Tanning Water May Be The Only Self-Tanner Option You Need This Summer (& It's Extra Hydrating)

As far back as the 1920s, everyone has wanted the look of sun-kissed skin but without all those harmful ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer, premature aging, and unsightly sun damage. Many people have been in constant pursuit of the perfect faux tan, which has led to a veritable explosion in the marketplace (the sunless tanning industry is currently valued at over $1 billion worldwide). Among the options are sunless tanning lotions, the slightly smelly but old faithful option that has taken up bathroom cabinet space for decades now. Then came spray tans (both suitable for use at home and in salons), tanning drops, and even tanning mousses.


These days, the product making waves among the tanning-enthused is tanning water, which is true to its name in that it looks like a spray bottle filled with water. Don't be fooled by its appearance, however, because lurking within is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the hidden ingredient that helps tanning water work its skin-darkening magic. However, the watery nature has the added benefit of hydrating the skin, something most people can certainly benefit from.

Tanning water's benefits beyond tanning

Dry and dehydrated skin affects absolutely everyone to some degree, so anything we can do to prevent our skin from going full-scale crazy is a plus. The inherently high water content in the appropriately-named tanning water products means that it simultaneously hydrates the skin while turning out a beautiful, natural-looking tan. It's much the same as a hydrating facial spray but with pretty cool added powers. Plus, it is designed for use on the entire body, so even traditionally neglected areas can get a boost of hydration.


Tanning water has also quickly become a staple product because it's a lot lighter than other sunless tanning products (it's tough to get much lighter than a fine mist). Because of this, it does not make the skin feel sticky or clogged. Plus, any associated scent tends to be much less noticeable than lotions, mousses, and the like. 

Tanning water preparation and application

Successful tanning water application is all about the preparation. About 24 hours before you plan to use the product, be sure to shave, wax, or, otherwise, remove body hair. Then, remember to exfoliate so your skin is as smooth as possible. This helps the color to develop more evenly. Next, spritz each area of the body generously in sections. Using a mitt as you do each section, rub the water onto the body in a circular manner (when doing your face, spritz and gently blend in). Don't be stingy when applying the tanning water because that will only result in an unsatisfying, uneven tan.


The amount of time the tanning water lasts depends on a variety of factors, including how often you shower or swim. Keep in mind that you can squeeze extra life out of each spray sesh by keeping your skin moisturized with lotion.