Photographed by Christelle DeCastro.
We've all heard the story of the botched spray tan: Girl goes into the salon and comes out looking like a tangerine instead of the bronzed babe she wanted to be. Aside from panicking, crying, and locking yourself in your bathroom until the ugly hue fades, there's not much you can do, right? Not quite. We chatted with St. Tropez skin-finishing expert Sophie Evans to find out how to banish the streaks and offending colors, so we can leave behind the hibernation and face the world.
The first thing you've got to do? Get ye to the beauty-supply store! "Pick up a tan remover, like St. Tropez Tan Remover," she advises. "Then, take a shower and scrub your entire body with this. If you use it within four hours of the tan being applied, it will remove it completely." If it's more than four hours out, Evans says the remover will still help bring the color down, and continuous use will help your tan fade in a few days. "A swim in a chlorine pool or sitting in a sauna can also help speed up the process," she points out.
If your dark spots are only in a few places (like if you overdid it on your elbows or knees), Evans says you can use a hair-removal cream to lighten them. "Use half the recommended amount to lighten color, and leave it on the skin for about a minute and a half," she says. "If you leave it on for the full time, your tan will be gone completely — along with any hairs."
Struck by streaks? First, identify which kind you have. "If you've got dark streaks, try exfoliating your skin," Evans advises. "If that doesn't buff out the streaks, you can try a tan-remover product — but make sure you contain it to the streaks only." If your streaks are whiter, Evans also suggests buffing the skin to even it out. "Then, use a Q-tip or a makeup brush to apply self-tanner to the white marks only," she says. "Wait for your tan to develop, and then lightly exfoliate to even out if you need."
Ultimately, though, it may just come down to waiting the color out. "When a tan comes out bad, it will look its worst on the first day," she says. "As the days go on, the tan will become lighter." So, if you're an optimist, you can hold out and see how the bronze fades. Otherwise, pull out your exfoliator and start buffing. We totally understand.
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