With summer just around the corner, it's time to break out the beachwear, the BBQ set, or those beach party outfits. The sun's coming out, meaning you're going to have plenty of hours spent enjoying the great outdoors.
Hooray for summer!
One of the best parts of the summer sunshine is the chance to get a gorgeous tan. Between the beach days and outdoor activities, you can work up a nice golden bronze easily.
Don't forget the tanning lotion!
Tanning lotion not only encourages a better bronzing, but it can protect you from UV radiation and sunburns. The best tanning lotion will help you get a tan in less time, meaning you can get out of the sun (or cover up with sunscreen) to reduce the risk of melanoma.
We've done the research to find only the best tanning lotions for you—both for indoor AND outdoor use. Read on to find out everything you need to get that gorgeous tan you've been looking forward to all winter long!
Perfect for helping fair-skinned people get a proper tan
NOT a bronzer; ensures you get an actual tan, not just a layer of color
Great smell, looks good, and works effectively
Gives you a good base tan, great for fair skin, no bronzing ingredients, speeds up natural pigment production, protects tattoos, helps to improve skin health, fades wrinkles and cellulite, effective list of ingredients, approved for indoor and outdoor use, no stains or streaking, and quick-drying.
Perfumed smell can be overly-strong for some.
Application and Use: If you have fair or pale skin that's prone to burning, this is the perfect tanning lotion for you. It contains no bronzers (fake coloring), but it contains ingredients that will speed up the tanning process (see next section). You'll finally be able to build up a proper base tan, reducing the risk of burning in the future.
The lotion is designed for indoor and outdoor use, and you'll find that it does a great job of promoting an even tan over your entire body. It's quick-drying and quick-acting, so make sure to wash your hands after applying.
The smell is pleasant, though some people find it overly strong. If you don't mind a powerful cologne scent, this is a great lotion to try.
Ingredients: The mixture of coconut milk and coconut oil helps to hydrate and nourish your skin. The mixture of Quad Tyrosine and Melanobronze will stimulate the production of melanin (pigment cells), helping to speed up the tanning process. The Nouritan will promote an even tan that will last longer.
The lotion also contains ingredients (unlisted) that will protect tattoos from fading and reduce the appearance of cellulite and wrinkles.
Price: At just over $21, this is the priciest tanning lotion on our list. You'll find that it does an amazing job of tanning pale skin, though, so it may be worth a try if you're prone to burning easily.
A tanning lotion that moisturizes and protects your skin
Great smell; light, airy fragrance
Not too thick or greasy, easy to apply
Contains Vitamin A and E, light and pleasant scent, easily absorbed into the skin, softens skin, well-priced, high quality, speeds up tanning, natural ingredients, hydrates skin, good and quick results, good for pale skin, and approved for both indoor and outdoor use.
Can leave streak marks if not applied correctly.
Application and Use: If you are trying to protect your skin from sun damage, you'll love this tanning lotion. It's made with a broad selection of natural oils (see the next section) that will absorb into your skin easily, trapping in moisture and keeping environmental toxins out. Using this tanning lotion will hydrate and protect your skin. All in all, it's a great choice for regular tanners.
The ingredients speed up the natural bronzing process, and you'll find it leaves a hint of color that will darken your skin effectively. You'll see results in less time than you'd expect from a natural tanning lotion. It even works on pale and fair skin.
Be warned: if not applied evenly, it could leave visible streaks. Make sure to distribute the lotion across your skin without patches or splotches, or else you may end up with a streaky tan.
Ingredients: The tanning lotion contains "Australian oils" that are rich in both Vitamins A and E. Vitamin A enriches your skin and protects it from oxidative damage. Vitamin E traps in moisture and keeps toxins out. Together, these two oils will do wonders to keep your skin healthy as you tan.
Price: At just under $17, this is one of the pricier tanning lotions on our list. However, when you see how smooth and silky it will leave your skin, you'll never regret the purchase.
Can be used outdoors as well as with a tanning bed
Works with fair and pale skin; get that bronze you want!
Great for your skin, accelerates darkening, quick results, mild scent, quick-drying, indoor and outdoor use, ideal when used with a base tan, and contains extreme bronzers for extra-dark tan.
Leaves orange or yellow streaks if not applied properly.
Application and Use: This is a product to use when you want an extra dark tan. It can be used on a tanning bed or on its own, both indoors and outdoors. You'll find it will darken your base tan beautifully or give your pale/fair skin that golden bronze color you've always wanted. For light-skinned people who burn in the sun, it's a great solution for a tan.
It's applied using your hands (not a mitt or spray bottle), so you'll need to make sure to wash your hands quickly. The lotion is quick-drying, and it may leave streaks if not applied evenly. However, the quick-drying formula means it will darken your skin quickly and effectively.
Ingredients: The lotion contains a 100X silicone Bronzer. Silicone is highly effective at penetrating the layer of skin, meaning it helps your skin absorb the bronzer more efficiently. The emulsifying agent in the lotion will also hydrate and soften your skin. Many users have remarked that their skin feels smooth and supple after using this cream.
Fair warning: it contains a lot of chemical and synthetic ingredients. However, its natural ingredients include walnut oil, sunflower oil, cannabis sativa seed oil, banana extract, apple extract, carrot extract, and tea leaf extract.
Price: The $16 price tag makes this one of the priciest tanning lotions on our list. However, if you want something that works outdoors as well as with your tanning bed, this lotion is a worthwhile investment.
An inexpensive, reliable all-natural tanning lotion
Great for surfers, beach volleyball players, and more active beachgoers
Tan faster; leads to darker skin in less time
Contains all natural ingredients, pairs nicely with sunblock, long-lasting, great for all skin tones and types, speeds up the natural tan, includes aloe vera to soothe skin, contains vitamins and antioxidants, highly effective, and affordable.
Greasy and may irritate sensitive skin.
Application and Use: The Maui Babe Browning Lotion is one of the most popular tanning lotions among surfers, swimmers, and beachgoers. It's sweat-resistant and designed to soak into the skin, meaning you can run, jump, and swim without worrying about the lotion coming off.
The lotion accelerates the natural tanning process, meaning it helps your skin to soak up more UV rays to produce more melanin. It doesn't contain any sunscreen, but the Kona Coffee Plant extract will encourage better, faster browning. It's intended to be used in combination with sunscreen so you can protect your skin from radiation.
Those with sensitive skin may find it's a bit too strong (potentially irritating), though the manufacturer claims that it's suitable for all skin types and tones. Some users have found that it's oily and greasy (albeit all natural oils), leading to pimples. However, for the average person, there are no problems when using this amazing Hawaiian tanning lotion.
Ingredients: If you're looking for a non-chemical tanning lotion, you'd do well to consider this one!
The product is made with a "secret Hawaiian formula", which means a complete list of ingredients isn't available. However, it's made with either a mineral oil (for outdoor use) or sunflower oil (for indoor use) base, with Vitamins A, C, and E included in the formula. Other ingredients include Kukui Nut oil, aloe vera too soothe your skin, and Kona Coffee Plant extract to speed up the browning process. The ingredients are all natural (according to the manufacturer) and safe for all skin types and tones.
Price: At just under $14, this is a well-priced tanning lotion. It's intended for both outdoor and indoor use, it's easy to apply, contains all natural ingredients, and is great for active users. All in all, an amazing product at a great price.
Get a near-perfect tan without spending a moment in the sun
Easy to apply (thanks to accompanying mitt); color sets quickly
Natural-looking tan; low risk of patchy or streaky areas
Easy application, deep bronze, doesn't stain your clothes, easy application, quick-drying, doesn't leave patches or streaks, highly efficient self-tanner, great for multiple uses, velour application mitt lasts a long time, no orange tint, ideal for use on your body, and pleasantly mild smell.
Clogs pores and could lead to acne breakouts.
Application and Use: To apply this product, simply spray or pour it onto the velour application mitt and spread an even coat over your face. If done right, you'll find it gives you a deep tan that is surprisingly natural-looking (not a hint of orange). The mitt makes it easy to apply an even coat, reducing the risk of streaks or patches of odd-colored skin. Thanks to the quick-drying formula, you can put on your clothes within 10 to 20 minutes of application.
Once dry, the lotion won't stain your clothes, and it will give you a deep bronze color that will last for days. You can apply the lotion repeatedly for a darker color. There's no unpleasant smell, but it's simply an effective sunless tanning lotion perfect for anyone who wants to tan without spending time in the sun. However, ou may find that repeated use causes acne breakouts on your face.
Ingredients: The ingredients include DHA, BMI, and erythulose, all synthetic ingredients that promote a better, deeper, more even tan. There is a mild fragrance that shouldn't irritate any but the most sensitive skin. The lotion is suitable for all skin types and tones.
Price: At just over $13, this is a well-priced sunless tanning lotion. You get many happy uses and a natural-looking, beautifully dark tan. Weighing the cost vs. the results, this is one of the best tanning lotions around!
Protect your skin from radiation while getting a beautiful tan
Non-comedogenic, free of parabens/PABA, vegan, and gluten-free
A highly effective lotion for light bronzing
Both tanning and sunscreen lotion, moisturizes, protects from UVA and UVB rays, Skin Cancer Foundation-approved, vegan, 80-minute lifespan, well-priced, great for kids and adults, hypoallergenic, great for pale skin, non-greasy, pleasant scent, easily absorbed into skin, and ideal for a base tan.
Known to cause face rashes, and some find the scent overly-strong or too sweet.
Application and Use: This tanning lotion is perfect for those who want to work on a base tan or a light bronze without fully tanning. Thanks to the SPF15 sunscreen in the tanning lotion, you can protect your skin (even very pale skin) from burning while you tan. It's not going to give you a deep tan, but it's ideal for daily use to slowly build up that bronze coloring.
The tanning lotion has an 80-minute lifespan, though you'll only get about 15 to 25 minutes of sunscreen protection. It's great for an hour in the sun, and it'll help you get a bit of color without burning.
The formula is non-greasy and won't leave a residue on your skin. It absorbs easily, provides an even coating, and will help to moisturize your skin. Those with sensitive skin will find that it's gentle and won't cause breakouts (though some have noticed it causes rashes/acne breakouts on the face), and it's suitable for children as well as adults.
Ingredients: The ingredients are 100% vegan, free of parabens and PABA, gluten-free, and approved by the Skin Cancer Foundation. The non-comedogenic formula will help to reduce the risk of back or body acne, and the addition of Vitamin E into the formula ensures the lotion will hydrate and protect your skin. The ingredients are all also hypoallergenic.
Price: At $13 per bottle, this is one of the better-priced tanning lotions on our list. It's not going to give you a deep, dark tan, but it will protect your skin from UV radiation and encourage a light bronzing—perfect for daily use.
Editor: Health & Active, Food & Drink, Entertainment
Fitness has come hard for Andy; he's had to work for it. But, his trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, a NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise and healthy living. That’s why he’s our resident fitness expert.
His favorite food is lettuce-leaf steak tacos – though he’ll admit to a love of hot wings if you leverage the right pressure.
We know him as the guy who understands British humor and wishes everyone was as passionate about life as he is. His previous forays into the worlds of international business and education have left him wildly optimistic. And, if that wasn’t enough, he also writes comic books. Can you say renaissance?