Beauty Talk: All you need to know about self-tanner

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Sunless tanning or self-tanning has become increasingly popular in recent years. More and more people are daring to use a self-tanner or spray tan. But how does that actually work, such a self-tanner? Is it healthy for your skin? How do you choose the right products? And how do you get a seamless result? Our beauty expert Keshia explains you all about it in today’s blog.

The sun in a bottle, what’s not to like, right?

How does it work?

A spray tan almost always contains the substance DHA (dihydroxyacetone). This is extracted from sugar beets or sugar cane. The darker the color of your self-tanner, the greater the concentration of DHA in it. Once you apply or spray the content, DHA attaches to your dead skin cells and gives you a tan. But when you wash, those dead skin cells disappear bit by bit. Which also makes your tan fade more wash after wash. Do you use an exfoliator? Then you’ll see that tan disappear even faster.

Choose your colour

Looking beautifully tanned is almost a beauty ideal. We would love to look like we just came back from vacation every day. Nevertheless, I recommend you to choose a ‘light’ or ‘medium’ tan if you have light skin. Do you already have a natural tan? Then you can go for ‘dark’. Light’, ‘medium’ and ‘dark’ are the most common names you will see on a self tanner can.

By the way, you can’t choose DHA with a certain color tone. Your skin color, the distribution of dead skin flakes and the acidity of your skin, among other things, determine the final color of your tan.

Did you know that the color also intensifies the longer you leave the product on? So, the first time, preferably go for a shorter application time so that you get used to self- tanning (and don’t have to go through life orange…).

You also have self-tanning body lotions that gradually make you browner. Have you applied some for a few days in a row? Then it’s best to give your skin a few days’ rest. Some people get irritated skin if they use products with DHA too long in one go. Be careful, you do not want a tanned skin that is itchy and full of red bumps.

Meanwhile, there are also more and more self-tanners that contain the substance erythrulose in addition to or instead of DHA. It occurs naturally in raspberries and actually works the same as DHA. It just takes a little longer for your skin to get a tan. And it looks a little different, too. DHA provides a tan with a yellow-orange undertone, while erythrulose provides a more red undertone. That’s why a combination of both substances is often used.

Oops, it smells

That scent you smell when you apply it? It’s not you, it’s the self-tanner! Tanners have a typical smell. This is due to the reaction that occurs when DHA attaches itself to your dead skin cells: the proteins in your dead skin cells start to oxidize. Most brands add a fragrant scent to cover that up. Though you’ll most likely always smell it a little while your self-tanner is working in.

In addition to the self-tanner, you can always use the C+ Complex Body Firming Cream. A luxurious Body Firming Cream whose main ingredient is vitamin C that works effectively to improve skin tone, nourish the skin and leave it feeling soft and cared for.

Attention please!

DHA in itself is a safe ingredient to use. But studies on the substance show that it stimulates the production of free radicals in the first 24 hours.
Free radicals are created by the influence of the sun, pollution, blue light, etc. An excess of free radicals in our skin can damage our cells.

We want a safe tan, but we do not want cell damage!

How do you tackle an excess of free radicals? By antioxidants! My suggestion is to use a scrub (like our Green Soul Scrub for example) and body lotion with antioxidants before and after applying your self-tanner. Another crucial point: realize that your tan does not protect you from the sun! You still need to apply a UV protector. You know what they say: a forewarned woman is worth two!

Choose your product right

Are you sensitive to perfume? Then choose a product that does not contain perfume. You’ll smell the DHA scent a little more but you’ll avoid irritation. Avoid products with a high concentration of drying alcohol. You can recognize these by the names ‘alcohol denat’ or simply ‘alcohol’. Dehydration is a no no. Find a self-tanner with extra antioxidants? That’s a nice touch! Although you can still apply them before or after your self-tanner with a face and/or body cream.

8 tips for a flawless result 

1. Streaks are your worst nightmare when it comes to self tanner. You obviously want to look nice and natural tan! Always choose a product that contains colorants (guide color). Then you can see whether you have spread the product evenly over your skin. You can wash off the tan afterwards. The dyes do rub off onto clothing and bedding. But fortunately they go away quite easily in the wash.

2. Soap can affect the pH level of your skin. Therefore, do not wash with soap before applying self-tanner. Wash yourself thoroughly the day before. Just rinse off with water on the day of application and dry thoroughly. And scrubbing and waxing or shaving? It’s best to do that 1 or 2 days in advance.

3. Mineral sunscreens and glycolic acid can also give you a hard time. We recommend not using those on the day.

4. Scrub your skin several days in advance with an antioxidant scrub or an exfoliating glove. Be sure to include your elbows, knees, feet and ankles. There the stratum corneum (the layer of dead skin cells) is always a bit thicker.

5. Use a body lotion with antioxidants, but not right before self-tanning. 

6. Use a self-tanning glove (tanning mit), this will avoid staining your hands and nails.

7. Keep moisturizing well in the days after, too, so you can enjoy your tan much longer!

8. Does it start to fade after a week? Then just scrub your tan off again. Don’t forget to apply antioxidants afterwards.


Do you also want to experience the summer safely tanned and without streaks? Apply the tips and let us see your results! Remember: self tanner is not a sunscreen.

This article has been written by Keshia Caudron

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