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Three Warriors On: How Does Gradual Tan Work?

Let’s get technical...

While we all love a guilt-free glow, the question often on everyone’s lips when it comes to developing a sunless tan is always… just how does gradual tan work

Or the bigger question in our case at Three Warriors (as a natural, certified organic tan brand): how does gradual tan work without the use of nasty chemicals and toxins?

To answer this it takes a little technicality, so warriors, are you ready to work that chemistry? 

Let’s dive right in and talk Dihydroxyacetone.

Dihydroxyacetone-what now? Also known as DHA, Dihydroxyacetone is the key ingredient responsible for building a gradual tan and is used in all tanning products.

While it sounds like a scary chemical, don’t let the technical name fool you. It’s actually a chemical derived from sugar! Translation: DHA is our friend (and as such is found in all Three Warriors gradual tan products).

But don’t just take our word for it! The American Journal of Dermatology and the Food and the US Food And Drug Administration have deemed Dihydroxyacetone safe for topical application on skin (as advised by the Cancer Council of Australia).

So going back to the question: how does gradual tan work and how does DHA make it happen?

Well, DHA is kind of cool in that it does this magical thing where it reacts with dead skin cells (on the surface layer of your skin) when applied, causing a temporary change of colour.

How fun is that? And the best part is... because DHA is our friend, you can build the best gradual tan and colour without any risk! Hello daily Bahamas glow!

But, moving beyond the chemistry (even though chemistry is so important…when it comes to fake tan obviously;)...

Let’s talk about how building the best gradual tan isn’t just a matter of DHA magic.

In order to get that oh so organic golden glow it’s also down to using the best gradual tan products and maintaining an amazing tanning and skin care routine.

So, let’s talk about how you can have the best gradual tan experience you deserve.

We answer all your common gradual tan questions… including those awkward faux pas you never want to discuss out loud (because the tan is like ‘completely natural’ right?!). Don’t worry your secret’s safe with us warriors -  we’ve got you!

Let’s Talk Gradual Tan…

Read on for all the common Q&A’s that tend to come up around best gradual tan practises.

How can I achieve the best gradual tan?

We don’t want to brag, but warriors, when it comes to a glow, we’re kind of the experts in building the best gradual tan.

To get started, we recommend playing it safe by investing in a gradual tan you can trust… such as our Three Warriors Gradual Tan.

By investing in Three Warriors Gradual Tan you are not only buying a safe, certified organic fake tan that is made of natural, plant-based ingredients (including DHA) you can trust, but it also builds a beautiful sun-kissed base that’s so good it’s got street cred -  rated ‘Editor’s Choice’ as ‘Best gradual tanner’ in the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2020.

Boast aside, it basically has all the things you want in a fake tan and none of the things you don’t.

It’s the best gradual tan because it doesn’t smell strongly (with just the hint of a natural soft lime and vanilla scent) AND it isn’t sticky, streaky or dehydrating.

In fact you could argue it’s the best gradual tan purely because it also hydrates and moisturises the body, making it the perfect product to have as part of a regular skin care routine.

So with all that said… aside from trusting our fake tan won’t be streak-free, the safest way to get the best gradual tan experience is to follow our step-by-step ‘How To’ guide or our ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ Fake Tan guide.

How to make a gradual tan work faster?

Woh warrior, back it up! If you’re wondering how to make a ‘gradual’ tan be less gradual, you might just be grabbing the wrong tanning product...sorry to break it to you!

The thing with gradual is it takes time to work it’s magic… so if you want to make a gradual tan work faster, you may be best swapping to a more instant tanner instead like a fast dry spray tan or even our self-tan mousse.

While most fake tans aren’t designed to be ‘instant’ if you need a faux glow within an hour or two then you’re best to opt for investing in a at-home spray tan machine and using Three Warriors Spray Tan Solution or using our Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse.

How long does gradual tan take to develop?

Good question warrior! While each individual body and skin type is different, the approximate rule of thumb for the best gradual tan developing times are as follows…

1 hour - For a light and fresh, ever so natural fake tan glow.

2-3 hours - For a medium to warm organic spray tan.

4-5 hours - For a deep, dark holiday worthy gradual tan.

Best gradual tanner for your skin tone?

  • The best gradual tanner for fair skin… Three Warriors Gradual Tan

    Why? It allows you to ease your way in without going too dark too fast, making it the best gradual tanner for fair skin. We recommend following the guideline above, waiting an hour and then allowing it to develop further from there.

  • The best gradual tanner for fair to olive skin…Three Warriors Gradual Tan or Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse. 

    Why? Both will allow you to build the depth you want...meaning you’ve got control of the steering wheel warrior!

    The key difference with the Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse would be that it offers a slightly deeper glow that you can see straight up! 

    Once you see how the colour looks on your skin tone then you can choose how much longer to leave it on for.

    For best fake tan practise using the self-tan mousse we recommend buying the Three Warriors Eco-Friendly Tanning Mitt to allow for the best smooth, streak-free gradual tan.

  • The best gradual tanner for olive to dark skin… Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse or Three Warriors Spray Tan Solution

    Why? If you’ve already got a natural glow going on, a light gradual tan is likely to not go noticed. So to maximise your golden potential we recommend going straight for a darker toned fake tan that will be seen!

    If you’re more olive skin based and you want to just lightly build on it then go Three Warriors Self-Tan Mousse (with our tanning mitt!) and if you’re darker then opt straight for the Three Warriors Spray Tan Solution to get that added oomph, stat!

Can you apply gradual tan twice a day?

Got a glow and want to go again? Go for it! 

But be warned warriors, just like alcohol, pacing it is always the best way to go.

The key thing with gradual tan is that it takes time to develop so if you back it up with a second coat before you’ve seen the end results it might just hinder the natural effect you’re going for.

If you’re short on time and don’t have two days to develop the glow, then for best results we recommend applying first thing in the morning, waiting 4-5 hours then showering (to remove sweat and sticky residue) and reapplying late afternoon for the ultimate evening glow.