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A Glimpse at Self Tanning Products

June 3, 2009

Putting an end to the winter blahs with a touch of sun.

A Glimpse at Self Tanning Products

Putting an end to the winter blahs with a touch of sun.

By Joanna Cosgrove
Online Editor

This time of year, long-sleeved shirts and pants are swapped out in favor of lighter-weight, warmer weather clothes that take advantage of the early days of summer. But while baring a little skin to beat the heat feels great, it also puts pasty white winter skin on full display. For those who can’t book an emergency trip to a tropical island, self-tanners are a great option. This season a new generation of self-tanning products dispense with the streaky, orange and “stinky” reputations of past sunless tanners, thanks to modern ingredients that deliver a perfect sun-kissed bronze glow.

Delicious Self-Tanning Cream from Clarins (3.9 oz jar, $42) takes self-tanning to a prestige, gourmet level with the use of magnesium-rich pure cocoa to boost the mood and “enhance skin’s beauty with antioxidant polyphenols and relaxing properties. Unsaponifiables of cocoa butter are said to prevent premature skin aging, while cocoa bean soothes and protects stressed skin. Mistake-proof application is achieved through the use of caramel, which provides a rich, chocolatey color to the skin. The addition of aloe vera also enhances the ease of application while imparting softness to the skin.

A new self tanner making waves mostly due to its celebrity backer is Lindsay Lohan’s Sevin Nyne Tanning Mist. Said to deliver a “red-carpet-ready glow,” the product was formulated by celebrity airbrush tanner Lorit Simon to be an easy-to-use, airbrush-style formula that creates a natural, “caramel-infused kiss of color.”

Sevin Nyne Tanning Mist features antioxidant-rich goji berry extract and chardonnay extract, which the company said helps keep the skin hydrated. While dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar molecule that reacts to the amino acids on the surface of skin and provides the skin darkening effect, ordenone reduces the “processing” scent, enabling users to obtain a “flawless tan and the delectable fragrance that comes with it.”

The product retails for $35 (5oz.) through Sephora and is sold in an environmentally-friendly, recyclable aluminum aerosol can that does not contain CFCs.

Gradual Color

One hallmark of today’s sunless tanning formulas is the ability to gradually increase the tan's depth on the skin. Transform and Transform Luxe from Xen-Tan are billed to impart natural-looking, even color with no fading. Both products also employ a disappearing white “color guide” to help enable an even application.

Transform Gradual Self Tanner ($20.00 6oz.) is a time-released formula that it doesn’t build a tan; rather, immediate color is achieved upon the very first application. Simply reapply daily to maintain a gorgeous sun-kissed look.Because of its ultra-moisturizing, weightless texture and citrus-melon scent, Transform can be used like any daily body and facial moisturizer with the added benefit of year-round color.The paraben-free product can also be used as a replacement for one’s daily moisturizer. Its ingredients include shea butter, aloe barbadensis, green tea and ginko biloba leaf extract to help “improve blood flow” and antioxidant properties.

Transform Luxe ($30.00 8oz.), an “enhanced” version of Transform, imparts the same daily dose of moisture and self-tan with a boost more of tanning power and the fresh scent of vanilla which masks the typical “processing” smell synonymous with other self-tanning products.Paraben-free Luxe also contains shea butter, aloe barbadensis, green tea and ginko biloba leaf.

According to Xen-Tan’s Dera Enochson, the products’ deliver streak-free color that can last up to seven days and the formulas’ olive undertones give believable color to even the fairest of skins. The active ingredient in both products is DHA, with Luxe containing slightly more DHA than standard Transform for darker tanning. “We have a new time-release ingredient that works with the DHA (the tanning ingredient),” said Ms. Enochson. “By controlling the amount of DHA that processes on the skin at any one time the scent is protected.So no more processing smell!”

Transform and Transform Luxe are both sold at Fred Segal and Nordstrom.

And finally, Too Faced Cosmetics’ Tanning Bed in a Tube products invite users to throw away their tanning goggles and bid adieu to sun-damaged skin. The fast drying lotions – one for the body and one for the face – both give the skin an instant bronze glow and a longer term gradual sunless tanning effect.Both products are sugar-based to impart an even tan without streaking and blotchiness.

Tropically scented Tanning Bed in a Tube for the Body ($22.50) employs grape seed extract and safflower oil for their antioxidant, skin conditioning and moisturizing properties, as well as the Too Faced’s own Fermiskin ingredient complex which the company said “naturally stimulates collagen and elastin production, skin tone and firmness.”

Tanning Bed in a Tube for the Face ($21.50) is an oil-free, light-weight formula that “vanishes into the skin instantly while delivering silky hydration.” The product has a “light, tropical scent” that’s said to neutralize skin imperfections such as redness or blotchiness.

Even though it’s not quite bikini weather just yet, as the aforementioned sunless tanning products have shown, it’s never too early to give skin the head start toward a sun-kissed glow.

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