What's The Deal With

I Tried Saltyface Tanning Water & #BeautyTok Was Right About This One

Meet your new spring break fave.

by Olivia Marcus
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I’m sitting at my desk on a partly sunny Monday in New York City with a beautiful bronze glow. Bikini weather is nowhere in sight, but I just tested the TikTok-viral Saltyface Tanning Water. Spoiler alert: As a self-tanner skeptic, I’m a fan.

I know self-tanner has come a long way since the days of streaky spray-on tans, but I’m still wary of most products on the market. I despise the scent of most self-tanners and would rather opt for a different foundation tone than ruin my white towels and sheets with tanning residue. That being said, I’m always open to trying a new product and I’m easily sold by TikTok virality.

After seeing mixed reviews (mostly positive on my FYP; somewhat unimpressed online), I decided to test the product myself to find out whether it’s worth the hype.

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Fast Facts:

  • Price: $44 for the bottle; $129 for the Essential Tanning Set, which comes with the bottle, brush applicator, plus tanning foam.
  • Clean/Cruelty-Free: Yes. Vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Best for: Tanning face and neck, fair to medium skin tones.
  • What I like: You can apply the tanning water like a serum using the dropper or mist it onto your face with the interchangeable spray bottle top. The applicator brush pairs well with the spray top and makes it so I never have to get the tanning product on my hands.
  • What I don’t like: The tanning water initially does not have a strong smell, but as the tan developed, the self-tanner smell got slightly stronger.
  • My rating: 4/5

My Skin:

My skin is drier, and I typically use heavy moisturizer at night. My skin tone is relatively even and I am prone to the occasional breakout. I keep my skin care routine simple with cleanser and moisturizer — too many complicated products will cause me to break out.

Olivia Marcus/Elite Daily
Olivia Marcus/Elite Daily

Saltyface Tanning Water:

The Saltyface Tanning Water is a buildable beginner-friendly self-tanner. Unlike other self-tanners that come in lotion, foam, or serum form, this tanner feels like water (hence the name), it feels light on the skin and develops into a glowy tan throughout 24 hours.

The Ingredients:

Saltyface Tanning Water is made with natural ingredients. The organic dihydroxyacetone (made from sugar beet) and erythrulose are the tanning agents in the product.

The product also has skin care ingredients including glycerin, aloe leaf extract, chamomile flower extract, cucumber, and marshmallow root extract — all ingredients meant to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Since the product is made up of natural ingredients, it has a shorter shelf life of six months after opening.

The Packaging:

In my opinion, the packaging of Saltyface’s products reflects the higher price point (which is a good thing!). I got the Essential Tanning Set and was impressed with the chic, minimalist look of the packaging and the product itself. The tanning product is packaged in amber glass, which helps protect the product from UV light and extends the shelf life of the product.

First Impressions:

When I woke up after applying the Saltyface Tanning Water, my boyfriend gave me his unsolicited positive first impression before I looked at myself in the mirror. Though he may not have any experience with self-tanner, he seemed to know a good product. “Wow, you look tan and healthy” was just the review I wanted to wake up to.

I looked in the mirror and agreed: My skin looked clear, even, and most importantly, tan.

How To Apply:

You can either apply the product directly on your face for a deeper tan or you can mix the product in with your preferred face oil or moisturizer.

I chose to apply the medium-dark shade of Tanning Water with the spray bottle applicator and brush after completing my usual skin care routine. I honestly couldn’t even tell there was a tanning product on my face because it was so lightweight. The only thing that gave it away was the subtle self-tanner smell. I went to bed and eight hours later woke up with an even glow.

Worth It?

If you want an easy, reliable tan that looks glowy and natural — then yes, this is the product for you. The price point is higher than many other self-tanners on the market, but the payoff comes in the result, the natural ingredients, and the elevated packaging.

Final Verdict:

Since I only applied one layer of the Tanning Water, my tan was on the medium side of the medium-dark spectrum. I looked healthy and like I had been in the sun without any orange tint. Success!

Olivia Marcus/Elite Daily
Olivia Marcus/Elite Daily

As someone who can’t commit to a self-tanner, I’m excited to keep using this one. It doesn’t feel like a burden to add to my nighttime skin care routine and the bottle is small enough to carry in my travel cosmetic bag. I’m very excited to keep using this product and I’m eager to see how it builds on a natural tan in the summer.

About Me:

As a fashion writer, I might be a fashion maximalist, but I'm a beauty minimalist. I look for the capsule wardrobe equivalent to my beauty routine and prioritize quality ingredients, simple application, and clear results. I'll try anything once, but only the good stuff gets a spot in my toiletry bag.