Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion

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Do you ever wish you could join the ranks of the ‘golden goddesses’ in the summer?  Me, too.  Unfortunately, whenever I go out in the sun, I don’t really get tan, I only get hot.  Tanning in the sun does not come easily to me.  And there are so many dangerous side effects from UV exposure.

This is why, for years, sunless tanning products have been my friend.   And when I was contacted by Maple Holistics to try their self tanning lotion, I was pretty excited. How cool to find a sunless tanning product that uses natural ingredients like essential oils and fruit extracts.

Maple Holistics says they are a company whose goal is ” … to provide a natural, holistic range of premium products which can enhance hygiene, health and daily living.”   You can read more on their blog about the importance of using natural skincare.

Natural Self Tanning Lotion Review

What I received, and my first impressions …

I received a 6 oz. bottle of Maple Holistics Dark Shade Self Tanning Lotion in the mail.   It retails for $10 on their website, which I felt was a very reasonable price.  Because of the ‘dark shade’ descriptor, I was a little nervous  – I wasn’t trying to go from pale girl to Bahama Mama in one go, after all. But after testing the product in a small area to make sure I didn’t have any adverse skin reactions, I was ready to get my tan on.

Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion Review

The product is marketed as all natural,  but it had a very chemical-like smell.  So I checked the ingredients list on the bottle against another self tanning lotion I had to see if there was a difference.  All the ingredients on the Maple Holistics product were recognizable and pronounceable.  The other product ingredient list contained a lot of things that would definitely not be considered natural.

My first application experience went really smoothly.

Since I’ve used sunless tanning products before, I was familiar with the preparation protocol of exfoliation and moisturizing areas around the ankles, knees, etc..   I decided to use the product only on my legs first.  This was primarily because I wanted to be able to cover up in public if things didn’t look good.  But also, my legs are the whitest part of my body and they never get tan at all, even in the sun.  It would be a really good test of the lotion’s tanning ability.  After that first time, I felt comfortable and confident to try it on my arms as well.

The lotion went on very easily.  It has a color guide that helped me see where I was applying it, and it was lightweight in consistency.  I was a little worried that it would be drying, but it was surprisingly moisturizing.  It felt light on my skin and absorbed really quickly.

After a few hours, I could see that I was slightly more tan.  I was still pale, but not fish-belly pale, at least. The smell was pretty strong, even at the end of the day, which I wasn’t thrilled about.  But the color was even and not streaky.  My skin didn’t feel dried out and the color hadn’t rubbed off on my clothing.

So far, so good. So I decided to apply again.

I decided on a second application the next morning.  Even though I didn’t exfoliate again, I noticed some of the color washing off in the shower anyway.  Otherwise, I followed the same routine as the previous day.  Using my regular body lotion, I moisturized around my ankles and knees and used a small amount of tanning product, applying it in a circular motion until the color guide disappeared.

My second application process hit a couple of snags.

In a few hours, a few things became really apparent.  First of all, the smell was really strong.  It certainly wasn’t the worst smelling tanning product I’ve ever used, but it was not as good as some of the drugstore products I’ve tried, either.  It was livable, but my family noticed it and asked what product I was using.  My six year old was brutal in his observation that I ‘didn’t smell very good’ but that I was ‘still cute and fabulous.’

The second thing I noticed was that my legs had a definite orange tone.  While the color was still not streaky and pretty even, it was not as natural-looking as I wanted.  Boo.  To be fair, the lack of evenness in the color was my application, not the product, I’m sure.  I was rushing to get ready in the morning because we had a busy day ahead.

It happened to be the day I wash my bedding, and that’s when I noticed a third problem.  My white flannel sheets were not white any longer.  The tanning lotion had definitely rubbed off on them overnight, leaving brownish-orange smudges.  It did wash out of them, but still.  Since I was wearing shorts that day, I couldn’t really tell if there was any transfer to my clothes.

I did not photograph my orange-y looking legs because, well, I didn’t want to share that.  Just take my word for it … the color didn’t look nearly as natural as it did with only one application.

If you’re looking for a deep dark tan, this may not be for you.

For the next few days, I didn’t reapply.  I was rushed in the mornings and the weather turned cold again, making my ‘home uniform’ leggings rather than shorts.

However, when I shaved my legs about three days after my last application, ALL of the color came off!  The water going down the drain was so brown, it looked like I was washing my dog after she rolled in the dirt!  I had to start from scratch to get any color on my legs again.  So, the buildability of the product is not great.

I’ve used the tanning lotion several times since then, being careful to only apply one layer every few days to avoid the ‘orange effect’.   But I’m so fair and the color difference was not terribly noticeable with just one application. I was disappointed that I couldn’t achieve a darker tan without it looking unnaturally orange.

Before I list the pros and cons of this product, I want to mention:

This product is recommended for use on sensitive skin, and as safe for using even on the face. I didn’t use it on my face, though, because I am in the throes of a flair up from my Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  My face is so red and inflamed, I didn’t want to risk making it even worse.  However, I do have sensitive skin on the rest of my body and I had no itching, redness, flaking or other adverse skin reactions from the ingredients.

Also, I want to say that I absolutely hated the container for this product.  The plastic lotion bottle with the snap up lid is really hard to use once your hands are covered with product.  The snap up lid gets gunky really quickly and leaves dried up product inside the spout, which can come out when you are trying to squeeze out lotion.  Then you have to pick out the dried up gunk before application so you don’t get streaks.  It’s awkward and means you have the product on the palms of your hands for longer, increasing the risk of discoloration on your palms.

And, the instructions on the bottle, and the website would not be helpful if you were unfamiliar with how to use a sunless tanning lotion.  No mention of exfoliating before to get even color was made anywhere that I could find.  If someone was using the product for the first time, they might be really unhappy – unnecessarily so – with the result of their application.

Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion Review

So, with all that, here is my breakdown on the Maple Holistics Dark Shade Self Tanning Lotion.


  • Natural ingredients
  • Generous size container
  • Easy application
  • Product is moisturizing
  • Dries quickly
  • Doesn’t rub off on clothing
  • Good price
  • Easy to find and purchase
  • Even color, not streaky
  • Pretty natural color – with one application


  • Smell
  • Color becomes orange-y with multiple applications
  • Dispenser is awkward and difficult to use
  • Color fades and washes off quickly
  • Buildability for a darker tan

As you can see, the pros of this product – at least for me – do outweigh the cons.

Personally, I think this product would be really great for using in the transition seasons.

I would use it through the winter and into the spring, when I want to have some sun-kissed color, but don’t need or want to keep adding layers to get a dark, summer tan.

Now, I know I listed the smell as a con. But honestly, if I applied it on a day when I was just going to be at home, then showered the next morning and moisturized with my regular body lotion, it wouldn’t be a problem for me.  That’s going to be a personal preference, I think.

Overall, I was pleased with the effectiveness and performance of this product.

I would recommend it to anyone who has very sensitive skin, doesn’t need or want to achieve a super dark tan, and is looking for something with natural ingredients.  I enjoyed the opportunity to try it out, and thank you very much to Maple Holistics for reaching out to me.

Just so you know, Maple Holistics also sells a host of other natural products …

… including shampoos and conditioners, massage oils, lip balm, essential oils, toners, bubble bath, body lotions and creams, and even dish soap.  Be sure to check out their website to see a complete list of products, ingredients, and learn about their amazing mission to help people and communities.

I hope you found this review helpful.

Me, I hate trying to decide on products without reliable reviews from real people.  And so often, a ‘sponsored’ post means the reviewer will tell you the product is awesome, even if it’s not, just so long as they get paid.

While I did receive this product for free, I promise you that I gave it a completely honest assessment – the good and the bad!  I always want to provide you guys with the most helpful information to make your lives easier.  All the opinions on this product are completely, 100% my own.

Mother Nature has lost her mind, apparently!

If it ever stops raining here in Red Dirt Country, I look forward to showing off my tan-from-a-bottle in shorts.  But for now, I’m going to have to put up with 48° temperatures in late May and leggings and sweaters still.  Geesh!

Would you like to see more ideas for saving money, time, and stress?  Follow That Farm Mama on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  And let me know what you need help with!  Are you looking for recipes, budget decorating ideas, homeschooling support, or just some encouragement because you’re going through a tough season?  I would love to inspire you to bloom where you’re planted!

Love & Blessings,




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