I was more than happy to switch to organic make-up and bath products but I could not give up my fake tan. I’m pale and freckly, I need fake tan! For years there was no safe alternative for me to try, so I ignored my wiser-self and kept on slathering that St Tropez.
But recently there have been a growth in the natural fake tan market so finally I have natural alternatives. As the demand for the stuff grows the market will keep on delivering. So far they’ve delivered pretty well! In the interest of safe beauty, I’ve kindly volunteered myself to test them for you. The things I do for my readers! 😉
Commercial fake tans have a host of problematic ingredients You may recognise many of them from my earlier post. The active ingredient in fake tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with the amino acids on the skin to turn it brown. When it is sprayed on to the body, it is often inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream. Scientists say it could damage DNA and cause tumours.
I used to love LeTan fake tan; it’s super cheap and produces an awesome, dark tan. However I would notice that after a few applications my skin would become dry and I would even develop psoriasis patches on my arms (it’s normally limited to my scalp). You would think this would have been a wake up call for me, but no, vanity won out every time.
Thanks to the growth in the natural fake tan market I no longer have an excuse to not make the switch.
Boy is my skin grateful! These fake tans are all made from natural, moisturising which means they never dry out your skin and they don’t aggravate skin conditions.
Note: I am naturally very pale and do not tan under the sun. So if a product works for me a little, on someone with more melanin it is likely to work quite effectively. I’m the equivalent of a chronic headache sufferer trialing headache medications. If it works for me, it’ll definitely work for you!
What is it in fake tan that changes the colour of our skin?
DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is the main ingredient responsible for the tan effect. Many fake tans use a man-made synthetic DHA, which should be avoided. The natural fake tans use a DHA derived from natural ingredients, such as sugar beets. The main difference is that the natural versions are made to react to the amino acids only in the dead top layers of the skin. While in chemical-based tanning products, chemicals can be added to weaken the skin’s surface, which will result in the product being absorbed into the blood stream, and will result in a faster developing tan (and the nasties penetrating much deeper).
Tips for application
- Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Then exfoliate some more.
- Do not apply moisturiser or anything else before sunless tan application. It will dilute the concentration of tan
- Let the tan dry a little before dressing. This will help prevent any tan rubbing off or staining fabrics (unless you’re using Eco Tan).
- Don’t forget your face – apply fake tan in much the same way you would apply moisteriser. Make sure you blend around the hairline though so you’re not left with obvious gaps.
- Wash your hands after application! Skip this step once and you’ll never make the mistake again.
- To prolong your tan moisturize frequently. Dry skin makes tan wear off faster.
And the best natural sunless tan awards go to….
From their website: Asyana’s Bronze Self Tanning Lotion containing DHA, Erythrulose and Walnut extract; with added skin hydrating and nourishing ingredients aloe vera, green tea, grapeseed, chamomile, vitamin e and coconut and macadamia nut oil; will leave your skin glowing with a beautiful tan. Your tan will look like your natural sun tan and fade like your natural sun tan.
Tips for application: The solution is tinted so you can see where you have applied. You’ll notice as well there’s a greenish tint to the bronze. Green counters orange so you will end up with a beautiful caramel bronze, not a nasty orange tan. The downside to the tint though is that it stains your hands, even if you wash them off straight away. So you must wear gloves! (gloves are provided).
There is some dispute about Asyana’s DHA and how safe it is (despite it being from a natural sources). If this is a concern for you then you’re best off avoiding it.
Size: 150ml, sufficient for 10 full body self applications
Cost: $49.95 (includes free postage within Australia)
4/5 stars (I think it’s still too expensive!). This is my favourite. Great, long lasting colour. What more could a tanorexic like me want?
The Asyana website states that your tan will last 7-10 days. I find this is fairly generous estimation, for me it’s closer to 5-7 days.
Buy it from:
Directly from the Asyana website
I didn’t plan as well as I should have and had to shave my legs after it had developed (which can strip off a bit of colour). But as you can see, I still ended up with a brilliant, gorgeous golden tan.
P.S. I’ve also used their spray tan solution and had brilliant results. It’s comparable to Naked Tan in colour. Perfect!
It’s made here in Australia and it’s the only self-tan that’s also Certified Organic. The actual DHA in Eco Tan is also certified organic independently (by Eco Cert) so it must come from a natural source.
Eco Tan products are certified by the Organic Food Chain, vegan, and are accredited by Choose Cruelty Free.
Tips for application: there’s no dye’s in this product, so it rubs on like you would apply a moisturiser. Take extra care to apply everywhere; you don’t want a random white patch on the back of your leg! Because of the lack of dyes though it won’t stain clothes or sheets.
I carelessly squirted the lotion on my bath mat, wiped it off with my fingers then forgot about it… Next day, no stain! Compared to the usual fake tans, this is incredible! I’ve stained so many carpets over my teenage years. Sorry mum & dad!
Verdict: 3/5 stars. Feels lovely in application, smells pleasant and develops into a nice, natural looking tan. It doesn’t last as long as I would like
Colour: light initially, medium with two coats.
Longevity: not great. It fades really quickly, around 2 days of colour. If you’re ok with reapplying that frequently though your colour will be nicely maintained.
And for the worst…
It’s a tinted gel formula so it’s easy to apply and see where you’ve covered.
From their website: Specifically designed to encourage a natural looking tan. Sukin’s bronzing gel boasts caramel for instant colour, aloe vera for instant skin hydration and the gentle bronzing active dihydroxyacetone, to gradually develop a radiant glow. Free from the unpleasant smell associated with tanning products, this quick drying, non-greasy gel is enriched with Australian lemon myrtle and lime oils for an invigorating fragrance. Suitable for the face & body and for all skin types, including sensitive.
Verdict: It didn’t work, so no stars. Perhaps if it was a bronzer it would have earned one star (still too pale for my liking), but as it’s supposed to be a sunless tanner I would expect some colour to remain the next day.
Colour: Applied like a tint, more of a really pale bronzer.
Longevity: When the tint washed off these was nothing.
Buy it from: Priceline, Chemist Warehouse and other pharmacy’s.
Results: I tried this product before I started blogging so didn’t think to take photos (and don’t want to waste my money buying it again).
The tanning products I haven’t tried yet but my research tells me they are worth a look. Perhaps in a couple of months time I can let you know!
The Lavera range is Certified Natural by the BDIH, which also means it must not contain toxins. So again, the DHA must come from a natural source. The Lavera Self tan has won many awards internationally. *Update* I have since tried Lavera Fake Tan. See my review here.
Other great natural tanners include The True All Natural Self Tanner For Face & Body, and the Santorini Sunless Tanning Lotion which is apparently excellent for medium to darker skin tones.
Green People, a UK brand, that also produces a safe tan alternative. I’ve read some great reviews from UK websites about it.
TanOrganic Original Self-Tan ($52 for 100ml) is a fake tan that features a 100 per cent natural, Certified Organic formula. The natural-looking fake tan is free from synthetic colours, ingredients, fragrances and parabens, and is certified vegan. Click here for reviews.
I’ll keep on testing tanning products and may have an update for you in a month or two.
And if you’re a fake tan newbie
Eco Tan also make another product called Organic Winter Skin, $29.95. It’s been designed to add extra nourishment to your skin, it dries instantly, it develops into a honey-coloured tan after a few days of application, and it’ll also look great on fair skin.
Did you find this post useful? Share your tips and thoughts below, or feel free to repost.