Your essential guide to organic fake tan
  • Lifestyle
  • Skin care

Your essential guide to organic fake tan

It is to achieve sunless skin radiance with our organic self tans! Find the best self tan for you as we explain how our natural tanning agents work to build your best-ever skin glow.

By Hannah Mepham

10 Minute read

Discover tips for flawless fake tan application as our experts explain how our organic self tans work safely with your skin to give you a natural faux glow.

Why use self tan? 

Whether heading on a beach break or dressing up for a night out, a fake tan is an easy, sunless way to lift your look with a soft, subtle, skin-kissed glow. Best of all, it can be applied at home without needing expensive salon trips.

To achieve a genuinely natural faux glow, organic self tan is the way to go. Easy to apply and quick to dry, our foolproof fake tans are certified organic and perfect for home tanning.

photo of green people's natural self tan lotion bottle

“A beautiful nourishing glow that is a gradual change, leaves your skin smelling and feeling amazing!” Kitty B.

Shop our organic self tan collection here.          

How does fake tan work?

So, how does self tan work? All types of fake tan use a tanning agent; once they are applied, they react with your skin’s amino acids. You will soon see the difference as your skin starts to tan.

The tan comes from Melanoidin, produced when your tanning agent and your skin’s amino acids react together.

Melanoidin has a very similar chemical structure to melanin (the skin-tanning dark pigment that your skin produces in reaction to sun exposure) and generates a temporary ‘tan-like’ colour.

We use two natural tanning agents in our fake tans. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is derived from sugar cane and is used in our natural and organic Self Tan Lotion. Erythrulose comes from sugar found in red berries, and is used in conjunction with DHA in our Liquid Gold Tanning Drops.

Types of self tan: tanning drops vs self tan lotion

So, now you know the science, where do you begin? And what type of self tan do you choose?

To help you choose the perfect organic self tan product, we’ve broken down the difference between our organic self tan lotion and organic self tan drops.


Self Tan Lotion

Age Defy+ Liquid Gold Tanning Drops

Use the tanning agent DHA only

Uses DHA with Erythrulose


Must be mixed with moisturiser


It can be applied to the face and body

Develops within 24 hours 

Lasts for 3-5 days

It can be applied direct to the skin


Is scent-free


It has a light Sandalwood aroma


It gives a soft, subtle tan

It can be built-up for a deeper tan


If you are tanning your face or are unsure how deep you’d like your tan, we’d advise starting with our Liquid Gold Tanning Drops. These allow you to control how much tanning agent you apply to the skin and are ideal for building up your confidence in using an at-home fake tan or tanning small areas, such as the face or the feet.

If you are tanning a larger area of skin, such as your legs, torso, and arms, our Self Tan Lotion may be a more cost-effective way of tanning the body at home. It’s clinically proven to be kind to sensitive skin and just as easy to apply.

How to prep your skin for fake tan

To achieve a saloon finish, we advise exfoliating before applying your fake tan. This simple prep step gives you a smooth canvas on which to apply your tan and reduces the likelihood of getting any streaks.

Our Exfoliating Mitt can prep the face and body for self tan and instantly smooth the skin. Did you make a tanning mistake? Its gentle exfoliating action can also be used to erase any self tan mishaps.

If you prefer to use a natural face scrub to prep your face for fake tan, our Fruit Scrub Exfoliator can be used 1-2 times a week. It gently exfoliates your skin using fine Bamboo Stem particles and exfoliating fruit enzymes.

Achieve a flawless finish with our self tan tutorial.

How to apply self tan lotion


Gently exfoliate to prep your skin for a smooth application.


Apply self tan lotion using circular movements, taking care around the elbows, ankles and knees.


Wash your hands thoroughly. Allow self tan to dry before applying clothing, and your tan will develop within 2-3 hours.


To maintain your tan, re-apply after three days

Watch our self tan tutorial here.



 When using tanning drops, the more drops you add, the deeper your tan will be


A little goes a long way. Blend 1-5 tanning drops with face serum or cream or 6-10 drops with body lotion.


Apply to freshly exfoliated skin and allow to dry before applying clothing. Wash hands thoroughly.

Watch our tanning drop tutorial here.



How long does fake tan last?

Self tan usually lasts around 3-5 days. A week tops. It starts to fade when your skin naturally sheds the surface cells.

If you want a longer-lasting tan, it is best to use our tanning drops. These contain Erythrulose, a tanning agent that develops slower than DHA but lasts longer.

Here are a few more tips for helping your fake tan to last longer.

  • Avoid overwashing or bathing in hot water
  • Do not excessively exfoliate your skin
  • Re-apply your fake tan every few days

Is your self tan suitable for sensitive skin?

Yes, our fake tan can be enjoyed at every life stage and by every skin type.

Sensitive skin? There are no drying alcohols or skin-irritating fake tan fragrances to worry about. All our organic fake tan products are suitable for those with dry and easily irritated skin. 

They’re also pregnancy-safe, which is great for women who wish to switch from spray tan to self tan to avoid inhaling self tan fumes when pregnant. Browse pregnancy-safe fake tan now.

“Bought this product after a friend recommended it. I'm currently pregnant & have sensitive skin, especially to fake tan. So, I didn't want to use anything toxic or irritating. This stuff is perfect. No irritation & a light, subtle glow with no streaks. I would recommend it”.


We can help you choose the perfect fake tan for your skin type. Contact our friendly UK customer care team on 01403 740350 or tweet us at @GreenPeopleUK.

Reviewed by:

This blog post has been reviewed by Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of Green People, who has 25+ years of experience in the natural and organic beauty industry. A recognised leader in the field of organic beauty, Charlotte helped inform the UK's first organic beauty standards and was voted the People’s Choice in the 2023 list of Who’s Who in Natural Beauty. A published author, she wrote the organic beauty bible ‘Naturally Gorgeous’. Previously, she qualified as a nurse and spent over 10 years working in pharmaceuticals

If you wish to republish this content, please credit Green People as the original creator with a link to 'Your essential guide to organic fake tan.' Please do not use an affiliate link.

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