9 years ago by

We’ve all been there. Fell asleep in the sun. Went for a long run. And the next day: tan lines.

My worst tan line experience happened while I was studying abroad. My friend and I took a boat (a glorified ferry) from Italy to Greece. In the morning, I went up to the top deck to take in the sights and I fell asleep on a bench. Wearing leggings. Fast forward a few hours and I was left with a bright red lower calf cut off by a straight line right at mid-calf. It was the worst tan line you could ever imagine (yeah, worse than the sunglasses tan line most often seen on guys who are too macho for sunscreen). My attempts at “evening it out” on the beach failed and just left me with more awkward lines up and down my legs. It took the rest of the summer for it to fade away and for me to not be embarrassed having bare legs in public…

Now you know I’m not perfect when it comes to staying safe at the sun (see my recent adventure with lava tights) but I have learned a few tricks for helping to fade those baaadddd tan lines (things I wish I had known summer of 2009)…

Exfoliate. This is the big one. Be sure you are exfoliating everyday in the shower, use a loofa with a good (gritty) scrub. It will help to slough off dead skin cells and speed up your tan line fading process. If you’re extra adventurous, try dry brushing (I just started doing it, will report back on my feelings/findings very soon!). Remember, don’t start exfoliating until after your burn has heeled!

Stay moisturized. Just like when you get a bad burn, you want to keep your tan skin hydrated.

Go sunless. This is reserved for seasoned pros (or if you really need to get that tan line covered up fast)– grab your sunless tanner and get to work. I prefer the gradual building sunless tanners when it comes to evening things out (I like Jergens Natural Glow), less risk envolved but it will take a bit more time. If you need a quick fix, try James Read Wash Off Tan, it delivers color right away (but I recommend using it with a tanning mitt for even application).

Okay, since we are all friends here, tell me about your worst tan line. And then tell me your tricks for dealing with it!

PS: This swimsuit is Thapleo Paris!


Add yours
  • Exfoliate and moisturize it is very important for the perfect tan!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • i have lots of different tan lines from sports bras and dresses and then the swimming suits! :P


  • Love this swimsuit!!! <3

    Le monde des petites

  • How long does it take for tan line to go away? I’ve mine about almost a year now! :(


  • Merci pour ces conseils, aurais-tu des conseils pour exfolier (marques…) ? Parce que c’est vrai que les marques de bronzage m’arrivent à chaque fois, même sans m’endormir, à cause de ma peau pâle !

    Alors j’ai essayé l’auto-bronzant, mais même les produits Saint Tropez ne m’ont pas entièrement convaincue !


  • Mon pire souvenir c’est de m’être endormie sur la plage, sur le ventre, la tête dans mes bras croisés… Je me suis baladée pendant plus de 15 jours avec la marque de mes doigts écartés sur chaque bras…. la loose totale….

  • irosis July, 24 2014, 1:14

    J’ai ressenti la même chose que toi quand sur la route des vacances, je me suis arrêtée pour une pause et je me suis assoupie avec ma casquette sur le visage. En dormant, elle a bougé et je me suis retrouvée avec une joue écarlate et avec un rectangle de peau de la même couleur sur le front. Trop la honte !!! J’ai rasé les murs de mon lieu de vacances pendant plus d’une semaine.

  • Annouillle July, 23 2014, 9:56 / Reply

    J’ai lu récemment que les microbilles qui entrent dans la composition de la plupart des gommages sont nocives pour l’environnement. D’ailleurs, je viens de trouver ce lien : http://www.lexpress.fr/styles/beaute/gommages-exfoliants-les-microbilles-des-cosmetiques-nuisent-a-l-environnement_1554800.html

    Alors bon, c’est bien de s’occuper de soi, d’éviter les marques de bronzage, tout ça tout ça, mais franchement, y a pas plus important ?

  • Exfoliation. Sucre + huile d’olive // ou marc de café -> 0 impact sur l’environnement et 0 produits négatifs pour le corps!

  • I love some tan lines on…people always ask me about holidays when I’ve some!!
    XOX, Gap.

  • The worst tan lines I’ve had were always when I applied my sunblock unevenly…like the time I used a pray and then ended up with the actual imprint of my bikini tie on my hip!!! Awful! I think if you are trying to even it out then the whole exfoliating, self tanner ritual is perfect but if you want a quick fix try those Sally Beauty for legs sprays. There’s a tutorial on my blog
    And yes let’s all apply our sunscreen!

  • J’avoue, d’une année sur l’autre, on oublie qu’on n’est pas immunisés contre les coups de soleil!!! ;-) Et comme le bronzage n’attend pas en vacances, on y va franco ds l’oubli de la crème solaire!! Aiiiiiie!

  • hahaha don’t go in the sun with clothes you don’t want to have tan lines of! ahahah.
    Dry brushing might help? it renews your skin!
    Xo, Belen
    A Hint of Life

  • Laetitia July, 23 2014, 10:45 / Reply

    Comment dire ? La personne qui a étalé de la crème sur mon dos a voulu s’exercer dans l’art abstrait je suppose… Sinon pourquoi mon dos ressemblerait en ce moment à un gâteau marbré… ?

    La vie est dure.

  • En même temps tu portais un leggings mi mollet .. un leggings mi mollet !!

  • Ahahahhaha! It was 2009! Forgive me!!!

  • I like subtle tan lines, they give a nice feeling, remind me it’s summer time :-)


  • Tan lines are my favoirte souvenirs from a nice vacation.

    xx, Kristi

  • Sock tanlines are always quite annoying. But it’s not always doom and gloom- put a silly band on your wrist when sunbathing, and the result is sometimes super cute (heart and star ones are most effective) :)


  • Oserai-je me permettre d’ajouter un conseil? Pour avoir tout fait (la marque de la main sur le ventre, du palmier sur le dos ou des trou-trous du chapeau sur les épaules, entre autres), je m’astreins à une règle d’or en cas de pétage de plombs post-bronzage: lâcher prise et prendre l’apéro. Ah, et aussi, une précision: on n’exfolie pas sur les coups de soleil, j’ai essayé, c’est une mauvaise idée.

  • Hmmn…I can’t remember a terrible tan line experience, but I can share that nowadays I pretty much always wear strapless bathing suits. I hate the lines that strapped bathing suits give…!!


  • Jessica July, 23 2014, 11:29 / Reply

    I walked Hadriens wall with a friend carrying all our stuff in big rucksacks and ended up with these awful looking marks across my chest from the support straps. It looked like I had some weird sort of pink bondage top on… Not a good look

  • I have to disagree with one thing: it is not recommended to exfoliate during the tanning process. Once a week is more than enough, and with a very soft product. Moisturizing of course is everyday! Worse tan line for me: shorts. With a bikini, it looks terrible… but i have realized it happens to many of us:)

  • MissPimpin July, 23 2014, 11:59 / Reply

    J’adore ce post, il est très drôle, excessivement rafraîchissant pour celles qui ne sont pas encore en vacances

  • Perfect comment and photo about tan lines, loving the post!
    Kiss, Alena | meet me stylish

  • so important to moisturize!!! also, I try not wear a bikini more complicated than I am


  • No, don’t exfoliate like that everyday!! A loofa with normal shower gel and/or a good scrub once a week is more than enough!

  • I got mine just two weeks ago. I packed two swimsuits, one of which had a deeper cut than the other. I obviously forgot about that fact and went to the beach wearing the more ‘covering’ one. Unfortunately, the sun was really scorching and I spent most of the day at the beach. Next day I decided to try another swimsuit and then – big surprise – I noticed that I had tan lines literally across my butt. I don’t have to mention that I looked like an idiot. I tried to even it out a bit with a fake tan, but solution has found itself – I got back home and now it’s raining so I don’t have to take my clothes off in public ;)

  • And I was so worried that people might start scrubing their skin off I didn’t mention my worst tan line. Must have been when I went geocaching with 2 guys, one of which didn’t know how to read the GPS (not phone, there was no such thing as GPS on a phone back then), and happened to be the one using it, so we all thought it was 2min away in a straight line, but since we had to follow the road, it would take longer. Half an hour later I took a look at it, and it was 2 hours… We carried on anyway, in the sun, until we reached the place. Luckily one of their parents picked us up by car on the way back to spare us the over 2 hour walk. I was wearing a tank top, shorts, sunscreen, and a ponytail, so the back of my neck had a straight white line from where my hair had been all morning. Hard to cover that in the summer when you’re obviously not going to wear turtlenecks, and it’s too hot for scarves. I also didn’t wear make up back then, had no idea tanners existed (which I still don’t wear), and my hair was like Hermione’s in the books, or the first movie.

    Oh, and we didn’t find the geocache.

  • Le legging mi-mollet :'( !!! Hahah c’était en 2009 on te pardonne !

    Moi c’est la marque des lunettes qui me rend folle, il n’y encore pas longtemps ça m’est arrivé :(


  • L'épingle July, 23 2014, 2:04 / Reply

    Un trajet de quatre heures par très beau temps avec ma Deux-chevaux (puddle jumper or galloping goose pour les anglophones) la capote ouverte. Je m’étais enduit le nez d’écran absolu, mais j’aurais dû penser aussi à la ceinture de sécurité.

  • Mattea July, 23 2014, 2:23 / Reply

    Strappy sandal tan lines are the worst! Who puts sunscreen on their FEET?
    When you want to wear different types of shoes, then it looks like you have patchy discolored feet while your body is tan.
    I’m also not a huge fan of tank top tans lines on shoulders, but I realize this is unavoidable due to the fact that I have to wear a shirt. If we just walked/beached around naked all day, this wouldn’t be a problem! Until then…

  • Sun tan lines are great memory on holiday!
    Inspiration Point by Paula Fleur

  • Souvenirs souvenirs… Je pense que seul le temps estompe les dégâts en la matière! ;)

  • The WORSE tan line was smack bang across my forehead!

    I had been at a summer market on a roof all day with a bandana on – late afternoon I realized that I was getting a bit pink in the face & with sudden dread pulled off bandana and there it was a tan line right across my face above eyebrows! I went home mortified and cut a fringe – VOILA it did the trick :) X

  • Rebecca July, 23 2014, 6:09 / Reply

    Unfortunately, I get the same awful tan lines every summer! I live in AZ and I play tennis most mornings. Since it is so hot here (and there are no indoor courts) I’m on the courts by 7:00 am and off them by 9:00 am. Even with SPF 50 which I am diligent about and playing early in the day, I spend short and bathing suit season with white feet and thighs. Not the best look! Self tanner helps, but the reality is I always have these tan lines in the summer!

  • Once I put a tattoo on my shoulder, you know, one of those that you used to wear as kid, one that washes off. It was a flying, white unicorn (I was at a festival, so, appropriate, I dare say). Unfortunately, I got the worst sunburn ever standing in the front row, sun screen far far away in the tent… And for the rest of the summer (and quite some time into fall), I had to walk around with a tan “line” in the shape of a flying unicorn.

  • Try being a cyclist: terrible tan lines over my thighs, on my arms where I have been wearing short sleeve jerseys, on the backs of my hands from my gloves :o|

  • Well, I was wearing an underwire bikini top last summer and sat in the sun for HOURS on the Fourth of July. Fortunately I had slathered SPF 45 all over my entire body…except that the underwire had somehow rubbed off the sunscreen under my boobs, so there were two half-moons on my upper ribcage that weren’t protected. The burns there were so bad that they blistered, and you can still see a faint scar.

    Worst. Tan Lines. Ever.

  • Carole July, 23 2014, 9:16 / Reply

    go to Sephora Makeup forever ….they can fix it

  • Exfolier tous les jours ?! Mouais … attention quand même ! 2 à 3 fois par semaine oui, mais tous les jours NON au secours! Surtout que tu n’as pas l’air d’y aller de main morte :)

  • Lors d’une sortie en canoé, j’ai un mais qui a pris un coup de soleil avec des chaussettes hautes et un legging de sport, résultat un anneau rouge de 10 cm à mi mollets qui lui a laissé pendant des mois une marque de bronzage totalement ridicule ^^

  • I am a hard core road cyclist and I put in 100 miles + per week. Cycling will give you the ugliest tan lines you have ever seen. Solution: Wear them like a badge of honor and chow down on a burger while looking smugly at those eating salad :)

  • That girl in the pic, she and her red swimsuit are really sexy.
    I hate tan lines on my chest from triangle bikinis, they make boobs look saggy.

  • Andrea July, 24 2014, 9:28 / Reply

    C’est marrant je viens juste d’écrire un post là dessus sur mon blog!

  • Hi, Garance,

    Everybody knows how we Portuguese girls love the beach and a nice tan, but I must tell you that we consider bikini marks (tan lines) to be very chic and sexy. Of course, we wear Brazilian bikinis too! ;-)

  • Une forme de maillot un peu spéciale, combinée à une application très approximative de crème solaire ont résulté à un coup de soleil en forme de coeur au dessus de la poitrine. Cet été même. Comment dire… classe ?

  • michelle July, 24 2014, 2:56 / Reply

    The most awesome tanline is the one my sister had once. She had the imprint of a palmtree on her leg!

  • You could have only worn long socks (up to the legging cut off) at the beach to counter the legging tan! :)

  • Martine July, 24 2014, 9:52 / Reply

    WRONG!!!!! You shouldn’t exfoliate in the summer!!! It increases the sun damage. Don’t do it.

  • Theresa July, 24 2014, 10:37 / Reply

    I’m a fairly sunless kinda girl, so I can’t really chime in on how to deal with tan lines gone wrong, BUT my eyes lit up when you mentioned dry brushing! Please do write about it on the blog after you’ve given it a go. I’ve been using a loofah in the shower for a couple months, but started the dry brushing very recently. So far I love it, but can’t attest to it’s long term benefits just yet…

  • Camille July, 25 2014, 9:03 / Reply


    J’avais vu un reportage super intéressant sur les moeurs brésiliennes (telelment différentes des Français). Là-bas, les filles portent leurs marques de bronzage comme une fièreté, et les exposent. C’est très sexy au Brésil, et ça montre aux autres qu’elles sont bronzées et belles. J’ai vraiment trouvé ça génial (évidemment, je n’ai pas appliqué cette méthode, et je bronze toujours avec le moins de tissu sur ma peau possible…).
    Mais pour toi, Garance, cela pourrait t’aider à assumer tes marques de bronzage, jadis honteuses et sources de complexes estivaux.

    J’aime lire ton blog, XOXO.

  • amazing!! it reminds me of that day, about 15 years ago, when I also felt asleep on the deck (also going to a Greek island!!) wearing net socks!I didn’t see that happening at all so in the beginning I though that the socks were just too tight that gave me red net lines at the top of my feet…few hours later realised what happened…I remember all my girlfriends laughing and me spending so much time over the next days simply sunbathing the top of my feet!!!

  • Jennifer July, 29 2014, 7:47 / Reply

    A product that Net-A-Porter carries by This Works works very well to help give a sunkissed look without staining. It’s their Miracle Leg Serum. It has vitamin C in it and a bit of bronzer or some tint. It doesn’t save the tan lines but it helps and is great for the first days uncovered so you don’t seem as pale plus the serum is amazing, my legs have never looked better.

  • I really love tan lines. The white bits are perfect in saying: this is just for you.

  • Definitely one of the tan girls.

  • What I get almost every summer is a tan line of my headphones because I usually listen to music when lying in the sun and fall asleep most times. Always looks really funny but mostly it fades away after a frew days, thank God hahah. :D

  • Some styles to go with that beautiful tan!

  • Brilliant ! I like to war some sun visor hair styles while im in the sun at least I’ll protect my hair from burning and as for the rest of my body I always use a towel for coverage. :)

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