Self-tanning is really convenient (not to mention that it's way safer than spending hours in the sun and risking harmful UV damage). The downside is that, if applied incorrectly, the results aren't always so great. One wrong move will have you looking like your kid cousin's art project.

If you've ever tried applying self-tanner and ended up with orange streaks and patches instead of sun-kissed skin, rest assured: You don't have to wait up to 10 days for the fake tan to fade. And you also don't have to resort to scrubbing your skin off in the shower in hopes that it fades faster.

Meet Our Experts: Sophie Evans, tanning expert and St. Tropez ambassador, and Tarryn Feldman, celebrity makeup artist

More From Women's Health
 
preview for Women's Health US Section - All Sections & Videos

Thankfully, there are several ways to remove self-tanner at home, and none of them are headache inducing. Read ahead for expert advice on how to get the job done.

1. Buy self-tanner remover

          Seems like a no-brainer, but if you have a bottle of self-tanner at home, you might as well invest in a remover, too. And these work like a charm.

          To either remove an old self-tan or correct fresh mistakes, Sophie Evans, tanning expert and St. Tropez ambassador recommends using the St. Tropez Tan Remover Mousse along with the tan remover mitt. The main ingredient in it that removes the self-tan is baking soda (which is a mild abrasive), she tells us. Unlike other self-tan remover products on the market, you don't have to wait 12 hours before reapplying a new tan, so there's no need to wait a full day to try again.

          To erase tan build-up on the elbows, wrists, ankles, and underarms, celebrity makeup artist Tarryn Feldman typically reaches for the St. Moriz Advanced Pro Exfoliating Skin Primer. "It’s a gentle but effective exfoliator that will break down the layer of tan sitting on your skin," she says. "It also smells amazing! I recommend applying it 3-4 days after your tanning session to help your tan fade evenly."

          Tan Remover Prep and Maintain Mousse
          St. Tropez Tan Remover Prep and Maintain Mousse
          $19 at Ulta Beauty
          Advanced Pro Exfoliating Skin Primer
          St. Moriz Advanced Pro Exfoliating Skin Primer

          2. Try baking soda and lemon juice

            If you don't actually own a self-tanner remover, you can harness the power of baking soda and DIY one at home. Simply mix baking soda and lemon juice until it forms into a spreadable paste and leave it on your skin for about 5 minutes. "Then, lift it off your skin using an exfoliating mitt or face cloth," says Evans.

            3. Opt for hair removal creams

              Hear me out! If you don't mind the harsh smell (and the trip down memory lane), hair removal creams like Nair or Veet can help return your skin to its original hue.

              "Hair removal creams break down your tan, making it easier to wash it off and start fresh," Feldman says. These hair-melting creams exfoliate your skin and help strip the fake tan off. Just make sure to leave it on your skin for half the time suggested on the bottle—so that works out to about 2 to 5 minutes—and avoid using it on your face to prevent irritation.

              Pro tip: Try using hair removal cream 24 hours before self-tanning for a more even glow.

              4. Go for baby oil

              To fade a too-dark tan, Evans suggests reaching for a bottle of baby oil to instantly drop your faux tan a few shades. "Drench the skin in oil and leave it on for about 5-10 minutes," she says. Then, take a warm shower and make sure to exfoliate.

              "Drenching your skin in oil prior to showering will allow your skin to be more susceptible to exfoliation," Evans adds. "Oils instantly plump the skin's surface, making exfoliation more effective and allowing you to remove the top of the epidermis (the very top layer of your skin that holds the tan)." Evans suggests using gentle exfoliator rather than a gritty, heavy scrub that can rip or tear at your skin. "My go-to exfoliator is St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Polish. It’s designed with microgranules for even fading," she says.

              But warning ahead: Avoid leaving the oil on for longer than 10 minutes. "Allowing the oil to fully soak into the skin will cause the color to lock in more and do the reverse of what we want to achieve," Evans says.

              5. Try coconut oil

              It's not only magic for your mane: coconut oil can also quickly remove a streaky tan at home. Use this pantry staple just as you would baby oil, making sure you're only leaving it on for 5 to 10 minutes and then following it up with a warm shower and exfoliation, Evans says. "Oil breaks down the tanning agent, which allows it to come off your skin easily," Feldman adds.

              Big bonus: Your skin will be ultra-hydrated and dewy (talk about a real glow!).

              6. Swipe a cleansing wipe

              This trick works on the spot: If you make a mistake while applying your self-tanner, you can simply wipe off any unwanted product with a cleansing wipe. "Try to wipe off the unwanted self-tan immediately," says Evans. Go for a wipe that has natural exfoliators (like glycolic acid) which can help strip your tan quicker.

              This content is imported from poll. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

              What are some best practices when applying self-tanner?

              Start with the legs first, always leaving your hands until the very end. "Work in sections using roughly two pumps per limb and always apply using a flat hand and a light stroke," Evans says. To avoid patchy knees, skim over the knee and take the excess tan that's left on your mitt and fade it from the ankle over the foot, blending in between the toes and matching up the sides.

              You should also make sure not to shave, wax or use hair removal cream right before applying self-tanner. "Any waxing and hair removal should be completed 24 hours prior to tanning. This will allow your hair pores to settle and prevent a spotty look," Evans says.

              How do I apply self-tanner to my face?

              For the face, either apply your self-tan directly or to a clean foundation brush and brush under your eyes, over the eyelids and on the tips of the ears, stopping just before the hairline, particularly if you have fair hair, Evans suggests.

              "The face tends to develop darker than the body, due to a higher pH balance, so mixing moisturizer in with a pump of self-tan will make it look nice and natural," she says. If you apply your face self-tan with your bare hands, make sure to wash them thoroughly afterwards to avoid orange palms. You can also use a tanning facial mist for an easy, effortless glow.

                    Can I exercise after self-tanning?

                    Simply put, no, since sweating might cause it to strip. You should also wait the recommend time listed on the product label to apply deodorant, perfume, or to get wet.

                    "Always allow your tan to develop for the recommended time," Evans says. Once your tan has set and you can take your first shower, make sure the water is lukewarm and not too hot to avoid stripping your tan.