Why does Jergens lotion work?

Gee Cee asks…. What makes this Jergens Natural Glow stuff work so well? It’s the first product that doesn’t make me look tanorexic.

The Left Brain retorts:

The folks at Kao (the makers of Jergens) came up with a pretty clever idea when they put this product together. No doubt sprung from a marathon brainstorming session with a massive group of cross functional team members. You can imagine the scene…


Moderator: “Anybody have any ideas about new skin lotions? Anybody?”

Marketing member: “We can make them more moisturizing”

Moderator: “What a great idea! Let’s write that down on our flipcharts. Anyone else?”

Marketing members: “How about vitamins?”

Marketing member: “Proteins. Aloe, everyone loves aloe.”

Moderator: “Those ideas are awesome.”

Scientist member: “Have you considered dihydroxyacetone?”

Moderator: “huh? Uh..thanks. Anyone else have any GOOD ideas?”

Marketing member: “We could use olive oil”

Moderator: “I love it!!”

Isn’t brainstorming great. Someday we’ll be shot for revealing the inner workings of this business. But that day is not today. Today, we answer a question about a sunless tanning lotion.

Jergens Natural Glow Ingredients

A quick look at the ingredient list of the Jergens Natural Glow lotion illuminates the secret of how it works. The very last ingredient is our old friend Dihydroxyacetone or DHA. This ingredient, discovered in the 1920s, is responsible for the fake bake. Our first treatment of the subject can be found here. So why is this one different? Well, the amount of color you get from DHA is directly dependant on how much you put on the skin. Put on a lot, and your skin will resemble the Great Pumpkin. But put on a little bit and you get a highly desired light brown glow.

In the Jegens product, they only put a little DHA in there so when you apply the moisturizing lotion, you only get a little more color. But if you put it on everyday you will get a steady increase in color. Traditional sunless tanners have lots of DHA in them so you get a really deep (and sometimes orange) color all at once. The other little trick that Jegens uses is a much higher quality DHA. The ingredient is obtained from either sugar beets or sugar cane and prior to the late 1980s, the quality was sketchy at best. But ingredient makers discovered ways to improve the refining process. This meant the DHA gave a less orange and more brown color.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

So that’s it. It works because it has low levels of high quality DHA that you use everyday. Now go out there and use your tan lotion to save face.

Do YOU have any fave fake bakes? Leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.