DIY Self Tanner: We Tried It & Here's What Happened

August 23, 2016
Jessie Quinn
By: Jessie Quinn | by L'Oréal
DIY Self Tanner: We Tried It & Here's What Happened

Self tanners can be a great way to rock summer skin without actually exposing your skin to the sun’s harmful— read: damaging—UV rays. And, as someone who is extra mindful of the sun—and very fair skinned—I’ve grown to love the idea of sporting a faux glow during both the warmer months and when my winter skin needs a little pick-me-up. That combined with my love of DIY beauty and skin care products resulted in me turning our office into my very own DIY tanning salon, using ingredients that I brought from my kitchen and my go-to lightweight lotion for summer, Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Light-Weight Body Lotion. Now, before I get your hopes up: this particular DIY project did not go according to plan—some, myself included, may even call it a DIY fail. However, it does have a happy ending, so keep reading! 

DIY Self Tanner We Tried It and Here’s What Happened

To make the lotion, I mixed ½ cup of Kiehl’s Creme De Corps Light-Weight Body Lotion with 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mixed them together until a dark, creamy—what appeared to be—self tanner formed. I then prepped my skin for application, like I would before using any kind of self tanner and followed up by applying the DIY concoction in small circular motions to my skin.

I had originally thought that this could go one of two ways: the self tanner would have either worked out great and given me a natural, sun-kissed shade or stain my skin and be impossible to remove. Neither of these things ended up happening. In fact, aside from my skin feeling ultra soft from the mixture of Creme de Corps Light-Weight Body Lotion and coconut oil…nothing happened. Desperate to make it work, I tried plan B and applied it to my skin as a mask, then rubbed the excess product off after ten minutes, hoping that it would leave some kind of stain on my skin. When that didn’t work, I was ready to throw in the towel. That is until our Editor in Chief had a brilliant idea: 

We had just received a delivery of Honey Bronze products from The Body Shop and included in the shipment was the brand’s Limited-Edition Honey Bronze Drops of Sun. Specifically made to adjust the shade of your foundation, the Drops of Sun is a concentrated self tanning serum that gives you the freedom to completely customize your shade of bronze for a faux summer glow that can be washed off with your makeup at the end of the day. Formulated with antioxidant-rich vitamin E and the brand’s Community Trade Honey, this self-tanning serum can help to hydrate the skin and neutralize environmental aggressors. I decided to try adding about six drops of the serum to a quarter-size dollop of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Light-Weight Body Lotion to see if we could get the similar DIY effect I was hoping for. Turns out, that’s exactly what happened! I was able to get the sun-free tan that I was hoping for—one that my original DIY recipe simply could not give—and create a custom shade at the same time. View my results for both the DIY self bronzer and the Drops of Sun serum, below.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Drops of Sun, $20

My left hand after applying the DIY self tanner recipe:

DIY Self Tanner We Tried It and Here’s What Happened

My left hand after using a The Body Shop’s Honey Bronze Drops of Sun with Kiehl’s Creme de Corps Light-Weight Body Lotion:

DIY Self Tanner We Tried It and Here’s What Happened

Lesson learned: Some do-it-yourself products are simply not as effective as the real deal!

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