Natural Self Tanners

It’s mid-August and it’s getting painfully obvious that, by now, I will not manage to get sun-kissed color on my depressingly white body through normal outdoor activities. I have not had the time – nor the desire – to sit in the sun the get that natural glow. I’m going to have to fake it. And by fake, I mean a “natural”, with natural sunless tanners.

As most of you, I have become acutely aware of the toxic chemicals abundantly present in our personal care and homecare products. I am making a progressive effort to move everything to all-natural products. That includes home cleaning products, body lotions, shampoos, makeup and… self-tanners.

Most self-tanning lotions contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient. DHA is a colorless sugar that interacts with the dead cells on the top skin layer and causes a temporary change in color (see what the Beauty Brains say). In itself, this has not been proven dangerous (unless inhaled or ingested, as in a tanning booth environment) so it’s really the toxicity of the remaining ingredients that has me concerned. It’s the usual culprits, parabens, phthalates, petroleum, synthetic fragrances and dyes that I want to stay away from.

So, eager to don a more luminous glow along with my new sandals, I went looking for a chemical-free and safe self-tanning lotion. I found two that I would highly recommend:

True Natural Cosmetics. It’s mission is “…to provide you with high performance, chemical-free personal care products that are safe for you, your family & the environment. safely biodegradable and contain no parabens, phthalates, petroleum, synthetic fragrances or dyes of any kind”.  The Self Tanner Face and Body is vegan, cruelty-free, and 100% free from harmful chemical ingredients. As opposed to DHA, True Natural’s self-tanner uses a combo of naturally occurring sugars found in certain fruits and vegetables. These sugars react with amino acids found in the outer layer of the skin, creating a nontoxic reaction which gives skin a tanned look. It also contains natural jojoba oil, aloe vera and green tea extract for hydrating and anti-oxidant benefits.  Buy the 3 oz self tanner directly from, on or for under $20.00. Look for their all natural sunscreens too.


Lavera is certified BDIH in Germany which is the toughest certification process anywhere in the world for natural and organic products. All Lavera products are designed for sensitive skin, made with pure, organic plant oils, herb and flower extracts, free from parabens and synthetic preservatives , free from fragrances, emulsifiers and petroleum based ingredients and also Cruelty Free, Gluten Free, GMO Free.

In the case of this natural sunless tanning lotion, it’s the organic soy extracts that provide the active ingredient and are combined with extracts of sugar to deliver a smooth application and an even result. Organic jojoba oil, lavender, aloe vera and rose water are added for moisturizing benefits. I discovered Lavera when shopping on where the 5 oz tube sells for $24.70. I have enjoyed the streak-free, natural looking results.

I’m quite sure that I don’t need to remind you that self-tanners are NOT sun protection and that you still need to use sun screen to protect your skin. But, you knew that.

Read more: