Tea Is For Tanning

by Vanessa Roberts

tea for tanning

It’s no secret that getting your tan on, both outside or inside a tanning bed, is damaging to your skin as well as your health. And self-tanners? Well they ain’t that great either! They coat your skin in synthetic chemicals, dyes, and can leave you looking like you just got back from The Jersey Shore. Yeah. Not exactly a good look.

Since I am one of those ladies whose skin gets so white in the winter I could blend in with the snow, I like to try to keep a healthy glow about me, without having to turn to the chemicals. That is why I got oh-so-excited when I discovered that I could get my tan on at home for pennies per tan, and best of all, keep it natural!

Get ready to squeal with excitement fellow green queens as I introduce you to DIY tanning with….tea!

How to Tan with Tea

I’m currently loving this DIY beauty secret and wishing I had discovered it before spring hit, because not only is it good for your skin but it’s uber-cheap, foolproof, and will stay on for around 4 days. The process is simple.


  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 or 5 black tea bags
  • a spray bottle


  1. Find a spot in your bathroom where you can get a little messy. I suggest the bathtub.
  2. Boil the water, add your tea bags, and leave them in there to steep for about 15 minutes.
  3. During this time have a quick shower so you aren’t oily or sweaty, ensuring your tan won’t end up streaky and will dry evenly.
  4. Once you are done your shower, you are completely dried off, and your tea is cool enough to spray on without burning yourself, remove the tea bags and pour your tea into your spray bottle.
  5. Sit down in your bathtub and proceed to spray yourself evenly with your tea. I always find it best to focus on one body part at a time, allowing it to dry before moving onto another body part, so you can ensure the tan looks exactly the way you want.
  6. Optional: If you want a darker shade, spray yourself a second or third time until you get your desired color.

Once you are satisfied with your tan, make sure you are completely dry before getting dressed as the tea will stain your clothes, then pair your newly faux sun-kissed skin with one of the season’s hottest bright colors! I’m currently loving tangerine everything – it really makes that tan pop.

And voila! A healthy, DIY tan that stays put, won’t leave you looking like Snooki, doesn’t use harsh chemicals, and is a healthy alternative to soaking up the damaging UV rays.


Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Unhindered by Talent

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About the Author

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  • Nice idea! 🙂 I find it impossible to tan even when I’m out in the sun so maybe this will finally get my skin to where it’s not “glow in the dark”. I went to the zoo with my significant other and we spent the entire day there with no sunscreen (oops!). When the day was over I was burned, but a week later when all the skin was peeling off? My skin was the exact same shade as what was under my shirt. No tan lines, nothing. I’m going to go ahead and give this tea trick a try.

  • Jill

    Love this idea!

  • Hi Vanessa,
    This sounds intriguing. Would love to see pics! A few questions: Did you find that later, when you showered again, some of the tea ‘stain’ remained? You caution about being completely dry when you get dressed, did you find that some of the tea got onto your clothes from being against your skin for several hours?
    i think you’ve come up with a unique idea. I’d love to give it a try!

  • Jessica

    How long does this generally last I wonder?

  • charityaprill

    Ha! So cool! Thank you for this. I’m so over using products with chemicals and processed ingredients. I mean, we used to use natural products for all things beauty, but people figured out that they can make a profit from making them with ingredients that aren’t easily accessible to everyone, and thus we have questionable products on the market. I’m using coconut oil for sunblock, and so far it works, but I don’t know it’s SPF, or if it’s broadspectrum and blocks both UVB & UVA. One thing I’ve found that I don’t like about coconut oil is that I still get brown pigmentation on my face : (

    • Micaela

      So I’m just curious as to how well your skin normally takes to a tan and how fair skinned you are normally?

      • Hi Micaela, It sounds like she is pretty fair skinned. I have not tried the tea tanning method myself. If you do, please share your results with us!

  • Tricia Olejniczak

    How would you store the left over tea?

  • I’d also like to add that there are many safe natural self tanners that work even better than the chemical ones. My picks + how to apply are here: http://feelgoodstyle.com/2014/06/26/self-tanner-application-made-easy/

  • Adam Land

    One are two things will happen, one your clothing will get tea coloring all over it! Two if you shower it’ll disappear!!!