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Tan Physics

Tan Physics

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Tan Physics' range of self-tanning products claims to give you a vacation-worthy glow without the risk of skin damage. These products seem to contain safe, effective ingredients, but the resulting tan might be more subtle and short-lived than you want.


  • The scent dissipates quickly after application
  • Doesn’t stain clothing when applied correctly
  • Dries quickly
  • Leaves a natural-looking color tone
  • Gentle enough for use on the face


  • Color might be too subtle, even after multiple applications
  • Starts to fade within days
  • Minimal color options
  • More expensive with subtler results than competition

Tan Physics Review: What You Should Know

By Lydia Noyes

Updated on: May 7, 2020

If you’re looking to get a sun-kissed look without dealing with the skin damage of traditional tanning, then self-tanners offer an appealing alternative. These “bronzers in a bottle” claim to make it possible to achieve a darker complexion without requiring you to spend any time outdoors or in a tanning bed.

Tan Physics is a brand of sunless tanner that claims to act as a skincare hybrid to nourish your skin as you use it. The company sells three products, each of which claims to help you achieve a natural-looking, streak-free tan that reduces signs of aging on your skin like fine lines and wrinkles.

Can a Tan Physics tan replicate the real thing, or are there better ways to boost your coloring? Learn here whether this brand of self-tanner is one to commit to.

Tan Physics Product Line

Tan Physics currently sells three products, each of which serves a different purpose:

True Color Sunless Tanner: $29.95 (8-oz)

This tanning product helps you build up a sunless tan while nourishing your skin in the process.

Perfect Balance Pre-Tan Exfoliant: $49.99 (8-oz)

Designed to prep your skin before you apply the Sunless Tanner, this Pre-tan Exfoliant turns your skin into the perfect canvas for absorbing the color.

It’s sold as a shower scrub that is gentle enough to use on your face.

Tan Extender: $49.99

Increase the length of your sunless tan with this specially formulated Tan Extender. It works to moisturize your skin while adding subtle amounts of extra color to keep the tan going without the inconvenience of reapplying any self-tanner.

All orders from the company website include $9.95 in shipping fees.

Tan Physics offers a 100-day full money-back guarantee on every purchase. This means that you can request a full refund if you are unhappy with your order for any reason within that timeframe. You’ll even receive a pre-paid shipping label for sending the product back to the company.

You can find out more information by messaging customer service at support@tanphysics.com or at (855) 826-7353.

Analysis of Ingredients

The Tan Physics self-tanner claims to use a proprietary blend of moisturizers, sugar-derived tanners (DHA), and other nourishing skincare ingredients. The goal is to give you a “just walked off the beach” tan without any of the damage associated with sunbathing.

This formula is designed for all skin types and tones and is considered gentle enough for use over your whole body—even your face.

We’ve highlighted some of the most noteworthy ingredients in Tan Physics products below:

Dihydroxyacetone (DHA): A key ingredient in sunless tanners, DHA works by reacting to the dead cells on your skin’s surface and temporarily darkens them to stimulate a tan. The effect usually wears off after a few days.

While DHA is approved by the FDA for topical use, you need to be careful to keep it away from your eyes, nose, and mouth because the risks of taking in small amounts aren’t fully understood yet.

Argan Oil: This plant-based oil is used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes and is prized for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also a rich source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that can work to reduce signs of skin damage.

Matrixyl: This proprietary ingredient is a trade name for palmitoyl pentapeptide-4. It’s often found in anti-wrinkle products.

Coconut Oil: This natural moisturizer is a common skincare ingredient, and it can help prevent dry, flakey skin before applying self-tanner. There’s also some evidence that coconut oil can speed up vitamin D absorption, meaning it can counter the blocking effects of sunscreen.

Hydrolyzed Collagen: Also known as collagen peptides, hydrolyzed collagen is typically broken down to the point that the amino acids are more dissolvable. When taken as a supplement, this form of collagen will promote joint health, help maintain bone density, and even restore skin elasticity to reduce wrinkles.

Though it’s a common ingredient in many self-tanners, there’s little evidence that applying collagen topically will do much for your skin.

Aloe Barbadensis Gel: Derived from the aloe plant, this gel is a common source of relief from sunburns, but it also works to soothe dry skin and acne so that self-tanners are more effective.

Is Tan Physics Safe?

Tan Physics claims that its self-tanning products are gentle enough for use anywhere on the body, including your face. Likewise, we couldn’t find any signs of negative side effects from looking at the ingredients list or from customer reviews.

Note that tan Physics products don’t act like sunscreen and can’t protect your skin from sunburn. You will need to apply sunscreen as usual when you go outside.

How to Use Tan Physics

Your skin should be as clean and smooth as possible before using Tan Physics to ensure that the maximum amount of product soaks into your skin. It’s best to refrain from shaving, waxing, plucking, or tweezing for at least 24 hours before you plan to apply the tanner. Any sooner, and you risk having your follicles and pores end up darker than the rest of your skin.

The company suggests you avoid using overly harsh loofah sponges and instead use its Perfect Balance Pre-Tan Exfoliant to prep your skin. This skincare product is designed for shower use, and you can use it to gently exfoliate your skin in circular motions. Take extra care over the areas where your skin tends to be dry, like the knees, elbows, heels, and tops of your hands.

Once your skin is prepped, ensure that it is completely dry, remove all jewelry, and put your hair up. Next, squeeze a quarter-size portion of Tan Physics onto your palm and rub it into your legs, slowly working up your body as it absorbs in.

Massage it in place using small circles with firm pressure, and apply only a light coating to your feet, knees, elbows, and the tops of your hands, as these areas tend to have rougher skin and can turn much darker.

Each purchase of self-tanner includes a caramel color guide that helps you see where you better need to rub it in. When you are finished, make sure you wash your hands well, especially between your fingers and at your nail beds.

Allow the tanner to dry on your skin for at least twenty minutes before putting on loose, dark-colored clothing. Your tan should start developing within 3-6 hours and will be fully developed after 24. Abstain from showering or heavy sweating for the first six hours so you don’t mess with this process. Any streaks or dark spots that show up can be buffed away with a washcloth.

The resulting tan should last between 4-7 days, though it will lighten significantly once you shower. You can apply more tanner the following day to develop a darker tone, and use the Tan Physics Tan Extender to keep the color longer.

Our Test: Does Tan Physics Sunless Tanner Really Work?

For more product tests: Click here to subscribe to HighYa’s YouTube channel.

This product line worked for us as described to deepen coloring in a natural, unobtrusive way. We appreciated the minimal smell, easy application process, and the fact that the tanner dried quickly and didn’t stain our clothing.

However, the final results were subtle and faded significantly after our tester showered, even after applying the tanner twice and waiting the full 24 hours necessary for it to develop.

Overall, we thought that Tan Physics made sense for anyone looking for subtle coloring or who is naturally pale and would see a lot of improvement from even a minor tan. Those who are looking for a more dramatic change are likely to be underwhelmed by the results.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Tan Physics currently has more than 40 reviews here at HighYa, and they average 2.9 stars. On Amazon, each of the three products averages about 4 to 4.5 stars after hundreds of reviews.

Below is a summary of what users are really saying about this brand:

Common Compliments:

  • Works well when applied correctly
  • Great substitute for tanning in the sun
  • Long-lasting, natural-looking tan

Common Complaints:

  • Too subtle to be noticed
  • More expensive than equivalent products
  • Can flake off onto clothing or sheets
  • Stains hands during the application process
  • The smell was too intense
  • Delivery issues for some users (product never arrived)

Tan Physics vs. Other Self-Tanning Products

The following chart looks at how some of the key details of Tan Physics compare to other self-tanning products from two popular brands—Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless and Jergens.

Tan Physics Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless Jergens Natural Glow
Available Products Three: tanner, exfoliator, tan extender 12+: self-tanners, instant tanners, gradual tanners, wash off tans, sun protection, lip balm, etc 12+: self-tanning lotions, mousses, daily lotions, face creams, etc
Average Cost Per Product $29–$49 (8-oz) $2–$30 (6-oz) $8.29–$10 (7.5-oz)
Key Ingredients Dihydroxyacetone, coconut oil, hydrolyzed collagen, aloe vera gel Dihydroxyacetone, propylene glycol, mannitol, sodium lauryl sulfate Dihydroxyacetone, corn starch, octyldodecyl, polysorbate 60
Average Reviews (Amazon) 4–4.5 stars 3–4 stars 4–4.5 stars

One thing that’s clear is that all three of these products rely on dihydroxyacetone. As stated earlier, this compound is what’s primarily responsible for your darker coloring when you use self-tanners.

However, since none of these tanners specify how much of the compound they contain, it’s difficult to compare their effectiveness based on ingredients alone. Concentrations can range from 1% to 20%, with higher concentrations leading to darker, longer-lasting results.

Selfie Tan’n Go Sunless products tend to be on the more expensive end of the spectrum, though the brand offers a much bigger product selection. These products vary in what they promise, as some are designed to make you darker while others work almost instantly but fade just as fast.

One advantage to Jergen’s Natural Glow (besides the lower pricepoint and extensive product range) is that this drugstore brand can be found in retail locations across the country. This means you should be able to replace your supply quickly without waiting on shipping times, so you don’t have to worry about your tan fading before you can reapply it.

The Bottom Line: Is Tan Physics Worth It?

Tan Physics self-tanner products promise to give you a sun-kissed look without the skin damage. While they likely will succeed in shading your skin, you might be left underwhelmed with the results.

Based on our test, this self-tanner was easy to use and created a lovely pop of color without any overwhelming scents. However, the results are subtle and fade quickly, meaning that this tanner likely isn’t worth the process or the price for many people.

We suggest that you commit to the full Tan Physics product line if you choose to commit to this brand. That way, you can ensure your skin is appropriately prepped before application and hopefully extend the life of the resulting color beyond what Olga experienced with just the sunless tanner.

If you aren’t sure whether a self-tanner is right for you, there are cheaper options to consider than Tan Physics. Jergen’s product line contains the same active ingredient and earns great reviews, so it’s a sensible place to start.

Customer Reviews

3.1 Stars out of 50 Reviews
5 Star:32% 4 Star:20% 3 Star:4% 2 Star:10% 1 Star:34%
54% Recommend This Product
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Posted on Apr 17, 2023

Great product with correct prep and application

By Tracy P., Owingsville, KY, Verified Reviewer

I am guessing by mixed reviews, some people's bodies react differently. I did my 1st application as a massage from my husband, so when I turned over on my blanket I had some areas rub off (my fault). Also highly recommend some plastic gloves because it does stain the palms. The next day I had the most gorgeous glowing tan. It was obvious where it wiped off or where we missed a spot but I had NOT exfoliated and didn't apply it standing up like I SHOULD have. I do suggest putting some lotion on your toenail near the cuticles and it did absorb around the edges of the nails. I am SUPER excited to apply it the proper way, exfoliating first, standing and having a partner make sure all areas are covered. Only needs to be put on sparingly. I did not find any bad smell that people in some reviews have said, but maybe that's body chemistry?

I really should be giving this product a "5" but wanted to draw attention to the review with a 4 so that it would be read for the suggestions. I am looking forward to using it again and have had skin cancer in the past, so really happy to have found such a great product!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Natural glow

Not a lot of product needed

Camouflages my thigh cellulitis

Issues I had were my own fault

A pamphlet with suggestions would have been nice to have for some suggestions, troubleshooting prior

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Jun 10, 2022

It streaks

By Sonja C., Elizabethtown, KY, Verified Reviewer

It DID streak, and the color was not natural looking but orange. When I didn't use it all up I tried it half a year later and it turned my skin sky blue! I ended up liking the sky blue better than the "tan" and used it as an eye shadow that lasted about a week for each application.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Great eye shadow

If you want to be orange for Halloween, use this


Orange to dark yucky brown

Product a few months later turned skin sky blue

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on May 29, 2022

Myria is an amazing customer service representative

By Stephanie H. , Worcester, MA

I accidentally ordered the three exfoliating creams along with my three tanning lotions. Upon realizing this I called customer service on a Sunday (very convenient) and Myria patiently answered about a hundred questions I had to help me understand what I did while ordering this product. Tan Physics not only has an amazing product they have amazing customer service also! My card was refunded, I received a transaction number, and was reassured with all of my questions with patience and actually made me change my mind about canceling my accidental order with her knowledge of the product system. Thank you Myria!

Length of Use: 6–12 months

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

It dries quickly

Tans evenly

Smells great

No “cons” were specified in this review

Posted on Mar 3, 2022

Great product

By Leah R., Toms River, NJ, Verified Reviewer

I bought this product for not having any luck with Jergens. I didn't know there was a tan extender as a product option, or I would've purchased it.

Within the first application, I noticed an immediate darker complexion, and like I'd been in a tanning bed a few times in just one application! I did have to continue application as I noticed fading after showering, but once I got to the desired color, it looked natural and I got many compliments!

I am naturally very pale-skinned, so I've been looking for a self tanner that would work on my light skin and my 47-year-aged skin, and Tan Physics is the only product that has worked for me this far!

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Immediate color after application

No pungent smell

Beautiful color on my pale skin

Dries quickly, so cannot use a lot at once

Fades rather quickly; especially in shower

Wish price was a little lower

Helpful Review? 1 Person Has Voted

Posted on Apr 24, 2021

Easy to apply

By Sarah T. , Cincinnati, OH

I like it because it doesn't leave any streaks and looks good and the best I've ever used. Can tell in just one use that your skin is kind of tan. Would recommend to people if they ask what I was using.

Length of Use: Less than 3 months

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Last a long time

No streaks

Can see results in 1 day

Hands are orange even after washing

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on Nov 3, 2020

Everyone will have different results

By Rachel S., North Carolina, Verified Reviewer

First, I watched pretty much every video available on the internet about tanners and how to apply. It appears this stuff and "Loving Tan" are really great. And I want to point out, everyone's sense of smell and body's reaction will be different - so the point is, try different stuff till you find what works for you.

Okay, now to application. You get TWO VERY DIFFERENT results based upon application. I exfoliated as instructed for all tanners, and applied. If you use a typical tanner mitt/glove, the results are more subdued and a slight "sun-kissed" look. If you use the "velvet" type finger glove or a full "velvet" glove, be prepared, you are getting dark. I think the difference is the amount of tanner applied to the skin directly. The normal mitt will absorb a lot more of the tanner. When I used the "velvet" glove, man I was dark and dark for like 4 good days. I showered every day and the tan was great. Didn't do any crazy routine to maintain. I'm pale and tan for beach trips. I would recommend this product.

Length of Use: 1–2 years

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Pros and Cons

Easy to apply

Smell is decent

Dried quickly

Difficult to easily see where I did or did not apply

Normal mitt requires multiple applications to get moderate level of dark

Posted on May 28, 2020

I hate it and want know how to get my money back.

By Betty C., Combs, KY, Verified Reviewer

It is the most awful stuff I have ever used and I have used them all. I followed it step by step and I woke up orange. My feet are the worse. Now I want that money-back guarantee and I will send your product back so you can put the money back on my card.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted

Posted on May 26, 2020

Just received

By Vikki D., Baltimore, MD, Verified Reviewer

This is great, a little pricey, but I just used it today and have color already. I'm a huge tanning salon person and this is so much better. For the people that have negative comments ALL I can say is y'all didn't use it right or something. I'm sold on it and I just hope it stays after I shower. Totally recommend this product. It truly does work; no stains, no orange streaks, and actually no smell to me. Need to drop the price for people like me on disability and I so love to tan. WAS a BIGGGGGG salon tanner and this is great.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Posted on Mar 16, 2020

Rip off

By Kelly B., Troutdale, OR, Verified Reviewer

This product is misleading. I have very fair skin, I have put it on 10 times today and it can’t even be noticed, not one person has said anything. It is way too light, there needs to be different levels or colors.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Sep 13, 2019

Love it

By Lisa P., Vienna, VA, Verified Reviewer

I have been using this product for several years. It works very well. It only has a slight smell. When applied correctly it does not streak. Take your time and apply in a circular motion. The only downside is when I purchased it there was no moisturizer in it. They may have improved that by now. I would just moisturize afterwards. Also, I would avoid wearing white as it will come off onto the inside of your clothing. Same thing with white sheets. I'm of the age where I do not lay in the sun so this is a lifesaver for me. The color is realistic and it works much faster than other self-tanners. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 3 People Have Voted

Posted on Aug 1, 2019


By Marianne S., Pennsylvania, Verified Reviewer

This product is amazing. For a woman that works 50-hour weeks and can't get in the sun like I wish. Tan Physics has made me a very happy woman, inside and out. I will be using this product until the end of my time here on Earth. Thank you.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Helpful Review? 2 People Have Voted
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