When you are looking for a self-tanner, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of them are easy to come by, while others have to be purchased through selected retailers. And then there is the cost factor. Even though some self-tanners seem super affordable, others can be more on the expensive side. But these are not enough to differentiate the products. When all is said and done, it usually comes down to the formulation of ingredients. Using all-natural botanicals with a great scent is always great for this purpose. So, how to know which self-tanners are the best for your skin? Let us talk about some of the ingredients you should look for in a cruelty-free self-tanner and why they are good for your body as well as your tan.
What are Self-Tanners?
For those who need more details about self-tanners, these are sunless tanning products used as a practical and effective alternative to sunbathing. If you are dying for a sun-kissed glow yet reluctant to expose your skin to the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, all you need is a self-tanner. It is usually available in various forms like lotions, creams, sprays, and even mousses. Most sunless tanning products contain a certain color additive called DHA or dihydroxyacetone as their primary active ingredient, which darkens the skin and simulates a tan by reacting with dead cells on its outermost layer. However, this is temporary, and the color fades away just after a few days of application. (1)
Sunless tanning pills are also available in the market for self-tanning. But the color additive canthaxanthin found in them can turn the skin orange or brown. The pills are also considered unsafe as large amounts of the additive may lead to hives, impaired vision, and even liver damage.
Why Choose Vegan Self-Tanners?
Well, a healthy tan starts with clean ingredients. Though DHA in synthetic self-tanners has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for topical application, it should not be inhaled or applied to the areas around the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Hence, regular self-tanners are safe as long as you use them as directed. On the other hand, plant-based self-tanning formulations follow a holistic approach to beauty that reveals your skin’s radiance for a perfectly tanned look. When you use a vegan self-tanner, you give your body nourishing, all-natural botanicals that provide long-lasting color, moisture, and radiance. It also nourishes and pampers the skin from inside out for a healthy and youthful glow that looks and feels completely natural. The power-packed ingredient list of a plant-based self-tanner also remains 100% free from harmful chemicals and animal-derived ingredients.
Vegan self-tanners usually do not contain chemical compounds that can damage our skin in the long run. These include alcohol, sulfates, phthalates, phytates, parabens, GMOs, formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing agents, mineral oil, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, triclocarban, etc.
Ingredients to Look for in Self-Tanners
If you are looking for a self-tanning mousse that will give you a dewy complexion without spreading harmful chemicals across your body, make sure that you opt for an all-natural, cruelty-free self-tanner made from nature’s products. Some of the potent ingredients (2) that your self-tanner should feature are:
1. Naturally-Derived DHA
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that, when sourced from plants, is considered completely safe for our health and body. In addition, it provides longer-lasting color so that you can apply less and glow more. If you want radiant skin, be sure to look for a tanning mousse that is formulated with plant-based DHA to achieve the most luminous effect possible.
2. Vitamins C and E
Vitamins C and E help reduce the appearance of dark spots and fine lines on the skin, thus enhancing its overall radiance. Vitamin C is known to battle the signs of aging by promoting the production of collagen protein, which is responsible for making your skin look taut and firm. Moreover, being an antioxidant, it helps protect skin cells from the damage caused by free radicals during exposure to sunlight. Vitamin E also plays an essential role in fighting against the damage caused by UV exposure. While getting enough vitamin E from your daily diet is a good idea, you can also find self-tanning products that apply directly to your skin.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is excellent for a morning pick-me-up or something to sip on when you are sick. But did you know that it helps rejuvenate the skin and combat the signs of aging? That’s right. High concentrations of polyphenols in green tea contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, a self-tanning mousse containing green tea can lower the irritation and redness of the skin while giving it the dewy glow you are craving for. Vitamin B2 in green tea also helps maintain collagen levels in the skin, thereby retaining a youthful appearance. Additionally, it contains an antioxidant called EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), which makes your skin look healthier by protecting and repairing skin cells and eliminating dullness.
4. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid penetrates the skin’s surface and hydrates it deeply to promote plumper, softer, and smoother skin. It creates a plumping effect and reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles by helping the skin retain its moisture. When your skin is protected and hydrated, it is more capable of producing new cells. This, in turn, leads to naturally healthy skin that looks and feels its best.
5. Watermelon Extract
You might have already heard of the previous ingredients, but watermelon extract may be a completely new idea to you. Nevertheless, it is a great ingredient to have in self-tanning facial serums because it reduces fine lines while giving your skin a dewy, hydrated glow. Apart from vitamin C, it is rich in amino acids and lycopene, both of which are known to promote cell regeneration and repair sun-damaged skin.
You will find peptides in most high-quality facial serums, creams, and lotions, but a lot of people overlook it while shopping for self-tanning products. These powerful little ingredients rebuild collagen and elastin in the skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. So, if you want to get the best bang for your buck, self-tanners containing peptides are the way to go.
7. Celery and Flax Super Seed Extracts
Flax super seed extract effectively reduces irritation, shrinking pore sizes, and rejuvenates the overall texture of the skin to ensure that it becomes fresh and soft. On the other hand, celery contains vitamin K, sodium, potassium, and water, which help prevent dehydration, dryness, flaking skin, and sometimes even breakouts. And when these two are combined in your self-tanning product, you get the perfect dynamic duo for your skin that minimizes the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is often put in many foods, drinks, and skincare products. When it comes to self-tanning mousses and serums, it restores and revitalizes skin cells by supporting the body’s natural healing process. Whole-plant-derived CBD also contains beneficial omega-3 and -6 fatty acids that help soothe dryness and irritation while leaving smooth and even-toned skin.
How to Apply a Self-Tanner?
Picking your favorite self-tanner with beneficial botanicals is not enough to flaunt a perfect tan. Knowing the right way of application is also essential. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Prepare your skin by taking a warm shower. It will open up your skin pores and make the task easy.
- Exfoliate the skin with an oil-free exfoliator. Make sure that it does not leave any residue.
- Shave your skin with a new razor to remove stubble so that you do not look splotchy afterward.
- Pat the skin dry completely before applying the product.
- Put on a pair of gloves to keep your hands from turning orange.
- Apply the product in circular motions and thin layers to ensure a smooth and even application. Also, start at the bottom and work up towards the top.
- Wait 5-10 minutes before getting dressed, and do not shower for 24 hours.
Read Also – 14 Steps to Apply a Self-Tanner or Self-Tanning Lotion Properly
Best Self-Tanning Hacks to Try
- Stay away from water, humidity, and perspiration to prevent your self-tanner from breaking down. You can find a cool and dry place for a mess-free application.
- Identify the driest parts of your body like elbows, knees, wrist to fingertips, back of heels, etc. Soften them with an oil- and fragrance-free lotion after exfoliating to avoid the absorption of too much pigment.
- While applying the product to your knuckle creases, bend your fingers slightly so that the application becomes excellent and uniform.
- Do not forget to apply your go-to sunscreen if you spend time outdoors, as self-tanners do not protect our skin from sunburns.
- For subtle contouring of your face, use a self-tanner made explicitly for facial application and apply it with a small sponge brush. Focus on the sides of the forehead, below the cheekbones, and under the jawline, while maintaining a thin layer over the rest of the face.
- Lightly blend out the product with a sponge brush on your knees, toes, and in between your fingers to avoid creasing and dark spots.
- If you need touch-ups to remove noticeable streaks or darker areas, rub them with lemon and wipe gently with a soft washcloth. A cotton ball dipped into hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol will also do.
- Switch to baby body wash and oil-free products to allow your tan to fade slowly and evenly.
Self-tanners are a practical and effective alternative to sunbathing. It gives a fake yet gorgeous sun-kissed glow sans the damage caused by the damaging UV rays of the sun. Available in a number of forms like lotions, creams, sprays, mousses, etc. self-tanners darken the skin temporarily by reacting with dead cells on its outermost layer. But synthetic self-tanners contain a certain color additive which, when inhaled or applied to the sensitive parts of the skin, can affect it negatively. Hence, it is always great to choose a vegan self-tanner containing clean, all-natural botanicals that nourish and pamper the skin from inside out for a healthy and youthful glow. Some of the most beneficial ingredients used in plant-based self-tanners include naturally-derived DHA, vitamin C and E, green tea, hyaluronic acid, peptides, watermelon extract, celery and flax super seed extracts, and CBD. Apart from picking the best self-tanners with the most effective ingredients, it is also important to learn the right way of application and follow some tried-and-tested tips.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When to Apply a Self-Tanner?
Always apply a self-tanner at night to let the tan develop during sleep. Then, you can always wash off the excess color easily the next morning.
How to Make Self-Tanners Last?
If you want to prolong your fake tan, keep your skin thoroughly moisturized, use mild soaps and cleansers, and avoid exfoliating between two treatments.
Are Self-Tanners Bad for You?
Vegan self-tanners containing clean, all-natural, and skin-friendly botanicals are safe for you.
How Long Do Self-Tanners Last?
Based on the quality and application of the tanner, the result can last anywhere from 3 days to 1 week.
Does Fake Tan Come Off in Swimming Pool?
Yes, the chlorine present in the water of a swimming pool can fade out your faux tan faster than usual.
- “Sunless Tanning: What You Need to Know“, MayoClinic.org
- “All Natural Botanicals and CBD Oil for Skin Care“, OpalensBeauty.com
- “21 Genius Self-Tanner Hacks That Will Make Your Fake Tan Look Real“, Cosmopolitan.com
- “10 Things No One Ever Tells You About: Self Tanner“, StyleCaster.com