Skip to content

The beauty science behind Dove Summer Revived gradual tan


What’s the secret to a sunless summer glow? We asked an expert how Dove’s gradual tan range really works.

Tubes and mousse cans of Dove Summer Revived gradual tan, Dove’s tanning moisturiser designed to give skin a summer glow.

Getting a summer glow without facing the sun’s damaging UV rays is a hot trend – and it’s growing fast. Fortune predicts the global self-tanning products market will grow (Opens in a pop-up window) from $1.1 billion in 2023 to $1.7 billion by 2030.

Dove’s Summer Revived gradual self-tan range, available in the UK and in some European markets, is set to tap into this growing demand for safer alternatives to sun-tanning. The collection comprises lotions and mousses for the face and body, designed to deliver a tan that develops gradually while enriching skin with the care consumers have come to expect from Dove.

We asked Rich Connell, Senior Scientist at Dove, to explain the science behind the brand’s sunless self-tan.

How does Dove’s Summer Revived gradual self-tan range work?

Dove’s Summer Revived gradual self-tanners harness the natural chemistry of your own skin for a natural-looking tan without the telltale self-tan smell. Our products are suitable for all skin types, tan the skin gradually and come in two shade options (light to medium and medium to dark) that allow you to customise your desired skin glow results. Dove’s Summer Revived self-tanners are also powerful daily moisturisers. The lotions provide up to 72 hours of moisturisation and the mousses up to 48 hours, while developing a summer glow.

What are the key ingredients that give a summer glow to skin?

The key ingredient in Dove’s gradual tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). This naturally derived active ingredient interacts with amino acids in the keratin found naturally in your skin, forming caramel-coloured complexes that gradually (and temporarily) create a tanning effect in your skin. In Dove Body Love Skin Visible Glow (Opens in a pop-up window), this effect is boosted by the presence of light-reflecting minerals to enhance your sunless glow with a subtle shimmer.

Dove Summer Revived lotion from Dove’s gradual tan range to give skin a summer glow. Product shown with amber background

How long does Dove gradual self-tan usually take to develop – and how long do the effects last?

After applying a Dove gradual self-tanning product to your skin, you will begin to notice a gradual darkening after 2–4 hours. Your tan will continue to develop over the next 24–48 hours. This process is temporary and reversible, and the tan will fade evenly and subtly over the course of the next several days. If you would like the tan to fade more quickly, you can gently exfoliate your skin using scrubs, a body brush or exfoliating gloves.

How often should people apply Dove gradual tan to get the best results?

Dove’s gradual tanning technology works with the unique skin characteristics of each individual, so you will need to find the routine that works for you and your desired glow. For most users, the desired colour develops gradually over several applications, so it’s worth developing a self-tan routine.

For a deeper shade, you may choose to reapply the product every day — especially if you notice as the tan develops that you missed a spot the previous day. For a more subtle effect, you may only need to reapply the product every other day.

For best results, wait until the product is fully absorbed in your skin and dry before getting dressed. Although our products absorb quickly, try not to touch your skin while it is drying to avoid a streaky, spotty result. When you take your first shower after applying a Dove gradual tanning product, avoid scrubs and exfoliants, and gently pat your skin dry.

Dove Summer Revived lotion from Dove’s gradual tan range to give skin a summer glow. Product with blue background.

How do Dove’s gradual tan products care for skin?

Dove’s gradual tan products allow you to achieve a natural-looking glow while avoiding the negative effects that come with sunbathing – sunburn and UV damage. Dove products are also packed with moisturising technology. Designed to be as effective as daily moisturisers, you’ll enjoy up to 72 hours of skin hydration with each application, supporting a healthy skin canvas on which your tan can gradually develop.

Should moisturiser be applied before Dove Summer Revived?

You don’t need to moisturise before using Dove Summer Revived – in fact, applying a moisturiser just before applying Dove Summer Revived may prevent the product from properly absorbing into your skin, blocking the DHA active ingredient from reaching the proteins in your skin that it interacts with to create the gradual tan.

While healthy, moisturised skin is important for the development of a natural and even tan, our Dove Summer Revived products were designed to provide up to 48 hours of moisturisation with each application, making them powerful daily moisturisers with the added benefit of gradual self-tanning.

If you’re looking to fit Dove Summer Revived into your skin care regimen, there are some steps that you can take before using our gradual self-tanner. If you like to shave, do so 24 hours before you apply Dove Summer Revived. Shower before applying the product, not directly after applying. If you like to exfoliate, do so before applying Dove Summer Revived.

Two cans of Dove Summer Revived mousse from Dove’s gradual tan range to give skin a summer glow.

What’s the difference between the Dove gradual tan mousse and the body lotion?

Choosing the product format that is right for you is a matter of personal preference. Both the mousse and body lotion use DHA technology for gradual self-tanning, and both include high levels of moisturisers for daily skin hydration.

Both product formats are suitable for all skin types and are dermatologically tested. If you prefer a lighter texture with more play time on the skin before the product absorbs, helping you to avoid streaks or a missed spot, you may prefer the Summer Revived Gradual Tanning Mousse (Opens in a pop-up window). If you prefer a product that absorbs quickly and easily into skin, you may prefer the Summer Revived Gradual Tanning Lotion.

Does showering every day make the tan slower to develop?

The initial development of your gradual tan will take place over the first 2–4 hours after application, so you should avoid showering during this initial period to allow your tan to develop properly. After this, showering every day should not make your tan slower to develop. Daily showers may, however, cause your tan to fade more rapidly. If you want to minimise the impact of your daily shower on your tan, avoid exfoliating and gently pat yourself dry after showering.

And finally, how can you remove Dove gradual tan from your hands after application?

To avoid unwanted tan on your hands, wash and dry your hands immediately after applying the product. In a pinch, you could also use a wipe to clean your hands quickly after using a Dove gradual tan product.

Back to top