By Julie Pefferman, Co-Founder CLEANTAN USA
I have been formulating skin care for years, but I have to admit that creating a self-tanner was something I had zero interest in. That was until Tina, my business partner, posed it as a viable beauty space that needed ‘cleaning up’.
I tan easily, so I always found it best to just step out in the sun for a few minutes versus fussing with a sunless tanning product. Truth be told, I actually hadn't even tried a self-tanner since the 90's and felt they made people look like orange Oompa Loompas!
Fast forward to my mid-thirties and “Oh shit! Sun damage and age spots had reared their ugly heads on my face!” They seemingly appeared out of nowhere but I knew better; that sun damage that had been there for years and reminded me that I couldn’t possibly be the ONE person that could avoid premature aging from UV rays. I take good care of my skin but I should have stayed out of the sun.
So here I was charged with formulating a sunless tanner like never seen before. We decided to call it CLEANTAN because we were literally cleaning up all the issues that made people hate self-tanners. We had radical goals: to be CLEAN from all unnecessary chemicals and toxins.
Here were our very steep criteria:
No Odor - No Orange Color - No Unnecessary Chemicals - No Dyes - No Fragrance - No Penetration Enhancers - No Animal Products - No Dangerous Byproducts - Luxurious Tanning - Flexible Product - Smells Natural - EWG 1 - Easy Application - Natural Brown Color- Lasting Color
I personally tested hundreds of products already on the market. ALL of them fell flat against our aims. Day by day, week by week, they all got dumped them into the sunless tanning graveyard - what eventually became known as "the box".
Here is some stuff I learned…..
I tried mousses, lotions, sprays, clear ones, brown ones, in-shower, for face only, and on and on. Some tanners were so weak I didn't see ANY result. I had to use them daily and it was going to get expensive fast (not to mention annoying)! Some tanners were so messy my bathroom still remembers them. Some tanners look good immediately and then washed off to nothing. Some tanners made my husband gag at the smell at night. Some tanners left marks on my white sheets that DID NOT wash off.
As a formulator, I quickly realized that over half of self-tanners are simply the same product with a different label. We call this 'private labeling' and it is a tempting option for those who may not know how – or want to - innovate in a meaningful way.
This was my lightbulb moment! Nobody was innovating in the tanning industry and I was determined to change that!
Since all of the tested sunless tanners fell short of our aims, we simply had to start from scratch and re-imagine what a self-tanner could be. Oh Boy.
More about my self-tanning journey will be revealed in Part 2 but what you need to know right now is that…