Tanologist Express Tan Water

My purchase of self-tanners seems to increase tenfold right about this time of year, when I’m starting to get real sick of winter. My goal this year was to look for self-tanners that contained no isopropyl alcohol or alcohol denat, which turned out to be a much harder feat than I would have expected. These types of alcohol ensure that the self-tanner will dry down into your skin immediately, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they’re big-time skin irritants!

Enter the Tanologist Express Tan Water, with none of the aforementioned ingredients. It also lays claim to being “odorless and transfer-free” (it also gets bonus points for a vegan formulation!). I got this in the “light” formulation, since I’m not ready to commit to an extremely dark fake tan just yet, so going into this I wasn’t expecting too big of a color payout.

Conceptually I like that you can spray this self-tanner onto your skin and rub it in with a mitt. Lotion can be difficult to spread evenly, and it’s just plain old messy to work with, whereas “water” cuts out the a lot of the manual labor since your skin absorbs it on it’s own. But since the water has no color to it, and there’s no sense of “guide” that tells you where you still need to apply (or not apply) the product. It’s EXTREMELY easy to create a blotchy or inconsistent self-tan with this water on the legs, arms or neck area.

Blotchy results aside, the color payout was phenomenal after four hours of set time, even with the light product. I didn’t feel that the color skewed orange whatsoever, and the product, where applied evenly, looked extremely consistent. For it being the light option, it was pretty dang dark. Sadly the color didn’t quite live past my second shower, but again, that may have been because I purchased the lightest in the line.

The stand-out feature of this product for me personally is the non-comedogenic formulation. I have never broken out from using this on my face. It doesn’t leave that overly-drying sensation over your skin either, which also potentially gives way to break outs. As long as you remove any over-saturated areas of spray, the color is not blotchy when contained in a smaller area, so I generally spray once on each side of my face. The color may only last a day or two, but the re-application is easy to begin with.

I will say the only thing about this product I felt was false advertisement is the claim that the product did not smell like self-tanner. This is true maybe in the first two hours of application, but like all self-tanners, it quickly degraded into the usual, highly potent smell of DHA.

For $15, I think this is a phenomenal option for face self-tanners. For the rest of my body I think I’d probably still err on the side of messy but effective lotions, since the color guide is crucial to not having a blotchy tan. But for the face, this tanning water is essentially foolproof, and it’s customizable to different shades if you prefer a darker color. Sensitive skin users, this is the one to try! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes!

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