The Bronzer Begins

At the time, self-tan was in its infancy, and they were smelly and sticky and generally not great. But what Sally created was something different, something of its own class…

Behind every great beauty product is a great woman looking to make your life easier.

Find out how The Bronzer was born in this interview with creator, Sally Desancic.

That may not be exactly how the quote goes, but it is definitely the case with The Bronzer. And that great woman is Sally Desancic, Founder of The Bronzer and Managing Director of Core Metrics. For the uninitiated, the story goes like this: back in the ‘80s Sally was working in the corporate side of the beauty industry as a buyer for some big name cosmetics companies. At the time the unofficial “uniform” was a skirt suit and pantyhose… but Sally hated wearing pantyhose. So she set about trying to find something that would give her a similar colour and sheen, but be comfortable.

At the time, self-tan was in its infancy, and they were smelly and sticky and generally not great. But what Sally created was something different, something of its own class. A wash-off tan that you could apply in the morning and rinse off in your shower at night. It was the first of its kind in Australia at the time, and garnered a loyal following from its inception. It didn’t need to be modified or enhanced, and in the 20 years since the formula has remained unchanged – because she got it right the first time.

In our first post from The Bronzer blog we get to know the woman behind the icon, Sally Desancic, and learn a little more about the product we all love.

Before creating The Bronzer, had you wanted to make any other products?

Not at that stage. My motivation was always to have a product that I wanted to use  more than a product to “sell” to others.

As legend has it, The Bronzer was created because you hated pantyhose… why was that?

I can’t stand any material on my skin that isn’t natural. Pantyhose were compulsory in our business so I thought if I could paint my legs in a tan colour I could avoid wearing the panty hose that itched my skin and were uncomfortable around my waist.

When you launched The Bronzer, what was the beauty landscape like?

1999 was the year of the Daimairu department store launch in Melbourne. Serums started to appear on the market and women were going crazy over it. It was an era of bronzing powders such as “Natural Glow” and people were worrying about the Ozone layer and what the new millennium would bring (and do!) to our skin. That said, men and women were still going to the solariums.

Why did you think there would be a market for this kind of product? 

I thought if this is what I needed and wanted, there must be many other women and men out there who would love to have a product that they could apply as little or as much colour on their bodies as they wish to have.

When you launched you were the only instant tanner on the market. How was it received?

We were the first and we sold instantly to all buyers and retailers with just one simple demonstration. I was so happy to see that I was not the only person looking for such a product.

When formulating the product, what were the non-negotiables for you?

Having the experience in working alongside great skincare brands I was aware that the product needed to be safe and ethical.

If you weren’t creating personal care products, what would you be doing?

I would be in the industry for sure. I love the beauty industry and I could not see myself doing anything else.

What has been your proudest moment with the brand? Why?

Being accepted by large retailers in Australia without having a final product.  I knew then that we were on to something good. The fact that I had created a product that didn’t exist in our market was amazing to me.

What do you love most about The Bronzer? 

I love the flexibility of instant tan. I can apply it when I need some colour and wash it off when I don’t. I can decide in the morning if I want to wear capri pants, a skirt or any other outfit and not worry about my pale legs or arms.

The Bronzer was started from your family rumpus room. At what point did you think “we’re onto something here?”

When we started unloading palette loads of products in our front yard more often than we planned! We knew the time has come to finally move. That happened after four years of running the business from home

What’s next for The Bronzer?

It will have to be something different again. We have been working on some new projects and we hope that we can find a way for our brand to stay part of this competitive category.

What’s one thing that may surprise people about you?

I love my space and quiet time alone 

What’s your all-time favourite ingredient and why?

Vitamin E as it hydrates my skin

Do you have a personal mantra?

“If you truly believe in your story LIVE IT”.  Whenever I’m  in doubt, I ask myself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” Once I accept the worst situation I am not afraid of moving forward.

 What product(or products) do you always keep in your handbag?

 Hand cream and our Pure Paw Paw tube.

 If you could only use one product for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 Pure Paw Paw ointment  as I can use for every part of my body.

What’s your favourite part of the product creation process?

My favourite part is when you have the luxury of choices not just in test tubes but in design too. It means we have allowed ourselves to be creative and we have options to test and try. Finding THE ONE  is the most satisfying experience.

What’s the one piece of beauty advice you’d always gave to your daughters?

Never go to bed without taking your makeup off first.


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