What is Clear Self Tanner?

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Tanning without exposing your body to UV light is possible through self-tanners. If you’ve used self-tanners before, you’d be familiar with the bronzers they contain. 

These are great because it helps you tan instantly and can serve as a guide to help you identify the areas where the self-tanner is already applied. However, one of the biggest cons in using self-tanners with bronzers is getting your clothes and sheets stained. 

Enter clear self tanners! What is Clear Self Tanner, you may ask?

From the name itself, these are clear solutions that you can use to make yourself tan. 

Let’s tell you more about what clear self tanners are, the different types available plus how to apply them to get that even tan. 


What Is Clear Self Tanner?

Jergens Clear Self Tanner

Do you just hate it when your self-tanner is better at tanning your sheets and clothes than your skin? Many self tanners require you to keep them on your skin for hours before rinsing them out. 

It would be good if you can just stay naked and standing while waiting for your tan to develop.

However, we all can’t do that.

Most of the time, we apply the self-tanner at night, wear loose clothing, call it a night and go to sleep. 

The next morning is when we rinse out to reveal that glorious tan. However, one of the things that could spoil our fun is seeing our sheets, towels, and clothes stained by the self tanner. 

Luckily, self tanner manufacturers have been listening to user comments and opinions. They have released their newest products called clear self tanners. Some may also refer to it as tanning water

Clear self tanner or tanning water is usually a transparent solution. It comes in different forms but they all contain an active ingredient that makes you tan. 

Due to being clear as water, it will not stain your sheets or clothes even after application.

Additionally, you can even use them, wear your clothes and go about your day. It won’t be obvious that you have it on your skin. 

Just let it work its magic and after a few hours, your tan will gradually develop.

How To Apply Clear Self Tanner

Application of the clear self-tanner is also the same as you would apply other self tanners and If you’ve already used self tanners before then you’d already be familiar with how to do it.

See these articles:

However, for our beginners at self tanning, below is what you should do to prep your canvas.

Step 1: Exfoliate

The first thing you should do is to exfoliate before your self tan. This helps remove the dead skin cells on the topmost layer of the skin. This helps prevent you from developing streaky tan.

It also helps make the tan more even and fade evenly too.

Step 2: Shave

Shaving is best done a day before you use any self-tanner, whether with bronzers or the clear formula.

If you do this the same day as you use the self-tan, it is likely that you develop a spotty tan. That’s because the active ingredient can accumulate at the pores.

Step 3: Moisturize Dryer Areas

To help improve the tan you develop, you should also use a moisturizer for drier areas of the body. These areas are also the ones where dead skin cells are likely to accumulate.

Such areas include the knees, elbows, and ankles – trouble spots that can make your self tan look fake. If you run into trouble, see our article on removing self tan from your hands and feet

You can also include the wrist here so that you won’t develop a harsh tan line between your palms and arms. Those areas that are moisturized will absorb less of the tanning product.

This makes them blend better with the rest of the body. 

Step 4: Apply Your Self Tanner

Consider using a tanning mitt to help you with the application. This prevents your hands and palms from getting too much product and turning orange. If not, you should wash your hands every few minutes to lessen contact with the product. 

You can also wear gloves or apply lotion to your palms to keep them from staining too deeply. 

Step 5: Keep Your Skin Dry

Leave the solution to dry on your skin before wearing your clothes. Then, you should keep your skin dry for the recommended number of hours. Then you can rinse off and take a closer look at the results. 

Types Of Clear Self Tanner

Clear self tanners come in different forms. Their application may also differ slightly but are more or less the same. Here are the different types of clear self tanners available today. 

Tanning Mist

Tanning Mist

Tanning mist  come in a spray bottle. However, you don’t use it as a spray tan. The clear self tanner comes out as droplets and you have to blend it out with a tanning mitt or else you’ll get a dotted tan. 

To use this, you mist the tanning water all over your body. Make sure that the skin is saturated.

After that, you’ll be using the tanning mitt to spread or blend the product on your skin. 

Tanning Foaming Water Or Tanning Mousse

Foaming Water

There are also clear self tanners that come in foaming water  form. They are liquid in bottles and the pump turns them into foam or mousse when dispensed. This makes them easier to spread and very lightweight too. 

You can use your hands to apply this product but make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. This prevents over tanning the hands. You could also use a tanning mitt or gloves to help you better spread the product. 

Tanning Drops

Tanning Drops

Tanning drops  are concentrated formulas. To use this product, you should get some moisturizer, add some tanning drops, and spread it all over the skin. It enables you to control how deep you want your tan to be. 

Tanning Lotion

Clear Tanning Lotion

Some tanning lotions  can also be considered as clear self tanners. The product may not be clear in color but they also do not contain bronzers. They also won’t stain your sheets, towels, or clothing. 

For further recommendations, see our article on the Best Sunless Tanning Waters.

Viral Self Tanning Hack

Fine Mist Continuous Spray Bottle

Over at TikTok, many have been mindblown by the self tanning hack on how to use clear self tanner. It presents an ingenious way of making sure that the tanning water saturates the skin properly and evenly.

For this hack, you will need a ”tanning . There are three variants namely light, medium and dark.

Choose whatever is appropriate for your skin tone.

The next thing you’ll need is a fine mist continuous spray bottle . This spray bottle is unlike the usual spray bottles that the waters come with. It produces a consistent, fine mist.

This spray bottle has many uses. Usually, it used by those in the hairdressing industry or those who prefer to mist their plants. It can also be a great tool for tanning because the mist produces fine droplets that are even. 

Combining the two products and spraying all over the body at least 6 inches away has given a lot of users great results. Many love it because it is just like getting a spray tan in your own home without the mess.

Since the hack has gone viral, many have purchased the refill and they have had stock issues.

The great news is that they are currently in stock right now so you can also get to try this hack and see if it works well for you too. 

The Downside To Clear Self Tanners

Clear self tanners can seem like an answered prayer for those who are absolutely dreading their stained sheets and clothing every time they use the self tanner.

However, there is a downside to this product. 

One of the most common issues is not having color clues while applying the product. Those self-tanners that are tinted or have bronzers make it easier to see where the products already are.

It is easier to spot the areas you might have missed when the product you’re applying is pigmented. 

Due to the lack of a color guide, you won’t know where the streaks or missed spots are until your tan has fully developed in a few hours’ time. 

Although it may be a bit more difficult to notice, if you look closely, you’d see a light sheen on the areas where the product is already applied to. 


Clear self tanners are relatively new in the market and they are gaining popularity because they won’t stain your clothes, sheets, or towels. They work similar to regular self-tanners, but go on clear and let you go about your day.

Applying clear self tanners is just like applying other self tanners. You have to exfoliate and shave a day before, evenly apply the product with a mitt or a continuous spray bottle, let it dry and rinse off after a few hours. 

Clear self tanners also come in different forms. There’s the tanning water, which is quite popular due to the TikTok spray tan hack. There are also those in foam dispensers, tanning drops, and tanning lotions. 

No matter what type you get, it could be a challenge to learn where the product has been applied to because of the lack of a color guide. If you pay attention, you should be able to notice the slight sheen it produces on the skin when applied. 

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).