Beauty Faux Pas: How to Fix a Bad Fake Tan

Beauty Faux Pas: How to Fix a Bad Fake Tan

Is there anything worse than slathering on some self-tanner only to find (the next day) that you’re personally responsible for transforming yourself into a human zebra? Discovering that your fake tan does in fact look incredibly fake–complete with streaks and smudges–is a modern day beauty disaster. And major disappointment. I’ll be the first to admit that it has happened to me on more than one occasion. So what’s a girl to do? Simple. Mix together freshly squeezed lemon juice with a few teaspoons of baking soda until the powder becomes a paste (not liquid). Then take a shower and exfoliate areas of extreme streakiness using the lemon-powder mixture until the unwanted tan disappears.

Baking soda is a fantastic exfoliate. It’s nonabrasive and leaves your skin feeling incredibly smooth. (Trust me, try using it on your face mixed with a few drops of water instead of lemon and you’ll never spend a fortune on expensive exfoliating scrubs again.) Lemon juice is naturally acidic and it acts like a mellow form of bleach; it works to remove unwanted color. When baking soda is mixed with lemon juice, the results are amazing.

The next time you find yourself with a less-than-stellar faux tan, turn to your fridge!

Have another Beauty Faux Pas dilemma? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to cover it in an upcoming post.

XO Lauren

You might also like…
Giveaway: My Favorite Sunless Tanner
Tuesday Ten: My Summer Beauty Secrets
Style Guide: My Summer Must-Haves
Beauty Essential: My Dry Skin Remedy

Photos: randy mayor,

Categories: Lauren Conrad, Primp
Share This
  • Sarah Heckle

    I can’t stand the smell of self-tanner. Even the ones that aren’t supposed to smell have a scent to me!

  • Melissa Panici

    Great advice Lauren! I never knew baking soda could do wonders lol. Thanks:)

  • Deanne Castro
  • Amy Breckenridge

    this is really good advice – i had no idea! i normally only use a clarins self tanner on my face (it never streaks or looks orange!) because i hate most self tanners for body because they smell, streak or make my skin a funny color! lauren & team – do you recommend a good body self tanner?


  • Hailey Anderson

    This is great to know and have in case of an emergency! I’m normally too scared to try a self tanner, but I just might try it with this back up plan. Thanks Lauren!

  • Kellie Norton

    Anyone know any budget-friendly self tanners? I seriously never have time to lay out these days, and I’m also not one that likes to get sunburned :-)


  • Martin M

    OMG ones I trimmed my eyebrows and whta happened…I slipped and had only a few hairs left…dont ask about.. :) Everyone was laughing :) XOXO

  • Martin M
  • Melissa Panici

    @Kellie Norton I have been using this stuff by Jergens and it’s not really a self tanner but it’s an SPF that I use everyday and it does tan you a bit. I have noticed my skin has a beautiful glow to it and it doesn’t streak or smell bad. I LOVE it! Here is the link to the stuff I have:)

    Hope you like it!

  • Kelby Peachey

    I’ll definitely have to give baking soda a try as an exfoliant! Thanks again, Lauren!


  • Meghan Conard

    Thanks for the tip! Definitely need to remember this next time I use self tanner!


  • Mallory

    Awesome tip! Self tanning can be scary. I love the St. Tropez tanning mousse that comes with a mitt. A little pricey, but worth it if you need an instant “”natural looking”” tan. For drugstore, gradual tanners seem to work best like Jergens. Thanks for sharing this tip!

    xoxo, Mallory

  • Brenna Gray

    I also recommend Jergens self tanner. It doesn’t smell and is subtle enough to look natural. It’s also a great way to moisturize and put on some SPF! Affordable too! Great advice Lauren :-)

  • PeaceLoveNutrition

    So glad you posted this! I’ve been know to have streaky legs from self tanner a few times


  • Rachel Trampel

    Oh gosh, such great advice! Luckily I haven’t had problems with this in awhile but I remember one time my legs were striped and super orange!

    I would love for you to do a post on any suggestions or products out there that help with razor burn/bumps, especially during binkini season! I mean I use a razor with soap on it and lots of shaving cream and use an in-shower moisterizer, but I still have problems with razor burn sometimes and it is the worst :(


  • Linh Ly

    Well good thing I don’t fake tan! Lol, but thanks for sharing about the baking soda. I have got to try it on my face as an exfoliator.


  • Katherine Brophy

    I love the tip about the baking soda. Thanks Lauren!

    (You guys should try out the website it’s been super fun for me and hopefully you can follow me as ‘Katherine’.)

  • Kimmy S

    Wow I had NO idea about baking soda! Def going to try it as a plain exfoliant too… Thanks Lauren!

  • Larissa Wilhelm

    That’s so interesting and amazing! Thanks for the tips Lauren!!

  • Deanne Castro

    Please check out my blog!

  • Kristina Rovtar

    These are such great tips!

    Also, follow me on pinterest:

  • Kimmy S

    So interesting! I need to give that a try. I use sunless tanner twice a week and hate it when I get streaks. Thanks Lauren!

  • Angelica Gonzalez

    wow. thats the best advice ive ever gotten! :)

  • Deanne Castro

    If you are looking for Fashion and Beauty advice please check out my blog at Thanks!

  • Deanne Castro

    If you are looking for Fashion and Beauty advice please check out my blog at Thanks!

  • Suburban Glam

    Needed this info before my sisters wedding when I looked like a leopard!

    Suburban Glam,
    Find me on Twitter: @MySuburbanGlam

  • Gabi Wilewska

    This worked wonders! Got the worst spray tan before a pageant, and looked here, used the recipe, and it helped so much! Thanks Lauren!

  • AnaBananananana

    is this going to get rid of all my tan?
    I am splotchy only on certain parts of my arms

  • Mary

    Please please please do not use lemon juice or baking soda on your face guys! Both of their pH’s are inappropriate for use on skin. Substances that are too acidic can leave you with chemical burns, and substances that are too alkaline can damage your skin’s natural protective barrier.

    Further reading/sources here:;jsessionid=Uoz6HKcKc8Z8XfvwsUP3.0

    • Moira

      While they are both a little harmful to skin if used regularly or on sensitive skin, lemon juice and bicarb are both similarly weak – this means they will neutralise to a pH of around 5, give or take, which isn’t too far off the skin’s natural pH of 4.5. Even used seperately, they’re just not strong enough to give a chemical burn – citric acid is only strong enough to cause slight abrasion. That being said, this is not to be used on a regular basis!

  • Grace

    Thank you!!! I got an awful spray tan yesterday and this totally helped. It’s not totally gone but it’s definitely better.

  • Naked Tan

    The best way to remove a fake tan is to prepare a hot bath,
    light up some candles, sit back and enjoy some β€˜me time’. To ensure your old
    tan is removed entirely, we recommend you use Naked Tan Goddess Body Exfoliator all
    over your body with an ex-foliating mitt. You are now ready for a fresh new tan.



for a front-row VIP pass to all things lovely and chic. Sign up today for exclusive tips straight from Lauren, a chance to win monthly giveaways, and so much more.

sign up