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DIY Sunless Tanner and Bronzer

Angela April 8, 2013

 

 By Angela Montgomery, Contributing Writer

I have been experimenting lately with making my own sunless tanner. Why would I want to do that? I don’t like the chemicals that the commercial ones are made with. Many self-tanners contain parabens which are chemical preservatives, dioxane  a reported carcinogen, and synthetic fragrances. These chemicals have been linked with cancer. So, in my opinion, it is best not to put them on my skin. If I want to be anything other than pasty white this spring, my only other option is to make my own sunless tanner.

I decided to try a few different things and see what worked best for me.

DIY Sunless Tanner and Bronzer

First, I used some lotion (Burt’s Bees) that is white in color. Next I chose 4 different ingredients to try to make a sunless tanner (which turned out to be more like a bronzer). The first ingredient was powdered dark chocolate, and the other three ingredients were three different shades of mineral makeup.

Next, I applied each in spots on my clean shaven and exfoliated leg.

Result: I didn’t like the chocolate at all! It was very streaky, and made my hair follicles stand out more. One of the colors of mineral makeup was so light that it didn’t make a difference at all. Another of the mineral makeup colors turned out to be too red. And the other was just about right. I decided to put on pants and wear them all day to see what the verdict was at the end of the day.

DIY Sunless Tanner and Bronzer

What happened? Each one was still there at the end of the day, but had worn off a little and was slightly lighter in color. Also, I discovered that my white socks had touched the bottom of one of the spots it tanner and the makeup had rubbed off on them. So, that means that I won’t be wearing white or any light colors when I do this in the future.

 

DIY Sunless Tanner

Here is a different method: Staining your skin with tea. 

I used 6 bags of black tea, boiled in 1 quart of water and allowed to cool. Then, I poured the tea into a small spray bottle. With my leg in the bathtub (it is pretty messy), I heavily sprayed the bottom of one leg. I soon discovered that the tea ran everywhere and if it had been allowed to dry that way, it would have been streaky and splotchy. I decided to rub that in with a sponge to make it more even. I allowed that to dry, and applied another THIN layer with very light sprays. I then allowed that to dry and repeated those steps 8 times to achieve a very light tan. In the end, I was pleased with the result. I think this method is probably the best, but I am concerned that the stain would rub off on my clothing, and would come off if I got wet for some reason. I circled the area that has the tea on it. It isn”t extremely dark, but you can tell a difference.

 DIY Sunless Tanner and Bronzer

{I had an idea, why not put some of the “bronzer” I made with the makeup and lotion on top of the tea? I chose the color that I like best with the brown colored mineral makeup and applied it to the top of the tea stain. It made it slightly darker, and more shimmery. I like the combination look the best of all. (Sorry I didn’t get a photo!)}

DIY Sunless Tanner and Bronzer

Do you have any experience with DIY sunless tanner? If so, what worked for you? 

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Angela Montgomery is a wife, homeschooling mom, photographer, organic gardener and lover of all things natural. She is a certified holistic health coach who works individually with busy moms who need support reaching their health and weight loss goals. She also offers support with group health coaching, healthy recipes, healthy pantry makeovers and health seminars. You can find out more about Angela and the programs she offers at Real Whole Health You can also find her on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter @RealWholeHealth
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20 Comments

  1. Staining your skin with tea reminded me of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India in the late 1800’s/early 1900s. She used coffee to stain her skin in order to sneak into Hindu temples to save young girls from forced temple prostitution.

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  2. I needed something this weekend for a wedding and was out of tea bags so I did coffee. I used 1 cup of coffee 1 tbsp oil and a enough warm water to make a paste. I got in the shower (this makes a HUGE mess) and scrubbed all over! Let it soak in and then waited about 5 minutes. I rinsed off and it made a big difference. It wasn’t huge like I had been tanning but it helped.

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    • Thanks for that input Jeni! Were you wet or dry when you applied the paste? Have you ever tried it without the oil? I am just wondering if the oil might inhibit the color from sinking in a little? Not sure, just a thought. I may have to give your way a try. Do you find the coffee smell lingers long? Thanks!

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    • Jeni, What form of coffee did you use-grounds, instant? If you made a paste, it doesn’t sound like you were using brewed coffee. Thanks.

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  3. Will this rub off on my very light green prom dress?

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  5. Maya, I think the tea stain would last longer and be less likely to come off than the makeup. You might want to test it with some everyday clothes to be sure first. 🙂

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  6. 1c. coffee grounds + 3 tbsp. boiling water + 3 tbsp. honey + 1.5 tbsp. refined-expeller-pressed sesame oil + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon = feels/smells like a luxurious exfoliating spa treatment… and still noticeable 12 hours later… even on my hands, after washing hands multiple times! I’m going to try a tea bath, too, for extra color on my legs. 🙂 Downside: It did stain my palms a little, but not enough for me to really care. I suppose latex gloves & separate application to tops of hands would prevent that.

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  7. How long do they last?? I might try:)

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  8. Hey! This is a great idea! Just wondering, will this rub off when you take a shower?

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  9. Hi! I have always been super pale. Both my parents had melanoma, so I’m not allowed to get a natural tan because it is likely I will get it, too. So, I was looking on Pinterest when I came across the tea bag tanning. Do you really need to apply that many layers to get it to actually show up? I don’t know if I am willing to do that very often because I heard it comes off in the shower, and replying it everyday (because I shower daily) seems like a waste of time. If it is only 1-2 layers, I would defiantly do it. And without the “bronzer” thing you made, would it still look the same? Thank you 🙂

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    • @Rachel with the tea, I do need to do several layers. I use it for “special occasions”. It isn’t something that I would want to do everyday. I do use the bronzer on days that I want to wear shorts or a skirt and didn’t have time to do the tea tanning. It is pretty fast if you have some made in advance, and then just wash it off when you take a shower.

      Reply

  10. Rather than go thru the pantry and risk staining clothes, i use Arbonne’s vegan version self tanner, works great, a little goes a long way and is toxic chemical free! No animal or petroleum by-products!

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    • Does the Arbonne come off i am very fair skinned and i am looking for something to possibly do for my wedding … I havent decided because it is Ivory not white but im looking for something to try ..

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  11. A little late, but I have an idea (haven’t tried it yet). I’m going to try a strong dilution of instant -coffee and mix it with some food-grade glycerine.

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  12. I love this idea Angela. I do adore my products as well, but I started a raw food diet 4 months ago so I’m also interested in finding out more about the holistic way of life. Thanks, Michelle

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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