How to pick a natural self tanning product

Now that we’ve covered the best natural ways to protect your skin from UV rays, and how to make your own DIY scrub to buff those limbs, we promised you a natural way to bring back that sun-kissed glow – without the damaging sun or the nasty chemicals!

When choosing a self-tanner, look for the natural products the same way you’d look for a skincare cream. We like plant ingredient and avoid synthetics – the base of the cream should be from a natural oil or a vegetable glycerin, but not a petrochemical. Petrochemicals, including silicones, are plastics which don’t biodegrade and can disrupt the body’s hormones, plus they are inert so you’re not getting any nourishing benefit from them. Plant ingredients are full of nutrients which are good for your skin. Win win!

When checking ingredients, take a look at the list of  ingredients, or the INCIs (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), but is best to ignore the marketing blurb! 
A great shortcut? Pick something which is certified organic so you can be confident it doesn’t have any nasties. Soil Association in the UK or Ecocert for European products are great trustworthy organisations. Because Europe hasn’t quite harmonised its certification standards you’ll find different countries have their own local certification bodies for body care products, which in our opinion are just as good as Soil Association standards.
If you’re travelling in the EU this summer you may see:

Ecocert (France, Spain)


BDIH – German brands such as Lavera


NaTRue (Benelux, Germany)

ICEA (Italy)

Their organic standards vary slightly , but the bottom line is that whatever you find with a seal from these people will be way better than anything you find in a supermarket or pharmacy in terms of naturalness and environmental impact.
But what about the tan itself?! Self-tanners work to either instantly bronze the skin with pigment (usually seen as Caramel on the ingredients), and/or with DHA which is the active ingredient in self-tanners. DHA (dihydroxyacetone) works with the surface layer of the skin, darkening it to produce the tanned effect. DHA’s in natural products are derived from vegetable glycerins, such as sugar beets.
So when you swap from conventional to organic, you lose none of the performance and get all of the benefits of all those lovely plant ingredients!
And as always, don’t forget sun protection and look for your best friends titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (check out of post on natural sunscreen here for recommendations!)
Here are our favourite self-tanners: