “the very dry areas of the body such as [the] feet, hands, knees [and] elbows” prior to your fake tan application, to ensure an even finish. “If moisture levels are high within the skin, a fake tan should always fade evenly,” says Michael – which means you may never need to really ‘remove’ it at all!

Finally, Brie recommends ensuring your fake tan of choice is suited to your skin tone. After all, if it blends perfectly into your skin, you’ll be a lot less bothered if it lasts a little longer.

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