This new tanning innovation will revolutionise the way you bronze at home

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Louise Whitbread
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Tanning waters are changing the way we self-tan at home, promising less mess, zero streaky lines and a much swifter application. Stylist investigates the innovation taking the beauty sphere by storm…

Thanks to innovative technology and the creative minds of industry experts, there’s every type of tanning product available for self-tan addicts. But it looks like there’s a new texture on the block.

No, we aren’t talking gels, mousses, creams, foams, lotions or even made-to-measure drops, but tanning water – and it’s pretty cool. 

So, what is a tanning water?

A tanning water is a clear spray that is formulated with water, vitamins and DHA (dihydroxyacetone, the active self-tanning ingredient). It’s a gradual tanner, which, once applied, develops over a few hours, leaving you with a beautiful glow. Tanning waters are dual purpose in that they are not face or body specific.

What’s the difference between a tanning water and a tanning lotion, gel or mousse?

Aside from the colour and lighter texture, tanning waters deliver more moisture to the skin.

Jules Von Hep, tanning aficionado and founder of new tanning brand Isle of Paradise, explains, “Tanning waters are the most hydrating tan possible, we are quite literally giving our skin a drink.” 

Isle of Paradise, the brainchild of tanning expert Jules Von Hep, is the first tanning campaign to feature a plus-size model. 

So how do you apply a tanning water?

1. The key to a gorgeous glow is all in the prep. Jules recommends to, “Shave or wax at least 24 hours prior to application and ensure skin is exfoliated with a dry brush or scrub. This means your skin will have an even surface, so the final result will be even and, more importantly, it will fade evenly like a natural tan would.”

Also remember to remove any make up and deodorant prior to application. Don’t use a cleansing oil, though – it’ll act as a barrier to the tan’s penetration, says Jules.

2. Next, be liberal in your application. “Your skin should be saturated once finished. Once applied take an applicator mitt and sweep the product all over the skin to blend, remembering to do under the arms and all over your legs”, says Jules.

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

How long does a tanning water last on the skin?

According to Jules a tanning water will last on average 5-6 days, depending on your lifestyle. “Some of us shower twice a day, some of us swim – there are different factors that will make any tan last on the skin.”

Our tip to make your colour stick around for longer? Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise. 

Here are 5 tanning waters to get you started…

Isle of Paradise

Isle of Paradise, the brainchild or tanning aficionado Jules Von Hep, made waves as the first tanning brand to infuse colour-correcting technology within its products. The 3 colour correcting shades each correspond with the 3 shades of tan; for a light tan there’s peach to illuminate and diminish uneven skin tone. For a medium tan there’s redness-reducing green, and for a dark tan, there’s violet, which reduces yellow tones. Each shade is available in tanning drops, mousses and waters. Plus, every product is vegan, organic and cruelty free.


Tan-Luxe The Water

Tan-Luxe launched the world’s first tanning water in 2015, and it’s just as popular today. The formula is simple; a blend of raspberry seed oil, vitamins B, C and E that delivers a back-from-the-beach glow. Its distinguishing factor? The lack of a colour guide – but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it means there’s no biscuit-ey smell, stained sheets or streaky marks.


St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse

Think of this as a hybrid between a mousse and a water. The clear water-to-foam formula is completely natural and once applied, there’s no need to rinse it off. Residue doesn’t transfer and skin is left streak-free and golden over 4-8 hours. For best results, moisturise daily to lock in your tan for longer.


James Read H20 Tan Mist

Enriched with rose water, aloe vera and Roman chamomile, this facial spritz hydrates while adding a healthy colour. Each spray lends a subtle tinted glow so you can remain in control of the intensity.


UTan and Tone Coconut Tanning Water

Achieve a healthy and radiant complexion with this lightweight mist that’s formulated with soothing aloe vera, organic DHA and nourishing coconut. You can also use it as a primer or a makeup setting spray. Layer onto the skin until you reach your desired colour.


Images: Getty / Isle of Paradise / Just My Look / Look Fantastic / St Tropez / Tan-Luxe