How to Even Your Tan

by Pamela Simmons

When the weather heats up, hitting the beach or the pool can result in a tan. When the weather cools off, some use a sunless tanning lotion to replicate a natural tan. Regardless of your method, a glowing tan can look great; an uneven one -- not so much. If you have a streaky tan or tan lines that don't look so hot, take some steps to correct the problem.

Evening Your Tan

Wash and exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating gently removes dead, tanned skin while creating a smooth base to work with.

Pat your skin dry and wait about 30 minutes to ensure your skin is thoroughly dry.

Using a makeup sponge or a makeup brush, apply a self-tanning lotion to any uneven spots.

Wait for your tanner to dry and develop color, typically between four to eight hours.

Check the evenness of your tan. Apply again if needed.

Temporary Cover Up

If you need your tan line covered immediately, apply a bronzing gel to any uneven areas.

Using a makeup brush, set your bronzing liquid with a bronzing powder.

When you're ready to remove your bronzer, hop in the shower -- it will wash right off.

Fix Tanning Lotion Mistakes

For uneven fake tans, apply lemon juice to an exfoliating glove. Rub your lemon-covered glove over your skin.

If you don’t have an exfoliating glove, use baking soda. Mix one spoonful of lemon juice with a dash of baking soda. Apply the mixture to your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.

Liberally apply baby oil all over your skin. Let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it off. This will help to take off the uneven color on the top layers of your skin.

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Items you will need

  • Soap
  • Exfoliant
  • Makeup sponge or makeup brush
  • Self tanner
  • Bronzing gel
  • Bronzing powder
  • Lemon
  • Exfoliating glove
  • Baking soda


  • If you have about a week to spare, use a gradual tanning lotion to even out your skin -- this will look the most natural. If you need results that same day, a fast-acting tanning lotion will do.

About the Author

Pamela Simmons has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles on fashion, beauty and other topics have appeared on Denim Therapy and other websites. Simmons serves as an editor and public relations manager for CHIC.TV. She holds a Bachelor of Science in international affairs from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University.

Photo Credits

  • Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images