Want a summer glow without UV rays or nasty chemicals? Healthista reviews the 5 best natural self tans with natural ingredients
Want a summer glow but hate the idea of rubbing chemicals all over your body? We hear you. Here at Healthista HQ we love a healthy tanned look but it’s more than sunbeds that we’re feeling a little wary of. If we’re slathering the stuff onto our skin every day, we want to make sure the products that we’re using aren’t full of nasty chemicals that are going to damage our skin.
We all know that eating a fresh diet made from non-processed foods is best to put into our bodies, but when it comes to what we put onto our body, we can be a little short-sighted. Beauty products containing parabens and sulphates are thought to have implications for our health in the long run, with some studies even linking parabens to breast tumour tissue.
Tried and tested, here are the natural tanning products that made the cut.
Best for an even colour fade: Green People Self Tan Lotion
On a mission to create products that are suitable for sensitive and eczema-prone skin, Green People are a company that refuse to use parabens, alcohol, artificial perfumes and a huge long list of other artificial ingredients in their products. When it comes to their tanning lotion, Green People refer to it as ‘the best fake tan lotion that nature can offer’.
The brand prides this certified organic lotion as being non-streaky, sweet-smelling and absorbing into your skin within minutes (with your tan appearing in the space of three hours). It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin and can be used all over the body AND face. Rosehip, Sandalwood and Geranium are used to add a natural, flowery fragrance. When applied, tan-accelerating DHA (in this case made from sugar) reacts with Amino Acids in the outer layer of the skin to form brown pigments than gives the appearance of a suntan.
Healthista writer Vanessa Chalmers says:
At first glance, the idea of ‘natural ingredients’, made me wince. However, with sensitive skin (and eczema), Green People Self Tan Lotion is a sensible option for me. The essential oils in this product made my skin feel supple and moisturised, which is the opposite to my regular fake tans which can amplify my skin blemishes by clinging onto the dry skin. If you are appalling at exfoliating like me, this is the fake tan for you. No one wants to look like a scaley creature with horrifically orange ankles and flaky patchy coloured skin. I also love the fact that you will never notice this tan fading. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to pay your skin some attention (ahem, wash). But miraculously it doesn’t require elbow grease scrubbing in the bath tub. People are asking me if I’m still tanned from my holiday three months ago or if I’ve caught the English sun (are you kidding?) It is so discreetly fake that I have even been brave enough to apply it to my face, meaning no foundation, score! However, I do warn that too much will lead to a golden halo hairline and eyebrows.
Best for a great smelling tan: ESPA Gradual Tan Body Moisturiser
Famous for their spas around the world, ESPA is big on natural beauty and are quick to define exactly what they mean by that. The company states that they only use four sources for their ingredients – physically-processed ingredients (like cold-pressing avocado oil or steam distillation to extract rose oil), laboratory-processed ingredients (water or glycerine which is used to extract the ingredient from its natural source), naturally derived ingredients (raw ingredients like coconut or olive oil) and nature identicals (if a natural ingredient is too rare to be used sustainably ESPA will replicate it exactly in a lab).
It’s a comfort to hear exactly where the stuff inside the bottle is coming from. But why is this particular tanning moisturiser so great? Well, ESPA explains that their product is made with plant melanin (an antioxidant) and natural DHA (a tan accelerator) which is made from rapeseed, wheat and sugar beet which combine to create an even, long-lasting glow. They add that this product is deeply nourishing for the skin as it uses ingredients such as shea butter and sweet almond oil to moisturise and hydrate. Jasmine, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang are all added to give your skin a beautiful smell but ESPA does warn that the product contains no SPF and will not protect against sunburn.
Healthista writer Parisa Hashempour says:
This product is the Holy Grail of all tanning lotions and my new obsession. Why? Wave bu-bye to that biscuity tan smell, this tanning moisturiser smells AMAZING. I’ve been searching my whole life for a tanning product that actually smells nice, thank God it’s finally come. The application is easy, just rub it on with your hands as you would a moisturiser (remembering to wash your hands after!) The liquid is quite a runny consistency so be wary, it comes out fast. I was surprised to find a difference in my skin tone after even just the first use of this product – a subtle glow which had people asking me if I’d been out in the sun, as opposed to asking if I’d doused myself in Tango. Within two uses I was left with a lovely natural bronze and soft moisturised skin to boot. The price point is steep so I won’t be able to make this a regular buy but anytime I have the excuse of a big occasion, I will definitely be splashing out.
Best for organic ingredients: TanOrganic Self Tanning Oil
This tan caught Healthista’s attention when we noticed how short its ingredients list is. We were particularly gobsmacked when we learned that one of the colouring ingredients is caramel (yup, the food). The tanner contains certified organic ingredients and according to the brand, it’s suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin. There are zero synthetic ingredients, paraben colours or even fragrances – and despite this TanOrganic say that their product won’t leave you with that funny tan smell.
This tanning lotion is a little bit different to other products. You apply a layer of tan and then leave it to dry and then let it develop for between six to eight hours before washing the product off in the shower. Supposedly when you emerge from your show you’ll be left with a gorgeous bronzed glow that will last for up to four days.
Healthista editor Anna Magee says:
I wasn’t sure what to expect from an organic ‘fake’ tan. But I loved not only the lack of chemicals and organic pedigree but also the texture and the results I got from this products. I used it with a tanning kit and can assure you a little goes along way. Don’t be alarmed by the intensity of the tan in the first four hours, once you jump in the shower it washes off to leave a natural, glowing tan.
Best for a natural colour: Lavera Self-Tanning Lotion
Created by the founder of one of Germany’s first organic food shops, Lavera is a company that knows a thing or two about nasty chemicals and the implications they can have on our bodies and our health. Even the name of the brand is taken from the Latin word ‘the truth’ – a nod to their commitment to natural beauty. The brand uses raw plant materials that come as much as possible from certified organic materials and the Lavera Self-Tanning Lotion is no exception.
The brand says that their product gives the appearance of tanned skin using 100 percent pure and natural derived active ingredients. The product hydrates the skin with organic Jojoba and Macadamia Nut Oil which help work against that patchy dry look that a lot of chemical tans can produce. Plus, Lavera uses no parabens, silicone or mineral oils in their tan.
Healthista writer Vanessa Chalmers says:
I was nervous to apply Lavera, seeing as it is not visibly brown as you apply it. This is despite it claiming the colour will develop in record time – 5 hours. I applied it generously like a moisturiser before bed, and in the morning I was in love with the colour. It is a real tan colour. Yes, actually brown – this is so rare to find in a tan. I felt uber confident flashing my darkened shoulders and my skin looked supple and soft because of the oils which you don’t get in most tans. I applied it again and was glad it didn’t have a nasty smell at all (although watch out, it does colour the sheets a lot). With sensitive skin and eczema patches, I felt at peace knowing this was a safe option.
Best for a glitzy glow: Lusso Tan Self Tan Set
Getting a Lusso Tan glow is a three-step process. The brand uses the comparison of your morning makeup routine asking, ‘would you expect a perfect look by applying foundation without a moisturiser beforehand or some blusher or bronzer afterwards?’ Much as you would with your face, this tanning process starts with a primer which Lusso Tan say is essential for smoothing out your skin for an even base, helping to fade blemishes, freckles and redness and also to avoid patches and dark spots – it contains antioxidant Vitamins A & E to protect and repair.
Next, you apply the tan – a pretty straightforward process, you just pop it on with a tanning mitt. The final part of this process is a finishing touch shimmer which is where the glitzy glow comes in. Lusso Tan say that you should use this silky, loose shimmering dust to enhance the glow of your tan – they suggest sweeping it along your cheekbones, collarbones, shoulders and shins for sunkissed highlights or mixing it with your moisturiser for an all over body shimmer. Lusso Tan products are organic, paraben free and they’re also free from phthalates (a type of acid used to add flexibility to plastics – studies have linked them to issues like asthma and reproductive problems).
Healthista writer Parisa Hashempour says:
While I wouldn’t suggest this tanning regime for any average working day, I have a lot of love for this glam and glitzy night-out get-up. The primer smelled of witch hazel, which I love. It was easy to apply, I just spritzed it all over my body. While doing this did feel like a bit more effort than my usual tanning routine, it also made me feel as though I were really pampering myself which made a nice change. Plus, I’m usually very lazy and rarely exfoliate so I found the primer a fast and fuss-free way to prep my skin.
The tanning product comes out an alarmingly dark colour but when you apply to the skin and rub it in, it fades to a natural bronze. It does take a lot of circular rubbing to avoid streaks but the final look was even and not fake looking at all. Then after this dried off a little, I added the shimmer. Luckily, I was dressed up for a night out when I dusted this along my collarbones and cheekbones and a little bit on my legs. I felt super glam and over the course of my night out had numerous compliments about the glitter. I loved that the product didn’t dry out my skin but actually made it feel soft and moisturised. If you’re looking for an understated look then this may not be for you but if you’re up for a glittering night out on the town I definitely recommend getting your hands on this stuff.
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