Self Tanning Questions

My Self-Tanner Turned Green – What Can I Do? (Explained)

Written by: Anastasija

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Self-tanner can be a really relaxing and easy process, as long as you know what you’re doing, and it can produce some great results. But, has your self-tanner ever gone green after you’ve applied it? Don’t worry – this actually happens to some people, and here’s how you can fix it.

My self-tanner turned green – what can I do?

There are some things which can interfere with the self-tanning process and the chemicals involved, which can result in the tanner turning green. If you want to find out why, there’s more to that later, but first, what can you do if your tanner has turned green?

Unfortunately, there’s not really a very easy way to remove your self-tanner immediately, as the chemicals usually take a day to fully develop, so you have to wait until the product has fully developed before attempting to remove it. Otherwise, you may think you have removed the product completely when, in actual fact, more of the colour just develops later.

It’s also difficult to tell what the colour will look like when it is in the initial developing stage, before you first rinse it off. However, if you have just applied the self-tanner and notice that it is green-looking, rinsing it off straight away might be a good idea. Nevertheless, this doesn’t always work as some of the self-tanner could bind with your skin immediately after you apply it but rinsing as much off now will make it easier to remove after it’s developed.


So, there are a few ways to remove your self-tanner if it has turned green:

  • Scrubbing it off: trying to scrub your tan off using an exfoliator mitt or body scrub can remove the top layer of skin cells, which is where the tanner is bound to and can therefore remove the majority of the colour.
  • Tan eraser: there is such thing as tan erasers, which are sold my most popular self-tanning brands, and are used to remove your self-tanner after it has developed. Normally, they are used for the streak or uneven fade, but they work just as well in this instance.
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How did this happen?

If you have experienced your self-tanner turning green, it’s a situation you don’t want to be in, as it can be difficult to fix once it’s happened. Instead, knowing why it happened can be useful.

The first reason why your self-tanner has turned green may have something to do with the undertones in the tan and the undertones of your natural skin. Some tanners have green undertones to prevent the tan from going orange. If you didn’t know already, your skin has different undertones and, if you have naturally olive-toned skin, a tanner with green undertones may not be right for you.

One thing which you may not have thought about is that the chemicals in some deodorants may interfere with those in your self-tanner, and this can cause unwanted chemical reactions to take place and turn the colour green as it goes onto your skin.

On the other hand, sweating can also cause your self-tanner to turn green. When the colour is developing (before you rinse off the guide in the shower), any sweating can also react with the ingredients and turn the colour green. This isn’t necessarily always the case but can be one cause.

Also read: How Does a Self-Tanner Work? (UV Protection, Safety, etc.)

How can I avoid this next time?

As well as knowing how this happened, knowing how to prevent it in the future is another useful piece of information which can prove valuable in the future. Below are some ways you can prevent this unfortunate situation next time you tan:

  • Find a tan which suits your skin: as well as deciding between light, medium, and dark shades, you want to find the perfect tan for your skin in terms of undertones. Not all brands will have options for different undertones, but many brands have a specific colour they stick to for all their products, so find one which does complement your skin.
  • Use talc powder: if you are someone who sweats a lot, or the environment you’re in may cause you to do so, you want to avoid letting this interfere with your tan while it develops. For this reason, apply talc powder to areas such as the underarms which are more prone to sweating before applying the tan. This way these areas will stay dry and won’t cause any problems.
  • Avoid deodorant: using the talc powder rather than deodorant and perfumes can also help to prevent any of your tan turning green. Just before applying your tan, remove any perfumes, deodorants, or similar products and just use the talc powder if you’re worried about sweating.
self tan turn green by Anastasija

Do expired self-tanners turn green?

If your self-tanner has suddenly turned green from nowhere, and this wasn’t the case beforehand, you may be wondering why this is. In fact, self-tanners have expiration dates, which is when the preservatives included deteriorate and then cause all the other ingredients to do so as well.

This deterioration of these ingredients can cause them all to react with ingredients in different ways and sometimes this may result in the pigment turning bad, or the reactions turning the entire product green.

The best solution for this is checking when the expiration dates are for various products and making sure to either use them up by then or throw them out if they haven’t been used up. Doing so will not only prevent your tan from turning green but also prevent potential allergic reactions with your skin.

How Does Self-Tanning Lotion Work? (+ My Favorite 3)

Final thoughts

Despite how frustrating it can be if your self-tanner turns green, there are ways you can solve this problem and ways to prevent the same thing from happening in the future. These things are very easy to do and only require the thought to do before tanning. Now that you know how to prevent your tan from turning green, you can be confident that it won’t happen again!

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

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