Spring is well underway, and whether you're getting ready for a beachy getaway or just want to look like you've spent time in the great outdoors, self-tanners always come in handy for creating a faux glow. Yet, self-tanners can be hard to get right—they lean too orange or too green, dry out your skin, or create an uneven finish—and, until now, have not been inclusive of all skin tones. However, Australian suncare brand Bondi Sands just created one of the most inclusive self-tanners on the market, the Technocolor 1 Hour Express Self Tanning Foam ($27). Ahead, everything you need to know about the revolutionary launch.
It should be a given that a tanning product works on every skin tone, but unfortunately that's not the case. Many tanners on the market lean too orange or too green, resulting in an unnatural look on many skin tones—especially deeper ones. “As a global brand, inclusiveness is a prerequisite, but more than that, the self-tanning industry has more work to do in this space than most beauty categories, as most brands consider diversity in marketing campaigns but not in product development,” Blair James, CEO and Co-Founder of Bondi Sands, tells Byrdie.
While self tanner is usually associated with (and designed for) fair skin, the brand found that people across all skin tones are interested in the category. “We surveyed over 4,000 non-tanners and found all consumers surveyed of different skin types wanted to enhance their tone in one way or another—but not change it,” says James. In an effort to provide inclusive self-tanning products, Bondi Sands set out to develop the Technocolor 1 Hour Express Self Tanning Foam to add a sun-kissed glow to all skin tones—and all undertones. Says James, “The Technocolor range has been developed to produce the perfect tone for each type with the optimal level of DHA and hydration for each skin type combined with the right color tone.”
Although it sounds as simple as adjusting the undertones, the process of nailing formulas that enhance every skin tone was a bit more nuanced since there was little info about on how self-tanners actually work across a range of tones. “We conducted a world-first skin analysis program to know how each skin type reacted to the active ingredient in self-tanning, DHA,” James reveals. “We initially reached out to our global ingredient suppliers to obtain this information, but we found that no one had measured the effect of DHA on all skin types.”
The Technocolor 1 Hour Express Self Tanning Foam range comes in four shades: Sapphire, which is formulated for cool-toned skin; Emerald, which is formulated for olive-toned skin; Magenta, which is formulated for deep skin tones; and Caramel, which is formulated for golden-toned skin. Although each shade has the same foamy texture and one-hour development time, they contain different levels of DHA to tackle what Bondi Sands found to be specific concerns for each skin tone.
Bondi Sands's skin analysis program also measured how well different skin tones retain moisture, which led Bondi Sands to create their Dermachromatic ColorTechnology, which blends tanning active ingredients and color enhancers, as well as hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, coconut water, and aloe extract.
“Getting the formula right was relatively easy, as the research data led us," explains James. "It was almost a feeling of surprise that ‘oh, the data was right’ when we started receiving feedback from the product testing, and people were enjoying the samples, and the range was addressing their need.”
Bondi Sands spent 18 months on the formula alone, from research to development (not including time spent on packaging development and marketing). "Testing the actual formulations on the skin added another six months to the process and included 1,000 participants worldwide," says James, which means that the Technocolor 1 Hour Express Self Tanning Foam took over two years to create.
If you're in the market for a self-tanner that works for your skin, you can use Bondi Sands'sTechnocolor Shade Finder Quiz, which uses an AI try-on filter to see which product is right for you. James notes, "While the AI technology is not new to the color cosmetic industry, Bondi Sands is the first company in the self-tan category to utilize it."