Cringe! Your most hilarious fake tan fails ever, from date disasters to wedding horrors
23rd June 2022

Fake tan is, of course, one of beauty's greatest inventions, with the power to transform us into glowy goddesses with one swipe of a mitt. However, it’s fair to say that it’s not always foolproof, particularly if you’re new to the faux glow game, or you’ve been a little slapdash with your prep.

But just how badly can it go wrong? Very, very badly, it turns out. We asked you – OK’sBeauty Edit testing community– to share your worst-ever tanning disasters, and we’ve been inundated with hilariously toe-curling tales.

Forget mere Oompa-Loompa skin tones, streaky ankles or stinky whiffs. We’re talking the sort of fails that still make you cringe today, and no wonder…

Naked attraction

“I was having a tan done in a beauty salon standing there in just those little paper thongs they give you. The window was open as it was a hot summer day and a gust of wind blew the door open so the whole waiting room saw me standing there practically naked. I was absolutely mortified!!” KH, Essex

Stain strain

I was staying at my in-laws for the first time and applied a new fresh tan the night before. The tan did feel slightly sticky but I thought nothing of it. When I used the ensuite the next morning, to my horror I saw the nice white loo seat had taken on a brown tan too! I spent ages scrubbing the toilet seat with bleach and even body exfoliator trying to get it off.”

CS, Hamps

Marital marks

“I was getting married in Cyprus, in a beautiful off-the-shoulder dress, so I decided to put self tan on my awful white bikini strap marks. After I’d applied it, my husband came into the room and we got a bit carried away – as you do. I woke the next day and all I saw was patchy marks where he’d kissed round my neck and chest. Luckily the beautician fixed the worst of it with foundation, but I still die when I notice it in the wedding album.” LM, Middlesex

A new woman

“My tan went so dark, my son’s teacher didn’t recognise me and I was stood in the school playground while all the teachers were trying to figure out who I was.” VC, Lincs

Nothing to smile about

“While on holiday I asked my husband to put aftersun on my back, but he thought it would be funny to replace it with false tan. The next day I went swimming and everyone was pointing and laughing because my back was tanned deep orange brown with a white smiley face. Let’s say my husband had some grovelling to do.” DD, Cardiff

DI-why

“I've tried so many tans over the years but back when I was around 17, I decided to make my own formula by using red and yellow food colouring. Needless to say I was the laughing stock of my peers. My face was the worst, I literally looked like I was Spain’s football mascot.” DN, Greater Manchester

Orange is the new cream

“I was living with my partner’s parents during a pretty warm summer. I’d been sitting downstairs with them for an hour or so, and when I stood up I found that my fake tan had left an almost perfect print of my legs and back on their lovely cream sofa. My partner found it hilarious but his parents were fuming! NS, Suffolk

In the pits

“We were having a new bathroom put in, and the lights weren’t working so it was very dark. After I got out of the shower, I went to bed and had a lovely night’s sleep… only to wake up to two massive, dark brown patches under my arms. Eventually I realised I had sprayed a self tan can under my arms instead of my deodorant. This has been a standing joke in our family for years, I will never live it down.” JH, Lancs

One night tanned

“A few years ago, I was getting all ready for a girls night out…sauna, shower, self tan… I looked great. Many drinks later, I started chatting to a guy I knew, one thing led to another, and the next morning his lovely bedding was covered in fake tan. He lived with his mother (who did his washing). 12 months later we married and she mentioned this in her speech. Embarrassing…” DH Lancs

Winning streaks

When I was at school, I found my mum's fake tan and I decided to use it with no preparation. When I woke up, not only was it a horrible dark colour but it was super streaky. To add to my misery, it was games day, and the PE teacher had me at the front of the whole class as a lesson of what not to do.” LR, Bristol

Hands of gold

When I first started tanning I somehow ended up with one incredibly gold and shiny hand. I was working the next day with people I'd never met, so I was shaking a lot of hands – and they all chose the Tango one. My nickname has been Goldfinger ever since.”

AS Merseyside

Nothing to lube

“I once lent over the side of my bed during sex to reach out for lubrication and unknowingly grabbed a bottle of fake tan. My boyfriend was pretty mad when we realised what had happened later on, when he had a very tanned willy!” NL, Norfolk

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