Self-tanning company, Tancream, who featured on Dragon’s Den, have announced they’ll be moving into a new headquarters in The Catalyst, Newcastle. We find out more about the business and the two Yorkshire women behind it…

We all know that we’re supposed to protect our skin with a high SPF suncream on a daily basis, but sadly, wrinkle-free skin can mean wandering around ghost-like. To achieve a healthy glow we’ve then got to apply yet more product, many of which leave behind that oh-so-familiar biscuit smell. What if we could combine our daily defence with an odour-free gradual tan? Two women from Yorkshire have spent years creating a revolutionary product, Tancream, that gives skin much-needed protection from UVA rays while gradually building up a sunkissed look. It’s the first product of its kind because to combine suncream with self-tan requires a complicated formula.

The idea came to co-founder Gillian Robson after she survived an aggressive form of skin cancer from a mole on the back of her leg. ‘I now have to wear a high factor SPF50 and have maximum protection from the sun, but I also like to have a tan,’ she explains. ‘I couldn’t find anything on the market that would tick all the boxes for me. All the SPF50s were very thick and pale when you applied them and all the fake tans smell.’

Gillian, who owned a beauty salon for 24 years, couldn’t find anything that would offer her both protection and a healthy colour so she decided to develop her own. She teamed up with her friend Katy Foxcroft, whose background lies in business development, sales and marketing, and the pair heavily researched their options before teaming up with specialists.

‘I thought Gillian’s idea was absolutely fantastic,’ says Katy. ‘It seems so simple, you can’t believe it’s not already out there. A lot of people have said to us they’ve often thought why doesn’t someone do it.’ The pair spent three years working alongside consultant Dr Jack Ferguson and creative formulation chemist Jo Warren to create Tancream’s unique formula that offers both skin protection and tanning agents. ‘We went with a big list of everything that we wanted: instant bronzer, a guide to application (so you didn’t miss anything), the SPF50 with a five-star rating and a natural, gradual self tan,’ says Gillian.

Tancream also disguises blemishes, scars and age spots and is paraben free. ‘It’s designed for summer and winter because obviously you do still get UV in the winter as well. It’s great for skiing holidays – you don’t end up with panda eyes,’ laughs Katy. Its handy 100ml size is perfect for taking on flights and thanks to a built-in moisturiser, there’s no need to carry around hundreds of different lotions. It can be used on both face and body, is streak-free, doesn’t smell of biscuits (hooray) and is not tested on animals.

Although Gillian and Katy have taken the beauty world by storm with their product, it hasn’t been an easy ride: ‘It’s an expensive process,’ explains Katy. ‘All the testing and the UV testing, the developments, the formulations. All the other things that go along with building a product: the packaging, the design – there’s a long long list. We’re very lucky that we have a very good investor.’

Tancream is available online at 

Published in: May 2021

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