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Unveiling the Truth: Does Self Tanner Expire?

Unveiling the Truth: Does Self Tanner Expire?

Sun-kissed skin without the sun's risks—that's the magic of a good self tanner. But, amid enjoying this safe glow, have you ever wondered, "Does self tanner expire?" Considering the American Academy of Dermatology cites skin cancer as the most common cancer in the United States, turning to sunless tan alternatives becomes not just a beauty routine but a mindful health choice.1 So, let's dive into this essential topic with COOLA's expert guidance, ensuring that your pursuit of a stunning sunless tan is as safe as it is effective. 

Understanding the Shelf Life of Self Tanners

Self tanners, in all their forms—creams, tanning lotions, sprays—offer the promise of a flawless tan, a shortcut to sun-kissed skin without UV exposure. But, like many beauty products, they don't last forever. Generally, self-tan products have a lifespan of about 6 to 12 months, after which their efficacy starts to wane. The primary reason for this decline is the breakdown of Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the active ingredient that reacts with your skin to create that beautiful bronze.2

Several factors play a role in determining the shelf life of your self tanner:

  • Ingredients: Natural and organic ingredients, often found in high-quality products like COOLA’s, can be more sensitive to degradation. While they offer skin-loving benefits, they may not last as long as synthetic alternatives.
  • Packaging: How a product is packaged significantly impacts its longevity. Air-tight, opaque bottles are designed to minimize exposure to air and light, both of which can accelerate the breakdown of active ingredients.
  • Storage Conditions: The way you store your self tanning products can greatly affect its shelf life, which brings us to our next point...

Best Practices for Storing Your Self Tanner

Storing your self tanner properly is essential to maintain its effectiveness. Just as you carefully select your brand for the best results, how you store it plays a crucial role. Here's how to ensure your self tanner remains at its best:

  1. Keep it Cool and Dry: A cool, dry place like a cabinet or drawer is ideal. High humidity or temperature fluctuations, common in bathrooms, can negatively impact the formula.
  2. Shield from Sunlight: Direct sunlight can not only degrade the active ingredients but also affect the color and consistency of the tanning solution. So, a shaded, dark space is preferable.
  3. Upright Storage: Wondering how to store self tanner? Keeping bottles upright helps prevent leaks and unnecessary air exposure, which can cause the tanning formula to deteriorate more quickly.

Remember, storing your self tanner correctly is as crucial as knowing how to apply self tanner to achieve that perfect, even glow.

How to Tell if Your Self Tanner Has Expired

Despite your best efforts in storage and care, self tanners do have a finite shelf life. Here are signs of expired self tanner:

  • Color or Smell Changes: An obvious change in the color of the product or an off-putting smell are clear indicators that the self tanner has passed its prime.
  • Texture Variations: If you notice that your self-tanning lotion or any other tanning product has become clumpy, streaky, or otherwise inconsistent in texture, it's a sign that it's time to replace it.

By being mindful of these signs, you can ensure that you're always applying a product that is not only effective but also safe for your skin.

Maximizing the Effectiveness of Self-Tanning Products

Achieving that perfect, enviable tan is an art, and with the right techniques, you can master it. Here’s how to ensure your self-tanning routine is top-notch:

  1. Regular Application: Consistency is key. Maintain your bronzed look by regularly applying your go-to sunless tanner, like COOLA’s Organic Sunless Tan Firming Lotion. This lotion not only gives you a stunning tan but also cares for your skin with its nourishing ingredients.
  2. Exfoliate First: Start with a clean canvas for the smoothest, most even tan. Exfoliation is crucial, and COOLA’s Organic Sunless Tan Applicator Exfoliator Mitt is your ideal tool. This double-sided tanning mitt not only helps in evenly distributing the tanning product but also gently removes dead skin cells, ensuring an even base for application. It's a simple yet effective way to enhance the efficacy of your self-tanning products. By sloughing away dry skin, the mitt ensures that products like the Sunless Tan Luminizing Body Serum adhere evenly, giving you a flawless fake tan.
  3. Moisturize: Hydrated skin is happy skin, especially when it comes to self-tanning.  Moisturizing ensures your tan lasts longer and fades evenly. Apply a daily moisturizer like COOLA’s Organic Sunless Tan Anti Aging Daily Moisturizer to keep your skin supple while building a gradual tan and maintaining your glow. Remember, moisturized skin not only looks better but also holds onto the tan for a more extended period, making your effort worth it.

Following these steps will maximize your tan's life and ensure it looks as natural and beautiful as possible. By incorporating holistic products into your routine, you’re not just tanning; you’re caring for your skin in the best way possible.

Special Tips for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin requires extra care to reduce the risk of irritation. Choose products designed for sensitivity, like COOLA’s Organic Sunless Tan Dry Oil Mist which is formulated with moisturizing, organic Aloe Vera for hydration, natural tanning actives for color, and antioxidants to protect the skin while maintaining a gradual, radiant glow. 

Sun Protection and Self Tanning

When it comes to self-tanning, those with sensitive skin should tread with extra caution. The key is not only to choose the right product but also to be mindful of how it interacts with your skin. Sensitive skin can be more prone to irritation, especially with expired self tanning products. This is where choosing a product formulated for sensitive skin becomes essential.

COOLA's Organic Sunless Tan Anti Aging Face Serum is a stellar choice for those with delicate skin. It's designed to provide a gentle yet effective tan while caring for your skin's unique needs. This lightweight serum combines the skin-loving benefits of a self tanner with anti-aging properties, offering a dual-action advantage. It's infused with ingredients that not only give you a natural-looking tan but also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The serum is gentle enough for daily use and can be integrated seamlessly into your skincare routine.

For those with sensitive skin, following these tips can enhance the self-tanning experience:

  1. Patch Test: Before using any tanning product, do a patch test to ensure your skin doesn’t react negatively.
  2. Hydrate Your Skin: Moisturizing is crucial, as hydrated skin is less likely to react adversely to tanning products. Apply a nourishing moisturizer before using the self tanner.
  3. Gentle Application: Apply self tanner with care, using smooth, even strokes. 

By selecting products tailored for sensitive skin and following these tips, you can enjoy a beautiful tan without compromising the health of your skin.

Embrace Radiance with COOLA’s Self-Tanning Collection

With COOLA, your golden glow doesn't have to come with a compromise.

 Our collection, designed to cater to a wide range of needs and skin types, is crafted with care and an eye for quality, and each product is a commitment to natural-looking, healthy tans.

COOLA’s dedication goes beyond just providing a beautiful tan; it's about nurturing your skin's health and enhancing its beauty. Whether you desire a subtle glow or a deeper bronze, our sunless tan products are tailored to offer you a radiant, year-round tan, all without the sun’s harsh effects. Join the COOLA community in celebrating the art of a safe, sunless tan—a choice that your skin will appreciate every day!


  1. American Academy of Dermatology. "Skin Cancer Resource Center." American Academy of Dermatology, 2024, www.aad.org/media/stats-skin-cancer. Accessed 8 Jan. 2024. 
  2. Draelos, Zoe D. “Self-tanning lotions: are they a healthy way to achieve a tan?.” American journal of clinical dermatology vol. 3,5 (2002): 317-8. doi:10.2165/00128071-200203050-00003