This is the best self-tanning water spray, according to a self-tanning enthusiast


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To my friends, family and colleagues, I’m what you might call a self-tanning afficcionado addict. No matter the season, I get my glow on at least once a week. And, I’ve tried all kinds of products — from lotions and oils to foams and sprays — and often have the orange hands to prove it.

However, my most favorite self-tanner based on color, longevity of wear, skin feel and smell is by far The Water by Tan Luxe.

Shop: Tan Luxe The Water Tanning Water, $47

Credit: Sephora

While a lot of self-tanners contain temporary bronzer that can make you look a little too tan and stain your clothes, tanning water goes on clear. It has the same consistency as water (as you might have guessed) and is available in spray and foaming forms. Once applied, it gradually develops into a golden, natural-looking tan.

Over the years, several brands have created tanning water, including Jergens, St. Tropez, Vita Liberata and Tanologist. The most popular is arguably Isle of Paradise, which has color-correcting actives to help even when your skin and is constantly selling out. However, while all will do the job, my personal go-to is Tan Luxe’s version.

The Water has no parabens, sulfates or phthalates, and is all organic. It’s super hydrating, and according to its product description, is packed with a blend of purified water, vitamins B, C and E, raspberry seed oil and aloe vera. While it hydrates, its natural tanning actives give your skin a gradual tan.

I usually apply this tan in the morning before work, wait a minute or two for it to dry and get dressed knowing that my clothes are totally safe from staining. My skin feels soft and smooth — never sticky — and the tan is totally light and streak-free.

However, I should mention that this product does have a subtle scent, but not that fake-tanning or sunscreen scent that some self-tanners have. It has more of a clean smell that is generally undetected by others (including my mother, who can usually tell if I’m wearing self-tanner the minute I walk in a room and will absolutely call me out on it).

For best results, here’s how to apply tanning water:

While I mentioned that The Water is streak-free, there are a few things you should do when applying to get the best results. Since tanning water doesn’t have any bronzer to show you exactly where you’ve put it on, you’ll need to be a bit focused.

First, make sure you exfoliate your skin and are completely dry before self-tanning. If you have dry elbows, knees, ankles or hands, you can rub a little lotion on those parts. Actually, I’d recommend that you do, or those dry spots are going to soak up the self-tanner even more and look darker than the rest of your body.

Shop: Isle of Paradise Tanning Applicator Mitt, $6.50

Credit: Sephora

Once your skin is prepped, spray it on! Start with your legs and work your way up to your back, then stomach and chest, then arms, then face. You should use a mitt in between sprays to gently rub in the tanning water to make sure you hit each spot evenly and avoid the “orange palms” look. I usually spray a leg, rub it in with a mitt. Spray the other leg, rub it in with a mitt. You get it.

Tanning waters are great because while spraying, it can help you get those hard to reach areas and won’t stain other parts of your bathroom if and when you miss. However, like any spray, it can feel a little wasteful when not all of it hits your bod.

If you want the transparency of a tanning water, but want full control over your tanning product, I also recommend Tan Luxe’s Hydra-Mousse Hydrating Self Tan ($49). If you do mess up, you can also use Tan Luxe’s Glyco Water Self-Tan Eraser ($33).

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