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I tried the self-tanner that Hailey Bieber uses for a soft glow and pretty much everything went wrong

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  • I tried Hailey Bieber’s hack for getting a sunkissed tan using Tan Luxe’s self-tanning spray, The Water.
  • It was a big mistake. The product left me broken out and splotchy and I don’t recommend this method.

With so many horror stories about sunless formulas turning skin orange, it’s no wonder why I’m so hesitant to experiment with self-tanners. I usually stick with my tried-and-true brand, Coco and Eve, but I got curious when Hailey Bieber name-dropped The Water Hydrating Self-Tanner by Tan-Luxe ($48) in a “get ready with me” video on TikTok

“My body gets really tan and I keep my face out of the sun. So, to try to give my face that little bit of a glow, I use the [Tan Luxe Water Spray] and I really love it,” Bieber shared in the first clip of a two-part routine. “I spray it, I rub it in, I wait for it to dry, and then I put my skincare on top. I go to sleep and wake up with a nice little glow.” 

It’s one thing to try a new self-tanner; it’s another to apply the said self-tanner to the face. I was skeptical, but Bieber has proven me wrong before (her glazed donut skin method is genius, not gross). Plus, the product has over 12 thousand “hearts” on Sephora and averages a four out of five-star rating, so I decided to try it. Unfortunately, my experience with the stuff was less than satisfactory. 

Tan-Luxe’s sunless spritzer is aptly named. Water is the product’s first ingredient, and it applies clear. To quote “A Walk To Remember,” you can’t see it, but you can feel it. 

The author holding a bottle of Tan-Luxe Water Spray

The self-tanning spray literally looks like water.

Julia Guerra/Insider


The directions for how to apply are less clear: Mist onto dry skin, blend in large circular motions, and wash hands after application. Commenters suggested exfoliating first, then using an applicator mitt for a streak-free finish, but there was no set time for the tanner to settle on the skin, and you didn’t have to rinse off after a certain number of hours. 

I sprayed a small amount of the product on my face before applying my nighttime skincare, per Bieber’s instructions. But unlike the beauty mogul, I did not wake up with a nice little glow. Instead, I woke up with a still-pale complexion and an acne flare-up. 

The author's skin with blemishes from using Tan-Luxe Water Spray.

I broke out overnight the first time I used the spray.

Julia Guerra/Insider


I’m not the only one who’s experienced this side effect. One of the first comments on Sephora calls out the product for causing acne: “Biggest reason I didn’t like is it made my face break out so bad with acne after using one time,” the reviewer wrote. 

But, to be fair, Tan-Luxe doesn’t market The Water for the face. (You can try The Face Illuminating Drops to achieve a glowing complexion.) So I tried The Water in place of my tried-and-true self-tanner.

The author before and after applying Tan-Luxe self-tanner. The before shows pale skin, the after shows still pale skin with a very light glow.



Julia Guerra/Insider


I counted two spritzes of Tan-Luxe’s clear spray onto the mitt per body part and massaged the product into my skin in circular motions. I repeated this process twice, hoping for deeper pigmentation, but because The Water is clear, I had no way to gauge whether or not I was using too much or too little. 

Unlike mousse formulas that linger on the skin and feel sticky, The Water dried almost instantly and its formula’s inclusion of raspberry seed oil proved stellarly hydrating. There was also no transfer on my clothes, nor the blanket I covered my lap with all afternoon. 

It took a few hours for the color to come through. In dull lighting, the self-tan appeared to be setting quite nicely, emitting a pretty glow. Then I stepped outside, under the unforgiving sunbeams, and saw the tan for what it was: splotchy and uneven. At least the covered areas weren’t orange. 

Two side-by-side images of the author’s legs showing splotchy self-tanner application.

Well, that was a bust.

Julia Guerra/Insider


Not being able to see exactly where and how much self-tanner I was applying was a disastrous combination. My upper body looks nice, but my legs look messy. My face is also still healing from the breakout. That said, while I won’t be straying from my tried-and-true mousse self-tanners anytime soon, many people have had success with The Water from Tan-Luxe. If you’re willing to risk it, go for it — but you won’t find me using it again any time soon.

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