Having spent most of my youth lusting over the creamy white skin that graced the covers of most Girlfriend and Creme magazines, it is somewhat of a wonder that now I would do almost anything to attain that perfect shade of caramel tan. Almost anything, that is, except slather myself in chemicals or risk Melanoma on a Sun bed. (Confession time: I tried a Sun Bed once, and have been too paranoid about my moles to try again).
I suspect that this desire to be tanned stems from my foray into competitive Latin dancing, where a perfect shade of “Bronze d’Oompa-Loompa” is required for every competition or performance. I can’t count the number of spray tans I have endured in the name of my passion, but I can say that I am well and truly over them. Though I have tried a couple of Organic Spray Tans, the whole booking and walking around in baggy clothes and not sweating all day thing just doesn’t do it for me. I’m far too disorganised, and far too public transport dependent. And going back to the disorganised part, I’ve therefore never actually not had to run for a bus or train in living memory. Thus, spray tans are off the cards for me.
I’ve also tried a number of “Tan in a Bottles” from Garnier to Sugar Baby, and while some of them have held up very well compared to their professionally sprayed on counterparts, streaks as well as clogged pores leave me wondering why on earth God listened to eight-year-old Maori-in-denial me, and left me with this awkward half tanned; half white hue.
Luckily, of course, I’ve managed to find a pretty viable solution in the form of Kiri Organics’ Natural Dark Tan, which comes with the benefit of being able to tan from the comfort of home, without all the nasty chemicals. And obviously, that’s what you’re all here for, rather than to read my lament to bronzage.
Kiri Organics Natural Dark Tan Review
Pricepoint: I found the Kiri Organics Natural Dark Tan to be on par with most other products, at around $29.95 per bottle both online and in the few stores I checked out. I decided to splurge a little and order the Natural Dark Tan Indulgence Set which included the 150ml Natural Dark Tan, as well as their exfoliating mit which came to $39.95 plus $5 postage, which is quite reasonable for Auckland courier. You can order online here, or check out their stockists here.
In the past I have usually spent around $30-$45 for a spray tan bottle from the Chemist, which usually only lasts one tan and possibly a touch up, and most other home tans in the Chemist are around the $30 mark. A professional spray tan though has cost me anywhere between $35 and $65, depending on location, whether the product is organic or not, and sometimes bulk deals when I have been in dancing teams.
I give Kiri 5/5 for Price point, as I think they are on par with the competition, but their product delivers more.
The service from the Kiri team was very efficient. I enquired into delivery times via email and got a response the next day. The product was then delivered well within the four day timeframe that their staff suggested, as it arrived precisely two days after I placed my order. This was probably helped by the fact that I am in Auckland, as is their service centre, however I would expect a quick delivery anywhere else in the country.
5/5 Very prompt and great communication.
Assuming all website and packaging text is true, then I am highly impressed with this product. It contains all natural ingredients, of which 74% are organic. It also includes some New Zealand ingredients, such as kawakawa extract, and it is made in New Zealand, which are all big winners in my book. It does contain Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is listed as the second ingredient after Raspberry water, but this is Ecocert compliant. DHA is generally considered by the wider medical community to be safe and is FDA Approved in the US, though some more holistic minded people do question its safety, and there have been calls to investigate it further (though this is mainly due to it being used in Spray Tanning where the possibility of it being inhaled is a potential issue that was not considered when it was safety approved). However, DHA is pretty unavoidable when it comes to tanning, and in the form of this tanning lotion you won’t have to worry about inhaling small particles; and in any case it is certainly safer than outdoor or Sun bed tanning. Cetyl Alcohol is also listed, but this comes from a natural source.
4.5/5. The only way this could realistically improve is if all ingredients were certified organic.
The Exfoliation mitt came packaged in its own plastic sheath, as well as the box, inside the larger box, inside the courier package. I felt that this was perhaps a bit excessive for a product from a natural company, but I suspect this probably has some hygiene reasoning behind it. The mitt wasn’t the exact colour displayed on the website, which was slightly disappointing, as those who know me are well aware of my obsession with all things mint, but in general held up pretty accurately to its description. It is made of all natural fibres, and I feel that it performed just as well as other mitts on the market, so I have no complaints with its performance there. The only thing I would say is that the website and directions suggest it is okay to use the mitt for facial exfoliation- personally I would give it a miss. I do have pretty sensitive skin, but I think a good wash down with an exfoliant face was much more comfortable than scrubbing with this mitt.
3/5. Performs like any other mitt, but natural fibres were outweighed by excess packaging.
The smell when applying the tan was absolutely gorgeous, apparently due to the geranium oils and chamomile. It was flowery and a bit fruity to go on, and the usual fake tan scents were absent (though it did smell a bit tanny the next morning after developing). The cream is a very pale brown colour, and goes on very pale, and when rubbed in is completely invisible. As a result, it was a bit difficult to tell which areas had been thoroughly covered, but on the whole it was beautiful to apply, and the moisturising effect at least gave some indication as to where had been covered. It was easy to rub in, and didn’t stain clothes, sheets or any other materials while being applied, or during the development period.
4/5. Very easy to apply, generally pretty evenly, though could have been improved by having a bit more of a tint to help guide application.
The result was a very natural looking tan, that was a golden brown colour, rather than orangey or rusty coloured like my spray tans of performances past. Having a slight tanned tinge to my colouring naturally, as well as being used to quite dark tans, I did apply quite a substantial amount, which showed in a few areas (more on that in tips below), but on the whole I was very impressed with the evenness and the nice colour. It did fade quite significantly after a shower, but this could possibly be attributed to the fact that I didn’t exfoliate as far in advance, or as thoroughly as suggested. I had quite a few compliments on my tan, and even my mother, who is generally very skeptical of anything vaguely cosmetic/ vain (and previously a rather vocal critic of my Oompa Loompa tans) thought it looked very natural.
In addition to this, my skin actually cleared up after using it, rather than getting clogged up as has occurred so often in the past. My skin felt gorgeous and I would use this as a moisturiser every day if it was’t for the obvious tanning effect.
The only suggestion I would have is that for those who have a slightly different tone, this may look a little more yellowy than ideal. For example, when I get tanned I go very very brown, whereas this had a more golden brown tone that is perfectly suited for European/Pakeha skin tones, but may not be quite perfect for those with Maori/Mediterranean colouring. In saying that, it wasn’t bad or unnatural looking by any means, just different to my natural tan.
4.5/5. Very good, but would really look forward to a wider range with a couple of other tones.
Overall I was seriously impressed with this product, and would definitely buy it again. My first tan with it was pretty dark due to a heavy application, and I made some application errors due to being impatient, but subsequent applications have turned out beautifully. I would guess there are about four applications in each 150ml tube, which makes it very competitive price-wise with others in the category. Its ingredients are 100% natural, which is a big winner in my book, and though it does contain DHA I think this is unavoidable in a self-tanner, and other natural brands like Eco-Tan also contain this sugar. As far as I have read there are no reasons to be concerned about using products containing DHA, least of all in a lotion format, though I will be keeping an eye out for future literature. The overall experience from receiving the pretty package in the mail, to applying and wearing my tan out for our Photoshoot was beautiful. The indulgence sets would also make a great gift, as they are boxed nicely and come with the exfoliant mitt that makes application easy straight from the box.
26.5/30 Try it too!
Tips & Tricks: How to get the Perfect Natural Looking Tan
1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. The website and instructions recommend exfoliating 48 hours in advance, but even if that’s not possible make sure you give yourself a good rub down with the exfoliant mitt, paying special attention to dry areas such as elbows, knees, ankles, and (I totally forgot about) heels!
2. Cleanliness = Godliness. Now you’re rolling your eyes at me, but trust me, any deodorant, perfume or other residue will result in an uneven tan. For example, I’ve had my ankle taped up, and despite taking the strapping tape off, and washing the area until it was visibly clean and normal to the touch, I still wound up with some random swirly patterns from the back of the tape.
3. Wax before you tan. For some things in the universe there is a certain order that must always be upheld. Waxing before tanning is one of them. If you plan on going bare down there, you certainly don’t want those pores clogged with tan, no matter how natural it may be. Same goes for legs, armpits or anywhere else. You will find that waxing gives a much better finish with your tan, but if you’re going to shave then also do this at least 24 hours in advance. Again, I’m great at giving advice that I never follow. I shaved my legs that morning and what do you know, ended up with a few very dark pores on my knees.
4. Paint or cover your nails. Especially if you’re applying without gloves (which aren’t really necessary with this product) then apply a little nail polish on your finger and toe nails. This is particularly important if you’re spray tanning, but if not you may well end up with orange tinged toes for a while to come. I learned this the hard way after one particularly dark spray tan. My toenails had a real orange colouring to them, and nothing, I repeat nothing, would get rid of it. I literally had to wait until my nails grew out, and until them had to keep painting them or make sure they never saw the light of day.
5. Blend the tan with moisturiser for your face and areas that tend to pick up a lot of the tanner such as those mentioned above. This is how much I blended for my face, and I would say even that was a touch too much for the first day or so. I didn’t have any comments about it, but I would have preferred it a shade paler. Do the same for your hands and feet as well to avoid the tell-tale self-tanner palms. If you’re applying yourself, wash your hands thoroughly after you have applied everywhere else, and lastly put a thin layer of the tan & moisturiser mix on your hands, being careful not to let it build up around your nails and in between your fingers.
6. Start with a gradual tanner. If you’re not sure of your tone, or how dark you want to be, or if you just want to give the illusion of tanning without turning up to work/school/uni white one day and brown the next, then start early with some gradual tanner. Kiri also have this available here, though I found blending my Dark Natural Tan with some SkinFood Body Butter did the trick perfectly.
7. Keep a dark towel handy in case you get too much on. If you feel that you’ve over-done it on any of those dry areas, or particularly on your face, then you can wipe off as much as possible with a towel. Just make sure you do so evenly (especially with the face!).
8. Do it before bed so you get the maximum development time before the next shower or any other activity that will slough off some of your tan. Don’t worry, Kiri’s tan didn’t stain my sheets or clothes at all- even though they were all white. This also gives the added bonus of not having to waddle around in baggy clothes or worry about having things rub off.
9. Maintain your tan. Avoid Excess scrubbing, and don’t forget to moisturise regularly. To maintain the same colouring, you can continue topping up with the Natural Dark Tan, the Gradual Tan, or a blend of Natural Dark Tan and moisturiser and body butter.
10. Wear with confidence Yes, all cheesy because I can’t bear to finish on 9. But truthfully, chances are your tan looks far more natural to everyone else than it does to you. We are used to scrutinising our bodies, and staring at them in the mirror, so naturally we notice every little difference. When I first looked at myself after waking up with the tan I was not happy. I thought I looked jaundiced and yellowy. Everyone else, on the other hand, thought it looked great and natural, and upon looking at photos I saw it did too. So don’t panic- and if you’re definitely getting too far into Oompa Loompa territory, then there are always the shower & exfoliating mitt. Or you could take advantage of it and join a Salsa team 😉