Natural Sunscreens and Self Tanners

Beauty | 30.4.2015 | Katja Kokko


In collaboration with

This spring the Finnish market has seen the launch of two very interesting sun product lines: the French Acorelle and the English The Organic Pharmacy. One of these contain a self tanner that made it to my favourites list right away.


I got to test Acorelle’s Sun Spray SPF 30, Sun Gel SPF 30 for the face, Sun Oil SPF 30, Refreshing After Sun Fluid and Beach Water Body Mist, which I already raved about last week.

The packaging of Acorelle sunscreens is beautiful, and the products have a delightful scent: soft and floral, a mix of traditional sunscreen and sweet frangipane. The scent of summer, which reminds me of the hot midsummers of my childhood.


The Acorelle Sun Spray comes in two versions, SPF 30 and SPF 50. A few years ago, products containing a physical sunscreen (which is the only allowed UV filter in natural cosmetics) would leave your skin white as chalk. Nowadays natural sunscreens are so thin and fine you can barely notice them on the skin. The end result is nearly transparent, at least with this Acorelle SPF 30 Sun Spray. I would imagine the SPF 50 version to leave a bit of a white sheen on the skin.

The UV filter in this spray consists of titanium dioxide. For skin caring purposes, the spray contains argan oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and extracts of polynesian gardenia, propolis and bee pollen.


However, the most interesting sun products by Acorelle are the Sun Oil and the Sun Gel for the face.

The oil contains a completely  plant based sunscreen, but still boasts an impressive SPF 30. The protection comes from karanja oil, which has a naturally high SPF. This might sound strange, but remember, you cannot put a stamp on a product claiming a high SPF unless it has been tested to contain one. I’m really looking forward to the first warm days so I can try this product out in practice. As a safety measure, I would recommend a physical mineral sunscreen to those who are prone to sunburns. I’ll be your guinea pig and let you know how things worked out with the oil! This oil leaves absolutely no white residue on the skin, as it doesn’t contain a mineral sunscreen, but it nourishes the skin very efficiently.


Sunscreens for the face have always been my least favourite product, which is why I’ve only protected my face with a BB or CC cream containing an SPF. I am, however, going to give Acorelle Sun Gel a chance, because this product is definitely interesting. The gel has a wonderful consistency. It’s warm yellow in color, but on the skin it turns completely transparent. The protection comes from the combination of titanium dioxide and karanja oil – no wonder the consistency is this dreamy! I have big expectations for this product, because I believe it won’t clog the skin the way mineral sunscreens do.


The Acorelle After Sun is also divine. It contains peppermint water which cools the skin softly, and the scent is a thrilling combination of vanilla, almond and frangipane. I could use this right away as a body lotion – and what’s stopping me?


I already raved about the Beach Water Body Mist. This product has completely won me over and I’m sure it will be a summer hit. It has nothing to do with a sunscreen, but it’s a must have product for all us summer girls. You can spray it on your body simply for the fact that it’s lovely – and to freshen up the summery scent of sweat, sunscreen and grass.


Whereas the Acorelle sun products are inexpensive luxury, when it comes to real luxury, The Organic Pharmacy has it. I got to test the Cellular Sun Protection Cream SPF 30, the Tan Accelerator and the Self Tan lotion.


The physical sunscreen in the Sun Protection Cream SPF 30 are formend by zinc ioxide and titanium dioxide. This cream spreads beautifully, even lighter than the Acorelle spray with the same SPF. Most importantly, both this cream and the Acorelle spray do not utilize nanotechnology. 

The Organic Pharmacy Sun Protection Cream contains aloe vera juice, shea butter, marigold extract, almond oil, orange flower water, rose hip oil, vitamin E and honeysuckle extract – therefore, the cream has excellent nourishing properties.


However, the most interesting products in The Organic Pharmacy line are definitely the tanning products. I have never used a product to prepare my skin for tanning and sunbathing, but this summer I’ll get to test one out. The Tan Accelerator activates melanin production on the skin. The consistency is a thin, bronze-coloured gel that immediately gives the skin a beautiful warm glow, but absorbs well enough not to stain your clothes.

The founder of the line, Margo Marrone is a pharmacist who later specialized in herbalism, and you can see her background in the ingredients of this lotion. Betacarotene and kapi kacchu extract act as melanin-boosting ingredients, and the lotion also contains plenty of antioxidants to protect the skin from free radicals. It is, however, important to remember that nothing makes your skin age faster than exposing it to midday sun – no matter how much you protect it.


I’ve avoided self tanning lotions like the plague, simply for the reason that about a decade ago I used enough of them to make me wish all photographic evidence has been destroyed. Natural self tanners have however made me warm up to the idea of a “tan from a tube” again, and last summer I faked my way to a pair of bronzed legs right in the beginning of the summer. I plan to do it again this year – nothing gives me anxiety like the first days of summer dresses paired with pale white legs! Oh yes, I’ll resort to a tube with pleasure.


The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan turned out to be very efficient. As you can see from the pictures, just one application gave my legs enough – but not too much – colour. The natural self tanners I’ve previously tried out have been more or less gradual self tanners. The Organic Pharmacy Self Tan left no streaks and I’m extremely pleased with the result.


The tanning agent in self tanners, dihydroxyacetone (DHA), is produced from sugar beets and even when synthetically produced, it is not dangerous in any form. Remember not to mix up self tanners and sunscreen agents – they are two completely different products.

As a wild card, I’ll have to mention Hurraw’s Sun Balm, a vanilla scented (and flavoured) lip balm with SPF 15. Kisses!



Sunglasses: Le Specs, Sofinah Shop

Hammam bath towel: Proloque Shop

Products courtesy of importer

Pictures: Katja Kokko

Translation: Eeva Kolu