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Fake tan shortage: Could this mean a white Christmas for many?

Irish women are the highest wearers of fake tan, per capita, in the world
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.06 11 Nov 2021


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Fake tan shortage: Could this...

Fake tan shortage: Could this mean a white Christmas for many?

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.06 11 Nov 2021


Share this article


Fake tan customers are being warned to prepare for a shortage of the product.

Experts say a key ingredient, called ethoxydiglycol, has been facing supply problems in recent weeks.

The ingredient is imported from abroad and used extensively in many high-end skincare products including fake tan and skin creams.

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It is used to improve the texture of products and to help them spread on the skin.

Online pharmacy Medicine Direct says  the shortage is expected to hit the global fake tanning industry in the next few weeks.

It has already seen a price hike in ethoxydiglycol, from just over €14 per kg to €121.

Other raw materials are also proving difficult to obtain such as dihydroxyacetone and erythrulose - the ingredients that give a tanned colour to skin.

Marissa Carter is CEO and founder of Cocoa Brown. She told Lunchtime Live they has been prepared for this.

"No don't worry - fake tan aficionados do not have to panic.

"One thing that has been very clear from very early on in the pandemic is that if you want to have stock for Christmas, you better order it early.

"We ordered our Christmas stock last January because we could see this coming down the line."

Marissa says this is not just an Irish or European problem.

"It is absolutely impossible for manufactures in the beauty industry to get their hands on raw ingredients and stock.

"There's such a huge shortage globally: every manufacturer is coming up against the same problems.

"Whether it's the rising cost of raw ingredients, or the really really long lead times."

A woman applies a fake tan product in January 2010. A woman applies a fake tan product in January 2010. Picture by: Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

She says some lead times have increased 10-fold.

"In a usual year if we ran out of Cocoa Brown, we could place an order and a couple of weeks later - you might be looking at about six weeks - you'd have more stock.

"Now we're looking at making sure that we have at least seven months stock - it's been a really, really difficult few years to manage supply chain".

Popular in China

Marissa says one of the reasons for a shortage of fake tan ingredients, in particular, is down to popularity in China.

"Tan has become really popular in China, and a lot of our raw ingredients come out of China.

"And as their domestic market grows, the demand for those raw ingredients sky-rockets.

"So the more Westernised China has become, the more they're looking to introduce western brands.

"The more tanned they want to look - that California glow - has just become so popular".

And she says Irish people could be hit harder than most.

"Irish women are the highest wearers of fake tan, per capita, in the world.

"There is no other country that wears as much fake tan as Irish people do.

"If there was a fake tan shortage, I think I might have to leave Instagram to be honest", she adds.

Main image: Detail of a model's body before and after applying airbrush tan treatment in March 2020. Picture by: emi111 / Alamy Stock Photo

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China Cocoa Brown Dihydroxyacetone Ethoxydiglycol Fake Tan Fake Tan Shortage Lunchtime Live Marissa Carter

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