Skip to content

Your cart is empty

Article: Is Tanning Water or Tanning Mousse Better?

Is Tanning Water or Tanning Mousse Better?

Is Tanning Water or Tanning Mousse Better?

Once upon a time, if you were looking for a safe (read: UV-free) tan, a salon spray tan was your only option.

Today, we’re spoilt for choice, and you don’t have to fork out a significant portion of your paycheck to get that golden glow. 

Self-tanning products now appear in a variety of forms. There are two types, in particular, proving to be fan-favourites: the tanning water and the tanning mousse. 

But which one should you choose? Is tanning water or tanning mousse better? 

Let’s take a look. 

What is Tanning Water?

Tanning water is a clear spray that hydrates the skin while delivering a bronzed glow. 

Tanning water formulas tend to be more lightweight than lotions and mousses and are typically more moisturising.

Essentially, tanning water is both a skincare and self-tanning product, all in one. On the ingredients list, you can expect to see water, vitamins, and dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is the active ingredient in fake tan. 

Think of the product as a big drink of water for your skin

There’s a lot to love about tanning water, but these benefits, in particular, have won us over.

  • It’s Hydrating — Thanks to the high water content in tanning water, the product helps hydrate and bronze the skin simultaneously. 
  • It’s Lightweight — Tanning water usually comes in the form of a spray. This light, airy texture spritzes onto the skin with ease, and you won’t have to worry about clumping or streaking.
  • It’s Non-Clogging — Because it’s lightweight, thin in consistency, and ultra-hydrating, tanning water won’t clog up your pores.  
  • It Carries a Refreshing Scent — The only downside to self-tanning is that distinct fake tan smell. Thanks to their lightweight, airy formula, tanning waters tend to have a less pungent scent. We’ve made sure that all of our tanning products, including the Three Warriors Tanning Water, carry a light, refreshing, fruity scent. 

The product operates like most other tanning formulas, developing gradually over a few hours to reveal a natural golden glow. 

How Do You Apply Tanning Water?

So, you’ve got your bottle of golden goodness in front of you. Now what?

Below, we outline how to apply tanning water for the very best results.

Step 1: Preparation

First things first: for the most even, long-lasting, and natural-looking tan, you’ll need to prepare your body properly. You’ll need to create a ‘blank canvas’ for the product to glide onto. 

Be sure to exfoliate and remove your body hair (if desired) at least 24 hours before you apply your tan. This will give your skin an even, clean surface that is free of dead skin cells, which will help your tan soak in evenly and fade evenly, just like a natural tan would.

The Tasmanian Sand Scrub is the perfect exfoliant. It gently buffs away dry skin and rehydrates the skin, all at the same time. 

Step 2: Right Before Tanning

Before you tan, jump into the shower and rinse off any deodorant, perfumes, moisturisers, oils, and makeup. 

Don’t put on any skincare, makeup or fragrances after your shower. You’ll need your skin to be completely clean and dry.

Step 3: Application 

Hold the bottle about 30cm away from your skin and spritz the product over your face and body. Be generous with your spritzing — your skin should feel saturated when you’re done. 

Then, use a tanning mitt to work the product into the skin using gentle circular motions. Sweep the product across the skin until it’s fully blended, making sure to cover the entire body evenly.

Do You Wash Off Tanning Water?

Perhaps the best thing about tanning water is that it doesn’t need to be washed off.

After applying our Three Warriors Tanning Water, let your body air dry for a few minutes, and you’re good to go!

The tan will develop over the course of about three hours, and you won’t need to rinse it off before popping your clothes on. 

Does Tanning Water Stain Clothes?

Ok, maybe this is the best thing about tanning water. 

It won’t stain your clothes! That’s what makes the lightweight, water-based formula so special.

Whether you forgot to tan for that event tonight or you’re not a fan of the post-tan shower hassle, you can simply spritz away and then put your clothes on straight away. No need to fear stains! 

Can You Sleep in Tanning Water?

Yes, you can sleep in tanning water.

Because you don’t need to wash it off, you can apply your tanning water before bed and let it soak in overnight for the deepest glow.

Once you wake up, you can even add another layer to build up to your desired bronze. 

How Long Does Tanning Water Last?

Your tanning water glow should last, on average, for about five to six days.

This will depend on your lifestyle. For example, your tan will fade quicker if you spend a lot of time in the water (if you have multiple showers a day or enjoy regular swims). The key to self-tan longevity is moisturising, so indulge in a little self-massage with your favourite moisturiser each night for the best results! 

What is Tanning Mousse?

Whether you’re new to self-tanning or you’re a pro, you’ll likely be familiar with fake tanning mousse. 

It’s arguably the most popular self-tanning product on the market, as it’s easy to use and provides long-lasting, glowy results. 

Self-tanning mousse has a foamy, fluffy texture that easily glides onto the skin. Unlike liquid formulas, tanning mousse won’t run or cause drip-like streaks and mess.

Tanning mousse is a weightier product than tanning water and creates a slightly thicker film over the skin when applied. 

Where tanning water delivers a more subtle golden finish, tanning mousse can deliver everything from a light glow to a deep, dark tan in a matter of hours.

How Do You Apply Tanning Mousse?

The process for applying a tanning mousse is very similar to applying tanning water.

Step 1: Preparation 

At least a day before you apply your tan, ensure you have exfoliated and removed any body hair (if that is your preference).

As mentioned earlier, this will set you up for tanning success. This step is actually especially important before applying tanning mousse, as mousse tends to cling to dry spots. 

Pay extra attention to the knees, elbows, and ankles when exfoliating to prevent the tan from building up there. 

Once you’ve exfoliated and completed your hair removal routine, apply some moisturiser to your skin. This will infuse those dry patches with some much-needed hydration.

Step 2: Right Before Tanning

Rinse off any moisturisers, perfumes, oils, and makeup before you tan. Take extra care to ensure your skin is completely dry; applying tanning mousse to damp or wet skin can cause streakiness, which we definitely don’t want!

Step 3: Application

Shake the tanning mousse well and then pump a large dollop of foam onto your tanning mitt.

Next, massage the product into the skin in circular motions, starting at your legs and working your way up.

Keep your coat light when covering your knees, elbows, ankles, and any other particularly dry areas. Work the product in gently, and be sure to buff out any lines or streaks. 

Do You Wash Off Tanning Mousse?

Yes, you’ll need to wash your tanning mousse off.

Unlike tanning water, tanning mousse needs to be washed off to ‘set’ into the skin properly. 

When you shower, you rinse off the residual layer of product that coats the skin, leaving you with a beautiful bronzed tan. 

The longer you keep the tan on before showering, the darker your tan will be. For a milky golden glow, shower the mousse off within an hour of tanning. For a medium to warm tan, wash off after two to three hours. Wait four to five hours before showering for the deepest, darkest tan.

Immediately after tanning, wait a few minutes until the tan dries, then slip into a robe or dark pyjamas (do not put on your favourite white outfit!).

Does Tanning Mousse Stain Clothes?

A tanning mousse can transfer onto clothing (and even stain your clothes) before you rinse it off, so put on an old bathrobe or pajama set while you’re waiting for your tan to develop.

We recommend applying tanning mousse at least a few hours before your event — ideally, a day before your event — so that you can shower once or twice before putting on your clothes. Enjoy swanning around in your robe, day spa-style, until it’s time to wash off your tan. Once you’ve had your post-tanning shower, the colour will no longer transfer onto your clothing, so put on whatever you please!

Can You Sleep in Tanning Mousse?

Yes, you can sleep in tanning mousse.

Remember, the longer you keep the tan on before showering, the darker your tan will be. So, you can sleep in your tan and shower the next morning for the deepest, darkest result. Just remember to use dark bed sheets to avoid staining your crisp white linen! 

How Long Does Tanning Mousse Last?

Tanning mousse tends to last a bit longer than tanning water.

If properly maintained, tanning mousse can last anywhere from a week to 10 days. 

So, how can you make sure your tan lasts?

  • Moisturise daily
  • Avoid very hot showers and baths
  • Exfoliate every three days 

Is Tanning Water or Tanning Mousse Better?

So, which product is best?

Well, there’s no straight answer. It depends on the kind of tan you want.

Tanning water is better equipped to deliver a light, subtle, and instant tan. It’s perfect if you’ve forgotten to tan before an event, if you prefer a no-fuss, low-maintenance option, or if you like to start slow and build up to a darker bronze.

A tanning water product is also ideal if your skin is particularly dry and sensitive. Its nourishing and hydrating properties will help to revitalise the skin, all while delivering a gorgeous golden glow. 

If you’re after a deeper, longer-lasting tan, tanning mousse is your go-to. It’s a good idea to plan ahead when using tanning mousse, as you’ll need to wait a few hours and then wash it off before getting dressed. 

A tanning mousse tan will also last you longer. It’s a great option if you have a few events during the week and you only want to tan once. 

Whichever option you choose, remember to

  • Exfoliate and shave the day before tanning
  • Apply the tan to completely dry, clean, bare skin
  • Moisturise daily after tanning
  • Exfoliate every three days for an even, natural fade

Get Your Glow On

The best way to determine whether tanning water or tanning mousse is better for you is to try them both!

Set aside some time for yourself and indulge in a relaxing, soothing self-tanning ritual.

Shop our Three Warriors Tanning Water and Three Warriors Tanning Mousse, or explore our complete range of tanning products. 

Found your favourite formula? Let us know which one you prefer! We’d love to hear from you.

Read more

Does Gradual Tan Go Patchy? Making the Most of Your Glow

Does Gradual Tan Go Patchy? Making the Most of Your Glow

There’s nothing quite like glowing skin. It boosts your confidence and makes any outfit pop.  Gradual tan works wonders to moisturise and colour your skin. And the best part? You don’t have to burn...

Read more
What Black Mould Exposure Means For Your Health and How To Support Your Body And Skin

What Black Mould Exposure Means For Your Health and How To Support Your Body And Skin

Discover why a clean and dry home is just as important as the clean cosmetics and tan you keep when it comes to taking care of your skincare and health with our Q&A.

Read more