It's been a while since we had a Beauty Dish post up...over seven months to be exact. Yikes. Shame on me and Sally! Being the beauty (skin care, makeup, etc.) freaks that we are, we have a truck-load of new favorites to share. So expect this to be the first of more to come.
You know what makes me excited? Having a tan. I have a lot of self love but even the hint of a tan can make me feel 99% better about how I look. That said, I basically shun the sun. Apart from two warm-weather trips over the spring/summer and less than a handful of days poolside in Dallas, I was inside...glowing like Casper. I spent part of my spring and summer researching, trying, testing, and eventually hating a lot of different self-tanning products. Streaks on my body, patches of darkness where there shouldn't be, "self tanner" smells, clothes/bed linens/towels that got stained...and even with all that nonsense, nothing really gave me a good, natural-looking lasting tan.
I chalked all my failures up to user error and eventually started shelling out $$ to professionals to spray me down. In late August I tried the Vita Liberata pHenomenal Mousse and felt that I had found the BEST stuff for my body yet. By mid-September I had bought the Coola Sunless Tan Face Serum and determined I now I had the ideal combo for my bod and face. Then exactly a month ago I was introduced to TAN-LUXE. In all my self-tanning research I hasn't come across this name - and I was very, very skeptical. But their beautiful branding (I mean...it's perfect) and promise of "no streaks. No smells. No drama." mantra was enough for me to give everything a try. Well...NOTHING COMPARES TO THIS STUFF. And I'm about to tell you why.
Warning: this post is super long. I’m sorry…but I’m not that sorry. This stuff is important! And I sweartogawd this isn’t sponsored, I am just truly 100% obsessed with TAN-LUXE.
Where do I start? I guess I’ll explain what makes TAN-LUXE different than pretty much every other self-tan brand and product. DHA (dihydroxyacetone) is a colorless chemical (manufactured synthetically, or derived from natural things, like beet sugar or cane sugar) that interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. No DHA = no lasting self tan. Where most self tanning products go wrong is the addition of colors and stains that act as “guides” when applying. I’ve used several products with this addition (including the Vita Liberate Mouse) and while it seemed helpful when putting it on, it got ALL over my pjs and bed sheets (I always put self-tanner on my body before bed) and even after rinsing the next morning in the shower, color was still transferring to my towels. And that lovely brown tint continued to come off – on my workout clothes, towels, etc. – in the days that followed. Annoying but I figured it was the price to pay. The only issue is that paying the price still didn’t get me free of streaks or have much staying power.
Want to know why those tinted formulas don’t seem to last longer than the initial darkness you get right after applying? Because the synthetic dyes break down the tanning actives in DHA! It’s not user error that’s causing your streaks, dark patches, uneven fading, and all that sad stuff – it’s the formulas in the products that give a less-than-perfect result.
TAN-LUXE will tell you that what really sets them apart is that their products are designed for “tailor-made tanning.” And trust me, that’s a HUGE selling point that I’ll explain more about below. But for me, the biggest game changer is that the TAN-LUXE sources three of the highest quality tanning actives (naturally derived from pure rapeseed oil and sugar beet) to create an exclusive DHA composition. They call this their “Triple-Tan Technology” and it reacts with the amino acids on the skin’s surface to natural enhance melanin without staining the skin – so it works – and it’s completely color-free.
The whole “no smells” factor is 100% for real. After using TAN-LUXE for 2+ weeks I tried some of my other stuff to compare the two…and there’s literally no comparison. The smell of my Vita Liberata Mousse (which I originally thought was fine) is horrific compared to the very light almost nonexistent scent of TAN-LUXE. All I know is that TAN-LUXE has an “Odourlite Fragrance Technology” (they are very tech-savvy if you can’t tell) that minimizes that disgusting traditional self tan smell. Just an FYI…if you use the mousse at night then do a workout in the morning, the sweat combined with the product doesn’t smell great but it’s still nothing like that cat food smell you get after a spray tan.
On to the tailor-made-tanning. The genius behind TAN-LUXE is a Marc Elrick…he’s a beauty entrepreneur and he and his husband Dylan own an award winning hair salon in Glasgow. Marc and Dylan recognized that their clients had great hair and great make-up…but less than great self tans. They asked their clients questions (lots of questions) about what they felt were the biggest problems with self-tanning (smell, color, dryness and streaking) and compiled tons of notes before landing on a light bulb moment: “if consumers can control and customize the color of their make-up, then why not self tan?” As we all know, make-up is not a one-size-fits-most market. There are hundreds of shades, tons formulas based on application preference and desired results, and the option to use products with natural, non-toxic ingredients that still worked. With all this in mind, Marc began his five year journey of creating TAN-LUXE.
If you’re like me and you hadn’t heard of TAN-LUXE till now, it’s because the brand launched its first product – The FACE – in July 2015 and has been growing its product line, following, and wholesale accounts since then. Sephora just started selling it and you can also find it now on Net-A-Porter. Expect to be hearing about TAN-LUXE a lot more…and along side glowing (see what I did there?!) reviews.
Given that Marc wanted TAN-LUXE to feel as personalized as the options available with make-up, the line is comprised of products in a variety of textures and formulations. It’s the first self-tan brand to combine oils and lotions in the formulations that work alongside your natural skin tone, creating the ultimate undetectable, flawless glow. By combining raspberry seed oil, vitamin E and hydrolysed silk, TAN-LUXE combats the most frequent tanning complaints of dryness, uneven colour and that weird but always distinguishable “self-tanning” smell. The ingredients in each product formula are highly moisturizing, making each application easy and even. No streaks, no smells, no drama.
Here are the products:
Illuminating Self-Tan Drops: the line’s two core products are THE FACE and THE BODY. Both are concentrates that work in synergy with your existing skincare routine to be a custom-made self tanner. THE FACE can be added to your favorite serum, lotion or cream and THE BODY to your go-to lotion or oil. The difference between the two is that THE BODY has a Cellutone Complex with firming and toning qualities…which makes it ideal for your bod. Best part: the Triple-Tan Technology works with your skin to deliver a tan within 60 minutes of application. Both THE FACE and THE BODY come in “light to medium” and “medium to dark” options. P.S. They have an Anti-Age version of THE FACE!
Transparent Tanning: wondering how those crystal-clear bottles actually result in a tan? Science (like all that stuff I wrote above). THE WATER and HYDRA-MOUSSE are completely color free but they work – and give a darker, more lasting tan than the drops (IMHO). Along with having the Triple-Tan Technology, these transparent formulas combined vitamins and “Moisture 24” technology to hydrate while illuminating. The HYDRA-MOUSSE comes with a tanning mitt for applying (!) and guess what, the mousse doesn’t stain the mitt at all. And the mitt is machine washable. Boom. THE WATER you just mist evenly and use from head to toe. Unlike the drops and gradual formulas, these take longer to fully develop (don’t shower for 4-6 hours after application!) but they are very, very quick drying (pretty much immediate) so perfect for before bed. Like the self-drops, The WATER and The MOUSSE also come in “light to medium” and “medium to dark” options
Face Oiling: if you’re not into the idea of the self-tan drops, the SLEEP OIL might be for you. Designed to work in tandem with you skin’s natural overnight regeneration, SLEEP OIL rejuvenates, stimulates and hydrates your skin while you sleep and delivers a natural looking, radiant glow by morning. Same Triple-Tan Technology but no need to add to a serum/lotion/cream because it’s already packed with great overnight skin treatments.
Gradual Tanning: I have legitimately lived in fear of gradual tanning lotions and creams ever since sorority rush my freshman year of college. The smell of Jergen’s Natural Glow was so pungent I couldn’t breathe. But the whole idea of building a tan with lotion – something I already do every day – is so appealing! TAN-LUXE delivers the first gradual formulas that work and don’t smell like death. THE GRADUAL is a lotion and oil hybrid that can be used for face or body (but it has the same Cellutone Complex as THE BODY, just to note). Natural tan served up in 60 minutes. Just keep using it to maintain and build color. THE BUTTER is also gradual and has the same Cellutone Complex but is much richer than the THE GRADUAL. That said, it’s still super light (I would just say it’s more of a dense hydration) and quick-drying. This one takes about 6 hours to fully develop.
Highlighting: remember that Michael Kors leg shine stuff that was all the rage…like 9 years ago? THE GLOSS is kind of the same concept – only better. A highlighter and instant tanner in one, THE GLOSS is a multi-tasking stick that can be used to give radiance, color, gloss and glow in one swipe. Great for dusting on your shoulders when going sleeveless or for the front of your legs to get that J.Lo look. The zero-glitter factor keeps you from looking like a fool and the micro reflective particles give a mirror like sheen that’s, well, perfect.
Which stuff do I use the most?
- THE WATER: I’m addicted to this stuff. What is easier than spritzing your face a few times then forgetting about it? Nothing. The fact that a few sprays actually turns into a lasting tan is ridiculous and amazing. I use apply this mostly on my face/neck/upper chest area. Mainly, I’ll use the WATER at night as my last step in my skincare regimen – but I’ve also used it during the day on top of my SPF (just to be sure I had a nice glow for the evening, you know?) and I just don’t think there’s a wrong time to use it. So easy so good so effective. P.S. I use the light to medium color. And yes the tan is immediate, noticeable, and lasting!
- HYDRA-MOUSSE: no other self-tanning mousse product compares to this. At first I was like “Ya this clear formula sounds great but if I can’t see where I’m putting it, I’ll get so many streaks.” Wrong. So very wrong. Using the mitt (that comes with it) makes it foolproof. It’s so moisturizing/hydrating that unlike other mousse stuff I’ve tried, it spreads really well and I have never ever gotten a single streak. I have used my mitt several times back to back without washing it (it doesn’t get stained) but I wanted to see how it held up in my washing machine…it came out completely new with a drop of detergent and delicate spin cycle on cold. Just lay flat to dry and you’re good for the next time. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to cover myself in this mousse, put on white pj’s, sleep on white sheets, and shower in the morning with white towels and not see an ounce of color anywhere. Complete self-tanning game changer. I use The MOUSSE at least once a week – usually on Thursday so I head into the weekend with the perfect color – but sometimes I’ll use it twice a week if I’m really wanting to feel 100% awesome. I use the light to medium color – two pumps for each leg, one and a half pumps for each arm, then pumps as needed for torso and back.
- THE FACE: I use the drops about once every three days. Application is as easy as mixing three of the drops into a regular-size amount of my face creams (just mix with my fingers in the palm of one hand) as the last step in my nighttime routine (and yes, I’ll typically top it off with a couple sprays of The WATER because the combo is just too good). I always take it down the neck so that it’s even but have never had any streaks along my jawline (typical self-tanning issue) or weird orange coloration along my hairlines. I use the light to medium color and usually do three misting sprays – top part of my face (forehead zone) in the middle and then the middle part of my face on each side.
- SLEEP OIL: this product is lovely and I may use it in place of the drops when I don’t feel like doing the mixing process but given how attached I am to my serums, oil, and other face potions, I typically only wear the SLEEP OIL when I’m feeling utterly lazy and don’t want to do any mixing with The FACE drops.
DON’T FORGET: always, aways, always wash your hands/palms after using this good stuff! Tan paws = not natural looking. So if I’m using the drops, the SLEEP OIL, or the gradual products I immediately wash my hands with soap and hot water. I should probably wash my hands after using THE MOUSSE but once I do the tops of my hands with the mitt I usually forget…and I’ve never had a problem. Since you don’t have to do any rubbing with THE WATER (the mist is so fine, it sprays completely evenly) I don’t do any hand washing after using it.
Oh my gosh. That was so long. But so fun to write. I haven’t been this excited about a beauty product since discovering NeuLash 5+ years ago. Given that it’s fall and colder weather is coming, do yourself a favor and give your face/body/self the gift of TAN-LUXE. You’ll be naturally glowing like a goddess all holiday long!
Shit. Did I even talk about how TAN-LUXE is chemical free, natural and non-toxic, vegan-friendly, cruelty free, and formulated without any parabens, synthetic dyes, mineral oils, sulphates and other crap that’s really bad for you? Sorry. No you know. Certified organic but delivers results. I don’t know what more good things I can say about this brand…the only problem is that I’m addicted. But there are way worse vices, right?!