Why are we all so scared of clear tanning products (and should we be?)

We're so used to tans having a guide colour that when we use a clear tanning product, we have the ultimate fear. Should we be nervous? Will it all go wrong? And can we achieve a streak-free colour with no guide?


Clear tans strike fear into my heart. How do you know you've gotten it right?! Will it be streaky? Which bits of my body have I done? Have I done some bits twice?! My nerves can't take it. So for the longest time, I steered well clear of those tanning water-style ones that don't hold your hand through the tricky tanning process.

Until recently, that is. When, for the sake of research, I decided to try a few. And thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. There were no major disasters - once I stuck to my methodical limb-by-limb application, I ended up streak-free every time. But that's not to say it wasn't without a learning curve. I did find out a few clear tanning lessons along the way...

What to remember:

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  • Make sure, as with any tan, to do your hair removal and exfoliation at least 24 hours before you're due to apply the tan
  • Don't moisturise before you apply it, but moisturise daily afterwards to keep the tan locked in for longer
  • The best part of no indicator colour? No destroyed sheets, tan sweat stains on clothes or weird biscuit smell to contend with.

What NOT to do:

  • Don't use an oil-based shower gel or cleanser before application - it will mess up the adherence to your skin
  • Don't forget to wash your hands if you don't use a mitt to rub the tan in
  • Don't worry about streaking - focus on feeling the tan saturating every inch of skin and come up with a methodical application system so you know which limbs you've done and which you haven't

Tans I've tried (and liked!)

Isle of Paradise Self-tanning Water, €24.99

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St Tropez Purity Self Tan Aqua Mousse, €40

James Read H20 Tanning Mist, €24

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