Does self-tanner work on black skin? Yes, it does!
Self-tanners have become increasingly popular in recent years as a healthy, natural-looking way to achieve a sun-kissed glow. For those with black skin, sunless tanning can be especially beneficial and provide an even, natural look without the risks of UV exposure. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using self-tanners specifically for black skin and share our top tips and product recommendations.
What are the benefits of self-tanning for black skin?
Self-tanners offer an easy way for people with dark skin to even out their complexion and enhance their existing color. Fake tan products can help disguise hyperpigmentation like acne scars, stretch marks, and scars from old injuries.
Moreover, self-tanners leave the skin radiant, acting like makeup but lasting longer than foundation or concealer.
Self-tanners designed for darker skin tones help to avoid the dreaded orangey color that other products may leave behind on light complexions.
What is self-tanner and why does it work on black skin?
Self-tanner is a cosmetic product that creates a darker color on the skin, giving it a tanned look without any actual sun exposure. It’s not like makeup that forms a layer on top. Instead, it interacts with the skin to produce color that lasts for about a week. Then it fades gradually as the skin exfoliates naturally just like a suntan.
A non-toxic chemical called DHA (dihydroxyacetone) in self-tanner reacts with proteins in the stratum corneum, which is the outer layer of your skin. This reaction darkens and stains the top layer of cells, creating an even tan appearance. It’s similar to what happens when you slice an apple and leave it exposed to the air.
When choosing a self-tanning product for black skin, be sure to choose one that has been specifically formulated for darker complexions. Otherwise, you might not notice a difference. On the bright side, since you already have a deeper skin tone, self-tanner is much less likely to turn orange.
How to choose the best self-tanner for dark skin
In recent years, many manufacturers have begun to offer sunless tanning products formulated specifically for darker skin tones. Therefore, it’s no longer impossible to find the right color.
What makes the difference? It’s usually the concentration of DHA. The higher the concentration, the deeper the color that develops. It’s important to take this into consideration. Will you want to look like you spent two weeks by the sea or just had a weekend getaway? Choose the shade accordingly.
But it’s not just the color that matters, but also the type of product. For example, there are:
- Gradual self-tanning lotions
- Self-tanning mousses
- Sunless tanning sprays
- Disposable wipes with self-tanner
- Drops that can be added to face moisturizer and body lotion
And that’s not including spray tans that you can get at a salon.
Which self-tanner should you choose?
Since sunless tanning can dehydrate your skin (because of the reaction between DHA and your cells), you might prefer lotion or drops instead of mousse, wipes, or spray to prevent ashiness.
Nevertheless, gradual tanning lotion takes days to build a deeper color but mousse could turn you vacation-dark overnight.
Ask yourself how fast and how dark you want to go.
Finally, if you have allergies, check the label to make sure the product doesn’t have anything you should avoid.
How to use self-tanner
If you are new to self-tanning, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid. Here’s what you need to know before applying any product so you can get the perfect natural look.
First, always exfoliate before applying self-tanner since this will the product apply evenly and prevent dark patches and streaks. Too often people skip this step which can lead to uneven results.
Use an oil-free moisturizer on dry spots like elbows, knees, and knuckles so that they don’t absorb too much product. Let the skin soak up the moisture before applying the sunless tanner.
You might also apply barrier cream to nipples and patches of hyperpigmentation so that they don’t absorb the self-tanning product and end up darker than the rest of your skin.
If you normally use oil as moisturizer, you need to know that it can make a self tan streaky. If possible, use shea butter or moisturizers that are non-greasy.
Furthermore, make sure to read the instructions carefully so that you don’t apply too much or leave it on for too long as this could result in orange streaks or blotchy patches.
The instructions may suggest using an applicator mitt to spread the product evenly and to keep your hands from getting stained. You might also use rubber gloves but they don’t manage the quantity of product as nicely as a mitt. If you choose to use your hands only, wash them afterward to keep your nails and palms from turning an unnatural color. (This is when a mitt comes in handy because you can keep your hands clean during the application process). Then swipe the backs of your hands with what’s left over on the applicator.
Once you’ve finished applying the self-tanner, wait a few minutes before dressing. Then do your best to stay dry for the next few hours. Depending on the product, it may take anywhere from 60 minutes to 8 hours to deepen your skin color. This is why people love to do sunless tanning right before bed.
Are there any things to watch out for when self-tanning black skin?
Black skin is prone to dryness and self-tanning can aggravate the condition. Still, steer clear of oil-based moisturizers so you don’t make your new fake tan streak.
But be sure to apply moisturizer each day to keep the tan from fading too soon. It’s also a good idea to avoid long, hot showers to keep the color from breaking down early.
Of course, if you feel like the fake tan has gone too dark, exfoliating and a hot shower and applying oil-based moisturizer will remove the tan quickly.
The best self-tanners for Black skin
Are you ready for a sun-kissed glow? It’s time to let your inner bronze goddess out to play. Here are our favorite fake tan products for Black skin:
St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse, Extra Dark
Here’s one of the most trusted brands of self-tanner worldwide. It offers a variety of sunless tanning solutions including this bronzing mousse that develops an extra dark tan.
Unlike the brand’s express tanning mousse, this one has to be left on for a few hours. We recommend applying it after a shower at bedtime. It only takes about a minute to dry before you can slip between the sheets.
It has several benefits that appeal to beginning tanners and pros alike. First, it’s highly unlikely to streak or turn out orange. Instead, it adapts to skin tone to build a natural color.
Second, it has a pleasant fragrance and isn’t sticky. Although it advertises itself as having no “self-tan odor”, you might smell the DHA working for the first hour or so. We like the scent because it reminds us of summer vacation.
Third, the color lasts up to 10 days. In reality, it does start to fade a bit before then. But if you use a gradual tanning lotion twice a week, you can go about 2 weeks between mousse applications.
Lastly, the formula is vegan and free of harmful chemicals. It claims to be hydrating, but you’ll probably want to use an oil-free moisturizer on dry patches before you apply it. The moisturizer keeps the color from going darker on the knees and elbows.
How do you apply it? It’s easiest to do with an applicator mitt but can be done with your hands. The instructions on the bottle give all the details.
Dave’s Dark Self Tanner Sunless Tanning Lotion with Bronzer
We’ve found that it’s easier for beginners to use self-tanning lotion for Black skin. It’s highly unlikely to streak and it’s more hydrating than mousse, spray, or wipes. Nevertheless, bronzing mousse only takes a few hours to develop a darker color than lotion can do even after 2 or 3 applications.
If all you want is a little vacation glow to even out your skin tone, sunless tanning lotion is the way to go. And this formula has a higher concentration of DHA plus bronzer for instant wow. Of course, the bronzer guide color washes off the first time you shower, but the tan underneath develops within hours beforehand.
The velvety lotion is enriched with jojoba, sesame, and aloe vera to keep the skin hydrated. Happily, it’s fragrance-free so it won’t contrast with your favorite perfume. It’s a nice change from the floral and powder sense of other self-tanning products.
It’s also paraben-free since nobody needs ingredients that mess with hormones. Even guys like to use it, which makes sense. After all, it was originally developed for people competing in bodybuilding competitions.
Jergens Natural Glow +FIRMING In-shower Self Tanner Lotion
Is Jergens Natural Glow good for Black skin? This drugstore self-tanner for dark skin is one of the most economical options. It comes as a mousse, gradual tanning lotion, and in-shower lotion. Wait a minute – how can a sunless tanning product work in the shower? Don’t you need to have dry skin so that it doesn’t streak?
We’ll be honest – we don’t know how it works. The directions say to finish up in the shower and smooth on the lotion before patting dry. By some miracle, it doesn’t look patchy and doesn’t stain the towel, either. It works so well that it’s won awards.
In reality, reviewers had a mixed experience. For the most part, the lotion itself does a good job of moisturizing the skin. After all, it’s fortified with coconut water, antioxidants, collagen, and elastin for firmer skin. That’s great news for folks who tend to look ashy.
But when it comes to achieving a dark tan, those with Black skin had better results with the Jergens Natural Glow mousse. Otherwise, the in-shower lotion just adds a bit of sun-kissed glow. Also, it requires repeated applications over the course of a week to develop color.
On the bright side, the dermatologist-tested formula smells pretty nice, plus it’s cruelty-free.
Sun Labs Self-Tanning Spray
What about a spray tan for African American skin? If you don’t want to go to the salon, you can spray tan at home with this product. It comes in different grades of color so be sure to pick the one that promises the results you desire.
Although you don’t need a professional spray gun to apply it, it may turn out better if you have one. At a minimum, use a fine mist sprayer for even application. On the bright side, the same manufacturer also makes self-tanning foam and micro mist, but not every color is available in every format.
This particular formula is paraben-free and enriched with antioxidants and aloe. It only takes 3 hours to develop a tan. At a minimum, you should avoid showering, swimming, or sweating for at least an hour after applying it.
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops – Color-Correcting
What if you could keep on using your regular moisturizer but it would give you a tan? Add these drops to the lotion and that’s exactly what will happen.
The directions say to take a half-teaspoon of face moisturizer and add up to 12 drops. Mix it together and apply it as you normally would. The drops can be used on both the face and body for a healthy radiance or a deep bronze – the more drops, the darker the color. Moreover, the formula is color-correcting to adapt to different skin tones.
The liquid may very well boost the effectiveness of your regular face cream. It contains avocado, chia seed, and grapefruit oil for maximum hydration.
Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Bundle
Get everything you need in one package. This bundle includes a self-tanning mousse, an applicator mitt, and a kabuki brush. The velvety applicator is perfect for applying the mousse all over the body. Then, the silky bristled brush makes sure you get an even application on your face, too. Both the brush and mitt are washable and reusable.
The mousse comes in different colors to match different skin tones. It uses natural DHA to bronze your skin in only 2 hours. It’s enhanced with coconuts, amino acids, cocoa, and other botanicals to fight signs of aging. That’s good news because self-tanning can be a little drying to the skin.
The vegan, cruelty-free formula has a fruity tropical fragrance and somehow manages to avoid the self-tanning “burned” odor. The brand says each bottle has enough for up to 20 full-body tans.
We hope we helped you find the ideal self-tanner today. With the right product, you can easily achieve a natural-looking tan in the comfort of your own home. By taking into consideration the color you want and the application process, you can be sure to find the perfect product that meets all of your needs.