The Skinny Tan brand gained its first taste of UK exposure following its appearance on ‘Dragons Den’ in August 2013. Whilst the investment from Dragons Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney saw the brand enter lower-end retail outlets such as Boots, the brand did little at the time to bother professional spray tanners.

With their recent acquisition by InnovaDerma, however, the scene has begun to change. The new majority stakeholders have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds since mid-2015, and this investment began to pay off late 2015, as suddenly the Skinny Tan brand began to appear on the radar of clients – and, therefore, their beauticians.

The lack of substance behind the brand’s claims have gone from a source of hilarity within the professional spray tan industry, to a source of mild concern and even panic in some quarters. In the completely unregulated industry of spray tanning, people can make any claims that their conscience will allow, and it seems that the Dragons Den appearance has given this brand a gloss of respectability that other nonsense-claim brands never quite managed to garnish.

Whether Kelly Hoppen or Piers Linney knew, know or care that Skinny Tan makes claims which insult the intelligence of all tanning industry professionals, or not, is unknown. It certainly would have been known by founders Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson. When doing their research into fake tanning, they could not possibly have failed to notice that all of their unique selling points were… well, far from unique. Obvious examples include:

  •  Naturally-derived DHA: as about a unique a concept as circular wheels. DHA is created by the fermentation of plant sugars. It always has been.
  •  Skin conditioning ingredients: well, these have only been present in spray tanning solution since 2000, and the Skinny Tan brand was founded in 2012, so I suppose being 12 years late to the party can still count as ‘unique’… right?
  •  Slimming and toning appearance: because we didn’t already know that. In fact, the entire modelling and bodybuilding industries owe the introduction of spray tanning all to you, Skinny Tan!

The speed at which the brand’s founders have given up shares in their company suggests to us that they are well aware of the shaky foundations upon which their brand is based. Unfortunately, however, this may no longer matter: with the investment of the Dragons, and now the £2m investment of InnovaDerma, the brand has enough marketing power to sustain it for many more years to come. The unsuspecting client would have no reason to doubt the claims of a well-marketed, well-branded product. And for this reason, professional spray tan technicians may have to hold their hands and patiently answer questions about this tan for many more years to come.