I've been fake-tanning pretty much weekly since I was 14, thanks to an Irish dancing hobby that required me to take my tanning game very seriously. Since then, I'm happy to report that not only has my tan become far less orange, but self-tan formulas in general have become far more elegant and easy to use. This all means that when it comes to tanning at home, I know my way around a mitt and bottle of the stuff. It also means that it takes a lot to really impress me when a new tanning formula hits the market. That's exactly why when I saw the Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Foaming Water (£16) trending on TikTok with Tasha Clegg calling it the best tan she's ever used, I wasn't instantly convinced it would be as good as people raved about. Much to my surprise . . . it was.
The Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Foaming Water has quite a simple promise, which is to give the "iconic Bondi Sands golden glow". There's no doubt that it achieves exactly this, if not an even better glow that some of the other formulas provide. It's one of the most natural-looking at-home tans I've ever tried.
Before getting into the results, let's talk ingredients. If you've previously been allergic or super sensitive to tanning products, this one could be for you. Formulated without fragrance, dye, or sulphates, the Pure Self Tan Foaming Water is designed to be gentle enough for sensitive and dry skin types. Although I do have sensitive skin, I've never had an issue with tanning products, so being free from these ingredients wasn't a personal concern of mine. However, I do think that it's a positive if it means people with sensitive skin who couldn't previously use Bondi Sands products can use them now. This doesn't mean that you should be concerned about other tanning products that do contain fragrance, dyes, or sulphates unless you have a known allergy or sensitivity to them. The Pure formulas also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E to add extra hydration to skin whilst fake tanning, which is often known to dry the skin out a little.
Sustainability was at the forefront of this collection, too. The bottles are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and don't contain any metal because they don't have a pump mechanism; this means that you can toss the bottle straight into the recycling when you're done with it.
When it comes to application, instead of applying tan in my usual way, I followed Bondi Sand's instructions to a T. The Pure Self Tan Foaming Water in Light/Medium bottle instructed that I apply the foam (although, I must mention that, for the most part, the formula came out as water and not a foam) directly onto my body and then use the mitt to blend in a long sweeping motion. Since the formula didn't really foam for me, it wasn't easy to apply since the consistency was so watery; it kept dripping into the sink. The bottle suggested not to shake, but I think a little shake could've given it the correct foamy consistency.
Because the product doesn't need to be rinsed off, it doesn't have a colour guide. This makes application, even for a total tanning expert, a little tricky. I typically use a colour guide because otherwise, I always miss a patch. It was no different with this product; I definitely missed patches, especially on my wrists. Having said that, I think I'll be much better prepped for my next application, and the no-rinse aspect definitely made the lack of colour guide worth it.
Another great thing about the tanning water is that a little goes a long way thanks to its watery consistency, making the product much more affordable than other tanning products out there.
Typically, when it comes to tanning my face, I use tanning drops added into my moisturiser. But I was curious to see how the foam worked on my face, and I can report it worked really well; since the water is so lightweight, it didn't feel heavy or suffocating like some fake tan formulas do. That being said, I do really love the Bondi Sands Pure Self Tanning Sleep Mask (£15) from the same range for my face.
The results of the Pure Self Tan Foaming Water were impressive, to say the least, and I was not expecting to love it as much as I did. It definitely takes a couple of tries to master the application and make sure you don't have any patches, but since it's got a no-rinse, zero colour guide formula, it's super easy to touch up if you do get a streak or two. The colour is incredibly natural and develops, as promised, in as little as six hours and continues to subtly develop over the next 24 hours. The scent was really subtle — it definitely wasn't odourless, and the hint of biscuit tan was still there — but it smelled significantly less than any other self-tanning mousses I've tried. It was also a teeny bit sticky when first applied, but only very slightly and again way less than if it were a traditional mousse tanning product.
All in all, if you're looking for an incredibly natural-looking tan without the mess and faff of having to wash it off, I have to agree with TikTok on this one — the Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Foaming Water (£16) might just be your ticket to a perfect faux glow this year.