Sexy summer beach bod without the harsh ingredients in traditional sunscreens? Yes, please! Soaking up some sun is always an option—but too much sun and it might just tax 80-90% of your glam appeal.
So what to do for a year-round bronze?
Self-tan, of course—and this is everything you need to know about your new beau: The Best Natural Self Tanner by Beauty By Earth.
As it turns out, the bestselling self-tanner on Amazon is also the cleanest.
We bought, tried, and loved it, and we were able to answer your most pressing questions in the process.
| Alphabeautics may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Article not sponsored.
The Birth and Background of Beauty By Earth
I. “What are we gonna sell?”
— Ryan Greve, Beauty By Earth Co-Founder & CEO
Beauty By Earth is the brainchild of woman founder Prudence Millsap—a girl who grew disillusioned with making others rich in corporate America, and the mother of a young child then experiencing health issues.
That first catalyst inspired her to call a friend and convince him to partner with her.
“What are we gonna sell?” he asked.
“I’ll figure out something good,” she said.
The second catalyst narrowed that “something good” down to natural beauty products.
“The more I started researching ingredients, the more I realized just how much green-washing goes on in the industry,” Prudence would later share. “Brands marketing themselves as ‘clean’ and then you read the ingredients and it leaves something to be desired.”
At the other end of the phone was long-time friend Ryan Greve, who had spent years managing warehouses and mastering inventory.
II. “We grew into a seven-figure business in a year.”
— Prudence Millsap, Beauty By Earth Co-Founder & President
In January 2014, Prudence Millsap and Ryan Greve founded Beauty By Earth. (Prudence is now President, Ryan is CEO.)
In April 2014 they launched their first product on Amazon: a 100% organic argan oil.
By March of 2015, they had added aloe vera gel, bath bombs, chapstick and sunscreen—and sold 50,000 units.
Growth was good.
Good enough to earn Prudence an invitation to Amazon’s headquarters and 1 of just 300 seats at Amazon’s first conference for female entrepreneurs, in August 2016.
Growth got even better.
Five years after their founding, Beauty By Earth made the 2019 Inc. 5000 list, officially recognized as the 809th fastest-growing privately-held U.S. company.
III. “EWG’s rating for Beauty By Earth Self Tanner is 1.”
— Environmental Working Group
One month later, in September 2015, the clean beauty oracles at EWG reviewed and rated Beauty By Earth’s entire product line.
On a 1 (best) to 10 (worst) scale, 85% of BBE’s products earned a 2 or better and all of them ranked better than 3.
Beauty By Earth hadn’t just expanded, but had done so while staying totally true to clean-conscience consumers.
Beauty By Earth is certified cruelty-free and its entire product line is made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, triclosan, petroleum or gluten.
Beauty By Earth Makes the Cleanest Bestselling Self-Tanner on Amazon
Self Tanner is Beauty By Earth’s most popular product. More than 400,000 people have bought it. Users rate it 4.8 stars on the company’s site, and on Amazon, it’s accumulated more than 6,500 5-star reviews.
Here’s why we love Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner & Face Tanner duo:
‣ NO sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, triclosan, petroleum or gluten.
‣ 80.84% Certified Organic Ingredients and/or Water
‣ Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is Dermatologist tested
‣ Beauty By Earth’s Face Self Tanner is certified non-comedogenic
‣ Vegan friendly
‣ Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty-free
‣ The cleanest, bestselling self-tanner on Amazon
‣ 30-day free return policy and a 12-month satisfaction guarantee
Everything You Need to Know About Beauty By Earth’s Stunning Self-Tanner
Q. What are the Ingredients in Beauty By Earth’s Self-Tanner?
A. “Water, Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Organic Shea Butter, Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Organic Coconut Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable), Organic Japanese Green Tea Leaf Extract, Organic Pomegranate Extract, Organic Witch Hazel Extract, Organic Cranberry Fruit Extract, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Coconut Pulp Extract, Vanilla Fruit Extract”
Q. How Long Does Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner Last?
A. The 7.5-fluid-ounce (222 ml) bottle should get you through about 20 applications. Its shelf life is 1.5 to 2 years and it should be used within 12 months of opening.
Q. How Long Will my tan Last?
A. The lifespan of your tan depends on factors like how you apply it, how often you reapply it, your skin type, and your lifestyle. Most users report their tans last from 4 to 7 days.
To produce that golden hue, DHA interacts with the amino acids in skin cells, which are constantly being shed naturally. As that occurs, the tan slowly and evenly dissipates. The face tends to fade the quickest as it has the highest cell turnover.
While that’s pretty good, you can help your tan last even longer by:
- Exfoliating before application
- Applying a generous but uniform amount of self-tanner
- Using a good moisturizer daily
- Sticking to warm, not overly hot, showers
- Reapply every 3 to 5 days to prolong your tan.
Q. Is Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner Pregnancy-Safe?
A. Yes! Although you should avoid spray-on aerosols and tanning beds during pregnancy, most self-tanning creams are generally considered pregnancy-safe. The ingredients of Beauty By Earth Self Tanner are in fact so harmless and natural—80.84% Certified Organic Ingredients and/or water—that many expectant mothers switch to it throughout their pregnancy. And they get hooked.
[See our complete take on Pregnancy-Safe Self-Tanners, here.]
Self-tanners are generally considered safe throughout pregnancy, and Beauty By Earth’s self-tanner is the cleanest we found.
Expert Advice on Self-Tanner Use During Pregnancy:
‣ “It’s generally considered safe to use fake tan creams and lotions during pregnancy, but it’s probably best to avoid spray tans, because the effects of inhaling the spray are not known.
“The active ingredient in fake tan is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This is a non-toxic substance that reacts with cells in the outermost layer of the skin and produces a brown pigment (colour) called melanoidin. As the DHA isn’t thought to go beyond the outer layer of skin, it isn’t absorbed into the body and can’t harm your baby.” – UK National Health Service2
‣ “The good news is that the ingredients in self-tanning lotions, creams, and foams are harmless, so it’s fine to use them during pregnancy. “These products are basically dyes that stay on the surface of your skin and won’t harm your developing baby.” – Sandra Marchese Johnson, M.D.3
‣ “Topical sunless tanning products are generally considered safe alternatives to sunbathing, as long as they’re used as directed.” – Mayo Clinic4
‣ “Fake, don’t bake: If you want a golden glow, consider sunless tanning products.” – The Skin Cancer Foundation5
‣ “Self-tanning lotions are generally considered safe during pregnancy. The main chemicals in self-tanners don’t absorb past the first layer of skin.
“Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the chemical used in self-tanning lotions to make a brown pigment on the skin. Doctors don’t know for sure, but DHA is thought to stay only on the first layer of skin, so it doesn’t actually absorb in a way that could reach your baby. It’s always best to check with your doctor before using a self-tanning product.” – Healthline, Chaunie Brusie, B.S.N.6
‣ Please note that unlike sunless or self-tanning creams, every source listed above notes that sunless tanning PILLS are NOT safe, not just during pregnancy, but at any time.
Q. What is DHA?
A. The ingredient responsible for Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner bronzing is called DHA: Dihydroxyacetone. DHA is a color additive (DHA is colorless, but is classified as a color additive) that darkens your skin through a non-toxic reaction with the amino acids that make up part of your skin’s surface. DHA comes from fermenting sugar cane or sugar beets.
Q. What DHA is Used in Beauty By Earth Self-Tanners?
A. The DHA in Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is a high-quality, eco-certified DHA sourced from France and naturally derived from sugar beets. (The self tanner is made in the U.S., in Beauty By Earth’s FDA-certified lab.) The bronze / tan color that results from DHA use (called melanoidins) is much like our own naturally-produced melanin when we head out into the sun.
Q. Is DHA safe?
DHA is generally considered the safest and most effective ingredient in sunless tanning. DHA is FDA approved for use in self tanners and is the ingredient most commonly used in self tanners. In 2010, DHA was also approved for use in self tanners throughout the European Union, and in hair colouring in March 2020, during which approval they reiterated their belief in DHA’s safety as a self tanner.
…but wear a sunscreen
The one caveat to be aware of with DHA is that while melanin is one of the body’s natural protections against sun damage, the brown or bronzed look that results from a self-tanner with DHA is NOT protective against the sun. So just don’t let your self-tan lull you into feeling you don’t need a sunscreen. You do. Put simply, no self tanner is a sunscreen, DHA is not a sunscreen: you will get sunburnt with a self-tanner if you don’t also wear a good sunscreen. (Make it this one by Beauty By Earth for a good sunscreen that isn’t laced with toxins.)
Q. Is Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner Organic?
A. Yes. Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is 80.84% Certified Organic Ingredients and/or water. (The only fully certified organic self-tanner we’re aware of is the sun.) Beauty By Earth’s Self Tanner is the safest and the least toxic of the 10 bestselling Body Self-Tanners currently on Amazon—up to 6X less toxic in one case.
Q. Wait, I thought DHA could be organic?
A. Yes and no. DHA stands for two totally different ingredients: Dihydroxyacetone and Docosahexaenoic Acid. The first DHA, Dihydroxyacetone, is the one in your sun tanners and it’s not available organic. The second DHA, Docosahexaenoic Acid, isn’t a self-tanner but an Omega-3 fatty acid, an organic form of which can be derived from organic eggs.
Q. What are the Alcohols in Beauty By Earth Self Tanner and Will They Dry Out my Skin?
A. The alcohols used are non-drying, fatty alcohols: cetyl and sterly alcohol. These are safe (rated a 1 by EWG) and will not dry out your skin. As the base of this self-tanner is a lotion, it’ll actually nicely hydrate your skin, not dry it out.
Q. How Long will it Take me to Tan?
A. Between 2 and 4 hours. If after 6 hours you aren’t as tan as you’d like to be, go ahead and reapply.
Q. How Often can I use Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner?
A. As often as you wish—as long as you know that the more often you apply it, the darker your skin will get. Use it every 3 to 5 days for a nice bronze glow, or however frequently you see fit to get that golden sheen you’re after.
Q. What Color is Beauty By Earth’s Self-Tanner?
A. It’s a white cream. A handful of users have asked why it doesn’t include a color marker so you can tell where you’ve already applied it and where you haven’t, and unfortunately that’s because most color dyes are just toxic.
Q. Will my Skin Breakout?
A. No, not typically. Only a handful of users report break outs but if you’re concerned, opt for the face self tanner instead as it’s a lighter lotion and doesn’t include coconut oil. But if your skin is so sensitive that it breaks out even when you use cream, it may do the same here. But this self tanner is extremely smooth and very clean so even if, it may be worth a shot. If you’re worried about breakouts, your best option is probably to use the face self tanner all over, as it’s thinner and lighter.
Q. What is the Difference Between Beauty By Earth’s Self-Tanner and Face Self-Tanner?
A. The face tanner is a thinner, lighter version of the body self tanner that doesn’t include coconut oil. The base ingredient of both is a cream to which DHA and other (good) ingredients have been added—one cream is just lighter than the other. Yes, you can use BBE’s regular self tanner on your face, but if you’re prone to breakouts you’re better off not switching them up: the body tanner has an organic coconut oil in it and while that’s fine for many people, for others it will trigger breakouts on the face. No bueno.
Q. What are the Ingredients in Beauty By Earth’s Face Self-Tanner?
A. BBE Natural Face Self Tanner Ingredients: Water, *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Glycerin (Vegetable), Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cetearyl Olivate (and) Sorbitan Olivate, Isostearyl Isostearate, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), *Camellia Oleifera (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, *Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, *Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, *Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, *Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Magnesium Stearate, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Citric Acid, Vanilla Tahitensis (Vanilla) Fruit Extract *Certified Organic Ingredients
Q. How Long Does Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner Take to Dry?
A. Like most lotions, it typically takes 15 to 30 minutes to soak in and dry.
Q. Should I Shower After Applying Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner?
A. You shouldn’t shower immediately after applying it, but can start showering or getting into water within about 8 hours. Shower with warm, not hot, water to maintain your results longer.
After showering, apply a moisturizer to extend your tan’s life.
Q. What Does Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner Smell Like?
A. It smells great. No artificial fragrances are used, thank god, but it’s got a light tropical vanilla scent from plant-based and essential oil natural scents. Some users smell no DHA at all, others smell a bit of it, but say it’s much less harsh than most other self-tanners. When we used it, we noticed no harsh smells at all.
Q. Where Can I Buy Beauty By Earth Self-Tanner?
A. The company’s website, Amazon, or Walmart.
1. Beauty By Earth Website
BBE gives you a bunch of great perks for buying direct. Shipping is free on orders of $50+, and if you don’t fall in love with it you’ve got a 30-day money-back guarantee. Returns are free and easy. But best of all are the Beauty Bucks. You earn them for reviews, for spending more than a certain $ amount in one go, and, of course, for your birthday. They also send out specials pretty often. We like that we’re supporting a homegrown U.S. company that does a lot to give back to the environment, their community, and their exploding fanbase.
Prime and free shipping. If we needed tans yesterday, Amazon would be our go-to. If we could wait a day or three, we’d prefer to buy direct.
Yes, Walmart. Beauty By Earth products are now on the shelves of the country’s largest cosmetics retailer. #beautygoals #femalefounders #beautybyyou
- FDA, “Sunless Tanners & Bronzers,” current 24 August 2020
- UK National Health Service, “Is it Safe to Use Fake Tan During Pregnancy,” NHS reviewed, 14 May 2018
- Sandra Marchese Johnson, M.D., FAAD, BabyCenter
- Mayo Clinic, “Sunless Tanning: What You Need to Know,” 24 May 2019
- The Skin Cancer Foundation, Tanning & Your Skin, reviewed June 2019 by Anna Chien, M.D. and Heidi Jacobe, M.D. ( )
- Healthline, “Is Self-Tanning Lotion Pregnancy-Safe?” by Chaunie Brusie, B.S.N.
James Anthony has written on self-improvement for 22 years, with his work appearing in five national magazines and on the websites of more than 100 U.S. Drs, MDs, and board-certified surgeons. This article contains the author’s opinion only and isn’t sponsored. To suggest corrections or clarifications, reach us by email at info[at]alphabeautics.com.