A good tan can go a long way to improving someone’s look. When you see someone with that golden sun-kissed glow, you can’t help thinking they’re someone who loves being outside and having a good time. When you look too young it can make you look sophisticated, and as long as you’re careful, when you’re a little older sun-kissed cheeks can make you seem young at heart. Achieving that perfect balance, though, is much easier said than done. Even with new technology that means you never have to expose your skin to harmful UV rays to get an even tan, most people seem to look worse, not better, when they lay on the bronzer.
While your local barista with the too-tanned skin has some excuses for going a little heavy on the spray tan (she honestly doesn’t know better and is not making enough money to afford a really good one), celebrities have stylists, personal assistants and the best possible equipment at their disposal. Then why do so many of them still manage to get it all wrong? We’re not even just talking about going too dark or entirely the wrong colour, but plain old bad application. We also hate to think of how many of these awful tans are not something you can wash off, but the product of beach lounging and tanning beds! Skin cancer is a very real thing, affecting far more people than it should. Let us know which celebrities we missed out on and if you think that any of these shouldn’t be here.
15. Jennifer Lawrence
The ever relatable Jennifer Lawrence is loveable in part because she’s not this untouchable movie star goddess. She makes mistakes, she likes pizza, and her tan game ranges from okay to not very good at all. While she seems to have gotten quite a bit better since her disastrous appearance for Dior in 2014, Lawrence still hasn’t quite mastered the tan game and still goes a little too dark sometimes. While far from one of the worst offenders on this list, we’re hoping that J-Law shapes up and learns from her past mistakes. As one of the hottest actors in Hollywood right now, we’d hate to see something as silly as a bad tan distract from her obvious talents.
14. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Unfortunately, while we all know that hitting tanning beds and the sun a little too often is really bad for your skin, it’s something that is still very much encouraged in the world of body building. With a career dating back to the 1970s, Arnold has a few lifetimes worth of tanning to show off his physique and it shows. While not quite as orange as he used to be, Arnold’s skin still seems a little too orange to us AND due to extensive damage, his skin really lacks the stretch and malleability that it might have if he had taken better care of it over the years.
The original queen of the bad tan, Snooki is still very much in the public eye. Since Jersey Shore, she’s built a family and lost a lot of weight, but she doesn’t seem to ever want to shake off her deep unflattering tan. While naturally olive skinned, Snooki seems to believe the darker the better when it comes to tanning and as a result consistently looks older than she is. Even when she’s dressing to the nines, the bad tan seems to drop her a few pegs on the respectability chart, overall looking pretty cheap and unflattering. It’s too bad, because, for all her antics, Snooki is actually pretty adorable.
12. Kim Kardashian
While since hooking up with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian has upped her game, she has had a long hard road up to the top. Starting as Paris Hilton’s closet organizer, Kim K has turned a small business into becoming new Reality Royalty. As we have so much access to her personal life, it shouldn’t be a surprise that she has shared some of her personal tanning mishaps – including forgetting to take off some sunglasses and some unfortunate spray tans. Like other people on this list, due to Kim’s ever-changing look, it seems like she puts herself more at risk than most for tanning mishaps – but we still love her.
11. Britney Spears
Earlier this year Britney Spears put up on her Instagram a photo of her new spray tan and a tag calling HERSELF out for looking like an Oompa Loompa. Honestly, even at her worst Spears never really abused the self-tanner like some of her contemporaries. Honestly, even though this look doesn’t suit her, she’s smart enough to not step out in this look and we have mad respect for Britney for pulling her career out of the ground these past few years. One bad tanning experience is not going to ruin the goodwill she’s accumulated, let’s just hope she keeps on the good track!
10. Brooke Hogan
While Brooke Hogan’s career has recently been upstaged by the trial over her father’s sex tape, she is still in the spotlight. That being said, she has yet to figure out how much is too much when it comes to tanning and is looking at least a decade older than she is because of it. This is likely a case of the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because Hulk Hogan is no stranger to overenthusiastic tanning practices; when you’re not a muscular wrestler (and even if you are) this look is so unflattering. Brooke is still relatively young, so she still has time to shape up before she does some irreversible damage to her skin.
9. Megan Fox
One of the hottest women in the world, Megan Fox occasionally abuses tanning. We honestly like Fox’s pearly skin, so we don’t know why she goes full orange sometimes. While some speculate that it’s because a good tan can make you appear slimmer, Fox is already very toned and thin. We kinda feel bad about picking on Fox’s tan, though, as apparently it was never really something she was interested in doing until she was pressured to by Michael Bay in the Transformers movies. Speaking to Allure Magazine in 2010, Fox explained the pressure she felt on the set: “I had been tanning a lot so that Michael would be happy with my skin tone. Every spare moment of sun that was outside, I had to be in it,” she said. “It’s not going to happen again because of the damage and the possible skin cancer.”
8. Gigi Hadid
While still best known as a member of Taylor Swift’s squad, Gigi Hadid is a very successful model whose star only seems to be rising. While, undeniably, Gigi’s tan is on point for her appearances in Sports Illustrated we’re not so sure the look translates as well to everyday wear. Take, for example, her 2015 appearance at the VMAs – where she appeared gold from head to toe. While some were really keen on this 1970s throwback look, we’re not so sure it worked. Maybe not as bad as some of the other entries on this list, her self-tanning appearance was way too heavy-handed and overall quite monotone. Gigi just barely pulls it off, but if we want, to be honest with ourselves, if she wasn’t a swimsuit model people would be a lot more critical.
7. Ariana Grande
This petite pop goddess usually looks completely on point, but even she falls for some classic bad tan pitfalls. The most common offence for this beauty has to be going way too dark. While Ariana Grande’s baby face and small size make her seem far younger than she is, her tanning to seemingly make her look, adult is often far too dark – in particular on her body. First of all, the colour of her stomach often doesn’t match her face or legs. Second, whether spray tan or real tan, it just makes her look leathery. We are not fans and hope Grande learns to scale back.
6. Rita Ora
We are huge fans of this up and coming pop star, but she has yet to quite pull off her look. She is amazingly beautiful and incredibly talented, but now and again, she still doesn’t always pull off her look. While she has a naturally beautiful and darker complexion, she still somehow misses the boat – at least when it comes to her legs. While we generally think messing up your fake tan on or around your face is the worst possible scenario, an uneven application to your legs can be just as bad – especially when they are as eye-catching as Rita’s.
5. Bradley Cooper
As much as we wish Bradley Cooper’s tan malfunction was just a one-off, it seems he has hit every tanning faux pas in the book. From not evenly distributing the fake tanner, to have different colours on your face and neck to missing entire sections of his face, Cooper cannot seem to get a handle on his complexion. You’d think one of the biggest heartthrobs out there would at the very least have a personal assistant who would have the decency to let him know how awful he looks before he steps out for an awards show – but maybe not!
4. Christina Aguilera
We kinda see what Christina Aguilera is going for, but it just doesn’t work as a look. Even aside from her well documented melting spray tan incident at Etta James’ funeral, her complexion is just way too dark, especially in contrast with her platinum hair. Evoking a look more conducive to Playboy (at least before they abandoned nudes) than the music industry, in spite of Aguilera’s great talents and killer body, the fake tan just doesn’t suit her. We really don’t know why she doesn’t go back to her natural, paler, complexion which would probably look really good with her revamped look.
3. Piers Morgan
Luckily American law prevents Piers Morgan from running for president because he might just be the only person as obnoxious as Trump. This British import seems to want to really fit in now that he’s living and working in America, and as a result has gone the way of the fake fan. Unfortunate like many Brits, Morgan is not habituated to the sun and he has gone way too deep into the dark world of fake tans to ever recover. Really, if there was ever any doubt that Morgan was absolutely tasteless, his tan really says it all.
2. Lindsay Lohan
Poor Lohan, whenever we bring her up it always feels like we’re kicking her when she’s down. But, audiences and readers’ continued fascination with this ex-Disney star trainwreck has a lot to do with the promise she showed and the fact is – we’re all still rooting for her to make a comeback. One thing that never really worked for Lohan though was her skin care regimen. Ever since she abandoned her red locks for a variety of washed out blondes and dark browns, she seems to have become a little overzealous with self-tanner but with unfortunately little follow-through. Lohan consistently falls for the common mistakes in tanning, notably uneven application, bad exfoliation and just going too dark.
1. Donald Trump
It’s pretty amazing that the forerunner of the Republican party has arguably the worst tan of any public persona right now. The baffling sickly yellow-orange he uses for his hair somehow transplanted to his face and worst of all – it all seems very deliberate. While Mr. Trump goes out of his way to insult people for their appearances, he himself seems immune to the same kind of scrutiny and brushes it off like he is impervious to criticism. Not until this presidential election has there been so much schoolyard bullying, and while it seemed for a while many candidates were not going to stoop to Trump’s level, that was short-lived. In February 2016, before he dropped out of the race Marco Rubio dealt maybe the most crushing blow against the Donald reportedly declaring that Trump has the ‘worst spray tan in America’ and ”should sue whoever did that to his face.”