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Whether achieving a summer glow in the winter months or maintaining bronzed skin throughout the year without sun damage, self-tanner carries appeal among consumers across the globe. In the US, three in 10 consumers get professional spray tans, suggesting a desire for immediate tanning results, according to Mintel research on sun protection and sunless tanners. Meanwhile, research on the Brazilian suncare market reveals that a third of Brazilian consumers use suncare products throughout the year, providing a year-round opportunity for self-tan products. As product innovation drives new interest in self-tanning, there are a few things beauty and personal care brands need to keep in mind as they seek to engage global consumers.

58% of US female beauty buyers aged 18-34 say social media posts encourage them to buy particular products.

Social media is the ultimate weapon

Social media allows consumers and brands to constantly communicate with one another, and the most successful self-tan brands are using social media to publish real-time reviews and showcase images of consumers using the products. With Mintel’s beauty retailing report showing that 58% of US female beauty buyers aged 18-34 saying that social media posts encourage them to buy particular products, social media is a tool that should not be ignored by brands. Cleverly utilizing the various social channels can yield high levels of consumer satisfaction and increased brand engagement.

Mintel comparative data shows that Bali Body, Bondi Sands and Loving Tan outperform nearly all other popular sunless tanner brands in terms of social followers. Through social media (mainly Instagram), these brands make meaningful connections with consumers. By re-posting individual user posts on brand pages, these three companies create an authentic interface for consumers to discover new products and engage with each another.

Orange is over

Today’s sunless tanner landscape significantly differs from that of the past. Products now use more sophisticated formulas that create natural-looking color in a variety of ways. Certain companies have even created sunless tanning pills, eliminating the need for topical application all together. According to Mintel research on the UK suncare sector, one in seven UK consumers have tried, or are interested in trying, oral tanning supplements. Many of the pills contain canthaxanthin, which is a naturally-occurring chemical found in several plants and animals. It’s a color additive that gives foods a red or orange tint. The pills have a similar effect to gradual sunless tanning products and the user can expect to see results build over time. Most pill formats are still awaiting FDA approval as the amount of canthaxanthin ingested is significantly higher than in foods.

Innovate beyond DHA

As the benefits of SPF continue to emerge, more realistic-looking sunless tanning products are entering the market to fulfill consumer tan desires. Most recently DHA-free products have been helping to revolutionize the sunless tan industry. This absence of certain ingredients aligns with Mintel’s 2018 Beauty & Personal Care Trend ‘Back to Basics.’

Additionally, as sunless tanning becomes more prevalent, there is an increased need for products that remove the remnants of an old tan. Products such as Bondi’s Magic Tan Eraser help to eliminate pigments from previous tans to prep the skin for the next application. These self-tan removers allow for segmentation in the sunless tanning process by adding an additional step in the bronzing routine.

Lauren Goodsitt is a Global Beauty & Personal Care Analyst at Mintel. With over 6 years of research experience, Lauren brings expertise in data analysis and trend interpretation. She utilizes research to help develop innovative product concepts, understand the landscape of the beauty categories, and to apply relevant industry trends.