Skip to main content

Tan-Luxe’s New Take on Tanning, U.S. Rollout

The brand's concentrates will launch at Ulta and Net-a-porter this month.

Tan-Luxe is bringing its brand of self-tanner to the U.S. retail scene.

The U.K.-based company, which has seen aggressive growth since launching on QVC U.K. in July 2015, has relied on innovation to stand out in a market that’s seen little update to product assortment in decades.

The brand’s point of differentiation, according to founder Marc Elrick, is a departure from product that’s historically been offered in four gradients — light, medium or dark and gradual formulas. Instead, Elrick developed concentrates with a dropper delivery system that works with any existing skin care or makeup and allows the user to customize their end result shade. Essentially, he explained, one can transform the moisturizer they use every morning into a self tanner, adding anywhere from one to 15 drops of Tan-Luxe.

Related Galleries

“If consumers can customize their makeup why has no one applied that thinking and rationale to self-tan? The traditional proposition had four gradients…and with our concentrate [there’s] potentially 15 [shades]. She wants formulations that are performance-based or solutions-oriented. She wants concentrates, and ultimately, she wants control,” Elrick said of the brand’s three hero products: The Face, $52, The Face Antiage, $58, and The Body, $63.

You May Also Like

This is what’s attracting top retailers like Ulta Beauty, which is stocking eight of Tan Luxe’s 10 product range on and in 200 of its stores starting June 4, with a full national rollout in all 1,000 doors by summer 2018. Net-a-porter will launch the brand in mid-June and Space NK plans to introduce the range in its U.S. doors later this year (Tan-Luxe is already carried in every Space NK door in the U.K.) Elrick said the collection has launched with 10 distribution partners and in over 100 retailers throughout Europe since April, and to date, is sold in 301 doors over 120 countries worldwide.

Until now, HSN was the only U.S. partner for Tan-Luxe. The shopping platform, which started selling the line in May of 2016, featured Tan-Luxe as its  Today’s Special on May 31, and in 24 hours reportedly sold about $1.3 million worth of self tanner.

Elrick said that Tan-Luxe’s overall sales could surpass $20 million at retail in 2017, the brand’s second full year in business. He projected sales of $30 million for next year.

“As a brand we formulate a little bit differently. We prescribe dependent on your skin tone and not the desired result. When people get it wrong they were choosing the wrong shades for their skin tone. The current one size fits all didn’t fit the modern-day consumers. You should always select tanning with a similar rationale to how you would select makeup. You would never buy a dark foundation if you have porcelain skin,” Elrick said.

He explained that product is divided into “Tailor Made Tanning” and “Transparent Tanning” pillars. The first is comprised of the three concentrates designed for mixing with moisturizers, with the second made up of a clear Hydra Mousse, $55, and The Water, $49. There is also The Gradual, a $33 lotion and oil hybrid that gives build able color; Sleep Oil, a $51 overnight tanning treatment oil; The Gloss, a $49 highlighter and instant tanner in one; The Butter, a $36 four in one gradual tan, hydrating body treatment, skin perfecter and illuminator and a Tan Booster, $63, serum that serves as a tan activator, accelerator and extender.

Elrick said products, developed in-house at his business partner’s privately owned lab in Glasgow, Scotland, are all non-streak and free of the smell often associated with self tanners. The range is free of dyes, which he found tampers with the efficiency of DHA, the active tanning ingredient that gives a tanned color to the skin (and hence the “transparent” nature of the range). Everything is also formulated with a pH slightly lower than that of most self tanners on the market and contains active ingredients and oils.

One of Elrick’s earliest findings is that self tanner interacts differently with the skin even if the formula is changed by half a pH, affecting color quality to longevity of the tan to moisture in the skin. This is why Tan-Luxe’s formula’s have a pH of 4.5, compared to the market norm of over 5, he said.

“No one was approaching tanning from a skin-care ethos; consumers want everything in one. They want color and hydration, moisture and anti-aging. Everything has to deliver multiple benefits, [so we said] let’s look at combining skin care with tanning — but at a high level, not just to say it’s there,” Elrick said.