We all want to achieve a healthy glow to our skin. Whether it’s a big event or you just to look good in the summer sun, many people turn toward self-tanners to give them a bronzed look.
A fake tan can be great for making your skin look darker. But, it can also get underneath your toenails. Thankfully, there are ways to remove fake tan from your toenails safely.
Is your spray tan turning your nails yellow? You’re not alone. One of the benefits of using a tanning agent at home is that you can get a bronzed look quickly. Unfortunately, this quick-tan method doesn’t always give a polished, flawless look.
One of the biggest problems people face when using self-tanner is that it gets stuck under their fingernails and toenails. You want people to notice your glowing skin and keep the fact that you’ve used a self-tanner a secret. Having yellow nails is a dead giveaway that your tan is fake. So, it’s important to get rid of these stains from underneath your toenails.
If you have stained toenails from a tan, don’t worry. There are simple things you can do to clean away the discoloration. The best part is that many of the solutions for removing self-tanner from under your nails use items you probably already have at home.
Table of Contents:
- 1 How to Remove Self-Tanner from Toenails at Home
- 2 Will Spray Tan Ruin Acrylic Nails?
- 3 How to Protect Gel Nails from Spray Tan
- 4 How to Prevent a Fake Tan from Staining Your Nails
How to Remove Self-Tanner from Toenails at Home
Fingernails and toenails are some of the most common trouble spots where self-tanner get stuck. They can also be difficult to clean off and remove deep staining. But, it’s not impossible. Below, you’ll find some of the best methods for getting rid of fake tan stains from your toenails.
No matter which method you use, you should start out by making sure your cuticles are out of the way. The dead skin around the toenail(s) that has become stained should also be cut away with Sally Hansen cuticle remover.
Remember, your skin and nails may need two different methods to remove staining. So, once you’ve got any excess skin trimmed away, you can fully focus on getting rid of the stains on your nails.
1) Denture Cleaning Tablets
One of the best ways to remove fake tan from your toenails is to use denture cleaning tablets. These tablets won’t harm your nails or the surrounding skin but will help to remove the tanner from underneath your nails and any stains on top of the nails.
Follow these steps to use denture cleaner as an effective way to get rid of self-tanner from your toenails:
- Fill a basin with warm water.
- Drop in one or two denture cleaning tablets. You can use two if the staining is strong.
- Let the tablets dissolve completely in the water.
- Place your feet in the basin and soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse off feet and dry completely.
If you need to get underneath your nails where the tanner has built up, this is a good time to do it. The denture tablets will help to loosen the stains.
So, while your feet are still in the basin, grab a clean nail brush or toothbrush. You can use the brush to get underneath the nails if any tanner has gotten stuck there. You can also use one of these brushes to polish the top of your nails and help to scrub away stains.
2) Warm Water
A warm water soak is a great way to lighten up self-tanner stains from both your skin and nails. This is because your skin cells will absorb the water.
That causes them to increase in size, so the tan won’t be as concentrated and will look lighter. This is a good option if the skin under your toenails has gotten stained. Use a bowl of water of a foot spa machine.
To soak your nails effectively, make sure you use warm water and soak them for at least ten minutes. You can even use mild dish soap in the water for better results.
Make sure to dry off your toenails completely after soaking them like this. If moisture gets trapped underneath the nail, a toenail fungus could start to form.
3) Nail Polish Remover
Some people turn toward nail polish remover to get rid of stains from fake tanner on their toenails. The acetone in Sally Hansen nail polish remover will help to break down the stains when it’s rubbed on them with a cotton ball.
You may not see instant results, but this can help to get rid of some of the surface stains. The sooner you apply nail polish remover after using the self-tanner, the better.
Similarly, you can also use lemon juice on your nails for the same effect. If you want even better results, try soaking your toenails in lemon juice. The acidic nature of lemon juice will help to break down the structure of the stains.
4) Give Yourself a Pedicure
One of the quickest ways to hide staining from a self-tanning spray on your toenails is to cover it with nail polish.
It won’t immediately get rid of the stains underneath, but it will keep them hidden so your toes still look great. This is definitely a quick fix solution. You should make sure your nails are clean and dry before you cover them with polish.
Additionally, make sure your toenails are trimmed properly. If you used a spray or self-tanning cream that got underneath the nails, it could lead to an infection thanks to the chemicals in the formula.
Keeping your nails trimmed shorter will make it harder for a buildup to occur underneath them. Not only does this mean less staining under the nail, but less risk for damage to your skin or infection.
5) Baking Soda
If you want to remove self-tanner from underneath your nails, try a baking soda solution. You can mix baking soda with water or lemon juice to make a paste. Then, apply it underneath your nails with a toothbrush or nail brush.
You can scrub quite a bit to get the staining to subside from underneath your nails. Baking soda will work as a natural lightening agent and will break up the stains. It’s also a great way to get the stains off your cuticles.
6) Wait it Out
No one wants to live with fake tanner underneath their nails or walk around with unsightly stains on their toenails. But, sometimes the best thing you can do is just wait for the tanner to fade. Try wearing close-toed shoes until the self-tanner has faded significantly.
You can also choose to ‘wait it out’ while using the other methods listed here. Some may not completely remove the tanner from your nails. But, it can be significantly lightened.
Sometimes in as little as 24 hours, you’ll notice a difference in how deep and dark the self-tanner looks on your nails and surrounding skin. Even a small amount of lightning can make the tan significantly less noticeable.
7) Buff Away the Stains
Toenails are thicker than fingernails. Unfortunately, they also tend to grow slower. So, waiting it out isn’t always the best option for everyone. But, because your toenails are so thick, you may be able to find success by buffing them.
Using a Flash Shiner nail buffer, you can gently rub away surface stains from your toenails. You don’t need to use any extra lotion or polish when you use a nail buffer – the buffer itself does all the work.
Most nail buffing blocks work the same way, but you should always follow specific directions that come with the buffer you choose. It can be tempting to add a lot of pressure if you want to get rid of stains in a hurry.
But, usually, a light touch with the buffer does the job and will leave your toenails clean and shiny. This may not help for stains that are trapped underneath the nails. But, if they are on the surface, they can come off quickly.
Will Spray Tan Ruin Acrylic Nails?
Many women get a spray tan and acrylic nails applied around the same time. Usually, this is because they have a special event coming up, like a wedding. If you’re wearing open-toed shoes to an event and you want your toenails to look perfect, you don’t want to risk having them ruined by a spray tan.
Yes, a spray tan can stain acrylic nails, turning them an orange color. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get a tan off fake nails once it’s stained them. So, what can you do to avoid this?
If you’re getting your nails professionally done, apply the spray first. Ideally, you’ll apply the tan a day in advance. This way, it won’t stain the nails and will be completely dry so it won’t cause the nails to fall off, either.
Make sure to protect your nails before you get them sprayed. If there is a buildup of self-tanner underneath your toenails, it can affect your pedicure and may make fake nails fall off.
If you do get your nails done first, it can be worth it to go to a professional salon for a spray tan. Many spray tanning facilities can use something called a ‘barrier cream.’
They’ll apply the cream on your nails and other areas of the body that might look strange if the tanning solution is applied. Your acrylic nails shouldn’t be affected by the tan once this cream is applied.
But, if you’re applying self-tanner at home, it will be much easier to apply the tan before getting your acrylic nails done.
How to Protect Gel Nails from Spray Tan
Gel nails are different from acrylic nails. They usually include some type of colored nail polish. But, it’s different from the nail varnish you might apply at home.
Gel manicures can be expensive and they are made to last. So, you don’t want to risk staining the color of your gel manicure with a spray tan. If it’s a lighter color, it could turn the polish orange or tint it a color you don’t want.
If you’re getting a professional gel manicure or something like a French manicure, explain your concerns to your manicurist. They may be able to give you tips on how to protect your nails from a spray tan. Or, work with whoever is doing your tan. Barrier cream is a great option in these situations, so you don’t ruin your fresh manicure or the color.
How to Prevent a Fake Tan from Staining Your Nails
If you don’t want a sunless tan to stain your nails, there are things you can do to help prevent it. Keep in mind that one of the primary reasons staining happens is because too much product is used.
Make sure you’re using the tanning product correctly whether it’s a spray or a lotion. A little goes a long way. If you start sparingly, it’s less likely you’ll make such a big mess, and your nails won’t be as heavily affected.
But, if you’re still worried about protecting your nails, you can make it easier on yourself by following these tips:
Apply a Barrier
Apply petroleum jelly to your toenails before you apply the self-tanner. This will act as a barrier for your nails and will prevent the tanning solution from seeping in.
Once the tan is dry, you can wipe away the petroleum jelly and enjoy clean, stain-free nails.
Use Nail Varnish
Any type of nail varnish will protect your toenails from a self-tanner. Even a clear polish will provide enough of a barrier for the tanner not to sink in.
You can remove the polish once you’re done or simply wipe any excess tanner off of it.
Wash It Off
Most fake tanning solutions take time to set before you to take a shower. If you’ve made a mistake and some of the tanning solutions have gotten on your toes, wash it off immediately.
You might see some minor staining, but it shouldn’t be dark or too obvious. And, because it’s so light, it will fade away faster.
There are products you can buy, such as Toe Savers, that will protect your toenails from a spray tan. They also work if you use them in a tanning bed.
They are designed to keep your nails from staining or turning yellow due to fake tan. Toe Savers are easy to apply and remove and provide more accuracy than petroleum jelly as far as nail coverage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re getting a professional spray tan or doing it at home. These solutions will help to cover and protect your toenails.
Even if a fake tan takes a while to dry, it can stain your nails right away. So, don’t hesitate to use preventative tips like these if you don’t want to wait for the staining to fade.
If you have a big event coming up and your toenails are stained with a spray tan, you might be screaming for help. It can be hard to get rid of fake tan from your toenails.
So, it’s important to plan ahead when you decide to use a self-tanning solution. There are things you can do to protect your toenails from getting stained. Preventing this staining in the first place is usually easier than trying to remove it afterward.
We hope some of the solutions in this guide will be helpful if you’re experiencing stained toenails from fake tan. Do what you can to keep a fake tan from building up underneath your nails.
If you’re able to do that, you can usually find a way to lighten surface stains and make them less noticeable to others. Keep your toenails protected in the future, and you’ll never have to stress about what a spray tan might do to them.