Does Tan Through Swimwear Work? Can You Really Tan Through a Bikini?

LuxeLuminous is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Tan lines. Those areas where our pale, pasty hidden skin meets our beautifully tanned canvas. While some people don’t mind them (or even find them attractive), most of us prefer to get rid of tan lines, or even better: to not get them in the first place.

The only problem is that you need to live by a nude beach or have somewhere private where you can tan without a swimsuit, and you need to be the kind of person totally ok with tanning in the nude. Most people just aren’t comfortable with it

But what if there was swimwear that the sun could penetrate, a swimsuit that would give you style and a beautiful tan? Enter tan-through swimwear!

Does tan through swimwear work, though? Is it comfortable and durable enough to wear around all day? What is it, and how is tan-through swimwear made? 

Below, we’ll answer all of these questions and more! We’ll even give you a few recommendations for our favorite tan-through swimsuits. 


Say Goodbye To Tan Lines

Kiniki Amalfi Tan-Through Swimsuit

The whole point of getting a tan is to look like we have naturally golden skin. A paper-white tan line at the end of the day kind of defeats the purpose and gives you that uneven dual-toned appearance.

When the straps on your dress aren’t in the same location as your swimsuit, frustration sets in. Sure, you can use a self-tanner to hide the lines as best you can, but that only works so well.

Up until recently, the only way to get a full-body UV tan was to lay outside naked (and hope the neighbors don’t call the police for public indecency) or to take a trip to your local tanning salon.

Unfortunately, though, tanning salons tend to be overpriced and require you to schedule an appointment ahead of time, pay for expensive tanning oil, and then there are those annoying “goggles” you have to wear too.

Plus, they often come with a host of unwanted side effects.

Overuse of a tanning bed and unwise use of tanning oils can lead to the dreaded orange goblin look.

So what’s a gal or guy like you supposed to do to get their full-body tan? 

Enter Tan Thru Swimwear.

Does Tan Through Swimwear Work?

Tan through swimwear that’s made with authentic Transol fabric works just as you would expect it to! Although it’s not quite as effective as exposing your bare skin to the sun, tan-through swimwear works by allowing most of the sun’s UV rays through. 

When tanning outside, you should aim to tan in the morning, before 11 am. This has a variety of benefits. The sun’s rays aren’t so strong, but you still can get a good tan. It also syncs with your circadian rhythm.

After 11 am until 3 pm or so, you should get in the shade, cover-up, or add sunscreen. You can still get tan in the shade if you’re on the beach, but it will be slower and safer during this time.

What Is Tan Through Swimwear? 

Lifestyles Direct Tan-Through

This is precisely where tan-through swimwear comes in! 

On the surface, tan-through swimwear looks just like any regular old-fashioned swimwear. You can get bikinis, one-piece sets, and even brief-style shorts for men.

The only difference is that the fabric is engineered in such a way that they allow the sun’s rays to penetrate through the fabric, allowing you to tan your top, buns, groin, and bikini area without having to strip down. 

Oh, and you can’t see through it, so no worries there.

How Does Tan Through Swimwear Work?

Tan through swimwear works because of some advances in materials science. Namely, the development of a fabric called Transol.

Transol: A Revolutionary New Fabric

The fabric technology behind tan-through swimwear is called Transol. The concept was first created and patented by a swimwear brand name Kiniki in the early-2000s.

To this day, they hold the patent and are the biggest manufacturer of tan-through swimwear in the world. Most of our recommendations on this list are Kinkini suits.

How does Transol Work?

Transol combines polyester and elastane fabric threads, weaving them together in a diagonal criss-cross pattern. This results in a stretchy, lightweight fabric where the threads are spaced farther apart than a traditional polyester swimsuit. 

The result? 

80% of the sun’s rays are able to pass through the material, allowing you to evenly tan your entire body! 

Now, you might think that material like this would be sheer or somewhat see-through, but that’s simply not the case.

What makes Transol such a crazy fabric is that it allows sun rays to completely pass through but also gives you the coverage you need to feel comfortable. You get all the benefits of tanning all of your body, without needing to be naked. See our outdoor tanning tips to maximize your beach sessions.

Another advantage of Transol’s spaced apart thread design is that it dries incredibly fast.

It retains significantly less water than regular polyester. Since air and water can pass through the fabric easily, it dries three-times as fast as other swimwear.

So you can get out of the water, throw on your regular clothes, and hit the streets to go party. 

Don’t Forget The Sunscreen!

Given that Transol tan-through fabric does allow the sun’s rays to pass through and give you a tan, it also means that you can get a nasty sunburn if you’re not careful.

This is especially true when it comes to the areas of your body that usually aren’t used to seeing sunlight! 

You don’t want a sunburn on your privates. Ouch.

Before going out to tan, you should apply sunscreen to your body, paying particular attention to the areas covered by your tan-through swimsuit.

You’ll still be able to get a good tan, but you won’t have to deal with a burn or possible skin cancer.

Is Tan-Through Swimwear Comfortable?

Tan-through swimwear is incredibly comfortable! It’s lighter than traditional swimsuits, which means that it truly feels like a second skin. You might even forget you’re wearing it.

The fabric’s increased thread spacing also means that it’s super-stretchy, so you can do yoga or play a game of beach volleyball without your swimsuit holding you back. 

Our Favorite Tan Thru Swimsuits and Bikinis

Currently, Kiniki is one of the only manufacturers in the world that makes this revolutionary new tan-through swimwear. The company was founded in 1976 by John Walker under the name “Lyme.” They focused on making high-quality, great-fitting underwear for men and women. 

In 1992, however, the company changed its name to “Kiniki” and started specializing in European swimwear for men and women. The team had a progressive vision, and in 1996, they were one of the first online stores that sold underwear and bathing suits. 

In the mid-2000s, Kiniki designers finalized their now-famous tan-through swimsuits and quickly secured a patent to prevent others from stealing their idea. Almost two decades later, they’re still the most popular and highly-rated tan-through swimsuit designer globally and sell over 30-million pounds of swimsuits every year! 

There are other manufacturers advertising Tan-through swimwear, but we would recommend starting your journey with Kinkini’s offerings.

Let’s take a look at a few of them!

Best Tan Through Bikini Top: Kiniki Santorini Tan Through Bikini Top

Kiniki Santorini Tan-Through Bikini Top

Key Features:

  • Made in England
  • Ultra-fast drying 
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Sliding cups that fit your bust 
  • Pairs well with any bottoms

If you only got to pick one piece of tan-through swimwear, then Kiniki’s Santorini bikini top is, by far, the best and most versatile choice. Let’s be honest, having an evenly-tanned top is usually more important than the bottoms. 

The material used to create Kiniki’s tops has a special fabric design that puts extra space in between the threads. This allows 80% of the sun’s UV rays to pass through and give you that perfect tan.

While you may be expecting a transparent appearance, the Santorini top provides full coverage, so you don’t have to worry about wearing it in public.

Another great thing about the material’s wider thread spacing is that it makes for a super-fast drying material. You could be soaking wet from a dip in the pool, sit out in the sun for five minutes, and your top would be completely dry! 

This is a really nice feature and gives the wearer a LOT more versatility. Instead of having to wait half an hour for your top to dry or bring another dry top, you can throw your shirt over your tan-through top and hit the streets, wearing it as a regular everyday bra. 


Last but not least, one of our other favorite features about the Santorini top is that it has adjustable cups. This means that no matter what your body type or bust size is, you’ll be able to perfectly adjust the swimsuit for a snug, form-fitting fit. 

Kiniki Santorini Tan Through Bikini Top
  • Made In England & Fresh From The Sewing...
  • Super Quick Drying (3X Faster than...
  • The classic triangle bikini top....
  • Mix & Match Your Tan Through Bikini Top...
  • Occasion: Summer Beach, Poolside Party,...

Best Tan Through Bikini Bottom: Kiniki Santorini Tan-Through Tie Side Bikini Tanga

Kiniki Santorini Tan-Through Tie Side Bikini Tanga

Key Features:

  • Matches the Santorini tan-through top
  • “Tanga” style bikini with easy-to-tie straps
  • Allows you to tan your buns and bikini area
  • Artistic design pattern
  • Made with crease-resistant fabric
  • Features the same fast-drying material as the Santorini top

As we said, if you can only purchase one item, we’d recommend the top for its versatility. However, why not go all-out and buy the full bikini? The Santorini tan-through bottom is designed to match the top we just showed you above. 

These bottoms feature a tanga-style design that allows the wearer to tie and untie the straps instantly. Unlike some of the cheaper tangas on the market, Kiniki’s bikini straps are designed to hold firm. You won’t have to worry about ocean waves loosening then! 

Like the Santorini top, this bikini bottom is made with the same fast-drying, tan-through material. This provides excellent “ventilation” and lets you tan your bikini area without having to wear a thong or “G-String.”

It’s lightweight, thin, and can easily be worn under your favorite pants, shorts, or skirt. 

Kiniki Santorini Tan Through Tie Side Bikini Tanga
  • Made In England & Fresh From The Sewing...
  • Super Quick Drying (3X Faster than...
  • Our tie-side bikini tanga is the perfect...
  • Mix & Match Your Tan Through Bikini...
  • Occasion: Summer Beach, Poolside Party,...

Best One-Piece Tan-Through Swimsuit For Women: Kiniki Elba Tan-Through Tube Swimsuit

Kiniki Elba Tan-Through Tube Swimsuit

Key Features:

  • Allows 80% of sunlight through
  • Impressionist art-style design
  • Comfortable neck strap for added support
  • Features a high leg line for a seductive look
  • Can be worn without the straps
  • Retains less water than normal swimsuits

Bikini’s are great, but they’re not for everybody. Some women prefer the comfort and coverage of a one-piece tube swimsuit. Kiniki has that covered as well!

The Elba swimsuit features a beautiful design reminiscent of the painter Monet’s impressionistic pieces with its purple background and floral paint flecks.

The Elba tan-through swimsuit is form-fitting and flattering to your profile. The design and curvature of the openings accentuate your natural curves.

Like the bikini top and bottom we looked at above, this one-piece is engineered with Kiniki’s patented Transol material. It’s fast-drying and it lets plenty of sunlight through. You can finally get that perfect full-body tan you’ve always wanted! 

If you’re planning on getting in the water, there’s a nice support strap that wraps around the back of your neck to keep everything “in place.” When you get out of the water, and you’re ready to kick back and relax, simply tuck the strap, and it’ll look like you’re wearing a stylish blouse. 

Kiniki Elba Tan Through Tube Swimsuit
  • Made in England
  • Patented Transol Tan Through Fabric.
  • Super Quick Drying (3X Faster than...
  • Crease Resistant Fabric, Perfect For...
  • Incredibly lightweight, perfect for...

Best Tan-Through Shorts For Men: Kiniki Azure Tan-Through Swim Shorts

Kiniki Azure Tan-Through Swim Shorts

Key Features:

  • Extra-short “European” design
  • Fast drying
  • Comfortable 
  • Plenty of space and support 
  • Stretchy fabric allows for more range of motion

Although Kiniki sells the majority of their tan-through swimsuits to women, they also have a full lineup of men’s swimwear as well! Our favorite pair is the Azure, which is named for its deep ocean-blue color that’s reminiscent of the Mediterranean Sea. 

These shorts have a shorter design that’s often seen in Europe. They’re very 007. Although they’re short and form-fitting, they have plenty of space where it matters. They are comfortable and supportive. 

Although Kiniki’s Transol fabric is best known for its tan-through properties that allow 80% of UV rays to pass through, Transol is also surprisingly stretchy. This means that it’s perfect for active beach use whether you’re going for a swim or rocking a game of soccer in the sand. 

Kiniki Men's Tan Through Swim Shorts Swimwear - Azure
  • Our 5th Generation Tan Through Has...
  • We Have Revolutionised Our Transol...
  • Super Quick Drying (3X Faster Than...
  • Perfect For Active Beach-Goers, Our...
  • Occasion: Summer, Beach, Poolside Party,...

Final Thoughts

If you want an even, full-body tan, then you should absolutely try a tan-through swimsuit like one of the Kiniki’s that we listed above. You’ll be able to eliminate tan lines once and for all, and you’ll get to look great doing it! 

Tan-through “Transol” material is incredibly comfortable and luxe. It gives you a wide range of motion and dries quicker than most traditional swimsuit materials, making it one of the most versatile and fascinating fabrics on the market. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).