Review: Skinny Tan tried and tested with before and after pictures

A relatively new self-tanner to the SA scene, Skinny Tan’s differentiating factor is that is also promises to help improve the look cellulite. It does this in two ways, the first being by the very fact that it’s a self-tanning product. We all know that tanned flab will always look better than pale flab. I know I wouldn’t dare rock a bikini without a (faux) tan these days. And to hell with all of you that still can.

The second way Skinny Tan wants to help you out is with its eco-friendly, naturally derived guarana. Most products that claim to bust cellulite contain caffeine and Guarana contains just that. Now, to be honest, I have no clue how effective the caffeine in guarana is VS pure unadulterated caffeine. I’ve also yet to find a cellulite cream, containing caffeine, guarana or anything else that has ever made a visible difference to my ass. Still, if I had to pick between using a plain old body lotion and one that contained ingredients promises to fend off the wobblies I’d end up opting for the latter and keep my fingers crossed.

Anyway, I’m putting the cellulite issue aside as I haven’t used Skinny Tan long enough to attest to its long-term results but I can chat to you about the tanning bit. I got to try two of the brands products, the 7-Day Tanner and Gradual Tan and both are rather nice. (Thanks Pierre!)

Skinny Tan 7-Day Tanner and Gradual Tan
Skinny Tan 7-Day Tanner (R395) and Gradual Tan (R320).

The 7-Day Tanner is a tinted self-tanning crème-gel that develops after five hours. I applied it using a self-tanning mitt and it initially made me nervous as goes on a bit streaky and got caught in all my arm hair. (For this reason, it’s not the kind of self-tanner I’d apply before leaving the house so I’m glad I put it on at night.) The next morning, I realised I needn’t have worried about the streakiness. As it turns out, it’s only the colour guide that doesn’t smooth out evenly. The actually ‘tan’ that had developed on my skin was lovely – an even, very natural-looking, golden glow. No orange. No yellow. Just a flattering tan.

Skinny Tan Gradual Tan on the left and 7-Day tan on the right. In my mind, the 7-Day tanner looks like what you’d get after two coats of Gradual Tan.

I also liked that, while it was developing, it smelled downright delicious – a yummy caramel scent that reminded me a lot of Xen-Tan and ModelCo’s products. The only negative is that the tan fades rather quickly and was pretty much gone within three days. Maybe if I’d reapplied the next day (‘for a deeper tan’) as the tube suggested, I’d have made it through the week looking bronzed.

Skinny Tan 7 day tan before after
Pale (and so hungover I could die) on the left and bronzed (and so hungover I could die) on the right. For the record, I’m also wearing my favourite facial self-tanner on the right; Clarins Liquid Bronze.

As for the Gradual Tanner, this applied like a dream due in that there’s no colour guide so it feels like you’re just using a caramel-scented body lotion. Again, there’s no yucky developing smell, making this the kind of thing you could easily slap on in the morning and then go about your day. In fact, the day I had it on my arm at work, I had boys telling me I smelled good that day. Always a plus.

Colour-wise, the Gradual Tanner’s colour is much the same as the 7-Day Tanner – natural and golden bronze – but half as intense. You can reapply it every day, however, to deepen it to your desired intensity. Also, the fact that it’s something you’d use every day makes its cellulite-targeting ingredients more viable. (If you’re attempting to treat cellulite topically, the theory’s that you’d need to do so every bloody day if you’re to see an improvement.)

Oh! Another thing I liked about Skinny Tan? It’s a lot less drying than other self-tanners out there as its jam-packed with hydrators like sweet almond, grapeseed and sunflower oils. These aren’t just tossed in somewhere at the bottom of the ingredients list – they sit right up at the top.

In all, if you’re looking for a skin-lovin’ self-tanner and using one that contains an eco-cert tanning active that delivers a light to medium tan, Skinny Tan could be your new bestie.

To learn more about the brand, visit their Facebook page over here and follow them on twitter @SkinnyTanSA. The former will also give you a list of stockists. For now, it’s mostly independent pharmacies and salons as well as online via

Love, love


4 thoughts on “Review: Skinny Tan tried and tested with before and after pictures

  1. I found it to be such a disappointment 😦 I followed every instruction meticulously after doing research – and at first it looked lovely. The next morning however, it washed right off in the shower leaving me with a less than noticeable tint. It’s very pricey and I have been applying it every day for 4 days with not much luck. 7 day tanner didn’t do it for me!

  2. I like the tanning product. The awful product is the “After Glow” – it is soo smelly and just leaves you greasy. I cannot wear. But I am happy with the 7 day tanning – use it all the time.

  3. I have used the mousse twice now, after it washed off 8 hours later it was’nt as dark as would have liked. If you put another lot on next day, I’m guessing you dont exfoliate before each coat, only the first time. Is this so?.

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