difference between bronzers

The Difference between Bronzers

“Oh no, I don’t want a lotion with bronzers in. I don’t want fake tan.” “If I use bronzers, that’ll make me go orange.” “No I’m not looking for a fake tan. I want a natural tan.” Let’s face it, we’ve heard it all before. You drop the ‘b’ word once, and customers go into meltdown. We know that bronzers aren’t going to make you orange. But how do you convince your clients that a bronzer will leave them looking more like a Greek God than an Oompa Loompa? In fact, how do you easily explain the basis of bronzing agents to a customer? Simply put, bronzers are designed to improve your tanning potential and give an extra boost of colour. However different bronzers affect the colour results of the tanning process differently. So whether you’re trying to help a client break through their bronzing plateau, or just aiding them get ready for the weekend, knowing the right way to explain bronzers will certainly put you on the right track to improving their golden glow.

Immediate Bronzers

Alternative names: Natural, Instant, or Cosmetic Bronzer

Immediate Bronzers give clients instant colour and encourage the development of a natural tan. The tanning process takes 48 hours to fully develop. Thus, for those looking for an instant glow, immediate bronzers are ideal. This bronzer provides temporary colour that can last 1-2 days, and washes off with water. What’s more, although natural bronzers can transfer onto clothing, they don’t stain.

All Australian Gold bronzing agents use natural-based extracts to provide immediate colour such as Walnut Shell Extract, Caramel, Henna and Melanin.

Who are these ideal for?

These are ideal for those looking for an instant colour gratification. This type of bronzer suits most skin types, as the colour provides a natural-looking glow.

Top tip: When advising male clients on immediate bronzers, avoid the term “cosmetic”. This can put some customers off as they associate the bronzer with makeup. Instead, try saying that these lotions will provide “an instant hit of colour” or “immediate results”.

Delayed Bronzers

Alternative names: DHA

Our delayed bronzers are sugar cane extracts which cause a natural chemical reaction on the skin’s surface layer. This darkens skin’s proteins, meaning the more DHA used, the darker the tan. It takes 2-4 hours to begin seeing results, whilst your natural tan develops underneath. Delayed bronzers are great for evening out skin tone, creating a flawless finish, however it’s is important to always remind your clients to wash their hands within 1 hour of tanning. The skin on your palms processes this differently to the rest of your skin, leaving an unnatural colour.

Who are these ideal for?

Delayed Bronzers are ideal for a deeper, developed tan and longer-lasting colour. Delayed bronzers last 5-7 days depending on skin health. These bronzers are great for those lacking time to tan more than once a week. What’s more, delayed bronzers are useful for those looking to break through their tanning plateau.

Top tip: Ingredients like DHA can occasionally dry skin. It’s always best to recommend applying a Tan Extender, when using delayed bronzers to make sure your clients are happy with the longevity of their tan.

Tan Activators

Alternative names: Melanin-activating, Melanin-Boosting, Colour boosters.

Although not a bronzer, this  technology encourages deeper natural tan development faster. This contains added melanin or tyrosine. When applied, colour boosters kickstart the tanning process immediately, as UVA and UVB can react straightaway. Melanin-activating bronzers also provide more even tan development. 

Who are these ideal for?

Tan-activating technology is ideal for fair-skinned tanners. People with fair skin (type 1-2) lack melanin compared to skin types 3+, therefore by providing skin with a melanin boost, their tanning process speeds up rapidly as skin doesn’t have to rely solely on their own melanin to initially develop before tanning.

Top Tip: Many of our Intensifiers contain Tan-Activating Bronzers to encourage a healthy, even tan.


This bronzing technology is an Australian Gold® exclusive and can be found in a range of their tanning and sunless products. This encourages the stimulation of melanin, even without UV light. DermaDark® is a great way of enhancing colour with little maintenance both whilst tanning and in between tanning sessions. In fact, this has been added to some of our Hemp Nations, to encourage a gradual-building tan with daily application. 

Who is this ideal for?

Lotions containing this technology are ideal for those lacking time to tan, as well as fair-skinned tanners to boost initial results. The colour results are streak-free, promising natural, gradual tan development.

This is also a great choice for those post-tanning or after a holiday to maintain the colour they have built and ensuring it continues glowing.

Top Tip: Lotions containing DermaDark® such as Australian Gold’s Summer Love can also be used as a daily moisturiser. The bronzing technology doesn’t rely on UV light to tan the skin. Therefore, this can be used daily to build up a healthy glow.

White Bronzers

White Bronzers stem from DHA and contain no initial colour. Their results are long-lasting and provide deep, dark colour gratification. If these lotions are not applied correctly, the customer’s tan may appear streaky. This is due to clients not being able to see where they have applied lotion thanks to it’s lack of colour. Therefore a beginner tanner, who may not be accustomed to applying lotion, will need to be shown how to apply this correctly before tanning.

Who is this ideal for?

These lotions are ideal for those who are wearing light-coloured clothes or concerned about stains. This is also an ideal bronzing option for those going to events on the same day. This bronzer’s lack of colour ensures there is no transfer of colour onto clothing.

Top Tip: Always remind your clients to apply these bronzers thoroughly in a circular motion to avoid streaks. Just because it’s white in the bottle doesn’t mean it’ll be light on the skin!