What is Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless?

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff Published on: Sep 7, 2017

Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless is a range of self-tanning products that are designed to give you tanned skin without UV damage. The line includes tanning lotions, sprays, and mousse to help you get a sun-kissed look without the sun.

These self-tanning products are advertised as easy to apply and are designed for all skin types and tones to provide natural-looking results. Some of the products are meant to gradually build up and fade out their color over time, while others provide an instant tan that washes off at the end of the day.

Each product is advertised as paraben free, non-greasy, and filled with high-quality ingredients, as well as a ‘patent-pending fresh and clean fragrance technology’ to help you get a natural looking, non-toxic tan. The product you choose and the amount of time you keep it on your skin will affect the final color, leaving your skin anywhere from a light ‘sun kissed’ to ‘super dark.'

Can self-tanners like Selfie Tan’n Go compare to a natural tan? Let’s find out what happens when you put these products on your skin.

What Do Self Tanners Do to Your Skin?

According to the Mayo Clinic, skin is made up of two layers: the outer epidermis and the inner dermis. While sun tanning will affect the skin through the epidermis and into the dermis, self-tanning products only penetrate the skin in the outermost layers of the epidermis.

In most self-tanners, the golden glow comes from dihydroxyacetone, which is a color additive that reacts with surface skin cells to darken their coloring in a way that looks like a tan.

Gradual tanners start as a light tan but build up on the skin when applied over time. It’s common for them also to include moisturizing ingredients to help the tan linger longer by keeping the colored skin cells healthy. In most cases, self-tanners last between 4-10 days before fading back to the original color when the skin cells come off.

In contrast, the FDA states that a UV tan is the result of your skin boosting its melanin production to protect skin from father skin damage. Put another way; a natural tan is your skin’s shield from the sun to prevent it from getting burned.

As a result, too much regular tanning can lead to sun burns and even skin cancer because of ultraviolet (UV) rays, but gradual tanners don’t cause this problem.

Will Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless deliver results that replicate a real tan? Let’s see what the products promise to do.

What products are Available in the Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless Line?

At the time of publishing, there are seven tanning products available by Selfie Tan’n Go. For simplicity, we’ve highlighted just the main ingredients in each product.

Gradual Tanner (With 24-Hour Continuous Moisture)

This tanner is designed to deepen your tan over time, meaning that you are supposed to regularly apply it until you’re satisfied with your skin color. It’s also intended to be a daily moisturizer.

Main Ingredients: Aqua, Cetyl Alcohol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dihydroxyacetone, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol

Night Tan Overnight Sunless Lotion

Designed to deliver a dark tan after a single evening, this lotion comes in a spray canister and is advertised as creating color while you sleep that lasts up to seven days and won’t stain your clothes or sheets.

Main Ingredients: Aqua, Dihydroxyacetone, Cetyl Alcohol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol

Continuous Sunless Spray (With Immediate Bronzers)

The Continuous Spray is Selfie Tan’n Go’s long lasting instant self-tanner that is designed to provide complete coverage that deepens after two to eight hours and last up to seven days.

Main Ingredients: Alcohol Denat. SD Alcohol 40-B, Aqua, Dihydroxyacetone, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Citric Acid, Parfum

1 Hour Express Bronzing Mousse (Super Dark Tan and Medium Dark Tan)

These two products are designed to maximize the longevity of your tan by adding bronzers to your skin to keep the coloring intact. You can control the final color by choosing how long you leave the product on before washing it off.

Main Ingredients: (Same for both colors) Aqua (Water/Eau), Dihydroxyacetone, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum (Fragrance), CI 19140 (Yellow 5), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

2 Hour Sunless Lotion (With Immediate Bronzers)

Selfie Tan’n Go’s 2-Hour Sunless lotion is designed to mimic the natural sun to extend how long your tan lasts. Like the 1-hour options, you control the coloring based on how long you keep it on your body.

Main Ingredients: Aqua, Dihydroxyacetone, Cetyl Alcohol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol

Instant Body Bronzer

For a short-term tanning effect, this bronzer is designed to provide a streak-free tan that smoothes out your skin and comes off when you wash up later.

Main Ingredients: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Mannitol, Cellulose, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Mica, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose

Instant Face Bronzer

If you only want to touch up your face, this tanning product uses bronzing micro-beads to hide wrinkles and create a darker hue that can be washed off at the end of the night.

Ingredients: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Mannitol, Cellulose, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), Mica, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose

What are the Active Ingredients in Selfie Tan‘n Go Products?

The company website claims that each Selfie product formula includes the “perfect amount of instant and gradual self-tanners…[without] the tell-tale self-tan aroma.” Do the ingredients back up these claims? We aren’t chemists at HighYa, but we looked at the research to find out.

For our analysis, we relied on the EWG Cosmetic Database. In general, the ingredients in Selfie’s products tend to fall under one or more of the following classifications:

Tanning Agent:

  • Dihydroxyacetone is the active ingredient in most self-tanners (as mentioned earlier), and it’s present in every Selfie product besides the wash off tanners. It’s commonly used as a colorant and skin conditioning agent to create artificial tans, though it’s not FDA-approved for use around eyes. (Selfie’s Instant Face Bronzer doesn’t contain it).

Skin Conditioning Agents:

  • Propylene Glycol is a skin conditioning agent in cosmetic products, but it is a known skin irritant (see “Side Effects” to learn more).
  • Mannitol is a skin conditioning agent and binding ingredient.
  • Isononyl Isononanoate is a skin conditioning agent.
  • Dimethicone is a skin-conditioning agent with anti-foaming properties
  • Isononyl Isononanoate is a skin conditioning agent.
  • Dimethicone is a silicon-based polymer and skin-conditioning agent with antifoaming properties.
  • Isononyl Isononanoate is a synthetic ingredient and a common skin conditioning agent.

Bulking and Stabilizing Agents In Selfie Products:

  • Cellulose is a bulking agent in cosmetic products.
  • Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer is a stabilizer and viscosity controlling agent.

Fragrance Agents:

  • Cetyl Alcohol can come from either plant or animal origins and is used for fragrance, foam boosting, and as an emollient.
  • Phenoxyethanol is used as a fragrance ingredient and cosmetic preservative and is known to cause skin irritation (see “Side effects”).

Surfactant:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a surfactant and emulsifying agent, but it can also cause skin problems (see “Side Effects”).

Overall, it looks like Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless products are free of parabens and ingredients that lead to greasy skin (many ingredients are surfactants, which strip grease from skin). There is also evidence of fragrance components that may contribute to the patent-pending blend the site mentions.

However, are the ingredients safe? Let’s dig deeper.

Are There Potential Side Effects for Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless?

Three of the main ingredients we looked at on the cosmetic database (sodium lauryl sulfate, phenoxyethanol, and propylene glycol) are reported to have some side effects concerns.

According to the Green Beauty Team, sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent that’s so powerful it’s used in car wash detergents. Your skin rapidly absorbs it on contact, and concentrations above two percent can lead to harmful side effects for the eyes, liver, heart and even brain. (Thankfully, the FDA restricts its concentration to one percent in cosmetic products). Even within acceptable concentrations, though, it can cause skin irritation and allergies.

The site also states that phenoxyethanol is also potentially harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed, as it can irritate your skin and even affect your nervous system. While small amounts of this ingredient are considered safe for cosmetic use, the Green Beauty Team warns against using it multiple times a day or letting it accumulate on your skin because you increase your risk of ingesting it.

Common in cosmetic products like shampoos, hair sprays, and even self-tanners like Selfie, propylene glycol is considered by the National Library of Medicine to be an irritant. Because it’s used to enhance penetration, it allows harsh chemicals to get into your skin easier while drying out the top layer of skin in the first place. On its own, the chemical can cause allergic reactions and eczema.

In regards to DHA, the active ingredient in self-tanners, the FDA approves its use so long as it’s not “inhaled, ingested or exposed to areas covered by mucous membranes including the lips, nose and [eyes].” However, our earlier research from the Mayo Clinic showed that gradual tanners are designed to build up on the skin over time, which might potentially lead to overexposure to the active ingredients.

If you have concerns about whether a self-tanning product is safe for your body, we recommend talking with your doctor before giving it a try.

How Much Does Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless Cost?

Below is the pricing information for Selfie Tanning Products from the company website at the time of writing.

  • Gradual Tanner (With 24-Hour Continuous Moisture): $9 for 2 ounces, $25 for 9 ounces
  • Night Tan Overnight Sunless Lotion: $30
  • Continuous Sunless Spray (With Immediate Bronzers): Price: $28.00 for 6 ounces, $45.00 for 12.5 ounces
  • 1 Hour Express Bronzing Mousse (Super Dark Tan and Medium Dark Tan): Price: $30.00 for Super Dark Tan, $26 for Medium Dark Tan
  • 2 Hour Sunless Lotion (With Immediate Bronzers): Price: $28.00
  • Instant Body Bronzer: Price: $28.00
  • Instant Face Bronzer: Price: $16.00

According to the company website, Selfie Tan’n Go products are only returnable when they have manufacturing defects. The company will replace defective products within 48 hours of customers receiving their package, but they don’t honor returns from dissatisfied customers or damage caused by the shipping process.

To initiate a refund, you can contact the company directly at 813-855-0700.

What are User Opinions of Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless?

We only found a handful customer reviews on Amazon, where a select few Selfie Tan’n Go products were available at the time of writing, including the instant bronzer, continuous sunless spray, and super dark bronzing mousse. Overall, these products each had less than ten reviews and averaged between three and four stars.

Some customer comments showed that people had trouble getting even coloring on their skin because the tanners were splotchy. Others complained that the sprays stained their clothes and sheets.

The Selfie Bronzing Mousse has the best feedback overall on Amazon, with reviewers commenting that they loved the color of their skin after using the product. In contrast, customers who used the sunless spray noted that they didn’t see any difference in their coloring even days later.

What Products are Similar to Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless?

Choosing the right kind of self-tanner for you depends on defining what your tanning needs are.

WebMD lists the difference between different types of self-tanning products like lotions, mousses and tanning sprays. According to their conclusions, self-tanning lotions are best for getting a hint of color that lasts for several days.

Why? Because lotions take a few seconds to blend in, you can remove some product if you apply it too heavily. Mousses and gels dry faster, meaning they are better suited to experienced tanners who want more options to contour their skin.

Tanning sprays (not offered by Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless) are useful for getting a professional looking tan, but they can turn your skin too dark when over applied.

If you’re in the market for a self-tanning lotion or mousse, two popular options competing with Selfie’s line are Banana Boat Self-Tanning Lotion and Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Moisturizing Mousse.

Banana Boat Self-Tanning lotion is similar to Selfie’s 2 Hour Sunless Lotion and retails for about $7. The product averages four stars on Amazon after over 700 reviews and contains dihydroxyacetone (the active ingredient) and propylene glycol as well. This makes it a cheaper alternative to Selfie, though the product website shows it’s only expected to last 3-4 days, which is shorter than the week Selfie claims.

Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Moisturizing Mousse is similar to both 1 Hour Express Bronzing Mousses, and it retails for about $12 per six ounces instead of $30 for Selfie. The mousse also has four stars after hundreds of reviews, and contains dihydroxyacetone, though not propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, or sodium lauryl sulfate.

However, it does contain a paraben (methylparaben), which the cosmetic database lists as an endocrine disruptor that can mess with your hormone levels.

Our Opinion: Who Can Benefit from Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless?

While we haven’t tried these products for ourselves, our research on the EWG cosmetic database, WebMD, and the Mayo Clinic showed that Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless tanning products rely on dihydroxyacetone, a FDA-approved ingredient for tanning lotions, and is free of hormone-disrupting parabens.

This makes the products similar to most other tanning products on the market and means that the company’s claim that your tan will last 4-10 days is likely accurate.

However, some of Selfie’s products contain ingredients that are known skin irritants, namely propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, and sodium lauryl sulfate. While these ingredients are approved for use in cosmetics, they might lead to issues if they build up on your skin over time, or if you have especially sensitive skin.

Because self-tanning products can contain ingredients that can lead to skin irritation or more serious health problems, it’s important to talk with your doctor or dermatologist before committing to one, so they can help ensure it’s safe for your skin.

If you chose to try a Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless tanning product, keep in mind that the company return policy only accepts products that have proven damage from the manufacturers. If you simply don’t like how it works for you, you won’t be able to get a refund.

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