Tan removers: The trick that makes them actually work

I tried seven fake tan removers and had seven disappointments. I was sure I'd never find one that worked, until I got a genius tip from an Instagram pal...

Tan removers are a great idea, in theory. You've got manky elbows, caked ankles and scaly skin everywhere else after applying layer upon layer of fake tan over the course of weeks. We all do it, no shade. We apply a layer, it fades somewhat and we top it up without waiting for our skin to get back to completely clean.

What they say they'll do

Enter tan removers. You apply the foam to the body parts you want the tan removed from, leave it to dry in for ten minutes, hop into the shower (or just wash it off) and hey presto (hopefully), your skin is clean and ready for the next application of tan.


That simply was not happening for me. I was applying, wandering around like a lunatic covered in a layer of foam for ten minutes, scaring my dog, and then showering it off. And noticing not much of a difference than if I had just had a 'normal' shower.

Related: Do you struggle to remove stubborn tan?

The Instagram Trick

I saw a lovely Instagrammer called @Lauras_Views do a very in-depth and literal tan remover review and I was impressed - she really put it to the test. But after her review, by her own admission, the leg she used the remover on was the same as the one she left it off for comparison, and she was nonplussed about the product she used. I got on to her to say I felt the same about the ones I had tried.

And it was then she shared her wisdom - she advised me to apply the foam and leave it dry in completely, and let it work away for 30 minutes before washing it off. The next day, I unearthed the bottle of tan remover I'd first tried, and gave it the extra time to work, and emerged from the shower as pale as the day I was born.

They DO work, as it turns out

Granted, there is a part of me that feels hard done by that they don't work as quickly as they say they will, and I'm also a sticky and itchy after 30 minutes covered in foam that's slowly sinking in, but still. I've tried the three below and given some extra time, they all do what they say.


  1. Primark PS... Bronze After Glow Self Tan Eraser, €4
  2. Bondi Sands Self Tan Eraser, €19.49
  3. Catwalk HQ Self Tan Remover, €15

What if I don't HAVE 30 minutes?

I always turn to Moxi Loves... Tan Aid Exfoliating Wipes if I'm stuck for time and I have a particularly dodgy tan situation happening. They're brilliant, they work instantly and they even leave your skin prepped for a new layer of tan without washing being necessary - although personally I love a good shower. I also rather enjoy that these are less than a fiver - because I did think €19.49 just to remove tan was a little steep...

Moxi Loves Removal Tan Aid Exfoliating Wipes, €4.95

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