Glo is a popular brand of self-tanning lotion owned by the company L’Oréal. The key code or ingredient that gives Glo its tanning ability is dihydroxyacetone, often abbreviated as DHA. This active ingredient interacts with amino acids in the skin’s surface layer to temporarily darken the color of the skin, creating an artificial tan.
How does DHA work to create a tan?
When applied topically, DHA reacts with the amino acids in the upper layer of the skin through a process called the Maillard reaction. This is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that causes browning. It is the same reaction that causes food to brown when cooked at high temperatures.
Specifically, DHA reacts with the amino acids in the skin’s keratin proteins. This reaction causes the formation of colored polymers known as melanoidins, which have a brown color similar to melanin, the pigment naturally present in tanned skin. The amount of darkening depends on the concentration of DHA as well as the individual’s skin properties.
The color change created by DHA is temporary and fades gradually over 3-10 days as the melanoidins are lost through natural exfoliation of the skin’s outer layers. As the tanned skin is sloughed off, it is replaced by new untreated skin, so the color needs to be regularly reapplied to maintain the tan.
Is DHA safe?
DHA has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in cosmetics and is generally considered safe for topical application. It has been used for decades and extensively tested.
That said, some people may experience minor irritation, redness or other reactions to DHA. To help avoid this, it’s recommended to do a patch test on a small area of skin before full application.
How is Glo applied?
Glo self tanner comes in a variety of different product forms, including lotions, mousses, gels, sprays, and wipes. The products are designed for application all over the body or just on specific areas like the face or hands.
To apply Glo, first exfoliate and moisturize your skin, then spread a thin layer of the tanning product evenly over the areas you want to tan. Wash your hands afterwards and let it fully dry before dressing. For best results, leave it on overnight before showering or swimming.
Some tips when using Glo include avoiding application on cuts, burns, or irritated skin. Also apply sparingly over knees, elbows, and ankles which tend to absorb more product. Glo recommends reapplying every 2-3 days to maintain optimal color.
What are the active ingredients in Glo sunless tanner?
The key active ingredient in Glo products that causes the tanning effect is DHA, as previously discussed. Most Glo products contain between 4-15% DHA concentration.
In addition to DHA, Glo products contain various other ingredients that help enhance the results and performance of the self tanner:
- Erythrulose – A browning agent similar to DHA that provides darker tanning
- Caffeine – Stimulates and rejuvenates the skin
- Aloe vera – Moisturizes and soothes the skin
- Argireline – An anti-aging peptide that reduces wrinkles
- Dunaliella salina extract – A microalgae extract high in antioxidants
- Sodium hyaluronate – Deeply hydrates the skin
- Tocopheryl acetate – A form of antioxidant vitamin E
These additional natural and synthetic ingredients work together with the DHA to produce more robust and longer-lasting tanning results.
Does Glo contain sunscreen?
No, Glo self tanners do not contain any SPF or offer any sun protection on their own. The tint provided by DHA is temporary and only affects the very surface layer of skin.
It’s still important to apply sunscreen when using Glo, especially on long sun exposures, to prevent any deeper skin damage from UV rays. Glo does make some products like their Glo Protective Moisturizer that includes SPF to complement their self tanners.
What is the full ingredient list for Glo tanning lotion?
Glo self tanners have varying ingredients based on the specific product formulation. Here is an example full ingredient list for one of their popular tanning lotions, Glo Convenient Tanning Mousse:
Glo Convenient Tanning Mousse Ingredients:
- Cetearyl Alcohol
- Propylene Glycol
- PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
- PEG-8 Dimethicone
- C13-14 Isoparaffin
- Sodium Metabisulfite
- Tocopheryl Acetate
- Disodium EDTA
- Benzyl Alcohol
- p-Anisic Acid
- Ascorbic Acid
As you can see, the main tanning agent present is DHA at 4-6% concentration. The rest are emulsifiers, moisturizers, fragrance, preservatives, and other formulation aids.
What is the difference between Glo lotion vs mousse?
Glo offers both lotion and mousse versions of their self tanners which have some key differences:
- Creamier, thicker texture
- Typically contains more moisturizers
- Provides evenly distributed, natural looking color
- Less mess and drips during application
- Harder to layer and build darker color
- Light, foamy air-infused texture
- Goes on lighter allowing more control of color
- Dries faster so easier to layer for darker tan
- Can rub or streak if applied unevenly
- More cooling effect on skin
In general, lotions provide an easier single application, while mousses allow for more versatility in tailoring your tan intensity. Glo makes both formats in a variety of shades from light to ultra-dark.
What are the shades of Glo tanners from lightest to darkest?
Glo offers a wide range of self-tanning shades and intensities allowing you to customize your preferred look:
Lightest to Darkest Glo Shades
- Fair Glow
- Light Tan
- Medium Tan
- Dark Tan
- Ultra Dark
Fair Glow provides just a subtle, beachy bronzed hue. Meanwhile, Ultra Dark delivers an intense ebony tan perfect for dramatic evening looks or events.
Glo’s medium shades like Light Tan, Medium Tan, and Tan are popular for achieving a natural looking, healthy daily glow. Test different options to find your ideal match.
How to choose your Glo shade
When selecting your ideal Glo tanner shade, consider your natural skin tone, your tanning goals, and the occasion. For natural every day looks, choose a shade 1-2 darkness levels above your current skin tone. If you want a striking tan for going out, you can explore 3-4 shades darker.
You can always layer multiple coats to build a darker color. It’s easier to start light and add more layers for more intensity. Test a small area first to ensure you like the undertone and result before full body application.
What tips should you follow to apply Glo self tanner?
Here are some top expert tips for flawless application of Glo self tanner:
- Exfoliate skin thoroughly to remove dead cells
- Shave 24 hours before tanning to prevent irritation
- Moisturize any dry areas like knees and elbows
- Protect hairline, eyebrows and nails with barrier cream
- Wear gloves and old clothes to avoid stains
Applying the Tan
- Work in sections applying a thin, even layer
- Blend well, especially along wrists, hands, ankles, and feet
- Let dry 10 minutes between coats if layering
- Use a tanning mitt for a streak-free finish
- Avoid over-applying on knuckles, knees, and elbows
- Wait at least 8 hours before showering or swimming
- Rinse off any color on palms or nails
- Moisturize daily to help tan last longer
- Exfoliate gently before reapplying more layers
Following these tips will help you master flawless, natural looking results with Glo’s self tanners.
What are some common mistakes with Glo self tanner?
When using Glo self tanners, beware of these common mistakes:
- Not exfoliating – This can cause uneven, patchy coloring
- Applying too much or uneven coverage – Leads to streaking or blotchiness
- Overdoing joints and dry areas – Causes unnatural dark spots
- Not washing hands after – Can stain palms and nails
- Layering too soon – Causes uneven buildup rather than blend
- Showering too early – Prevents full color development
Avoiding these pitfalls will give you a flawless, natural-looking sunless tan with Glo. Remember to prep skin properly, apply in thin layers, and let fully dry before rinsing for best results.
How to fix common Glo tanner issues
If any tanning mishaps do occur, here are some tips to fix them:
- Streaks: Exfoliate then use a scrubbing mitt to blend color
- Patches: Apply more tanner just to discolored spots
- Orange tones: Neutralize with lemon juice or whitening toothpaste
- Dark elbows/knees: Gently buff with baking soda paste
- Tan fades unevenly: Exfoliate regularly to help natural shedding
What are some tips for using Glo on your face?
When using Glo self tanner on the face, follow these tips for the best results:
- Use a lighter shade made for faces to avoid unnatural orange tones
- Prep with gentle exfoliation and moisturizer before applying
- Put a little dab on forehead, cheeks, nose and blend quickly
- Add color along jawline and neck to avoid demarcation lines
- Blot excess product with damp cloth if needed
- Avoid contact with eyes, lips, brows, and hairline
- Let dry fully before applying makeup, sleeping, or washing face
Applying Glo gradually on the face and giving it time to develop will prevent streaking or unevenness. Always do a patch test first to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.
Should you apply Glo before or after shaving legs?
It is recommended to shave your legs 24 hours or more prior to using Glo self tanner. Shaving right before tanning can cause irritation, dryness, and possible streaking.
If you need to shave and tan in the same day, shave first and make sure to moisturize well afterwards. Wait at least a few hours for skin to recover before applying Glo. Be extra diligent about blending the tan over just shaved areas.
Does Glo self tanner have a distinct scent?
Yes, Glo self tanners tend to have a characteristic scent due to the reaction between DHA and amino acids that causes the tanning effect.
Many describe it as a somewhat sharp or chemical smell. Glo does add fragrance to help mask the scent in their products, but you may still notice it right after application.
The good news is that the aroma goes away once the tanner is fully dried on your skin. So while you may detect the scent initially, it won’t linger for long once absorbed into the skin.
Tips to minimize Glo tanner scent
If the smell of Glo bothers you, here are some tips to help:
- Opt for fragranced formulas which mask it better
- Apply in ventilated room or outdoors
- Use a fan blowing lightly on skin as it dries
- Spritz on a scented body mist after tanning
- Avoid applying right before bedtime
While Glo does have an odor during application, it’s temporary and a small price to pay for gorgeous glow!
Glo makes a top-rated line of self-tanners containing the active ingredient DHA which provides natural, sunless tanning. Their products allow you to build customized color ranging from subtle glows to deep, dramatic tans.
Achieving flawless results requires proper exfoliating and application techniques. But the versatility and quality of Glo tanners make it easy to get a healthy, summery bronze tone year-round. Just be sure to still protect your skin with sunscreen anytime you’re outdoors.
With the right prep and application, Glo self tanners can give you a gorgeous, streak-free glow without exposure to UV rays. So skip the tanning beds and sunburns, and get bronzed safely with Glo!