It’s certainly no secret that the majority of us feel our best with a little luminosity, preferably in the form of a good faux glow.
It’s also no secret, however, that achieving said result can often be extremely difficult; not to mention streaky, messy and worst of all, terracotta-hued.
Tanning becomes even more high-pressure when you’re dealing with your face – not only is it precious and sensitive real estate, but it’s also a particularly tricky area to hide if things happen to go south.
So what’s the solution? Well, it’s water. Yes indeed, there is no longer need for loading heavy mousses or creams onto your complexion. Face tanning waters offer gentler, simpler, and far more natural-looking options that’ll work wonders for your glow levels without causing congestion or looking OTT.
One of their best features is of course the fact that they go on clear; long story short, there will be no tell-tale signs of a tan until it has developed into pure radiance. To apply, simply spritz or swipe onto freshly cleansed skin, blend if need be, and then leave your tan to work its luminising magic.
But while all face tanning waters are no doubt allies in the journey toward glowing skin, there is definitely still enough range within the category to allow you to cater to your colour depth and formulaic preferences – and you best bet we’ve rounded up the top tier options. Here are our favourite face tan waters…
Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Water
One of the first products to put self-tanning waters on the map, this pigment-infused mist spritzes skin with an even veil of hydrating coconut-enhanced colour. Designed to develop over four to six hours, it’s perfect for both the face and body, and comes in three colour-correcting shades (a rarity we appreciate): violet for a deep bronze, green for a medium golden tan, and peach for a luminous and light sun-kissed glow.
$38 at MECCA
Byron Bay Bronze Luxury Face Tan Water
A tanning water that doubles as soothing skincare (with cucumber extract and aloe vera in the mix), it’s all about creating a sun-kissed glow so beautifully believable that you’ll want to skip makeup altogether. It’s made from natural, organic ingredients, and also boasts an impressive ‘no orange/no odour’ status (which it does indeed deliver on). If it’s a natural tan you’re after (in both meanings of the word), this is the formula for you.
$32.95 at Byron Bay Bronze
Eco Tan Organic Face Tan Water
Another incredible bronzing blend featuring natural and organic ingredients, Eco Tan’s offering has long been hailed as the best in the business. It’s safe to say its stellar reputation has something to do with the fact that in addition to blessing skin with a perfectly golden gradual tan, it also features a little something for hydration (glycerine) and brightness (vitamin C) to guarantee luminosity in both the tan and tone departments.
$39.95 at Adore Beauty
St Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Face Mist
With this weightless mist, you’ll start spritzing for the bronze glow it promises (and provides), but keep applying for the tantalising tropical fragrance. Not only does it lack the dreaded tell-tale tanning scent, but it actually smells downright delightful (mandarin water, we’re looking at you). As for its skincare benefits, fear not; it does in fact hero hibiscus extract (an antioxidant-packed plumping hydrator).
$17.49 at Chemist Warehouse
Bali Body Face Tan Water
A soothing sun-free formula enhanced by hydrating jojoba oil and inflammation-easing rosewater, this option acts as an always-reliable shortcut to the subtle glow you’ve long been chasing. ‘Subtle’ is definitely the keyword here; don’t expect (or fear) anything too intense—you’ll want to top it up every two or three days to keep your colour consistent, too. Luckily, it feels as heavenly going on as it looks once it’s developed.
$29.95 at Bali Body
Main image credit: @ecotan