XEN-TAN is a luxury sunless tanning company that offers some of the hautest self tanning products you will ever use. I first discovered XEN-TAN recently and ever since, have been quite an enthusiast. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to the fabulous founder, Dera Enochson, about the brand and is here is what she had to say…
(Q) Creativity is definitely in your forte. I have to ask, what inspired you to create XEN-TAN?
I worked as a makeup artist with some of the top makeup artist lines for years at Neiman Marcus and I realized that the women I talked to while I made them up were as frustrated with self-tan, as I was. Because I am fair skinned the self-tans I tried all looked unnatural on me and the odor would last sometimes for days after I applied. I took my cosmetic knowledge of undertones, and then my later experience in product development, and addressed both the odor and the orange color with chemists. Right away I realized it was possible to correct both issues. So I decided to create an olive undertoned, self-tan that would look brown even on pale skins. The other thing I really craved was a self-tan I could wear during the day. I don’t like to sleep in it so we created natural instant colors that look great on immediately while you self-tan.
(Q) Tell me a little more about DHA (or dihydroxyacetone)…
It is basically made from sugars (it can be a variety of different sugar sources) and works on the outer layers of skin, just on the dead skin cells. It works to deepen the skin tone. It has a tendency to turn a little yellow or orange so that is always something we work to tone down and give more of an olive undertone. Also, many self-tans just try to ignore the fact that DHA has a funny odor on the skin sometimes. DHA is a difficult ingredient in some ways so we have to work with great chemists to get a delicious scent, but it is very possible. It just takes dedication to correcting those issues.
(Q) I absolutely love the idea that you have tanning products for not only the face, but the body, as well. Tell me, what is the difference between your basic face tanner and the face tanner luxe?
You know the products are very similar, but the skin on the face is a little more delicate so we use less fragrance and more anti-oxidants in our face products. I use self-tan on my face every day because I use Retin-A at night and it takes off your tan by sloughing off the outer cells. If I am going to use a product every day, or every week, it should be good for my skin. I use XEN-TAN self-tan every morning as my skin care. Tanning is the perfect time to add extra benefits to the face and body so we are always looking for new ingredients to add like Peptides, Gingko Biloba, Green Tea, Aloe, Vitamins A and E, Moroccan Oil.
(Q) You have quite a few new products – Flawless Logic, Ins-Tan-Taneous, Luminous Gold Gel, and Moroccan Tan. Tell me a little more about these products…
Well we want to give a big variety in ways to get tan because even though the end product is usually the same—a great tan—the way you get there is important. Luminous Gold Gel is a clear gel filled with luminous gold particles. If you pour it in a glass it looks exactly like a glass of sparkling champagne. It’s clear with a beautiful sheen. A lot of customers prefer no instant color so it lets the tan develop in three hours and it’s a light tropical scent. Many of our customers love this one to sleep in too.
Moroccan Tan was one of those products we knew everyone would love. It has a realistic instant color and dries immediately. So the minute you are done applying you are tanned and you are…dry! You can dress! You can go right out the door looking great and not sticky while you are self-tanning for the next few hours. This also has the light tropical scent. Both of those products are medium tans but if you mix them together you get an ultra-dark so it’s great to have both. When you want to wear white clothing or sleep on light colored sheets you need gradual tanner. But if you need a tan NOW then you need instant color so most people need both kinds.
We also make a couple products that have no DHA in them. Our Flawless Logic is a big wide bronzing stick. Instead of the usual waxy bronzer this is a gel to powder formula so you put it on and it dries down right away. The big stick let’s you blend it on legs or arms quickly and then it sets with a gorgeous gold shimmer. It makes for outstanding looking legs and even people sensitive to DHA can use that for a great tan.
Ins-TAN-taneous is one of my all-time favorites. It is a full 24 hour self-tan. You apply it quickly as it dries fast. It gives a gorgeous tan right on the spot. No changing later. Nothing to develop as it has no DHA. What you see is your tan and you are done. You can dress in 60 seconds and never worry about an odor developing. I use this now constantly. The tan is rich and soaks in so it doesn’t just rub off when you cross your legs. I live in a very humid climate in Dallas and this stays on a full 24 hours. I love that you don’t have to rinse it off before bed. It smells delicious and won’t come off even on my ivory sheets so you wake up looking perfectly tanned! Then wash it off when you are ready. Perfect for those that don’t want to self-tan or want to practice self-tanning with something you can wash off. Celebs love it for photo shoots and the red carpet because it never looks orange and it stays put!
We just came out with a new self-tan towel called Des-TAN-ation that is the easiest thing for travel or first time self-tanners also. It’s a 25″ actual cloth towel. It’s saturated in plenty of tanner, unlike a small towelette which never has enough product for me to get tan. It has a full 2 oz. and it’s long enough to buff across your back for a perfect reach there. Gloves are included in the box so it’s like an all in one kit. I love it for travel and it dries quickly on.
(Q) That is amazing! Demographically speaking, who uses XEN-TAN? Who can benefit from using your product line?
You know some of the things people don’t think about with self-tan is that the benefit, besides obviously being tan, is that it is one of the few things that can really change the appearance of age quickly. So anyone who feels a little “gray” or drab looking will benefit with the warmth of a tan. It’s why tanning has remained popular for so long even long after we knew the sun’s rays are damaging. The UK is a huge market for self-tan and in the U.S. it is just as popular in the cold states as it is in the warm ones. In Chicago in the winter there are still tons of women going to parties, night clubs, reunions, dates and even just work each day that want to give a polished youthful glow. If you look at people who look young much longer you’ll notice that there is a certain warmth to their skin and hair. We lose that as we age so it’s really about bringing that warmth back.
(Q) Preparation is key when using any kind of sunless product. I have to ask, how does one prepare their skin before using your products?
One of the things I wanted to do with XEN-TAN was make it a one step process whenever possible. I am always in a hurry. I have little kids, I have 100 other beauty things I have to do every day and I felt like tanning was an added step. So we put tons of moisture in our product and we never skimp on quality ingredients. That means you can actually just put the product on from face to feet without having to do prep work. Now if you do a gentle body scrub first it does help your tan last longer because it removes dead skin cells. But I have to say I do that about 10% of the time. And I can’t be bothered to put on moisturizers first to prep all the dry areas.
I am happy to say with XEN-TAN you do not have to do that. Unless you have an area that is seriously dry you just put it on evenly all over and let the product moisturize as well as tan. We do make this product that has become kind of a cult favorite in our line. It’s our Blending Balm. There is nothing else like it. It looks like a giant Chap stick and you put it on after you tan, right out of the tube, just rub it on dry ankles or edges of feet and wrists to blend. It’s amazing and fast to soften areas where tanners might grab on you ordinarily.
(Q) That is amazing. Someone said to me “I would love to use sunless tanning products, but I don’t know if I could because I don’t know how I would apply it to my back.” What tip would you have for this person?
Yes! The eternal tanning problem. Even if you have a husband handy you may have noticed they are not super great at blending. I have explained to my husband that when he “blends” color on my back it feels more like a bear attack than a gentle application of lotion. For that reason we have created what I humbly say is the best back applicator ever—our Hard-To-Reach. It pops open and has a soft pad where you apply product (lotions, mousse and mist all work perfectly) and then just sweep it all over your back. A product with instant color helps here so you don’t miss a spot. It folds in half for easy travel and comes with a full year’s worth of pads to change out every few months. In a pinch you can use a rubber spatula or a piece of Cling Wrap folded over to create a long 2″ wide strip and put lotion on there and buff it over your back. It works!
(Q) Testimonial speaking, what do devoted XEN-TAN users say about your products?
My favorite things to hear are the people who write to us telling they have changed their life because of it. We had a female soldier with Vitiligo that uses our Mist Intense on the half of her face that is paler to match to the darker side of her face and it really helped her when nothing else could. But also people who, like myself, have Melanoma and cannot go in the sun more than a few minutes even with sun block on have a healthy alternative. So many people will take a risk with tanning beds and too much sun. But when they can get a really nice deep tan they will avoid the tanning beds. That is very important to me. I have had so many Melanoma’s removed (just stage 1 because I get a full body exam every 6 months) and so many young women can avoid this fate by staying out of the sun! When we hear from mom’s that got their teenagers off the tanning beds I feel happy and relieved!
(Q) For those individuals reading this interview, what would you like them to know?
This will sound dramatic, but it’s really true because I have such thin, pale skin it looks so blotchy and pasty that I avoided pool parties and fun summer events. When I created XEN-TAN I completely changed my wardrobe to start wearing beautiful sundresses and sandals. I love dresses now and sleeveless shirts I would never have worn in the past. It makes you look so much slimmer and hides dimples and imperfections so well all over the body that your confidence level, whether in a black tie gown or just a tank top and sweat pants at home, just goes up.
You really do feel so much sexier and more confident. Hosiery are a thing of the past for me and I enjoy vacations in a way I never did before because I wear such relaxing and more flattering clothes. Even colors I could never wear like true white, or pastels, or bright turquoise look great on me now so I wear everything in my closet. But you have to see a tan with an olive undertone on your own skin to know why this looks brown. Once you see it and understand why the olive undertone cuts the orange out it really makes you feel comfortable. No one will guess it’s not a real tan. It has to look realistic to give you that level of confidence.
For more information about XEN-TAN, visit http://xen-tan.com today!