Self-Tan Brands: How do you keep your brand from fading?
The negative associations around self-tanning and the risk of embarrassing error have put many consumers off the beauty practice. Self-tanning products with DHA in the early days had a strong odour, streaks, and an orange hue that were unnatural.
Emerging brands, however, are shaking up the beauty game with minimalist packaging and foolproof formulas with gender-neutral branding. Self-tanning is becoming more premium, so bronzing enthusiasts can enjoy easy-to-apply, realistic-looking colour every day, and this is changing negative perceptions of the market. As a result, the global self-tanning market was valued at $1bn in 2021, predicted to double by 2026.
Fake tan has a complicated journey to popularity. Reality stars (from shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Jersey Shore) were frequently lampooned in the press for their dark fake tans, and cemented in the public mind a class separation between those who used tanning products and those who didn't. With formulae that were streaky and unnatural in their hue, many consumers and high-end brands didn't want to get near the market - and that's without mentioning that many women were afraid of the 'biscuity' smell.
The fake tan category has come a long way. The luxury end of this beauty segment is booming thanks to developments that have seen products gain an upmarket scent, a more reliable finish, and muted shade ranges. Contemporary products cleverly avoid all the negative pitfalls historically associated with the category. They provide a natural finish that can be customised by the consumer, turning tanning into a daily confidence-boosting treat.
Self-tanning brands are also moving beyond glossy, glamorous aesthetics once associated with the tanning category in favour of more refined branding and feel-good marketing. In this edition of Almighty Thoughts, we look at how the self-tanning category has evolved, identifying the key shifts and how brands can respond.
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