Self Tan & Skincare: He-Shi Ingredient Spotlight

At He-Shi we pride ourselves on being the best tanning brand with the most efficacious products at an affordable price point. We avoid questionable ingredients such as parabens, alcohol, sulphates, phthalates and palm oil. All our products are PETA approved – vegan friendly and always cruelty-free. We care about what goes into our product formulations so we're giving you the low-down on our tanning ingredients to help you understand how each ingredient we use improves the performance of our products.

We believe that by using natural ingredients (90% of he-shi ingredients are naturally derived), combined with innovative technology to deliver real, skin-loving results we can provide the highest quality tanning performance available on the market.

With every He-Shi product, we carefully test and select only high-performing active ingredients that work in synergy to provide healthy skin, whilst achieving a natural tanned glow. When developing our products, we ask “Does this look like a tan that I would get on holiday?” as a benchmark to achieving the most natural, real-life tan that is possible – for every skin tone and every skin type. We are a tan for EVERY DAY & EVERYBODY.

Keep scrolling to discover our key ingredients.

  • Almond Oil

    Almond Oil, as the name suggests, is derived from almonds and is rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids which are all beneficial for the skin, particularly sensitive skin.

    Benefits of Almond Oil

    Almond oil benefits the skin by evening out skin tone, nourishing, conditioning, acting as an anti-inflammatory and healing compromised skin barriers.

    Why we use Almond Oil in He-Shi tanning products 

    We have chosen to include almond oil in our facial tan to keep skin hydrated and give a healthy glow. As this ingredient can be used by all skin types, almond oil is especially great for those with sensitive skin as it offers anti-inflammatory and healing benefits. 

    Find it in: Overnight Hyaluronic Tan Balm

  • Aloe Vera

    Aloe Vera is a native plant of the desert that is rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It is an ancient remedy for topical application to the skin.

    Benefits of Aloe Vera

    Skin benefits of aloe vera include soothing and calming irritated skin, repairing and protecting against environmental free radicals. Within our tanning products, it is also a great moisturiser as it has a high natural water content, which also helps to nourish skin and plump fine lines.

    Why we use Aloe Vera in He-Shi tanning products

    We have chosen to include aloe vera in many of our tanning formulations as it is a natural ingredient that treats, protects and helps prevent patchy wear-off by supporting skin hydration.

    Find it in: Tan Remover & Primer, HD Wonder Glow, H2O Glow Tanning Mousse, Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, our Professional Spray Tans, Day to Day Gradual Tan & Hydra Luxe Lotion

  • Argan Oil

    Argan Oil is a gold standard ingredient that comes from kernels grown on Argan trees native to Morocco. It contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids.

    Benefits of Argan Oil

    Argan oil helps prevent TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss) which in turn prevents the skin from drying out and tan wearing off patchy. It provides moisture, nourishment, anti-ageing properties and is proven in a recent study to increase the elasticity of the skin. 

    Why we use Argan Oil in He-Shi tanning products

    In a nutshell (no pun intended), argan oil intensely hydrates and deeply nourishes skin for a natural fading tan. It protects, boosts elasticity and reduces visible signs of skin ageing. It works very well alongside DHA to give a flawless and long-lasting tan. 

    Find it in: 
    1 Hour Rapid Liquid, 1 Hour Rapid Mousse, Dark Foaming Mousse, Gold Foaming Mousse, H2O Glow Mousse & our Professional Spray Tan’s 

  • Avocado Oil

    Avocado Oil is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. At He-Shi we love Avocado oil for nourishment and protection of your skin barrier.

    Benefits of avocado oil

    Avocado oil is high in vitamin D so you can reap the benefits without sun damage. It protects against free radicals and environmental damage which can cause premature ageing. Avocado Oil also helps to draw in water to keep skin hydrated, while smoothing and plumping fine lines by boosting collagen production.

    Why we use avocado oil in He-Shi tanning products

    Avocado oil is a natural ingredient that will hydrate, protect and improve the longevity of your tan. It is suitable for all skin types, particularly those with dry and sensitive skin as it hydrates whilst also providing a calming and anti-inflammatory effect. 

    Find it in: 1 Hour Rapid Liquid, 1 Hour Rapid Mousse, Dark Foaming Mousse, Gold Foaming Mousse & our Professional Spray Tan’s 

  • DHA (Dihydroxyacetone)

    What is DHA in Tanning Products?
    DHA is the active tanning ingredient in self-tanners. It is a sugar derivative from plant sources such as sugar cane and sugar beets. DHA tans the skin by reacting (oxidising) with the amino acids found naturally in our outer skin layers. This causes a tanning effect which shows within a few hours. As your skin cells naturally fall off in the coming days, your tan will naturally fade.

    At He-SHi we use only the best ingredients so we use only 100% natural DHA in our products.

    The depth of your tan is dependent on your skin colour and the DHA levels within your tan. Typically, formulations with 1-4% DHA result in a light colour, 5-8% result in a medium colour and 9-10% in a dark colour. 


    Why use DHA for tanning?

    DHA is a safe, organically derived tanning active that gives results without the need for UV exposure. DHA is currently the most effective way of achieving an artificial tan quickly and safely. At He-Shi we have DHA in all products with the exception of our HD Wonder Glow as it is a wash-off product. 

  • Dimethyl Isosorbide

    Hailed as a booster ingredient, dimethyl isosorbide is a solvent made from starch that helps active ingredients penetrate deeply into the skin to enhance product performance, especially in tanning products. 

    Benefits of Dimethyl isosorbide

    Dimethyl isosorbide helps to stabilise DHA and provides improved self-tanning performance by providing an even tan application. It helps active ingredients lower levels of the skin in comparison to where they could reach if used on their own. This increases the performance of other key He-Shi active ingredients including; Isopentyldiol, Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.

    Why use Dimethyl Isosorbide in He-Shi tanning products

    Dimethyl Isosorbide improves the feel and consistency of our tanning formulations. Futhermore, it helps to deliver DHA and our active ingredients deep into the skin for a longer-lasting and more even tan. We love it for protecting and fighting against signs of ageing on the skin too.

    Find it in:
     Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, Rapid 1 Hour Mousse, H2O Glow Facial Mist, H2O Glow Tanning Mousse

  • Erythrulose

    Erythrulose is a carbohydrate commonly found in red berries such as raspberries. It is chemically similar to DHA and it reacts with the amino acids on the top layers of the skin to give a natural glow. It is non-toxic and safe for use on the face and body.

    Benefits of Erythrulose

    Erythrulose is a natural tanning keto-sugar that over time leaves a natural, tanned glow to the skin similar to that achieved by UV rays. A deeper, richer, more natural undertone is achieved with the inclusion of Erythrulose. 

    Why use Erythrulose in He-Shi tanning products

    We formulate with erythrulose alongside DHA to give an even, long-lasting and streak-free tan. Using both together means you get the instant effect of DHA and over the next few days Erythrulose will continue to develop to provide further colour. So as DHA starts to fade after 4-5 days, Erythrulose is at its darkest after 5-6 days which provides longer-lasting results.

    Find it in: Find it in: Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, Rapid 1 Hour Mousse & H2O Glow Tanning Mousse

  • Fruit AHA’s

    Our Fruit AHA’s are derived from passionfruit, grape and pineapple and are a blend of tartaric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. They work on the lower layers of skin to dissolve the glue between old skin cells, whilst stimulating cell renewal for brighter, healthier complexions.

    Benefits of Fruit AHA’s

    Fruit AHA’s work gently but effectively to remove dead skin cells and resurface the skin. This benefits your tanning routine as it reveals brighter, glowing and clean skin on which to apply your tan. This will help the tan absorb quicker, be more even in appearance and last longer. It will also ensure an even and natural fade after 7-10 days.

    Why we use Fruit AHA’s in He-Shi tanning products

    We have included Fruit AHA’s to thoroughly exfoliate and give a perfect flawless result every time. It is an anti-ageing ingredient that helps unclog pores, reveal brighter skin, keep skin hydrated and help other ingredients absorb better.

    Find it in:
    Tan Remover & Primer

  • Glycerin

    Glycerin, or glycerol, is a hydrating ingredient that draws moisture in from the environment and penetrates deep into the skin.


    Benefits of Glycerin

    Glycerin is a highly effective moisturiser and can be used by all skin types. It works deep within the skin to hydrate and leaves it looking smooth, plump and radiant. It also acts as an emollient and nourishes the skin making it a great ingredient for itchy skin or those suffering from eczema. 

    Why we use Glycerin in He-Shi tanning products

    Within He-Shi’s tanning products, we include Glycerin as a highly effective humectant that prevents your skin from drying out and causing patchy wear-off. When added to our hero formulations, Glycerin can leave skin hydrated with a radiant healthy glow.

    Find it in:
    ALL He-Shi tanning products.

  • Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate)

    Sodium Hyaluronate is a derivative of Hyaluronic Acid that can penetrate deeper into the skin due to its smaller molecule size. Hyaluronic Acid is hailed as a powerful humectant which helps the skin draw water in and retain moisture.

    Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

    Skin benefits of Hyaluronic Acid include helping to diminish the signs of ageing by plumping out fine lines and wrinkles and helping skin appear smoother. It intensely boosts hydration to keep skin soft whilst also nourishing the skin's barrier. 

    Why we use Hyaluronic Acid in He-Shi tanning products

    Hyaluronic Acid was a no-brainer for our facial tanning products due to its clinically proven results. Thanks to hyaluronic acid, our facial products tan while diminishing fine lines and deeply hydrating the skin for longer-lasting results.

    Find it in: H2O Glow Facial Mist & Overnight Hyaluronic Tan Balm

  • Isopentyldiol

    Isopentyldiol is a highly effective moisturiser and skin emollient. It is a synthetic ingredient used for its humectant properties but without a sticky tacky feel after application. 

    Benefits of Isopentyldiol

    Isopentyldiol skin benefits include short-term and long-term hydration. Short-term clinical tests have shown a 110% increase in moisture content after just five minutes. It will also help the quick absorption of DHA (which helps your tan develop deeper by penetrating further). Long-term, Isopentyldiol will help retain moisture for a tan that gradually wears off naturally.

    Why use Isopentyldiol in He-Shi tanning products

    At He-Shi we chose Isopentyldiol for its instant hydration properties - super important when using DHA as it tends to dry out the skin. Isopentyldiol also helps other ingredients penetrate the skin more efficiently. This keeps your tan hydrated and nourished to ensure a long-lasting tan without a patchy wear-off.

    Find it in:
    Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, Hydra Luxe Lotion, Tan Remover & Primer & our Professional Spray Tan’s

  • Jojoba Protein

    Jojoba Protein is extracted from a shrub native to Southern America. It is rich in fatty acids and is used in skincare and tanning products as a moisturiser, antioxidant and anti-bacterial ingredient. It is non-comedogenic i.e. it won’t clog pores which makes it especially great for facial products. 

    Benefits of Jojoba Protein

    Jojoba Protein is great for soothing skin that may be prone to inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, itching or flaking. It is also thought to boost collagen production, which helps fight off the signs of premature ageing by plumping and smoothing the appearance of fine lines.   

    Why we use Jojoba Oil in He-Shi tanning products 

    We use Jojoba Protein in our facial tanning product not only to fight visible signs of ageing but to also repair and condition the skin, ensuring a tanned, luminous, healthy-looking appearance.

    Find it in: Overnight Hyaluronic Tan Balm 

  • Millesis®

    Originally developed in Brazil, Millesis® is an innovative concept for the skincare and cosmetic market. Millesis® is made with sustainable chemistry using only environmentally friendly methods to target the signs of ageing.

    Benefits of Millesis®

    • Stimulates and reactivates the skin barrier function of the epidermis to increase skin permeability and hydration 

    • Strengthens cell cohesion by preserving and regenerating dermal proteins to improve skin slackness (the appearance of wrinkles) 

    • Promotes skin firming

    Why use Millesis in He-Shi tanning products

    Brazilian Millesis is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient that fuels the skin's barrier to improve dryness, strengthen cell cohesion and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. We have included this innovative ingredient in our Tan Balm to offer a multifunctional approach to tanning and anti-ageing skincare.

    Find it in: Overnight Hyaluronic Tan Balm

  • Panthenol (pro vitamin B5)

    Panthenol is a B vitamin that has great moisturising properties and makes skin feel soft and supple. It is a derivative of pantothenic acid and is found in many natural food sources.

    Benefits of Panthenol

    Panthenol is a humectant and helps prevent TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss) by attracting moisture into the skin. This is very important in tanning to ensure an even fade. Panthenol also soothes and acts as an anti-inflammatory to calm irritation such as itchiness or redness.

    Why use Panthenol in He-Shi tanning products

    Panthenol gives our tanning products a lovely feel to the skin by acting as an emollient and providing a protective film. This is important to hydrate and nourish the skin, but also to ensure long-term moisture and a healthy appearance for a perfectly flawless, tanned glow. Suitable for use on the face and body, it is a powerhouse ingredient that can be used by all skin types. 

    Find it in: Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, our Professional Spray Tans, Day to Day Gradual Tan, Hydra Luxe Lotion & Overnight Hyaluronic Tan Balm 

  • Prickly Pear (Nopal Oligosaccharides)

    Prickly pear is an effective natural exfoliant extracted from the inner part of a cactus stem that is rich in amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins E & K. It is known to boost cell renewal in skincare products by breaking down the intercellular glue between cells on the top layers of the skin. 

    Benefits of Prickly Pear

    Prickly pear benefits skin by removing dead skin cells, including pigmentation, to reveal clear, brighter and smoother skin. Prickly Pear works as an antioxidant to help prevent environmental damage and ageing on the skin. It has also been clinically proven to give a 20% reduction in the appearance and a 17% reduction in the length of fine lines and wrinkles

    Why use Prickly Pear in He-Shi tanning products

    Prickly Pear is a great anti-ageing ingredient that will effectively remove fake tan and leave a clean, exfoliated and polished canvas for your next tanning application. 

    Find it in: Tan Remover & Primer

  • Saccharide Isomerate

    Saccharide Isomerate is a plant carbohydrate complex that binds moisture like a water magnet to the skin and prevents it from escaping. It has been proven to provide long-lasting hydration for up to 72 hours.

    Benefits of Saccharide Isomerate

    Clinically proven tests have shown that Saccharide Isomerate improved skin hydration by up to 40% in seven days. It protects dry skin against symptoms such as roughness, unevenness, flakiness, sensitivity and itching. This makes it perfect for counteracting DHA which is notorious for drying skin.

    Why we use Saccharide Isomerate in He-Shi tanning products

    We use Saccharide Isomerate in He-Shi formulas to give our customers longer-lasting tanning results (7+ days) and a tan that wears off evenly and without patchiness. We are very proud of the feedback that we receive on the wear off of our formulations, just look at our 5-star reviews! 

    Find it in: 1 Hour Rapid Liquid, Hydra Luxe Lotion & our Professional Spray Tan’s

  • Urea

    Urea is hydrophilic, i.e. loves water, and it is part of the NMF (Natural Moisturising Factor) in the top layers of skin that help your skin maintain a healthy balance of moisture. It is naturally occurring in the skin and decreases over time, which creates visible dryness on the skin. 

    Benefits of Urea 

    Urea is added to many skincare products to boost moisture and help skin look plump and healthy. It is also an excellent exfoliating ingredient as it breaks down the bonds that hold skin cells together. This results in old, dry, rough and scaly skin being shed.

    Why use Urea in He-Shi tanning products

    We choose Urea as the leading ingredient in our Tan Remover and Primer to exfoliate the skin and remove old scaly skin but also to provide a burst of hydration that prevents dry or cracked skin. It works as a perfect ingredient to ensure your skin has a blank canvas in prep for tanning too. High levels of Urea can be irritating; therefore, we do not recommend use on the face. 

    Find it in: Tan Remover & Primer

  • Vitamin E

    Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant suitable for use on all skin types. Vitamin E fights off environmental aggressors and therefore acts as a protective anti-ageing ingredient. 

    Benefits of Vitamin E

    Some of the skincare benefits of Vitamin E are its ability to fight free radical damage from the likes of UV rays, smoke and other daily environmental aggressors. By helping to repair and boost cell renewal, vitamin E ensures a healthy and radiant complexion. 

    Why use Vitamin E for He-Shi tanning products

    We have formulated a range of products with Vitamin E to provide protection against free radicals and help prevent premature ageing. The healthier and happier your skin is, the longer the tan will last. 

    Find it in: 
    Rapid 1 Hour Liquid, our Professional Spray Tans, Day to Day Gradual Tan & Hydra Luxe Lotion

  • White Nectarine and Pear Fragrance

    We have opted to use white nectarine and pear fragrance as our signature scent. After 20 years experience in tanning and testing multiple fragrances, we believe that our fragrance is the best at disguising the development smell of the tanning active DHA. An added bonus is that this scent is proven to uplift your mood!

    When we have compared against natural fragrances, we have found synthetic fragrances:
    • Are longer lasting
    • Are more ethically sourced & sustainable
    • Are standardised creations to prevent fragrance fluctuations

    It is important to note; it is not proven that synthetic fragrances can cause more skin reactions than natural fragrances. Almost all essential oils contain allergens and often there are more allergies due to the use of essential oils than to products produced with synthetic fragrances. There has also been a lot of negative publicity given to parabens, alcohol and phthalates used in synthetic fragrances. However, our fragrance has been formulated without these.