Tips for a Natural, Sun-Free Tan

Do you love soft, tanned skin without feeling dry and patchy? Well duh. Maintaining a golden glow all year round, especially in the winter can be a hard thing to do; not to mention the damaging effects that prolonged sun exposure has on the skin – no thanks! Spray tans get the job done but can be expensive and difficult to maintain and generally come with a (not-so) healthy dose of synthetic ingredients. At-home tanning products have come a long way but most of the ones we came across just weren’t natural enough for our liking. That’s where the need for a MooGoo natural tanning cream was born, and the reason we made our How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream.

We call it a ‘natural tan’ for a few reasons. First, we only use natural ingredients in our formula, and secondly, we’re proud of the natural-looking colour upgrade you’ll get. Nothing is worse than that tell-tale orange “tinge” that resemble more of a pumpkin-like hue rather than a golden sun-kissed goddess; we know which one we prefer.

The main ingredient in most tanning products out there is Dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This combines with the keratin on the top layer of the skin and changes it to a tan/brown colour – this is why it’s so important to exfoliate before applying tanning products to extend the life of your tan. Yes, we too use DHA, but only the natural version, of course. It’s important to understand that there’s a BIG difference between the two. Synthetic forms of DHA are often combined with penetration enhancing chemicals that work to weaken the skin’s surface. They do this to allow for quicker product absorption so that the tan can develop quickly. But in our opinion this is risky business, so we recommend staying away from anything that implies it works faster than others – it’s just not a race worth winning. Many of these products also commonly contain other nasties such as Parabens, artificial fragrances and mineral oils – all ingredients already on our “no thank you” list.

To go along with our DHA, we combine it another tanning agent called Erythrulose, a natural glucose-based ingredient that reacts to the amino acids on the skin, creating a golden hue. These 2 tanning ingredients combined (we won’t disclose the ratios) is the secret to the natural colour we create. And to sweeten the deal even more, we made it all in a moisturising base to help keep skin hydrated, make it super easy to apply, and avoid developing patchiness or flakiness. This, along with drinking lots of water will help your sunless-tan last even longer. 

Here are some of our tips on achieving the perfect natural tan:


 1. Preparation is key! Like we said before, exfoliating beforehand will help create an even base for your tan and ensure your tan won’t be patchy. We love our Espresso Exfoliant Coffee Scrub for this, but exfoliating puffs or gloves work just as well – you just won’t get that delicious coffee smell!

2. Now is the perfect time for hair removal if that’s your thing – no judgements here, (especially in winter!). Exfoliating beforehand makes hair removal so much s-MOO-ther! We like to do this a couple of hours before tanning so pores have time to close – this stops your skin from getting red bumps or being itchy later on.

3. The tanning agent will create more colour in areas with excess dead or dry skin. Moisturise areas like elbows, knees and backs of heels before tanning to add a slight barrier. We usually give this job to our Full Cream Moisturiser – It works wonders!

4. Invest in a good tanning mitt. This will help keep the application even and avoid ending up in a challenging situation trying to wash hands and keep the tan dry (the struggle is real). Some savvy herd members have been known to use household gloves or pre-loved socks (clean of-course).

5. Apply tan to clean skin all over the face and body. Our How Now Brown Cow Gradual Tanning Cream tanner absorbs fairly quickly, so you won’t be restricted to a naked star-shaped stance in front of your fan. Apply loose clothing and leave on the skin.

6. As ours is a ‘gradual’ tanner, we recommend applying every day until you build the colour to your desired shade. Once you’ve reached your ideal shade, apply 1-2 times a week (or more if you need to) for maintenance.

7. Gradual tanners pigment the outer layer of the skin and this skin sloughs off over time, and so your tan will fade. We like to exfoliate every week or so and start the process again.

Did we miss any of your favourite tanning tips or is there something you wanted to know about? Let us know in the comments below!