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6 tips on how to get rid of the fake tan smell.

6 tips on how to get rid of the fake tan smell.

Why does fake tan smell?

The distinctive self-tanner scent is caused by DHA (Dihydroxyacetone) which is the main active ingredient in all self-tanners. DHA is derived from plant sources including red beets and sugar cane and its concentration depends on the darkness of your product.

The more DHA, the darker your tan will be.

DHA reacts with the upper layer of your skin and causes the skin to go brown. During this reaction the DHA also reacts with the Amino Acids in your skin which causes the unpleasant tanner smell. Because the smell results from the reaction between your skin and the tanner, you won’t notice this scent if you smell a bottle of fake tan. You will only smell it after you have applied the tanner.

This also means that the strength of the smell depends on your personal body chemistry and varies from person to person!

Can I choose a non-DHA self-tanner?

So, if it’s the DHA that causes the odour, then surely I can just use a DHA-free tanner? The answer to that is, you can, and there are a few brands that exist which can give you a light tan without smelling like a biscuit.

But there are a few caveats you should know about.

The colour isn’t as deep as DHA-based tanners and its likely that it won’t last as long.

Furthermore, your choice of DHA-free tanners is much more limited than their DHA-based counterparts and tend to be a little more expensive.

So, if you want to stick to DHA-based fake tan, there are still some tricks you can use to reduce or even completely eliminate the DHA smell.

6 tips on how to avoid the fake tan smell

1. Use scented self-tanners

There are a huge number of tanners on the market which have fragrances or scents added to them to mask the smell. This is a great way to cover up the smell of the tanner whilst the colour guide is developing.

However, you’ll find that once you take a shower, the fragrance is washed off, but the tanner smell remains.  So, you will still need to use one of our other tips listed below once you’ve taken the shower.

Users with sensitive skin should also be aware. A lot of artificial fragrance can irritate sensitive skin so keep that in mind when choosing your product. If you are having trouble knowing what fake tanner is right for you then take our free quiz here.

2. Apply perfumes and other scented products

Once your fake tanning product has dried on your skin, you can apply a perfume or other scented product. These perfumes won’t get rid of the smell, but they are great at covering it up.

If you are applying a spray-on perfume, it is recommended that you spray a cloud and walk through it. If you spray directly onto the skin, the area where the perfume spray hits the skin can go white. Alternatively, you can spray it on hair, clothing, or bedding. Just be careful not to stain your fabrics.

You can also use a scented bodywash when you shower off after the tan, it is a well-known fact that citrus scents work particularly well, vanilla can work well too. Just make sure that the water isn’t too warm, so the tan doesn’t run off too much.

3. Shower sooner

The longer the DHA stays on your skin, the stronger the scent will get. If you really don’t want a strong scent, then you can consider washing the colour guide off a little sooner. We explain how long you should wait before showering off a self-tanning colour guide in this article. 

4. Exfoliate before self-tanning

Ok, so this tip won’t itself get rid of the fake tan smell. But it allows you to do something which will help stop the tanner odour.

When you apply the fake tanner, the DHA is absorbed by your skin, whether dead skin or normal skin. Therefore, you shouldn’t vigorously scrub after tanning, because it will likely lift some of the dead skin cells covered by the tan which will make your tan go patchy.

But if you manage to exfoliate before tanning, this means the dead skin cells are already exfoliated before application and the tanner absorbs deeper into your skin.

The result? When you shower after your tan, you can scrub more deeply to get that DHA smell off.

5. Dust some baby powder onto the skin

After applying the fake tan, dust some baby powder onto your skin. This helps absorb the odour and so reduce its potency. Also, dusting baby powder onto creased areas (Armpits, elbows, knees) helps to keep the colour more uniform.

6. Choose a product with lower DHA

As DHA is the main cause of that distinct tanning odour, it makes sense that less DHA on your skin means less smell. So, if you really want to avoid the smell then consider dropping down to a product with less DHA. It will mean sacrificing a bit of colour, but for some people, the tanner odour is strong enough to make this sacrifice!


How to get rid of the fake tan smell from a room

If you apply a lot of fake tan at home, then sometimes that fake tan smell can linger for a while in a particular room. This will usually happen if you have spilled some, or some of the excess spray has gone on the floor or your furniture.

No one wants to have that fake tan smell in your room when you have guests round. So we’ve given you some of our best tips to get rid of that smell below:

Spray the room with your favourite scent

Usually, citrus scents are the best to cover up the tanner smell. Try spray surfaces and fabric to help lock in the smell.

Clean the floor with disinfectant

This might seem obvious. But sometimes tiny tanner particles can get into your carpet without you realizing. If the scent is still lingering, then it’s probably because you have some tanning solution hidden in your carpet.

Wipe all surfaces with some soap

Like the point above, if you have tiny tanner particles on your furniture, then it’s likely any tanner smell is due to this.

Put baking soda on your mattress and vacuum it off

If you sleep with the colour guide on, sometimes the solution can get into your mattress. Rubbing in some baking soda on any stained parts of your mattress can help get rid of that smell. If the baking soda doesn’t work, then try a watered-down vinegar solution. Use one part vinegar to two parts water and rub it into the stained areas.

Leave any objects outside to breathe

Letting some objects in the room get some fresh air can help air them out and get rid of that fake tan smell.

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