How to choose a self-tanner

Coco Chanel introduced fashion not only for the 'little black dress' and accessories, but also for … tanning. The idea of ​​a 'chocolate body' was implemented by cosmetics manufacturers. How to choose a self-tanner, and how to properly distribute it over the skin are common questions for modern women of fashion. We answer competently.

What manufacturers offer

What manufacturers offer


Self-tanning is a synthesized substance that chemically reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis and changes its color. Three ingredients have this 'darkening' effect:

  1. dihydroxyacetone – a monosaccharide derived from sugar cane or beetroot and chestnut peel;

  2. acetyl tyrosine – a combination of an amino acid and acetic salt;

  3. erythrulose (otherwise, raspberry sugar) is a monosaccharide isolated from ripe red raspberries.

The first monosaccharide is more commonly used for self-tanning and is labeled on every tube (DHA). Absolutely safe, it changes skin color by reacting with proteins and amino acids. The speed of action is from 3 to 4 hours, the duration is from 3 to 5 days.


It has an unpleasant odor, which is neutralized by aromatic fragrances. Strongly dries the skin, therefore, it is usually combined with moisturizing ingredients. Reacts quickly with oxygen and is subject to temperature changes. Therefore, a bottle of self-tanning should be used quickly and should not be left near heating devices or in a well-lit place. Since dihydrooxyacetone is found only in the upper cells of the epidermis, it is necessary to constantly moisturize the body and face. Dry skin exfoliates faster, which means the tanning effect will be short-lived. Remember! The bronze shade is obtained from the interaction of dihydrooxyacetone with melanin (which is produced in the deep layers of the dermis). Since the cosmetic does not penetrate so deeply, I had to look for another way out:

  1. Firstly, natural coloring ingredients – caramel, walnut extracts, henna and carrot oil – were added to self-tanners;

  2. secondly, synthesized components are also added – eumelanin (brown) and pheomelanin (red). This ingredient is good for winter 'tanning' when the skin turns blue from cold.

Remaining ingredients

Raspberry sugar is used both on its own and in combination with DHA. The development of the required shade – no earlier than three days, duration – up to 7 days. When it is more than 5% in self-tanning, the color will turn out yellowish, not chocolate. Acetyl Tyrosine – Less studied than previous ingredients. Effect – tanning appears after three days, finally darkens after 7 days, lasts – about 2 weeks.

Varieties of cosmetics

Varieties of cosmetics

Self-tanning cosmetics are conventionally divided into two large groups:

  1. bronzers – appeared first, their feature is quick manifestation and quick wash off (after the first trip to the shower). Often available in powder form;

  2. auto bronzers are an improved version that stays on the skin for a long time.

It also has its own classification – 'for the body', 'for the face' and 'universal'. Cosmetic consistencies are also different:

  1. creamy – with a long-lasting result and uniform coloring, a bonus is a long drying time. You can not dress for 30 minutes after applying to the skin;

  2. milk – absorbed very quickly, the texture is delicate and pleasant. Features – for uniform application, you need to practice;

  3. sprays – cover the skin with a thin, even layer, appear after 10-15 minutes, wash off very quickly;

  4. mousses – located in the middle, between creams and milk. Essential for moisturizing, maintaining the effect, after using a creamy and gel self-tanning;

  5. emulsions are the lightest form of self-tanning;

  6. lotions are the best option to slightly shade very light skin. Easy to apply, absorbs faster than milk;

  7. gels – contain natural sea buckthorn dye. The effect appears after 5-6 hours, but lasts a long time, since melanin is involved;

  8. Wipes are an expensive but necessary remedy for blemishes on exposed skin (face, wrists, and knees).

Taking into account the natural skin tone

Taking into account the natural skin tone

You need to choose a self-tanner, focusing on your natural color type. To do this, it is better to pay attention to the marks printed by the manufacturer on tubes and bottles.

  1. 'clair' – very light skin (like natural red-haired girls);

  2. 'light' – light skin (and light hair);

  3. 'moyenne' – peach skin with dark blond hair;

  4. 'medium' – peach skin and chestnut curls;

  5. 'dark' – brunettes with dark skin and dark hair.

It is imperative to pay attention to this marking so as not to get the effect of a 'spotted leopard' or 'a girl suffering from hepatitis'. For sensitive skin (as well as dry or aging), self-tanning is suitable only with moisturizing additional ingredients, and with an active 'dye' content of no more than 3%.

How to remove self-tanning

How to remove self-tanning

The resulting skin tone can be unpleasant for many reasons. Don't panic, however, as there are several quick methods to get rid of the spot.

  1. Bath with soapy foam, in which you need to lie down for at least an hour. Then we rub the body with a washcloth, and intensify the cleansing with a coffee scrub;

  2. Lemon juice or just a half of a whole lemon, which needs to be rubbed on the body and face. It is necessary to wash off the lemon juice immediately, since fruit acids act very quickly, and sometimes give an allergic reaction;

  3. In order to remove self-tanning from the face, a mask made of white clay mixed with a tablespoon of sour cream is suitable. You need to hold the mask for at least 20 minutes;

  4. Baby oil can help dim an overly bright self-tanner. Apply on face or body and wait until completely absorbed. The tan will be less intense and will take on a brownish tint.


When choosing a self-tanner, do not forget that you need to conduct a preliminary allergy test (similar to the one that is done before dyeing your hair). For an even tone, apply the self-tanner after depilation. For half an hour before applying the product, use a scrub. This will help remove dead skin cells, which means the self-tanning effect will last longer. After the procedure, maintain the result with mousses with a tinting effect. Final tip: never use self-tanner on damp skin. Drops of water will prevent the product from absorbing, and as a result, spots on the skin, due to the uneven distribution of the cream.

In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose powder by skin type and the secrets of choosing a perfume with pheromones.

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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