How To Fix Missed Spots From Self-Tanner

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If you don’t have the luxury of spending hours in a tanning bed or if you don’t live in an area where you have access to a convenient beach to tan at, you may be considering a spray tan or fake tan. Sunless tans have come a long way in the past few decades, and they’re getting a lot harder to distinguish from other forms of tanning.

However, spray tans still have a few peculiarities, including a need to be applied properly or your tan will end up looking inconsistent. One of the most common worries is that your fake tan or spray tan missed a spot. And while this may not happen all that often, there are a few ways to fix it if it does.

In today’s guide, we’re going to go over how to fix missed spots from self-tanner.


How To Fix Missed Spots From Self-Tanner

St Tropez Self Tanning Mousse on Legs

If your fake tan has a missed spot of pale skin, it isn’t the end of the world. There are a few solutions to it, depending on the size of the missed spot and the inconsistency of the application.

Streaks tend to be a lot easier to fix than spots that have been outright missed, but we’ll go into how to fix both.

Streaks tend to be a lot easier to fix than spots that have been outright missed, but we’ll go into how to fix both.

Reschedule an Appointment With Your Tanning Salon

If you had your tan applied professionally and you’re not satisfied with the results, the first thing that you should do is talk to the salon that did it. If it’s a reputable salon, then they’ll be more than happy to schedule a follow-up appointment with you to ensure that you’re comfortable with the results of your tan.

In most cases, your spray tan can easily be fixed with a minimal amount of work. If the beauty salon was responsible for the poor results of the spray tan, then they’ll cover the work out of their own pockets.

On the other hand, if you were responsible for the poor results, you may have to pay a moderate fee.

Exfoliate Your Skin

Exfoliation is the most important step to ensuring that a botched spray tan can be fixed. By exfoliating the skin where you see the patchiness, you’re able to blend the surrounding tan into the light spots on your skin naturally.

While this may leave a bit of a lighter or darker spot behind, it will blend into the rest of the tan more seamlessly.

If you have a scrubber or loofah, that’s often a great way to exfoliate the skin in these patchy areas.

Another way to exfoliate your skin is to create a solution made out of lemon juice and sugar, rubbing it into the parts of your skin that you want to exfoliate.

Reapply the Fake Tan After Exfoliating

If you’ve applied the fake tan yourself, you can still fix some of the missed spots. First, exfoliate the areas around the missed spots with a really good fake tan exfoliator to make the areas a little more uniform and ready to pick up the tanning solution.

If it’s a small spot, you can probably blend it with a small amount of self-tanner. Apply a small amount to the area using a mitt or other device, and rub it in.

Use a Bronzer to Fill In the Area

Bronzers are a great solution for minor missed spots. Bronzers color the skin with makeup. They provide instant color, and you’ll get instant visual feedback as to when everything looks blended and balanced.

The problem with bronzers is that they wash off in the shower since they’re makeup. You’ll have to reapply each day.

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Properly Prepare Your Skin

While this may not help you after receiving a fake tan that didn’t work out too well and has missed spots, it can ensure that your next spray tan goes smoother and lasts longer.

Make sure you fully prep for your sunless tan!

First, you’ll want to exfoliate your skin as much as possible before you get your spray tan. Next, you’ll want to wax or shave your skin before getting your spray tan, as doing it afterward runs the risk of removing your spray tan along with that layer of body hair.

Spray Tan Missed a Spot

Nobody’s perfect, and mistakes may happen when you’re getting your spray tan applied. This is especially true if you picked up your own spray tan machine for home use. There are a few different ways that people get spray tans, and the causes of missed spots are dependent on the kind of spray tan that you got.

Your hands and feet are often difficult areas to spray tan, and sometimes some areas just don’t come out great. They can be too dark or too light. Or the dreaded orange.

Of course, missed spots can happen when you’re using a self-tanner and when you’re getting it done professionally.

While the error rate may be a little higher with self-application, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a perfect tan from a professional either. The good news is that usually if that happens, you can just run back there the next day and get it fixed.

Missed Spot from Fake Tanning

One of the most common reasons why people tend to miss spots when applying their own spray tan solution is that they can’t see the areas that they’re applying it to.

This is one of the main reasons why people enlist the help of a friend or family member when they’re applying spray tan or sunless tanner to themselves.

If you have no choice but to apply your self-tanner on your own, you’ll want to be sure you’re using a good self-tanning mitt or applicator. make sure that you position yourself in front of a large enough mirror that will make it easier to see your back.

However, even with the help of a mirror, it’s often easy to miss some of the spots near your lower back that you’ll have to painfully turn your neck around to see.

The worst part about missing one of these spots is that you’ll typically never have an idea that you missed it unless someone else brings it to your attention.


However, with time and practice, you’ll eventually end up comfortable enough with self-applying your spray tan solution and you’ll have a better idea of the commonly missed spots.

You Ran Out of Spray Tan

Another reason why your spray tan missed a spot may be that you ran out of spray tan halfway through the application process. This often goes hand-in-hand with the previous reason: being unable to see the area of your body that you’re tanning.

If you run out of spray tan while you’re working on something like your back, you may not even realize that you’re out of spray. While you should likely feel the spray tan misting on your back, or the lack of it when you run out, you may get desensitized to the feeling after a spray tanning session.

This is one of the more challenging situations to deal with. Short of sending someone in your home out to get more self-tanner (or doing a delivery!), you’ll have to go out yourself with a half-tan. Be sure to wear loose clothes during this time.

Professional Spray Tan: Missed Spot due to Distraction

While professional spray tanners typically pay close attention to the consistency of your tan to ensure that it’s applied as evenly as possible, this may not always be the case. This is especially common in beauty salons that are a little cheaper. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more expensive parlors are uniformly better.

As we mentioned earlier, the people applying spray tans are also human, and they’re liable to make mistakes at one point or another. Sometimes, a patch of skin may be hidden by a shadow thanks to the room’s ambient lighting, or your spray tanner may have simply sped too quickly over that area.

In most cases, a beauty salon that fails to apply an even spray tan will be willing to fix the missed spot free of charge to maintain their good reputation. However, this only extends to when they’re responsible for the missed spot on your skin, which isn’t always the case.

Either Type of Tan: The Skin Got Wet or was Touched Soon After the Tan

One of the most common reasons behind spray tans ending up looking patchy or having missed spots in them isn’t due to a spot being missed in the first place. If your spray tan was applied properly but started falling apart soon after it was applied, it may not have been handled properly in those crucial few hours after tanning.

The truth is that spray tans aren’t for everyone, especially if you have a tendency to sweat more than other people. Those of us with overactive sweat glands may end up having our bodies inadvertently ruin our spray tans by causing us to perspire shortly after getting a tan.

If you’ve ever been professionally spray-tanned, then you likely understand the importance of handling your skin properly after the job is done. If your skin gets wet in those key few hours afterward, you’ll end up with a streaky spray tan that looks like it was poorly applied.

To avoid this happening, you’ll want to ensure that you get your spray tan applied on a cool day where you won’t expect to sweat on your way to and from your appointment. If possible, get a ride back in an air-conditioned car to ensure that your spray tan doesn’t begin to run.

You’ll also want to ensure that it isn’t raining on the day that you get your spray tan done, as rain will ruin your tan just as surely as sweat would.

Finally, be sure to avoid showering until the spray tan sets properly, as that will do the most damage to a spray tan that hasn’t yet taken hold.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).