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Common fake tan fails and exactly how to fix them

We've all been there. Fake tan blunders are unavoidable but luckily, we know how to fix them.

Fake tanning isn't just a process – it's a way of life. However, you've got to hit some speed bumps to get to the finish line, right?

Making fake tan mistakes is like an initiation – a rite of passage some would even say. The biggest life lesson are accidents and we totally support that. Being a fake tan fanatic myself, it's safe to say I've learned many tips and tricks through my own blunders. Luckily enough, I'm here to be your bronzed Yoda and give you the wisdom of the fake tan force.

Below are some of the top mistakes that can happen when you're fake tanning and how to fix them. Thank me later.

1. You picked the wrong undertone: How to fix an orange tan

Okay, we've all been there. It's the moment we realise we have turned completely orange and we're waiting on a call from Willy Wonka to get back to work.

How to fix:

Having a super orange tan is like a birthright for those who fake tan. It's an initiation process and a learning curve. Look for tans with a green base like the Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Tanning Foam or the Le Tan Violet Base Tanning Foam to avoid looking like you rolled around in a packet of Doritos.

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2. You didn't do your back properly

Tanning your back is hard! We get it. Sometimes doing your back when fake tanning feels like you need to dislocate your shoulder. It feels like the biggest mission and most of the time, you miss a spot.

If you're wearing something backless or it's summer and you're sporting a bikini, having a patchy back just really isn't ideal. Luckily enough we live in the 21st century and product for tanning your back exists.

How to fix:

The ModelCo Self-Tan Back Applicator and the Bondi Sands Back Applicator are two perfect products for those hard-to-reach places. Yes, you can thank me later.

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3. You didn't scrub off your tan properly

Fake tan enthusiasts know exactly how painful it can be to scrub off tan. It's not physically painful but the time it takes to get tan off is a real pain, and the majority of the time, you don't get all of it. Then when you go to apply a new fake tan, things can begin to look a little messy as the new product clings to the old product.

How to fix:

Introducing our lifesaver and holy grail product, the Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser. Simply rub this stuff onto your skin five minutes before a shower, then grab your exfoliating mitt (the St. Tropez one is a godsend) and your old tan simply glides off. No joke. Now you can get to more important things in the shower, like belting out some absolute tunes.

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4. You applied too much too soon

If you haven't put too much fake tan on before, have you even fake tanned? Sometimes we get a little trigger happy. The thought of looking like we've endured an endless summer is enticing. I totally understand. However, if you apply too much fake tan in one go? Yeah, it's not a pretty look. It can have a bit of a muddy vibe. If you know, you know.

How to fix:

If you're new to the tanning game we would suggest starting off with a gradual tan or a light/medium formula tan. This means you can only go so dark. If you've already jumped into the deep end and your tan is darker than you're comfortable with then a nifty little trick is to hit the steam room or a sauna. It might be a pain but it really helps to reduce the colour of the tan.

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5. You got wet during the processing time

It's inevitable that at some point in your fake tanning life you'll accidentally get wet. Maybe you had to dash through the rain? Wash your hands? Ball your eyes out? (You know exactly what I mean.)

How to fix:

If you got your tan wet, your best chance is removing it and then reapplying it. You don't need to redo your entire tan, just the section. Sometimes you can get away with just putting some over the top but in many instances, you'll need to redo. The ModelCo Exfoliate Double Sided Wipes are great for removing tan and not needing to jump in the shower.


6. Your hands and feet don't match your body

It's a common issue but some don't realise that you really don't need a lot of product on your hands and feet. These sections are notoriously difficult to tan and using too much can leave them looking five shades darker than the rest of your body. Not ideal.

How to fix:

Before applying your tan, use moisturiser over your hands and feet. Leave them till very last in the tanning process. Then and only then do you use the excess tan on the mitt to do your hands and feet.

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7. Your tan has gone scaley

Your tan going scaley is actually super common. Because fake tan does dry out your skin, it can start to look a little, well… scaley. When you're getting to the end of your tanning period you can start looking like you're turning into a reptile.

How to fix:

Moisturise your damn skin. Seriously, I cannot stress the importance of this. Moisturising your skin daily is not only something you should already be doing but will extend the lifespan of your tan significantly. Using a gradual tan moisturiser like the Bondi Sands Gradual Tanning Milk will not only extend your tan life and stop the scales from appearing, it will also prevent your tan from fading. Simple right?

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8. Your tan isn't dark enough

There are two reasons why you could have applied fake tan and you didn't really see a difference. The first is that you simply didn't apply enough, and the second is your tan is out of date. Chances are, if the product has been sitting in your cabinet for months then there's a good chance it's off. Tans usually last 6-12 months and then it's time to chuck it.

How to fix:

If you didn't use enough tan then simply add another layer and be a little more generous. If the tan is off then you'll want to go grab a new one from the store.

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Alexandra Hourigan

Alexandra is a shopaholic by nature, make up lover by heart and writer by passion. If you can buy it she'll probably be interested to know what it is. If it's on sale then even better! If she isn't at a Sephora sale she is probably writing about it.

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