Does Baby Oil Remove Fake Tan?

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Getting stuck with a fake tan gone wrong is pretty much a right of passage for many!. We have all been there and ended up with either an orangey Cheetos color or a tan so dark it wouldn’t look real even if we had spent hours tanning in the hot sun

Although our main goal, when getting a spray tan with a spray tan machine, or even using a high-quality self-tanner like Tan Physics (which we reviewed here), is to get that gorgeous bronzed yet subtle look, it doesn’t always work out that way, right? Fake tans are an excellent way to get some color on your skin right before a vacation, a wedding, or any other event. If the tan goes awry, you’ll want a quick way to fix it!

Does Baby Oil Remove Fake Tan? Why yes, it does, if used correctly!

Let’s see how.

The Process of Removing a Fake Tan

You can’t wait a week for it to fade naturally. And you’ve decided you don’t want to lighten your sunless tan. So you’re ready to remove your imperfect sunless tan once and for all.

However, before doing so, you need to actually understand the process it requires. 

All fake tans use a chemical called DHA, which reacts with dead skin cells on the surface layer of your skin. This pigment slowly develops into a darker color to give you the tan you may (or may not) have wanted.

If too much of the pigment is applied, it causes your fake tan to look unnatural and ugly.

This is particularly difficult with the hands and feet, the heels, elbows, knees, etc.

On the other side, we also need to consider the intensity of the pigment. Different tanning products come in a variety of intensities.

So it isn’t just how much of the product you apply, but also how rich the pigments in the product are that determine the tan you end up with.

Keep in mind that this tan is only on the surface level of your skin, and is not a real tan.

Does Baby Oil Remove Fake Tan?

Yes, you read that right. Our secret product to use for removing fake tans is a gentle and harmless bottle of baby oil

Sounds too easy to be true, right? Well, take out your bottle from the cupboard and let us prove it to you.

Baby Oil

Baby oil is one of the most effective weapons to combat a bad spray tan, and it does so without causing any damage to your skin.

We all love the smell of baby oil and how soft it makes our skin. You’re about to start loving this little product even more. 

Gone are the days of scrubbing the skin and intense exfoliation to remove the tanning pigments. We will instead opt for a solution that also nourishes and soothes our skin while eliminating all signs of that tan that didn’t work out.

When you exfoliate or use any other method to remove your tan, they all follow the same principle. All tan removal methods work to get rid of the skin cells at the top-most layer of your body, which hold all the pigments.

It’s known as the stratum corneum, and consists of dead skin cells that haven’t yet shed off.

Skin Diagram Source: Wikipedia
Skin Diagram Source: Wikipedia

What baby oil does is use a gentler approach to get rid of those dead cells. Due to its incredible hydrating properties, baby oil causes the surface of your skin to expand slightly as it gets absorbed deep inside the epidermis.

This releases the dead, tanned cells from the outermost layer of your skin.

These can then be washed off easily without requiring any harsh scrubbing or chemical exfoliation. You won’t even need to use a loofah or mitt to get them off!

A bonus advantage of using baby oil is its hydrating properties that will help lock down some much-needed moisture in your skin as it recovers from that fake tan.

So, while other remedies and products dry out your skin and damage the cells to remove your tan, baby oil functions in the opposite way. And more effectively, too!

Using Baby Oil to Remove Fake Tan

Now that you know of all the wonders this magic oil can do for your skin let’s figure out how to use it against your fake tan. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through.

What You Will Need

  • Baby oil
  • Epsom salts
  • Old Pajamas
  • Your favorite Pretty Little Liars episode

Step 1

Grab your baby oil and undress to begin the application process.

Step 2

Apply the baby oil to all the areas where you wish to remove the fake tan from. Make sure your application is generous, and all the spots are coated well by the oil. You can even do it for a full-body deep-moisturizing session and just apply it everywhere. 

Step 3

Put on our old pajamas to protect your clothing from becoming oily and gross. Baby oil can stain fabrics, so you don’t want to get any over a new shirt.

Step 4

Leave the oil to soak for 30 minutes to an hour as you relax on the couch and watch PLL reruns. What a way to spend your weekend, right? Not only are you getting rid of your fake tan but also relaxing and having a great time!

Step 5

Once an hour is up, fill up your bathtub with warm water and add 2 cups of Epsom salts. Mix it around well to help them dissolve into the water. The salts will ensure most of the tan is removed and also relax your muscles while fighting against any inflammation of the skin.

Step 6

Soak into the bath for 15-20 minutes (we won’t hold it against you if you decide to stay in for longer), then apply your favorite body wash to clear out the oil. Try to use a strongly-scented one, so it removes that nasty fake tan smell too!

Step 7

Run the body wash well over your body using a circular motion, then rinse off in the shower with cold water to close off any opened pores.

Step 8

Dry yourself off using a soft towel and rub it gently against your skin, so all the tanned cells come off completely. Finish it off by applying some lotion to lock in moisture, and you’re good to go!

Depending on how dark your fake tan was and the amount of pigment used, you will probably need to repeat this process twice within 2 to 3 days for further results. Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to pamper themselves, right?

Factors to Consider 

Due to the oily nature of baby oil, it can be a little tricky to use. However, these tips will ensure you can remove your fake tan without facing any trouble.

Wear Gloves

You should wear gloves when applying the baby oil; otherwise, it can be a nightmare to get off.

If you don’t have gloves lying around, try to use only one hand for applying so you can use the other to grab stuff without it slipping out of your palms.

Letting it Soak into Your Skin

Many people rush through this step and then wonder why baby oil didn’t work for them. The longer you let the oil soak into your skin, the better. So do this process when you have a free evening and no errands to run.

Time it Out

It can be tempting to try removing your fake tan as soon as the bad results come out, but it won’t work. You will need to give your tan a day at least so it can develop before being you get rid of it.

Also, be sure not to delay this removal process until the day of your next tan application. If any oil is left on your body, it will act as a barrier to your new tan. You’ll end up with a streaky, blotching tan.

The Best Baby Oil Products to Apply

You’re probably wondering if you should just go for the traditional Johnson’s baby oil or try out a different brand? While the baby oil of our childhoods works just as well, here are a few other products you can try out too.

Coconut Baby Oil Organic Moisturizer - for Hair and Skin - Cradle Cap Treatment, Eczema, Psoriasis - Massage, Sensitive Skin, Diaper Rash, Stretch Marks - with Sunflower & Grape Seed Oils - 4 fl oz
Coconut Baby Oil Organic Moisturizer - for Hair and Skin - Cradle Cap Treatment, Eczema, Psoriasis - Massage, Sensitive Skin, Diaper Rash, Stretch Marks - with Sunflower & Grape Seed Oils - 4 fl oz
Baby Coconut Oil for baby Hair and Skin- Loosen build up and moisturize baby scalp; Baby Coconut oil for Babies Extra Sensitive skin! No chemicals!
Amazon Brand - Solimo Baby Oil with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E, 20 Fluid Ounces
Amazon Brand - Solimo Baby Oil with Aloe Vera & Vitamin E, 20 Fluid Ounces
One 20-fluid ounce bottle of baby oil with aloe vera and vitamin E; Helps to seal in skin moisture and prevent dryness
The Honest Company Organic Body Oil, 4 Fl. Oz.
The Honest Company Organic Body Oil, 4 Fl. Oz.
Suitable for sensitive skin; Helps soothe dry, itchy skin; 95% organic + plant based oil blend

Does Baby Oil Help You Tan?

We have discussed in-depth how baby oil can help remove fake tan. While we’re on the topic, we should mention that Baby Oil can help you tan in the sun, as well!


We used to think of baby oil as just for infants, but in truth, it has a bunch of great uses. Who would have thought it could remove tanning disasters and moisturize the skin in the process too?!

Written by Kayla Young

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