The Tan Lab Fair Skin Self Tan {Review}

It’s nearing summer and when that happens a shiver comes over me in the sad knowledge that I wont be one of the bronzed beauties on the beach again. When they were dishing out skin-types I missed the queue that was for easy tanning and no burning.  I instead got stuck way over at the queue for pasty, or no let’s make that ghostly white, super sensitive and never tan’s just burns kind of skin. Apparently this is a Skin Type 1 (A fair skin that is unable to tan without burning) So I am likely to be the one with the 50+ block-out under the umbrella with the towel covering my legs so nobody sees me one on the beach again with no hope of ever seeing bronze. Everybody knows a glowing tanned skin look far more appealing and often healthier.

Since I was a very young teenager, even as far back as I can remember, I have been trying to obtain even just the slightest natural tan and never do. I can remember sitting with my lily while legs next to all my friends on the tarmac at school legs stretched out trying to get a tan…I was just the one with the pair of Beach Bronze stockings on instead.  Yes that looked really dumb, but it was way better than being teased by passing boys or even worse, other girls!

Much later I discovered you could use a self tan product to get that gorgeous bronzed look.  Well little did I realise then, that the products of then are vastly different from the products available today and all I ended up with, after trying copious amounts of different self tan products was orange, smelly and patchy and I looked simply terrible no matter how I tried to hide it. For a very long time I tried and there was just never one that actually did what it said it would, and it always was, well simply put Fake! Everybody always knew and that I think may have been worse over-all.

For a While I went to have spray-tans done professionally with a locally available product and that worked kind of well but cost what a bottle of the product cost and only lasted about a week so I ceased that after one season, and pretty much decided i’d had it, and wasn’t ever going to bother again.  By this stage I had thankfully reached a point in my life where I actually wasn’t bothered by it anymore, or by the type of skin I had. Growing older has afforded me the ability to be a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I was as a young girl which is an achievement in itself.

Recently I have been hearing and seeing a lot about many new generation self tan products becoming available, and I became intrigued.  Some time ago I had read some nasty things about self tan products and how bad it turned out some of the ingredients were and that these were things we should all be steering clear away from.

A little while ago the lovely ladies at The Tan Lab sent me one of their tanning products to try along with some amazing exfoliation gloves and so now I am able to write this post and tell you all about it.  Let me just say WOW!


So first I did a little research.

When I started reading about The Tan Lab range, I found out that it was not only a far safer product to use with regards to ingredients but that it is also very successful when it comes to the end result looking flawless and natural. The formulation contains natural, organic eco-certified and vegan ingredients and is also not tested on animals. The Tan Lab confirm to the Beauty without Cruelty standards so I was excited to say the least.  The more I read the happier I felt.

This product claimed to work completely differently to any other product on the market, because it worked in a totally different way and contained an ingredient not found in any of the previous tanning products, which made for a far healthier more natural tan for anybody who used it. That ingredient is called Erythrulose and was the missing ingredient all a long, kind of the one that was needed to finish the job.  On their website it says that “Many sunless tanning products contain only one active tanning ingredient – DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). Those containing a combination of Erythrulose and DHA proved to last longer, fade evenly and did not streak”. So I wondered why nobody else used the Erythrulose and only the DHA? The information I was provided mentioned that Erythrulose was not only more expensive but that it also takes a lot longer to develop and so that is why it is generally not included.

The main thing that attracted me to the product was reading that it did not turn orange and that it  appeared from what I was seeing in other reviews to give a decent brown color and not that awful pumpkin hue of previous tanners. They also promised no streaking or patchiness and by that stage I knew this was something that I would love to test for myself because if anybody had experience with self tanner it was me and I knew I would be able to give an honest opinion of all of this.

So first a little about the product itself.  Why is it different from other tanning products out there?

The Tan Lab products work on a two-phase process which is different from any other product I have ever tried or heard of.  The reason for this is the inclusion of the missing ingredient Erythrulose which if you remember from above, takes longer to develop but helps your tan stay longer and remain even without patchiness or streaks.

So technically speaking and according to the team at The Tab Lab it works like this:

Phase 1

During the first phase, you can expect your tan to develop over the normal 8 to 12 hour period. This is your base colour.

Phase 2

The second phase of your tan will continue to develop even after showering! The full development period of the Erythrulose is 24 hours so expect a deeper tan to develop over the next day. This development process ensures a long lasting natural tan that will fade evenly.

In other words the team have scientifically created a product with two main ingredients that work in synergy with each other and more importantly with your own skin to develop the most glorious long lasting natural tan you could ever want.

This range of products also offers amazing hydration and it really looks after the skin.  The products are infused with Micro-Algae extracts, natural antioxidants which protect the skin. The full list of ingredients really does seem to be very rich and hydrating and contains some rather attractive benefits.  I have taken the list of ingredients from their website for you to see for yourself.

Benefits of the formula ingredients.

With The Tan Lab product range, you can be sure that you are looking after your skin whilst enjoying a luminous glow!

Eco Certified Pentavitin® is a natural plant derived ingredient which offers instant deep hydration that lasts 72 hours.

Spirulina is the micro-algae extract responsible for the moisturising and conditioning action on the skin.

Glycerin has the ability to attract water from the environment and from the lower layers of skin (dermis) increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin.

Lactic Acid aids in the sloughing of dead skin cells, increasing cellular turnover while hydrating the skin for a fresh and rejuvenated complexion.

Allantoin is a fantastic skin protectant that softens skin causing rapid cell regeneration and proliferation.

Shea butter is a rich source of antioxidants.

Sodium Lactate is a superior moisturiser, increasing the moisture content of skin by up to 84%. When compared to other commonly used moisturisers, its water holding capacity is second only to Hyaluronic Acid.

Eco Certified Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is considered an excellent skin-repairing ingredient due to its mix of fatty acids that skin can utilise to repair its surface and resist moisture loss.

So this all sounded way to good to be true and I couldn’t wait to test it out for myself.  I went in with really low expectations because of all my past experiences but boy was I proved wrong and very pleasantly surprised. The team sent me some nylon exfoliation gloves which they recommended I use in the shower with my regular soap to get rid of any dead skin and dry patches. Their application instructions which you can find here are pretty clear and I followed them to the T for the most part with the exception that I chose to use a brush to blend the areas at my wrists, ankles, neck and collarbone as well as my knees.  This is a trick I learnt from good old You Tube.  If you are new to self tanning I do recommend you spend some time looking at different application videos and hacks.  I wish I had known some of the tricks all those years ago.  With my second application a week later I chose to use a mitt or rather a fluffy sock (Another hack) to see the difference and actually was happier with the result although without ones outcome was still excellent just applying like a lotion.

One of the first things that pleased me no end about the product was the fact that I didn’t smell that horrid fake tan smell, that I was so used to.  In fact it was a really pleasant Coconut/vanilla type smell and rather yummy. I was sure that would disappear and start smelling eventually but it never did.  After my second shower there was no scent left at all, only the tan. The second thing was that the lotion had a slight hint of color to it which made the application really very easy as I could see where I had applied it before.  I was concerned about my knees and ankles and my knuckles because that is usually where it starts to go awry but the result was amazing and there was absolutely no patchiness whatsoever.  I had applied some body butter to my hands, wrists, ankles and feet and blended a bit of the lotion in with that using the brush and result was truly flawless.  My knees had no patches. Thirdly I was very impressed with the price of the product and really thought that the R270 for the tanner and the R140 for the hydration lotion was really not at all bad taking into the account the brilliant result you get.

Besides the Self Tanners the range also includes a gradual tanner which is the kind of thing you would use if you are a first time user and unsure of it all or extremely fair-skinned and perhaps you are afraid of it looking too obvious too quickly. The gradual tanner allows you to apply the lotion everyday and it develops over a period of time.  You can continue to apply it until you are happy with your color.  This is something I will probably be using during the winter.

So now for the proof:

These are my pasty and lily white pegs before. See what I mean? This pic taken in natural light in the morning before I started
These are my pasty and lily white pegs before. See what I mean? This pic taken in natural light in the morning before I started
I took a picture of the my knees using a flash. This is the best way to show up any patches and as you can see there are none. This was taken about 8 hours after application.
I took a picture of the my knees using a flash. This is the best way to show up any patches and as you can see there are none. This was taken about 8 hours after application.
This is a picture taken the next morning in the same natural light and after my first shower.  The tan developed some more after this as the full 24 hours had not been reached yet.  It never changed more than a shade darker though but still with no streaking or patchiness.
This is a picture taken the next morning in the same natural light and after my first shower. The tan developed some more after this as the full 24 hours had not been reached yet. It never changed more than a shade darker though but still with no streaking or patchiness.

Now overall, my body takes a self tan a lot better than my legs do.  My body really did take on a lovely natural brown and my legs were a little lighter.  I think next time I do it, I will repeat my legs after waiting the first 24 hours for the full development.

Aftercare is very important.  I moisturised my entire body twice a day to extend my tan as much as possible and was careful not to use my shower puff because it would act like an exfoliator. It is also important to remember to exfoliate again between applications and to focus on the dry areas which naturally pick up more pigment. The Tan Lab do not recommend using the product on your face because it could clog your pores.  That being said I did mix a little with my moisturizer and it gave me a lovely glow.  I don’t feel that it clogged my pores doing it that way but that is entirely up to you to decide.

So now you are probably asking where you can get your own bottle of the good stuff to try out? Well first you can join the Tan Lab team on their Facebook page to keep on-top of any promotions and news. Then you can also find them on Instagram and follow them on Twitter To order your product for home tanning or to find out where you can get your tan done at one of their participating salons you can visit their website and have browse or shop on their online store.

Overall I was highly impressed with this product as well as with Shannon and the team at The Tan Lab.  They go out of their way to help answer your questions and make sure that you get the tan of your dreams.

At least this year I can totally fake it without it being obvious and still don my 50+ block-out to be safe but wear my new bikini in the knowledge that my skin looks healthy and happy.

Take care and happy tanning.

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