10 Reasons Tanning Water Should Be Your New Go-To For A Golden Tan

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We all know that going out tanning in the sun has its risks. Skin cancer, wrinkles, premature aging — none of these are good!

Over the last several years, sunless self-tanners have grown in popularity. They offer the just got back from my tropical vacation at the beach glowing tan, without the exposure to UV radiation.

So while sunless self-tanners are a much safer way to get your glow on than baking in the sun, they are not without their drawbacks.

They’re tricky to apply. And then there’s the mess!

Sunless self-tanners use a cosmetic bronzer as a guide so you can see where you’ve applied it, and for instant color. But if you’re not careful, you will stain your clothes, bed sheets, not to mention your palms and fingernails, and anything else you come into contact with while it’s drying.

After the processing time, you are required to shower to wash off the bronzer.

Yes, fake bake products come in all shapes and sizes, textures and tints — From mousses, creams, and foams, to lotions and made-to-measure drops. But there’s a new kid on the block in the realm of self-tanning products that promises to be a game changer.

Tanning water is the latest sunless tanning product to hit the market and you’re going to love it!

It offers less mess, no streaks, and a much quicker application, not to mention extra hydration to leave your skin smooth, soft, and glowing, unlike most self-tanners that leave your skin feeling dry.

We are going to take a look into this newest phenomenon of self-tanning to give you the lowdown on tanning water, what it is, how it compares to other self-tanners, and give you 10 reasons why tanning water should be your new go-to for a golden tan.

We’ll also give some pro tips on how to apply tanning water and a rundown of 5 of the most popular tanning waters.


Tanning Water 101

St Tropez Tanning Water

Tanning water is a water-based clear spray, blended with moisturizing ingredients and dihydroxyacetone, or DHA (which is the active tanning ingredient). It hydrates the skin while creating a temporary simulated tan.

Tanning water is a transparent, lightweight, and skin-hydrating formula that gradually develops over a few hours. It leaves you with softer skin and a golden glow.

Tanning water is a transparent, lightweight, and skin-hydrating formula that gradually develops over a few hours. It leaves you with softer skin and a golden glow.

Tanning waters can be used on both the face and the body.

How Does Tanning Water Work?

Tanning Water Before and After

Like most self-tanners, the active ingredient in tanning water is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). DHA is responsible for the temporary tanning of the skin.

DHA works by creating a chemical reaction with dead cells on the skin’s surface layer to temporarily darken the skin and simulate a tan.

While it’s the DHA that actually gives you a tanned look, tanning waters also contain hydrating ingredients that are often lacking in traditional self-tanners, to soften the skin.

How is Tanning Water Similar to Other Self-Tanners?

When it comes to comparing tanning water to other self-tanners, there are some similarities. They both use DHA to give you a temporary tanned look that develops gradually, and they are both safer options than tanning in the sun (and definitely safer than using a tanning bed!).

But this is where the similarities end.

There are some key differences between tanning water and other self-tanners that have catapulted tanning water to the top of the list of ‘must-have’ beauty products. Many companies are now starting to make tanning waters to compliment their mousses, foams, etc.

Read on to find out how tanning water differs from other self-tanners.

10 Reasons Tanning Water Should Be Your New Go-To For A Golden Tan

1. It’s a safe way to tan. Unlike tanning in the sun or using a tanning bed, tanning water is a perfectly safe way to tan without the harmful effects of UV rays. No tan is worth risking your health.

2. It’s transparent. while most other self-tanners use a cosmetic bronzer in addition to DHA, tanning water is clear. It does not stain clothes or bedding, which means you choose if you want to apply it in the evening and go to bed, or apply in the morning and let it develop throughout the day.

3. It’s hydrating. whereas traditional self-tanners are known for leaving your skin feeling tight and dry, tanning water has skin-hydrating ingredients that moisturize while it tans.

4. It’s lightweight. Because of the texture and viscosity of tanning water, it quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving it moisturized and soft.

5. It’s non-comedogenic. This means it won’t clog pores making it perfect for all skin types, even those with sensitive skin. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly enough that you can apply it under makeup. This makes tanning water perfect for use on the body and face, so you don’t need more than one product for specific areas.

6. No Orange! Though self-tanners have come a long way in recent years, it can sometimes be hard to get a natural-looking color and they can turn out a bit on the orange side. No one wants that! Tanning water will give you a golden tan, without the orange

7. Easy Application. Application is 4 easy steps that we’ve outlined below. It’s a pretty foolproof process that is easier, less messy, and with a much higher rate of success than using a regular self-tanner. 

8. No waiting – once you’ve applied tanning water, you’re ready to go. There’s no awkward waiting around naked for the product to dry for fear of staining anything you come into contact with. It’s both fast-drying and won’t stain your clothes.

9. No Sticky Feeling. Regular self-tanners can leave your skin feeling tacky for hours after application. Because there is no added cosmetic bronzer like other self-tanners, tanning water just absorbs straight into the skin.

Not only do you not have to wait for ages for it to dry before getting dressed for fear of staining everything, your skin feels moisturized, instead of tacky and gummy, and there’s nothing to wash off.

10. A Golden Tan! Tanning water will give you a beautiful, glowing, natural-looking golden tan.

If our 10 reasons haven’t already convinced you that you have to try tanning water, if you haven’t already, then read on to see how quick and easy the application process is.

4 Easy Steps for Tanning Water Application

Tanning Water Application

1. Prep

If you are going to shave or wax, do it at least 24 hours prior to application.

Ensure skin is exfoliated with a dry brush or scrub. Exfoliating will give your skin a smooth surface so the final result will be an even tan. And it will fade evenly like a natural tan.

Remove any makeup, skin products and deodorant. Avoid using any cleansing products that are oil-based because the oil will act as a barrier and prevent the tanning water from absorbing into the skin.

2. Don’t be shy! And use an applicator mitt.

Apply the tanning water liberally. Your skin should be saturated. Once applied, take an applicator mitt and sweep the product all over the skin to blend.

Because there are no color additives or cosmetic bronzers added to tanning waters, like most self-tanners, you have to stay focused and be sure to blend the tanning water in all over because you won’t see if you’ve missed a spot.

And although it’s transparent, the DHA will color your hands (eventually) if you are using them to spread it. It’s best to use a mitt.

No matter how perfectly applied and natural-looking your tan looks on the rest of your body, tanned palms are a dead giveaway that it’s a fake and bake!

No matter how perfectly applied and natural-looking your tan looks on the rest of your body, tanned palms are a dead giveaway that it’s a fake and bake!

3. Spritz

For a golden complexion, spritz your face like you would with a normal face mist and lightly blend.

4. You’re ready to go!

Unlike other self-tanners where you have to wait around for it to dry, tanning water absorbs quickly and you are ready to go almost as soon as you’re finished.

5 of the Most Popular Tanning Waters

Ready to get glowing? Here are our top picks for favorite tanning waters.

TAN-LUXE The Water - Hydrating Self-Tan Water 

TAN-LUXE The Water - Light/Medium - The Water Hydrating Self Tanner Mist - Vitamin Infused, Hydrating Tanning Water Mist - Cruelty & Toxin Free Spray Tanner
  • STREAK-FREE GLOW: Even, streak-free...
  • TAILOR-MADE TANNING: Customizable,...

The Water Hydrating Self-Tan Water has a light floral scent, not the typical fake tan smell. With its signature Triple Tan Technology formula, The Water uses organic tanning actives that make it easy to custom-create your desired level of color.

It’s also infused with raspberry oil, aloe vera, and vitamins B, C, and E and develops into a natural-looking tan that hydrates your skin for a soft and radiant glow.

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Gel 

ST TROPEZ Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Gel, Streak-Free Finish, Develops in 4-8 Hours, Vegan, Natural & Cruelty Free, 6.7 Fl Oz
  • This clear and lightweight gel-to-water...
  • Infused with natural skincare actives...
  • regenerate & protect the skin.
  • Item Package Dimension: 3.0" L x 3.0" W...

St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Gel gets high marks for easy application. It uses a gel-to-water formula that melts into the skin and develops gradually into a gorgeous tan. Thanks to hyaluronic acid, it also leaves skin soft and moisturized for up to 72 hours after application.

It’s recommended to leave it on at least 8 hours before showering to get the full effect.

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water 

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Water, Medium (Golden Glow) - Color Correcting and Red Cancelling Self Tan Spray, Vegan and Cruelty Free, 6.76 Fl Oz
  • THE LOWDOWN | Isle of Paradise...
  • MESS-FREE | Isle of Paradise...
  • HYDRATING | Isle of Paradise...
  • BRIGHTENING | Formulated with green...
  • TO USE | Prep skin by exfoliating 24hrs...

Infused With avocado oil, chia seeds, and grapefruit oil, this tanning water is extremely hydrating. It also has color-correcting actives that work to tan and even skin tone that ensures your end result looks like a natural tan.

Skinny Tan Coconut Water Tanning Mist 

Skinny Tan Coconut Water Tanning Mist - Refreshing, Non Sticky, Fast Absorbing Self Tanner - Formulated with Hydrating Coconut Water - Delicious Tropical and Vanilla Scent - Medium Self Tan - 5 oz
  • INVITING, EXOTIC SCENT. Delicately...
  • EASY TO USE. Lightweight, the gradual...
  • VEGAN AND CRUELTY FREE. Tanning should...
  • MADE BY WOMEN FOR WOMEN. Skinny Tan was...

Enriched with skin-loving ingredients, like nourishing coconut water and Vitamin C, Skinny Tan Coconut Water Tanning Mist works to plump and moisturize the skin while evening out skin tone, leaving you with a healthy golden glow.

Tanologist Express Self Tan Water 

Tanologist Express Self Tan Water, Light - Hydrating Sunless Tanning Water, Vegan and Cruelty Free, 6.76 Fl Oz
  • FAST & EASY | Our self tan mist for face...
  • CLEAR | No color guide means no blocked...
  • SKIN FIRST | Our signature trio of pink...
  • THE GLOW DOWN | Made with 81% less...
  • TO USE | Moisturize dry areas. Mist onto...

Aloe Vera, pink grapefruit, goji berry, and juniper work to hydrate, soothe, brighten, and tone skin. Tanologist Express Self Tan Water is perfect for even the most sensitive skin and comes in light, medium, dark, and extra dark shades.

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).