Homemade self tanning lotion

Woman with a beautiful tan.

Store-bought self-tanning lotions are fine, if you don't mind putting harsh chemicals on your delicate skin. If you can't even pronounce some of the ingredients listed on the bottle, why would you want to use it on your body? There are ways to attain the same results at home naturally, without additives or harsh chemicals. These methods are easy and cost a fraction of any store-bought self-tanning lotion.

Ingredient Options

You probably have everything you need right at your fingertips--pure baker's cocoa, black tea, your favourite natural white lotion or pure lanolin, and sesame oil. That's it, nothing more. Now all that is left to do is mix up your tanning lotions.

The easiest mixture is cocoa and natural white lotion or pure lanolin. No measuring needed: Simply empty the contents of the lotion into a bowl and add cocoa, blending thoroughly. Add cocoa until you reach the desired colour. Keep in mind that the mixture will appear darker in the bowl than it will on your skin.

This next lotion mixture is a bit more involved, but not much. You will need a blender or hand mixer for incorporating the tea, lotion and sesame oil.


The cocoa lotion is complete once it is thoroughly blended. You can then spoon it into a clean bottle or jar for storage.

For the other self-tanning lotion, steep three black tea bags in 3/4 cup of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool completely. In a blender, add 1/4 cup lanolin or natural white lotion and 1/4 cup sesame oil. Blend at low speed while slowly adding the tea. If you don't have a blender, a bowl and hand mixer will do.

Application and Use

Before applying either self-tanning lotion you should use a moisturiser, giving special attention to areas such as knees, elbows and ankles. These areas are usually much drier than other parts of your body and will absorb self-tanning lotion more quickly, possibly causing your tan to be uneven. Extra moisturising will prevent dark patches.

Now it's time to test each lotion on your skin. One at a time, apply a small amount to an area that can be hidden if you aren't happy with the results. The black tea lotion should be applied sparingly, but the cocoa mixture can be applied more liberally.

Both the cocoa and black tea lotions can be used all over your body.

Which results you are happiest with will determine how frequently you can apply it. The black tea lotion generally has a deeper, long-lasting effect and does not need to be reapplied more than once a week. Cocoa-based lotion is subtle and more natural looking, and can be reapplied as often as needed.


Whether self-tanning or not, always remember to use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays. Excessive exposure to the sun can cause permanent, irreversible damage. Using a homemade self-tanning lotion is but one way to avoid harmful UVA and UVB rays. Proper sunscreen used daily, along with your self tanner, is the answer to healthy and beautiful skin that has the look and feel of having sunbathed.

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