Is There Such Thing as a Natural Fake Tan?

Fake Tan Natural Self Tan

Let’s face it, life is better in the sunshine and us Brits are simply not getting enough of it! I don’t know if our summers really do get worse every year but it certainly feels like it to me. Despite my opening sentences this summer I do seem to have picked up a sun tan rather quickly. Friends keep asking me when we meet “have you been on holiday? You look so tanned!” Mr BB commented recently how golden both my hair and skin were looking. So when I tell folks that my tans are all the way from Finsbury Park baseball and softball ground and Ally Pally’s finest field by the deer enclosure, they can hardly believe what I am saying. I think that my hat trick of sun holidays last year has given me a nice base to work on that has made topping up (sun)light and easy work.

I’m quite lucky in that I don’t burn very quickly, I use coconut oil to protect my skin from the sun’s rays as it has a natural SPF of 6 (as well as real skin nourishing properties!) but if I’m going to the beach or am out and about sight seeing on holiday I will turn to my natural sun protection recipe. However it’s important to point out that what works for one may not work for all and as we know some skin types are hyper-sensitive to the sun. For those of you who are not quite so lucky as me, I’ve decided to post this round up of excellent natural-based fake tans and shimmers so you can get the glow without damaging your skin. I was hoping for sunshine today but I got up and it’s grey clouds and the trampoline’s covered in rainwater, so if we can’t have the sun on our skin let’s at least get some fake tan on it!

Fake Tanning Memories

Whenever I think of fake tan I automatically think of my dear friend Emma whom I’ve known for some 22 years now and I don’t see nearly enough of. She was one of my first friends to dabble in fake tan and she still uses it to this day! I must say her fake tan prowess has improved ten fold since school days, when formulas weren’t quite up to today’s standards and orange streaks up limbs and dubious patches around ankles, knees and elbows were commonplace (you really don’t see that so much any more do you?!) Fake tan has come a long way, but despite new research and development and mitts to apply the product with I do still spot the dreaded fake tan hands and fingers occasionally! All I can say is make sure you use a mitt, gloves or wash your hands thoroughly with a scrubbing brush and soap once you’ve finished.

How to Prepare your Skin for Fake Tan

1. Hair removal – don’t wax or shave on the same day as you are going to fake tan. Ideally you want to wax 48 hours before to allow the skin to heal, and shave 24 hours before.

2. Exfoliation – you need to exfoliate all over to ensure even coverage of fake tan. Steer clear of scrubs that are oil-based as the oil will sit on the surface of the skin and make it difficult for the fake tan to be absorbed. Instead, look at body brushing or using a loofah with a natural soap.

3. Wash – after scrubbing yourself down take a warm shower (not too hot else you will irritate the skin as well as open pores so that they take on more tan!) using a soap and rinsing well to ensure all dead skin cells and soap residue are wash away.

4. Dry – be sure that you are completely dry all over to encourage even absorption and therefore colouration of the skin.

About Dihydroxyacetone – DHA – in Fake Tan

Dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, is the active ingredient in pretty much all fake tan products. The difference between natural fake tan products and synthetic chemical products is that the formulas of the natural ones are more gentle and designed so that the DHA only reacts with the dead top layers of skin whilst the synthetic chemical products will contain penetration enhancers which can enable the often synthetic DHA to get into the dermis and potentially react with DNA causing mutations.

Biteable Beauty’s Five of the Best Natural-Based Fake Tan Products

He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse

he-shi dark foaming mousse - fake tan

This product really is a doddle to use! He-Shi also sent a tanning mitt to help prevent any super tanned hands and is a light mousse which tans on contact with the skin. It has a “see where it goes” formula so you can rest assured that you won’t develop any streaks or patches a few hours later. It’s certified by EcoCert which means that there has to be at least 10% organic content and 95% natural content. This product gave a really even long-lasting tan.

He-Shi Dark Foaming Mousse £21.25 at feelunique.com

St Tropez Naturals + Vegetan Self Tan Lotion

st-tropez-vegetan fake tan lotion

I was delighted to see St Tropez, arguably the titans of self tanning, launching a cleaner formula. The only ingredient that looks a bit dubious on the list is Parfum – I’d like to know if it’s Phthalate-free. Other ingredients include Melanobronze, a melanin stimulator distilled from berries of the monk’s pepper tree, hydrating and nurturing grape and mango seed oils, and avocado butter for skin nourishment. To build and maintain depth, I recommend using this two or three times a week.

St Tropez Naturals + Vegetan Self Tan Lotion £17.15 at johnlewis.com

Nature’s Gate Glow Lotion

natures gate glow lotion

This product is recommended for daily use to build up a sun-kissed glow. The resulting tan is a really natural look that you have control over – if you’re a bit too tan-tastic skip a day, then resume. It contains an exclusive moisture blend of shea butter, apricot kernel oil, soybean oil, sodium hyaluronate, vegetable glycerin, vitamin E and sweet almond oil to provide superb moisturisation as well as colour.

 Nature’s Gate Glow Lotion £12.99 available from Ebay

Abi O from the House of BeauBronz Shimmer Tan Boost

abi-o shimmer tan boost

An excellent product to add shimmer to already tanned or dark skin, with 2% DHA. This product contains mica mineral to give a glistening gold appearance to the skin. This formula also contains Aloe to help soothe and condition the skin. Great for a night out when you want to glow just that little bit more! NB the product pictured is a smaller sample size than the retail version – I got this at the launch party!

Abi O from the House of BeauBronz Shimmer Tan Boost £26 at lookfantastic.com

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan

Vita-Liberata 2-3 Week Tan pHenomenal

Winner of Biteable Beauty’s Best of 2012-13 Best Fake Tan. This product contains 70% organic content and natural extracts of aloe, cucumber, witch hazel, bladderwrack, papaya, pomegranate, grape and gingko biloba. This tan is so long lasting – 2-3 weeks (dependent upon whether you apply, as the instructions say, a second time after taking a shower 2-24 hours after the first application).

Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 Week Tan £37.50 at FeelUnique.com

Have you tried any of these tanning products out? How did you get on? I’d love to hear from you! And if you know of any natural/organic self tanners I’ve missed out, let me know!

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5 Comments

  • Gem

    I’m a natural redhead (although I dye it brunette) and that means that my skin is literally as white as paper so I love a good fake tan just to give me some colour and make me look more healthy as my skin really does make me appear ill without any colour. Vita Liberata is my favourite!

    Gem x
    http://www.gemmameansjewel.com

  • Rebecca

    I’m quite brown now despite not having gone away anywhere, I’m keen to try the Medium/Dark Vita Liberata post-summer though! I love a good tan!

    Thanks for dropping by Gem xx

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  • Ali Harriman

    Fake tan makes me itch, particularly on my shins, which makes me think its got something to do with the ingredients and shaved parts? I was wondering if an organic brand would be better.

    Ali

    • Rebecca

      It could be the DHA! Now, there are certified organic DHA products, which may be less of an irritant but I couldn’t be certain! If you do try one, let us know how you get on! x

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