TanWise Self-Tanning DHA Boost Drops

Summer is winding down. Actually, by the time this gets posted, I’ll probably be wearing leggings and drinking pumpkin spice coffee. I figured I’d sneak in another Tanwise review before my skincare attentions are turned to heavy moisturizers to combat seemingly sub-zero temperatures. The last Tanwise self-tanner product I reviewed was a total bust (link to that review is here), but fortunately, these drops are night and day better compared to the gel product.

For $11 from Sally’s Beauty, you get 2 fl oz of this water-based DHA formula inside a dropper bottle. I’ve had this for two months and it’s taking FOREVER to go through the bottle, even though I’ve been somewhat routinely (twice a week) putting it in a ton of my regular skincare products. You really only need a few drops to create some color. So, so far, it’s been a fantastic value for the price and the amount of product.

I’ve mixed one or two drops in with my regular moisturizers (Cerave PM, Dramatically Different) and had a magnificent warm brown color turnout after just an hour or two. NOT orange. I’ve also mixed this in with my body lotions (you might need a few more drops for this, depending on the expanse of your skin you need to cover), and also gotten very good color. I suppose it might not be as dark as Jergens, and possibly not as long-lasting (the stuff washes off in a day, two if you’re lucky); but I’m still very happy with it.

As far as the drop’s malleability with other products, this won’t conflict with anything you want to wear for the day — it won’t cause anything to pill since it’s water-based, and the tan will still develop regardless of what you put over it. What’s also awesome is that this product does NOT streak at all — although, it will get stuck under your fingernails, so be mindful of that. Otherwise, it’s basically foolproof. My only recommendation is NOT to stack the product more than one application every two days. That’s when this will turn you orange (trust me on this… I learned from personal experience. Not great.)

Huge bonus: This DOES NOT SMELL LIKE SELF TANNER. It’s unbelievable. Ok, maybe like, a tiny bit, if you haven’t washed it off after having it on for a day. But the smell is so minimal that I could actually forget that I’d applied it… unlike almost every other product on the market, that all inevitably remind you that you’ve slathered DHA over yourself.

Quick skincare tip: self-tanners are best applied at night, and NOT in conjunction with anything that contains SPF. SPF will cause the tan to fade faster. This is a weird little anecdote, since there’s a few self-tanners on the market that contain SPF. So keep your sunscreen in your morning routine, and slap on the self-tanner at night.

Since this didn’t break me out like the Tanwise gel did (no drying alcohols, woohoo!), this is going to be a definite re-buy of mine. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a quick glow, without the usual glove-and-guide mess that are typical of traditional tanners. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes (if no sensitivities to DHA)


Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel

This stuff works, but at what cost? The cost of your beautiful, blemish-free skin! This self-tanner is king at clogging pores.

This is a cheap find at Sally’s for $7. I went in to Sally’s a few days ago and noticed that the packaging for all Tanwise products had changed since I bought my bottle, so I’m not sure if that infers an ingredient reformulation was done as well.

This comes out as a white gel-cream. The smell is a little tough to describe, and there’s nothing “flowery” or “fresh” covering it up: you know that smell you smell, when you walk into a hair salon…? That’s what this is. It’s easy to spread, you really only need two pea sized dollops to cover your whole face.

The gel will very quickly develop on your skin and turn your skin a reasonable shade of brown, I’d say about 2-3 levels darker than your base even after the first usage, which to me is a pretty good result. And, it’s not orange! I never had an issue with the color getting blotchy or streaky, even after layering other products over it. Which brings me to my next point, this lotion works very well with anything else you use before or after it, moisturizers or makeup. The staying power of this self-tanner is pretty good too, even if you wash your face frequently — two to three days will pass before you’ll need to go in with another application.

The bad news: this stuff makes me break out like crazy! I see benzyl alcohol has snuck in the second line of ingredients. So that might be the culprit (or it might not be, but I’m blaming it on that!). After a day of using this, I tend to wake up to find 4 or 5 brand new spots on my face. Not good.

It’s really too bad because this is a really nice facial tanner otherwise, and it lasts much longer than anything else I’ve tried before. Heck, it doesn’t even devolve into that infamous DHA stink after 12 hours! But it’s definitely not worth the breaking out for. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

Tanwise Gradual Tan Moisturizer

I wouldn’t say this is the best self-tanner on the market. I can’t even find it now that I’m googling it, and it looks like Tanwise has rebranded anyway since I bought this a year ago. I grabbed this at Sally’s for $9, figuring it was cheap enough to give it a shot.

This is a brown gradual tanning lotion. Gradual tanners obviously aren’t the answer to getting dark within a day or two, but I tend to think their end result is a little more natural and less blotchy than instant formulations. This product unfortunately missed the mark in both categories.

It went on as a white lotion. No guide, since it’s a gradual tanner. If I recall it was pretty notorious for getting under my fingernails and between my fingers, which is unusual for a gradual tanner, so in hindsight I probably should have used a glove. It does smell really good on application — fruity, very sweet — but after a day, this changed into one of the worst DHA smells I’ve ever smelled in my life.

With most gradual tanners, you should be able to use the lotion every day, causing the color to be darker the longer duration you use it for. But this was BAD in terms of being blotchy, and producing sections of extreme dark tan where another patch of skin would have almost nothing, despite efforts to spread the color evenly. Showering would also cause streaks after day 2, which is also very unusual for a gradual tanner.

The one good thing about this tanner (besides the initial smell) is that I think it’s actually ok for sensitive skin. I wouldn’t recommend it for the face, but for the rest of the body it was fine. Sometimes DHA products can briefly produce a very faint, temporary rash, but I didn’t experience that with Tanwise.

Looking around Amazon, it doesn’t seem like Tanwise has great reviews for most of their products, except for their mousse. Maybe that will be my next purchase, but their gradual tanner was definitely a miss. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1.5/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 2/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe