Amanda Harrington is as unapologetic a boss babe as they come. Sunless tanning and body contour guru to the stars, Amanda Harrington has tanned some of the world’s biggest celebrities (including Jennifer Aniston and Dua Lipa to name a few) and worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest film franchises, before deciding to take a leap and start her own eponymous self-tanning business.
For Amanda, her mission is simple and that is to create a ‘one-stop shop for safe skin.’ She started her business three years ago and has since released several cult sunless tanning products that are not only effective, but also vegan and cruelty-free.
In this latest Girl Bosses of Great Britain interview, we catch up with the sunless tanning queen herself and talk about the benefits of skin health and the importance of pre- and post-tanning regimens. We chat about her incredible career, the ‘Amanda Harrington technique’ and how she is transforming her client’s confidence one beautiful, glowing tan at a time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start your own beauty business?
My name is Amanda and I am known for my sunless tanning body contouring technique. I have travelled the world applying my technique to lots of beautiful bodies on film, fashion, red carpets and on music tours. We have built a beautiful base of tan fans such as Jennifer Anniston, Dua Lipa, Sienna Miller, Cara Delevingne.
I started my career in London as a body artist working on photo shoots and film sets before I decided to go on tour with bands such as the Rolling Stones. I then moved onto movie sets for films like Bond and Tomb Raider, transforming the look and muscle tone of the body. This obsession and passion grew to the point wherein I thought how much I would love for more people to experience a streak-free, vegan and odour free way of applying self-tan at home. I wanted people to feel good and create a beautiful glow that didn’t look orange. That was really when I went into a lab to start formulating back in 2012.
Could you tell us about your mission to guarantee the most natural, long-lasting and safe means to tan, while offering a luxurious, uplifting and sensorial experience to your customers?
My mission is to create a one-stop shop for safe skin. Creating a hub designed to educate on the benefits of skin health, the importance of SPF and share the power of how transformational self-tan is to your mood and body confidence. It really can turn your day around in less than five minutes. People notice how well you look, and you certainly feel it.
I love getting feedback from customers about how they ‘can’t live without the face mist’ or body mousse. It’s just the best feeling to know I have helped a little way towards making that customer feel uplifted. This is what I love so much about working with clients, the result is magical.
What sets Amanda Harrington’s sunless tanning products apart from other tanning products in the market today?
I think two things. The first is that our products are applied with my brushes that are such a game changer in the market. Also, the products themselves (which took me forever to formulate) had never been created before, so we had to start from scratch which took years. I am so so happy with them, and 11 awards later, it seems so is everyone else.
They are vegan, alcohol free (an ingredient which most self-tan products contain), paraben and sulfate free. Most importantly, I use Hyaluronic, collagen and Aloe Vera in all the bases to offer the most hydrated tan which nourishes the skin. I love the tonal tanning tints in Natural Rose, Honey and Olive which again is different in the market as most tan brands use one tone and that’s light, medium and dark – which doesn’t reflect the vast rainbow of skin tones.
Tell us about the Amanda Harrington technique – and why it is just so effective?
First, it is vegan which is so lovely, as you know it’s clean. My technique is based on layering, very much like how we apply make-up. How I explain it is, if you applied concealer all over dry skin and went out, you would feel dry and look rather 2D and that’s the same for sunless tan. I never understood one colour spray all over the body which is filled with drying alcohol that clings to dry skin. The results are variable and uncontrollable, hence why you see a fair few tanning mishaps on hands, ankles and elbows.
I use a Shea Butter-based barrier cream to prep dry areas, then apply a hydration layer called Body Base which has a small amount of gradual tan in it, and then you apply your skin tone appropriate face mist or body mousse that melts into the skin so easily with the wonder tool – a tanning brush. The brushes are the so effective at buffing the hyaluronic based tints into the skin that you create a natural, even base that just matches your skin tone — no matter what shade — so perfectly and lasts for days. It’s like semi-permanent make-up that doesn’t clog the pores.
Amanda Harrington goes beyond self-tanning and into skin health and sun care as well. How important is a proper post-tanning skin routine?
I think pre-tanning and post-tanning are equally as important. The power of prep happens with my fast-acting advanced glycolic body scrub which preps the skin perfectly. Post-tanning is all about topping up colour with my super hydrating gradual tans or tan compatible face and body lotions which help the colour last longer and fade evenly.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur so far?
The challenges go through phases, based on where you are on your journey. For me it’s gone from formulation woes and ‘will I ever be happy with the products’ to launching, and then having to pivot the supply chain during lockdown, to Brexit and so on. Business is essentially problem solving every single day and finding solutions.
What’s next for you and your business? Any exciting new projects in the pipeline
We are just coming up to our third year and opening with more retailers in the UK, Australia and US which is amazing. We’re also about to grow the professional side of the business into more Soho House sites and in Saudi Arabia where they LOVE contouring. Not forgetting all the new product launches we have planned, which I cannot wait for you to try!
What advice do you have for those looking to take the leap and start their own businesses too?
Please remember that annual leave is a thing of the past ha, be disciplined, committed and consistent. You must remain level-headed, give decisions some time and space, look at all the options and then decide and keep moving forwards.
Most of all – look at your vision and ask yourself ‘will I regret it if I don’t try’ and sit, listen for the answer over a few days, weeks, months – however long it takes. Mine took years. Once you decide you want to, be unapologetic from that moment on about your vision, and always speak from the heart.