Can You Self-Tan In the Bath? (No, but You Can In the Shower!)

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

There's nothing better than being able to multi-task and get beauty treatments done while you do something else. But if you've ever wondered if you can self-tan while you take a bath, the answer is unfortunately no.

However, did you know there is a magical product which lets you self-tan while you're in the shower?! That's right, there is a great way to get it done in one easy step after all.

Keep reading to learn more about self-tanning in the shower: how to do it, and why it's actually a great way to get a fast, mess-free tan at home.

Why can't you self-tan in the bath?

Essentially, self-tanning in the bath would not be effective because you are submerged in water, which would dilute the tanning product. Let's take a look at why.

The active ingredient in most self-tanning products is something called dihydroxyacetone, or DHA. When you self-tan, DHA interacts with the proteins in your skin to create a temporary darkening effect. However, DHA is also water soluble, so if you were to try to self-tan in the bath, the water would dilute the DHA, resulting in a weak or uneven tan.

In addition, steam from the bath could also cause the tan to become patchy and streaky. For these reasons, it is usually best to self-tan in a well-ventilated area where your skin will not come into contact with water.

But there is one exception: shower tanning.

What is the best product for self-tanning in the shower?

The best in-shower self-tanner on the market right now (in my opinion) is the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Lotion:

St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion Golden Glow, Medium, 6.7 Fl Oz
St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion Golden Glow, Medium, 6.7 Fl Oz
View on Amazon

St. Tropez are known for making high-quality self-tanning products, and this one is no exception. It only needs to sit on your skin for 3 minutes and it will leave you with a perfect tan—all from the comfort of your own shower.

It's easy to use and gives you a golden, sun-kissed glow that looks very natural. It is meant to give a subtle wash of color to the skin, which is why it is a favorite among people who don't want to look like they got a "fake tan"!

If you are looking for a deeper tan though, it's also buildable—just apply for several days in a row until you reach your desired shade.

How do I self-tan in the shower?

First of all, you need to purchase a special in-shower self-tanner, like the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Lotion, that is made to work on wet skin. If you try to self-tan in the shower with a regular self-tanner, you will not get the results you are looking for!

It's important to follow the specific instructions on the self-tanner you are using, and to use one that is specifically formulated to be used in the shower.

Most in-shower sunless tanners recommend the following steps:

  1. Wash your body, gently exfoliate, and fully rinse all the soap from your skin.
  2. Turn off the water, but stay inside the shower.
  3. Apply the self-tanner to your body in gentle, smooth, even strokes to avoid streaking.
  4. Wait 3-5 minutes (check the package of your self-tanner for their recommendation) to allow the tanner to soak in and take effect.
  5. Rinse off the tanner with water and pat your body dry.
  6. Get dressed and go about your day as normal.

The color should start to be noticeable right away, but will intensify with repeated applications over subsequent days.

Final thoughts

Although there is no way to self-tan while you take a bath, you can certainly do it while you're in the shower! Shower tanning is now possible thanks to a new generation of amazing in-shower sunless tanning products.

These fast-acting formulas are made to apply in the shower, and are then rinsed off after a few minutes, leaving you with enviable color right out of the shower. They are a great solution for anyone who wants a tan but with a quicker, easier, and less messy application than traditional self-tanners.

Products like the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In-Shower Lotion allow you to get your glow on while you shower, and eliminate the annoying need to stand around and wait for your tan to develop before you get dressed too.

So even if you only have 3 minutes, you can now get a sunless tan that both looks natural, and lasts. Why not give it a try?

Stay in touch

Get exclusive tips on how to make the most of your hot tub.

We won't spam you. Unsubscribe any time.