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Belfast sisters created revolutionary self-tan... now their latest ingenious creation is already a global hit

Three Belfast sisters who developed a unique self-tan are now making waves with their latest product, a luxury bath bomb. One of the Lusso Tan founders, Lynsey Bennett, tells Stephanie Bell how it came about

Good team: Leah White, Sarah White and Lynsey Bennett with their new Lusso bath bomb
Good team: Leah White, Sarah White and Lynsey Bennett with their new Lusso bath bomb
Tan enthusiasts: Leah, Sarah and Lynsey

By Stephanie Bell

They say necessity is the mother of invention and one Belfast mum's busy schedule is the secret behind the most talked about beauty product to be launched this year.

The world's first ever tan removing bath bomb, developed in Belfast, can't be made quick enough to fulfil the thousands of orders which are flooding in from every corner of the globe.

The bath bomb has been created by well-known local business partners and sisters Lynsey Bennett, Leah White and Sarah White.

The women have already developed a very successful luxury tanning brand, Lusso Tan, and run two busy beauty salons - The Secret Day Spa in east Belfast and Sistine Beauty in Holywood.

Lynsey, who is married to Wayne, a building site manager, with twin girls Scarlett and Sophia (7), came up with the idea for their latest must-have product while luxuriating in her first bath in eight years.

Explaining the background, she says: "Our beauty therapists are absolutely obsessed with bath bombs and one day about six months ago, they could see how frazzled I was - so they persuaded me to take a bath bomb home and have a relaxing bath.

"I got home and ran myself what was my first bath in eight years and it was bliss.

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"I was lying there thinking, 'Now I have to get out and take my tan off', and that's when the idea came to me for a bath bomb that would melt your tan away and nourish your skin all over while you just lie there.

"When we do spray tanning in our salons, one of the biggest problems is people coming in and not taking their tan off first.

"They want us to re-spray on top of their old tan and they simply won't get a good look with that."

Removing tan can be a timely task and Lynsey and her sisters have developed a product which can be used prior to having a shower.

The bath bomb, however, was unlike anything else on the market and her sisters, Leah and Sarah, immediately saw the potential.

Lynsey says: "The girls loved it and all the therapists in our spas really encouraged us to go for it.

"I am part of a local networking group called 'Mums at Work' and through it, I contacted a nearby business which makes bath bombs.

"I met up with the owner and she told me my idea had never been done before and she was keen to work with us.

"I knew we needed essential oils to remove the tan and relax you when you're in the bath, as well as nourish your skin.

"We had about 30 attempts until we got a result we were happy with. We then gave it to as many people as we could to test - all 25 of our therapists and then friends and family," she adds.

"It is all about having a wee bit of 'me' time. Life is so busy these days that even getting 10 minutes to yourself is a treat.

"Since that first bath six months ago, I now love nothing better than getting the kids to hockey on a Wednesday night, so that I can relax in the bath - with my bath bomb of course!"

With the bath bomb thoroughly road tested by colleagues and friends, who gave it the thumbs up, the ladies were ready to go to market with their new product.

They were primed for launch on September 15 and, with no budget to promote their new product, they took to social media to announce it.

The response was immediate and before the bath bomb was even available, they had chalked up more than 2,000 pre-sales.

When it launched, it sold out in days and now, just over a month down the line, Lynsey says demand has remained high.

"It has been insane," she says, adding:

"We sold about 5,000 in the first week and the orders just keep coming in, it is amazing. In the end, we used lemon and grapefruit oils, which not only make your skin smell lovely, but the aroma fills the whole house.

"People just love them and we are thrilled."

Like all products in the Lusso tanning range, the bath bomb has been designed to protect and prime the skin for your next tanning application, as well as remove all traces of tan in as little as 15 minutes.

Lynsey (44) and her sisters, Leah (42) and Sarah (32), are best friends as well as business partners.

They go to the gym together, socialise with each other and left their jobs to set up a beauty business together 11 years ago.

They first established The Secret Day Spa in east Belfast and then two years ago, opened Sistine Beauty in Holywood, which they run with sister-in-law, Teri White.

All fake tan devotees, two years ago the sisters combined their expertise to invent, perfect and launch Lusso Tan - a revolutionary three-step approach to tan application.

And once again, it was Lynsey's busy lifestyle as a new mum to twins that led to the development of their very first products, which now also have a global following.

Throughout her pregnancy, Lynsey continued to get her spray tan, but after she had her daughters, she found the existing self-tanning products on the market were too sticky and unrealistic for time-poor new mums who don't have the time to sit around and wait for their tan to dry.

She was also worried about the number of chemicals in them.

As they talked about it, the women came up with their idea of a new organic product that would be easy to apply, quick drying and with no lingering smell.

Lynsey says: "I think when we opened the salon, we felt even then we would love to get into product development.

"All three of us are passionate about tanning and we've seen some horror tans over the years.

"I was spraying throughout my pregnancy, but after I had my daughters I was so tired and busy that I didn't bother.

"One day, one of my sisters commented that I needed to get some tan.

"I found it wet and sticky and smelly and it was taking too long to dry and it just wasn't practical.

"That got us talking about developing a new tanning product and our brother Luke, who is a scientist at East Antrim College, said he would work on it in his lab and he helped develop it," she adds.

A huge selling point is that, unlike most other self-tanning lotions, the women were able to take the smell out of the darkening agent which gives self-tanning products their distinct and usually unpleasant odour.

The sisters were also keen for their products to actively improve the quality of skin and so researched and developed beneficial and natural ingredients.

Aloe vera and vitamins are used to ensure that the skin is kept in the best condition possible. Lusso Tan is also organic and paraben free.

Lynsey says: "Our ethos is that you need really healthy skin to have a healthy glow and so we developed our primer to be put on before the tan and also a sparkle finishing product.

"To us, it ticks all the boxes as it is organic, full of vitamins A and E and contains aloe vera.

"It is just taking the basic beauty principles of make-up application and applying them to tanning.

"The better care you take of your skin, the better you tan will turn out.

"I still tan every week and if I have an event on, it might be twice a week.

"When I am out, people would say to me, 'My tan doesn't look as good as yours', and I would ask them if they exfoliate and moisturise and they usually say that they don't."

Lynsey adds: "The better hydrated your skin is, the better your tan will be and you really do need to take the dead skin cells off and moisturise before you tan."

As well as their initial three-step tanning products, they have also added an instant tan and a shower tan removal product to their range.

And now they are busier than ever selling bath bombs to fake tan fans all around the world.

Lynsey adds: "The bath bomb was a natural progression, as removing the tan each week and priming for a fresh application is the step that everyone falls on.

"Now, even the busiest of women can relax in a bath of essential oil infused water and watch the tan dissolve before their eyes."

Visit www.lussotan.com to see the company's range of products including the bath bomb, which costs £8.50

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