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Best Tanning Lotions

Top 10 Buying Guide

Best Tanning Lotions

Our Recommendations

In a hurry? Here are the best products at a glance.

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Best Tanning Lotions
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Article Author
Heather
Patton
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Jennifer
Trimbee
Article Author
Samantha
Dewitt
Your Authors and Guides
Article Author
Heather Patton
Article Author
Jennifer Trimbee
Article Author
Samantha Dewitt

How to Choose the Best Tanning Lotion

Tanning lotions can perform multiple functions, from helping you tan while you’re out in the sun to actually applying a layer of bronze to tan you without having to go outside. We cover all different types in this helpful guide for finding your perfect tanning lotion. Get that sun-kissed glow no matter how you want to do it! Here are some things you should know before we start shopping for tanning lotions.

Best Tanning Lotions

Sunscreen: Does the tanning lotion include sunscreen? Most of the tanning lotions that help you bronze up in the sun will have a sunscreen component to protect you from sunburns and other UV damage while you tan.

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Bronzer: A sunless tanner will often include a bronzing agent, which is how it helps you achieve the tan that you want without actually going out into the sun. We’ll let you know if the product includes a bronzer here.

How to Choose the Best Tanning Lotion

Scented: Does the lotion have a scent? Some of them have an artificial fragrance that allows you to smell like something other than sunscreen when you use it. Some of them just have the sunscreen scent. We’ll let you know.

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Water Resistant: Is the lotion water resistant? The general rule is that sunscreen tanning lotions will be water resistant to a certain threshold, while sunless tanning lotions won’t be water resistant until a certain amount of time has passed.

Best Tanning Lotions

Paraben-Free: Parabens are harmful preservatives that can cause a variety of problems. Make sure that you’re checking to make sure that these aren’t in your tanning lotions, and we’ll let you know if they contain parabens here.

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Weight: How much does the product weigh? This can tell you a lot about the product, including helping you to assess the value and figure out how much product you’re getting with your order, and how often you might need to repurchase.

Top 10 Products

Now we can start showing you some of the top ten tanning salon lotions, as well as tan accelerator lotions. We’ve done all of our research and reviewed the best tanning lotions on the market in order to help you make the best decision for you. Our top pick and budget pick are highlights, so make sure to check those out first before moving on to the rest of our list.

Bahama Tan Control Your Glow

Bahama Tan Control Your Glow
Our top pick is this organic, sunless tanning lotion that is actually good for your skin. You can control your finished look by applying more or less. To use, apply the recommended amount daily until your desired tan is achieved. It doesn’t turn orange and it isn’t blotchy, which makes it some of the best tanning lotion for beginners. It contains no paraben, lanolin, harsh chemicals, sulfates, fillers, or other artificial ingredients. The tan that you get from applying this lotion will last you between four and seven days depending on how much you’ve applied. You can use it all year round to achieve that beautiful glow you’ve always wanted without having to deal with harmful UV rays. We love that you can control the finished look and that this lotion is completely organic and natural! Even people with sensitive skin won’t be irritated by this shea butter and argan oil-based formula that helps hydrate your skin.
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Australian Gold SPF 30 Lotion

Australian Gold SPF 30 Lotion
Australian Gold is our inexpensive option for the best tanning lotion for outside. It’s definitely a lotion that you use when you go out into the sun to help accelerate your tanning process while protecting you from burns. It uses an Australian Acacia Extract complex so that it gives your skin a healthy dose of antioxidants while providing you with protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It’s an oil-free formula that is also water resistant for up to 80 minutes so you can enjoy playing in the water at the beach or pool while you’re tanning. It’s one of the best tanning lotions without bronzer because it doesn’t rely on any type of bronzing agent to get you the tan that you want. Instead, it protects you while you tan the old fashioned way. You could, of course, use this lotion with a tanning bed as well. It’s up to you how you use this amazing tanning lotion.
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New Sunshine Designer Skin Bronzer

New Sunshine Designer Skin Bronzer
New Sunshine makes this Designer Skin Bronzer that is one of the best tanning lotions for fair skin – specifically when you have fair skin but you definitely want to change that. It’s a great lotion that’s full of bronzers that will help you shatter your tanning plateau and reach new levels of bronze. This lotion is probably best for experienced tanners because if you’ve tanned a lot in the past you have a lot better idea what the bronzers will do and how your skin will take it. This particular formula is a blend of about 14 different bronzers that help build upon your natural skin tone and previous color deposits to create new, beautiful heights. Plus, it has hyaluronic acid to help your skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and helping your skin feel better in general. It has a light citrusy scent that is a nice change from the chemical smell that some lotions have.
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Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion

Sun Bum Original Sunscreen Lotion
Sun Bum makes one of the best tanning bed accelerator lotions, and you can use it indoors or outside. It’s great for tanning however you’d like to do it, without worrying about sunburns. Even people with sensitive skin won’t be irritated by this tanning lotion. It’s got broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and water resistance up to 80 minutes. It’s hypoallergenic, and it’s made with vegan materials. That means that it’s reef-friendly, so you can wear it while you go swimming in the ocean and it won’t affect the reef. It’s moisture-rich so your skin is going to love it, and it’s free of any oils, parabens, and gluten. This is tanning lotion isn’t bad for your skin at all, and can actually help protect you from some of the worst damage that the sun offers. It’s also non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores, and it’s enriched with Vitamin E, so it’s good for your skin!
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Beauty by Earth Sunscreen Lotion

Beauty by Earth Sunscreen Lotion
This sunscreen from Beauty by Earth is one of the best tanning lotions for pale skin. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen and will be automatically water-resistant for up to 80 minutes after application. It’s a broad spectrum formula that works to protect you against UVA and UVB rays. It’s hypoallergenic so even people with the most sensitive skin can use it, and it’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores. It’s great for all ages, and if you have paler skin you can use this to help you achieve a light tan without burning. It’s reef-safe and made with non-toxic ingredients, and it’s free of gluten. Some of the active ingredients at work in this sunscreen are shea butter, argan oil, vitamin E, and Zinc Oxide. All of these ingredients will work together to moisturize your skin and keep you feeling great during your time on the beach or by the pool! You’re going to love your natural tan.
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Peak Products Mineral Sunscreen

Peak Products Mineral Sunscreen
This sunscreen by Peak Productions is an all-natural blend that is actually helping your skin as it helps you tan. It’s free of any and all harmful chemicals and made with completely natural ingredients. It’s water resistant for 80 minutes after application and eco-friendly as well as biodegradable. It’s safe to use around coral and other reefs and isn’t ever tested on animals, so you can use it with a clear conscious. It’s an SPF 30 blend that protects against broad-spectrum UVA and UVB rays. This way, you can enjoy your time on the beach and cultivate a nice tan without burning your skin. It’s hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin, as well as being free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, and gluten. Have a tattoo that you want to protect? You can use this sunscreen to keep it looking great. It’s non-sticky, non-greasy, and a great option for cultivating a natural tan while you’re out in the sun.
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Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Lotion

Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Lotion
Hawaiian Tropic brings us another sunscreen-based tanning lotion. This one is a classical lotion that works exactly how you’d expect it to it helps to accelerate your tan and blocks the harmful UVA and UVB rays that give your skin damage. All of this while still moisturizing your skin and allowing it to absorb the correct rays to be able to bronze up naturally. It has a classic coconut fragrance as well, exactly what you might expect when thinking about a tanning lotion. It’s water resistant so you can still have fun, and you can even use it in the ocean because it is reef safe and free of all of the chemicals that can bring harm to coral. Your skin will be soft, moisturized, and absolutely glowing when you use this formula. It contains aloe vera to make sure you don’t burn, as well as antioxidants and other botanical boosters. You’re going to love the sun-kissed look!
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Sun Bum Tanning Oil

Sun Bum Tanning Oil
Extended exposure to the sun can damage your skin rather than giving it the nice glow that you want. That’s why you should always go with a tanning lotion like this one. Sun Bum makes this tanning oil that works to protect your skin while accelerating it towards a nice tan. Though it’s oil, it’s still one of the best sunbed tanning lotions we could find during our research. It works to gently moisturize your skin with a plethora of different oils, from argan oil to Kukui nut oil and avocado oil, aloe vera, and Kona coffee plant extract. It’s non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores, while also being free of parabens and gluten. It’s never tested on animals so you can use it with a clear conscious. The tropical scent is light and refreshing and lingers after use. This tanning oil is water resistant up to 80 minutes after application so you can still have fun.
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Miami Gorgeous LaPlaya Self Tanner

Miami Gorgeous makes this clear self-tanning lotion that is great for beginners. That’s because there is no residue left behind after your tanning session, and there is no residue that will stain your sheets or clothing after it dries. It’s a great alternative to both salon tanning and sun tanning, giving you a great glow without sacrificing the health of your skin. Plus, it’s a deeply hydrating mousse formula that also helps to smooth your skin and fights signs of aging. The best feature of this tanner is, of course, that it doesn’t streak or transfer. That’s an underrated perk because no one wants their tan to run off in the middle of the night. The formula is clear so that if it does transfer, it’s doing so from the tan on you, not the product. Plus, it can help give your skin a little bit of its elasticity back. You’re going to want to treat yourself!
Miami Gorgeous makes this clear self-tanning lotion that is great for beginners. That’s because there is no residue left behind after your tanning session, and there is no residue that will stain your sheets or clothing after it dries. It’s a great alternative to both salon tanning and sun tanning, giving you a great glow without sacrificing the health of your skin. Plus, it’s a deeply hydrating mousse formula that also helps to smooth your skin and fights signs of aging. The best feature of this tanner is, of course, that it doesn’t streak or transfer. That’s an underrated perk because no one wants their tan to run off in the middle of the night. The formula is clear so that if it does transfer, it’s doing so from the tan on you, not the product. Plus, it can help give your skin a little bit of its elasticity back. You’re going to want to treat yourself!
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Coppertone Sports Sunscreen Lotion

Good old Coppertone still makes one of the best tanning lotions for tanning beds. It doesn’t leave a greasy residue and bonds to your skin on contact to help prevent damage from the sun while helping you cultivate a beautiful tan. This particular blend is extremely sweat and waterproof, and it won’t run into your eyes while you’re having fun at the beach.  It’s an oil-free formula that won’t dry you out, and it also won’t leave a super greasy residue. It’s waterproof and hypoallergenic, perfect for people with sensitive skin. If you just want to have fun at the beach, this is the tanning lotion for you. If you’re climbing into a tanning bed, this can also be a super beneficial lotion to purchase because of the fact that it blocks so many of the harmful, damaging rays while still allowing you to tan to your perfect, natural bronze if that’s what you want.
Good old Coppertone still makes one of the best tanning lotions for tanning beds. It doesn’t leave a greasy residue and bonds to your skin on contact to help prevent damage from the sun while helping you cultivate a beautiful tan. This particular blend is extremely sweat and waterproof, and it won’t run into your eyes while you’re having fun at the beach. It’s an oil-free formula that won’t dry you out, and it also won’t leave a super greasy residue. It’s waterproof and hypoallergenic, perfect for people with sensitive skin. If you just want to have fun at the beach, this is the tanning lotion for you. If you’re climbing into a tanning bed, this can also be a super beneficial lotion to purchase because of the fact that it blocks so many of the harmful, damaging rays while still allowing you to tan to your perfect, natural bronze if that’s what you want.
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TOP PICK

Bahama Tan Control Your Glow

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