Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating tanner coloring

  • tanner coloring

    Posted by JellyFishKarma on September 30, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    Working to make a sunless tanning product. I have a working formula that i am happy with. I need help with the colorants. I know oxides don’t play well with DHA. What do I use? DHA take 5 hours to bloom so colors are added to give “instant” satisfaction till the rxn happens. I have contacted a few color suppliers and all do not seem educated on the topic even though most products on the shelf have colorants. Suggestions?

    JellyFishKarma replied 3 weeks, 6 days ago 2 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • microformulation

    Member
    October 1, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    <div>Consider using caramel. If you look you will see it in many sunless tanners.
    </div><div>

    On a similar note augmenting the DHA with Erythrulose could give a more natural looking tan. However it is often avoided to to additional costs.

    Sunless tanners are a product that you MUST track costs rigorously. In the end it usually comes down to cost per gallon.

    Anecdotally I can relay an experience we had. A client wanted a “natural/organic” sunless tanners. He believed that being organic would set him apart. He lost his shirt. The market was more concerned with price and efficacy. Organic/natural was at best a tertiary concern. They had to dispose of over 1000 gallons of outdated product. Two other lines have gone that way by their STRONG insistence with similar results.

    </div>

    • JellyFishKarma

      Member
      October 1, 2023 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you for this. Don’t worry I will not do anything “natural or organic.” I am quite happy with the formula I have except for the instant color when you first apply. I understand it takes 4-6 hours to bloom. So varying the DHA and L-Erythlose levels can change the tones? What is the normal amount of DHA would you recommend for initial darker complexions? I have seen some formulas with as much as 15% DHA. As you know marketing can be demanding. I am trying to create a color that will appear very dark. If need be should I use pigments or dyes? I can’t get a straight answer on that…

  • microformulation

    Member
    October 2, 2023 at 8:19 am

    The DHA and Erythrulose do take some time to have full effect. Remember that DHA works through the Maillard Reaction which is not instantaneous. Erythrulose is used to even out the tone and get less of an orange cast to the tan.

    You may want to look at starting Formulations. There is not in my experience ONE percentage that you would use across the product line. Many initial tanners are lower (5-8%). Competition Tans (yes this is a niche market, mainly with bodybuilders as well) may be as high as 12-15%. Remember the higher the percentage the more you will need to exfoliate and you can expect some transfer. If you look at the credible reviews of the higher DHA products you will see multiple complaints of staining of towels and other items.

    Caramel and other dyes are often used to get an initial coloration. The line I work with has had a “proprietary” pigment mixture developed which they use in place of caramel.

    I highly encourage you to look at starting Formulations and maybe read up on the products in some textbooks. As a great starting point, George Deckner (smart guy) has done an article on stabilizing sunless tanners that is invaluable to people who would like to produce these products. https://www.ulprospector.com/knowledge/413/pcc-stabilizing-sunless-tanning-formulations/

    If you are trying to make a commercial product to be sold, track prices. In my experience, the market has a tighter margin than others. Before I learned this I wasted many hours with marketers (usually they call on Friday afternoon for some reason) on “how can we reduce the cost per gallon by $0.25 without affecting the performance?”

    If it is for personal use, have some fun. DHA works great with silicones.

  • JellyFishKarma

    Member
    October 2, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Wow! competitive sunless tanning???!! I knew bodybuilders used tanning to help with the definition. This is the type of formulation i am doing. Glad to know what I am doing has a name! Thank you for the info. I am familiar with the sources you mentioned. I am making a spray type product for a client which there doesn’t seem to have alot of information on. I am happy with my spray formula that i have. Just to clarify, if the amount of DHA is 12-15% there will be transfer. So there really isn’t any way of curtailing this after application? I am getting caramel sent to me to help with the instant coloring. I have noticed on several self tanning product on the market place there are FD&C colors on the label. I am assuming these would have oxides in them. Would the amount of the oxides from the color have a great impact on the functionality of the DHA at 1-3%? My clients are a bit picking about their skin coloring…. thanks again.

    • microformulation

      Member
      October 3, 2023 at 9:01 am

      Yes, while I can’t reveal the source due to NDA restrictions, one client of mine (a Sunless Tanning manufacturer) has sourced out a combination of dyes that they use in place of caramel. Caramel is much more common due to costs. As I continue to beat on the dead horse, price margins in this market sector are tight. They sell directly to spray tanners and these clients are fixated on the cost per gallon.

      Also, in the higher levels of DHA you may see some streaking as well as the transfer.

  • JellyFishKarma

    Member
    October 3, 2023 at 9:28 am

    +Thank you kindly again. Totally understand the NDA. I assume I just want to know if self tanners on the market are putting colorants on the label than what are they using? I am a resourceful person. Are they using dyes or pigments. Are they still using these with oxides at low levels to not hamper with the DHA functionality.

  • JellyFishKarma

    Member
    October 10, 2023 at 9:20 am

    @Microformulation May I ask what emulsifiers do you recommend in using in my formulation. What do you recommend to mediate the tackiness? I am using an ether that is doing an ok job I am thinking I should layer it. Thank you again.

    • microformulation

      Member
      October 10, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Honestly, in many cases you will see older emulsifiers. I used Arlacel 165 in quite a few successfully. In my experience, cost trumps any “natural leanings.” You can decrease the stickiness through the use of proper emollients and perhaps some cellulose. I wouldn’t layer it. I’m not a fan of layering and in this case, there are a lot of incompatibilities.

  • JellyFishKarma

    Member
    November 1, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    @Microformulation Forgot to ask if you were going to make it to Supplier’s Day in Long Beach!

    I wanted to ask if you are using a surfactant? I have tried CAPB and Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate. My formula either separates, is super tacky, or the foam collapse. 🙃

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