Best Tanning Lotion Reviews

19 Best Tanning Lotion Reviews [with Buyer’s Guide]

If you are a regular beach-goer, you probably know all too well how intimidating it is for all your friends to show off their great “tans” while you are left with your ordinary pale skin.

To get to the perfect tan, you may choose to spend most of your time in the sun. However, prolonged exposure to the sun may have adverse consequences, mainly due to the UV-rays.

Therefore, having the best tanning lotion would be of great benefit, and it may assist you in getting that sun-kissed skin you have always desired.

We understand that due to the many tanning products available in the market, your search for the ideal tanning lotion may not be as easy as you would have liked. That is why we have come up with this article to inform you on everything you need to know about tanning lotions.

First things first

One of the things we are point out is the factors that you have to consider if you want to get the best product. These include:

  • Skin type
  • Indoor VS outdoor tanning lotion
  • Ingredients
  • Pricing, among others

Top Rated Tanning Lotion: Our Ratings & Reviews

Before we get to these factors, we have reviewed the following brands of tanning lotions, which we consider the best in the market. This should help you narrow down your search for the best tanning lotion.

1. Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

Best tanning lotion?


If you are looking for a tanning lotion that is free from harmful ingredients, this self-tanner from Beauty by Earth would be a reasonable pick.

It’s made from nothing but natural ingredients. We’re talking about shea butter, Japanese green tea, and coconut oil.

What We Liked About It

With this formula, you are assured of getting your skin protected whenever you head outdoors. Its frequent use can, indeed, lower your risk of developing sunburns and also significantly lower your risk of skin cancer.

What’s more, this best-seller is 100% vegan-friendly. So, not only is it safe for you but it’s also produced ethically.

Do you have sensitive skin? This self-tanner is gentle enough even for you. That’s probably because it is made from nothing but simple, earth-grown ingredients.

Last but not least, the product is quite well-packaged. So, if you travel regularly, you’ll find it quite easy to pack up in your bags (and also easy to dispense when you need to use it).

What Could Have Been Better

Much as this product is quite well made, it produces a faint coconut suntan smell as soon as it starts working on your skin. Some people just don’t like this smell.


Good ratings from different reviewers
All-natural composition
Comes with a satisfaction guarantee
Works for all skin types


Slight coconut suntan smell when it’s working

2. Self Tanner by Sun Laboratories

Sunless Bronzer


Since 1983, Sun Laboratories has established itself as a leading brand in producing high-quality tanning products.

The Ultra Dark self-tanning lotion is not an exception to that rule, and our review should make things clearer for you.

What We Liked About It

The first exciting feature of this lotion is its all-natural and paraben-free composition. Of course, this is the kind of assurance you need when you’re particularly looking for a product that won’t expose you to harmful elements.

Moving on swiftly, this self-bronzer is made of high-quality ingredients among them aloe vera extract, vitamin C, sweet almond, glycerin among others.

You may also like how easy it is to apply the lotion with the clear set of instructions on the label, making the application process a walk in the park.

This paraben-free formula is fast-drying and typically kick-starts the tanning process within minutes of its application.

We also liked the fact that this lotion is ideal for all skin types. Plus, it is suited for use by men and women too.

What Could Have Been Better

Some of its ingredients have complex names you’d need a background in Biochemistry to understand what they really are. For example: phenoxy-ethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, and hydroxyethylcellulose. Yikes!


Easy to apply
Ideal for males and females


Complex words on its ingredients

3. Dark Tanning Lotion by Millennium Tanning Products

Solid Black Gothic Tanning Lotion


If you are looking for the perfect lotion for heavy-duty tanning, this product by Millennium Tanning Products would be an excellent choice. It is dark and would deliver the deep tan you are looking for.

What We Liked About It

This lotion is primarily designed for indoor use although you can occasionally use it for your outdoor escapades e.g. sunbathing, fishing and so forth. However, this product doesn’t contain sunscreen or SPF protection and, therefore, we wouldn’t recommend it for outdoor use during summers.

Moving on swiftly, we found this lotion quite easy to apply. Its awesome texture and consistency make it glide unto the skin with ease.

On top of that, it contains a decent amount of bronzer which goes a long way in providing that much-needed tint effect on your skin. This tint effect also comes in handy in guiding you on where to apply it in order to achieve good coverage.

Besides being easy to use, the Dark tanning lotion also leaves your skin with a pleasant smell, a quality that lacks in many competing brands.

What Could Have Been Better

The major disadvantage that we can point out is the staining that leaves a mess wherever you go. However, the lotion remains one of the best affordable options around.


Awesome gothic-themed bottle
Leaves a pleasant smell
Easy to use
Your skin becomes smoother and softer


No SPF protection
Not ideal for fair-skinned folks

4. Skinerals Californium Self-Tanner Mousse

Skinerals Californium Sunless Bronzerbutton

If you feel like giving your light skin a beautiful tan glow, the Californium Self-Tanner mousse would be yet another excellent choice to settle for. Let’s find out more about this lotion.

What We Liked About It

Made in the USA, Californium self-tanner is made of organic and natural ingredients including shea butter, lavender oil, orange peel oil, and vanilla bean extract.

On top of that, the lotion is paraben- and sulfate-free to ensure your skin is never exposed to –potentially toxic substances. It is also worth mentioning that it is cruelty-free.

Another benefit of the Skinerals Californium is the natural-looking glow that it delivers without the orange coloring that is common in many tans.

We also like the light, pleasant scent that the self-tanner leaves on the skin after application.

What Could Have Been Better

The tan is incredible, but it washes off too quickly, and you may need to avoid the shower to keep it on.


Easy to apply


Leaves dark patches and blotches

5. Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion

Quality Tanning Lotion


For the ultimate tanning experience both indoors and outdoors, the Australian Gold tanning lotion would be another good lotion brand worth looking at. The cream is formulated to deliver a deep and dark tan (you’d typically note the results within a fortnight).

What We Liked About It

To begin with, this tanning accelerator oil is packed with natural oils that supply the skin with various nutrients that have numerous benefits.

These nutrients include Vitamins A and E, which combine to moisturize the skin to leave it smooth and glowing.

Plus, it contains tea tree oil which is an antioxidant that’s crucial when it comes to cleansing the skin for a smooth and healthy appearance.

Another thing we liked is the amazing Caramel Popsicle smell that this lotion produces.

Indeed, this cream leaves you with a beautiful scent all day long which is quite a major plus since most tanning products tend to cause a horrible smell after a few hours of use.

Not only is this lotion suitable for outdoor tanning, but it is also ideal for indoor use.

What Could Have Been Better

The manufacturer should pay attention to the staining of this lotion since nobody wants to walk around with stains on their clothes from any lotion.


Works for all skin types
Smells great
Indoor and outdoor use


Not everyone likes the coconut scent

6. Maui Babe Browning Lotion

Best Browning Lotion?


Do not feel left out if you have pale skin since the Maui Babe browning lotion is here for you. It is formulated to hasten the tanning process as you bathe outdoors so that you can get the fantastic tan that you have always desired.

What We Liked About It

This is an outdoor tanning lotion that is made from a secret Hawaiian formula and is perfect for all skins, including the sensitive and pale ones, which it is often difficult to find the perfect tan for.

Also, the lotion helps in moisturizing your skin such that it remains silky and smooth for an extended period.

Further, the smell that it gives out is very nice, and this has the effect of uplifting your moods.

The lotion comes in an 80z bottle that is very easy to open, and the formula aims to leave you with a stunning tan by accelerating the tanning process that had already been triggered by the sun.

What Could Have Been Better

The only issue we had with this lotion is that you need to apply sunscreen before going outdoors. Otherwise, your skin may experience some severe damage.


Smells nice
Moisturizes your skin
Suitable for all skin types


Stains easily

7. Somewhere on a Beach Tanning Lotion by Devoted Creations

Indoor and Outdoors Tanning Lotion


Have you been searching for the best multi-purpose tanning lotion? If you have, your search should stop at this lotion by Devoted creations. You can use it as a bronzer, an indoor and outdoor tanning lotion as well as a moisturizer.

Let’s check out other benefits that the lotion possesses.

What We Liked About It

One thing about this lotion is that it does not deliver instant results. However, with time, your tan is going to develop into the bronze look that you were targeting.

You are also likely to appreciate the streak and stain-free results that this tanning lotion is going to deliver.

The lotion also features anti-aging peptides that minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles so that your skin maintains a youthful look for longer.

Let’s not forget the coconut and walnut oils with hydrating properties that help in softening the skin.

What Could Have Been Better

This product is good overall. However, some individuals are put off by the slow tanning process since not everyone has that patience.


Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use
Anti-aging properties


Needs sunscreen before heading outdoors

8. Botanic Tree Self-Tanner

Gold Tan


Another self-tanner that you should consider investing in is this lotion by Botanic Tree. It is paraben and chemical-free to make it safe for everyone to use. Other than that, the lotion has several other benefits.

What We Liked About It

First, this is a fully organic formula made of natural ingredients, which include Shea butter, vanilla, Avocado, rosemary, Apricot, Jojoba, among others. All these ingredients bring various benefits to your skin.

Then, the lotion is non-toxic and is therefore suitable for all skin types, including the sensitive ones.

Another benefit is that the lotion delivers a natural-looking tan (without the usual orange tan) that would leave you with a stunning appearance.

We also liked how quick-drying the formula is plus is streak and stain-free to leave your clothes as clean as they initially were.

Let’s not leave out the pleasant smell, and in case you are not satisfied with the lotion, you can ask for a full refund of your money.

What Could Have Been Better

We received complaints that the tan is hard to come off when used by light-skinned individuals. It also tends to leave blotches all over the body.


Entirely organic
Natural-looking tan


Not ideal for the elderly over 65 years

9. St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Face Tan

Gradual Tan Classic


If there is one thing you are going to like with the St. Tropez face tan is how easy it is to apply it evenly onto your skin. This is due to its lightweight nature, and you should easily get to the notoriously hard-to-reach areas such as knees and elbows.

What We Liked About It

As we stated earlier, this self-tan is very easy to apply plus is also very easily absorbed by the skin so that you can receive the maximum benefits with ease.

We also liked the amazing fragrance, which is a step away from the usual self-tan smell. Additionally, the formula is designed to deliver streak and stain-free results.

There is also the hyaluronic acid, which helps in softening the skin to leave it glowing and smooth.
Lastly, it is perfect for use on all skin tones.

What Could Have Been Better

The tan is fantastic, but for the amount that you have to spend on it, the manufacturer could have placed it in a larger container.


Easy to apply
No self-tan smell
Clinically tested and approved


Not that natural-looking

10. Supre Smoke Black Bronzer 10.5oz Tanning Lotion



If you have a dark skin tone and you are looking for the perfect accelerator for indoor tanning, the Smoke black bronzer lotion is here for you. We are going to point out its other benefits.

What We Liked About It

The first benefit is that this lotion contains anti-aging ingredients that give your skin a youthful appearance by minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

What’s more, is that the lotion also acts as a self-acting bronzer to help your skin develop a natural-looking tan.

On top of that are the three tropical fragrances of mango, passion, and pineapple fruits that leave you smelling as lovely as these fruits.

What Could Have Been Better

The lotion is not streak-free, plus some users complain of being left with an orange tint, which is far from what they were looking for.


Anti-aging properties
Nice smell
Perfect for dark skin tones



11. Josie Maran Argan Self-Tanning Body Oil

Josie Maran Intense Lotion


Due to the mango, natural vanilla, and apricot fragrance, it is easy to see why many reviewers rate this body oil as the best smelling self-tanner. It may develop a slightly light tan, but we still think this would be a good tanning lotion to invest in.

What We Liked About It

This body oil is formulated to give your skin an instant glow, plus it features DHA for a moisturizing and natural-looking glow.

Further, the self-tanner is gluten, paraben, phthalate, synthetic fragrance, and sulfate-free to make it safe for all skins, including the sensitive ones. It is also cruelty-free to keep your conscience clean.

There is also the coconut water for hydration purposes, while the aloe juice helps in nourishing and smoothing the skin.

Lastly, it does not streak, nor does it leave you with an orange tan.

What Could Have Been Better

Although the tan is pleasant, it could have been much better had it been deeper. This would enable your skin to get more nourishment from the oil.


Smells nice
Paraben and cruelty-free


Really thin

12. Spa Destinations Gradual Bronzing Lotion

Spa Destinations Lotion


If you value the environment, here is an eco-friendly option for you. It is made in the USA, and no animal testing took place in the course of the manufacturing process.

What We Liked About It

The gradual bronzing lotion by Spa Destinations is enriched with Argan and Acai nutrients that enhance the youthful appearance of your skin.

It is also packed with vitamin E and the omega fatty acids, all of which combine to hydrate and moisturize your skin to give it a glowing appearance.

We should also mention the non-toxic composition that ensures the lotion is safe even for the most sensitive skin.

What Could Have Been Better

This lotion takes a lot of time to be absorbed into the skin. Not everyone has the level of patience that is needed before we get tangible results.


Not greasy
Nice scent


There are complains of orange tints developing

13. Coola Organic Firming Lotion

Organic Lotion for Tanned Skin?


Do you wish to have soft, sun-kissed skin? Then the Coola firming lotion would be a reasonable option to get you there. It has caffeine in its formula to help give your skin the deep and dark tan you were looking for.

What We Liked About It

First, the lotion is formulated such that a deep and dark tan develops gradually in several days.
One of its ingredients is baobab oil that helps in infusing your skin with crucial vitamins for a healthier look of the skin.

There is also Shea butter that moisturizes the skin to make it soft and smooth.

What’s more, is the pea extract that boosts healthy cell growth for firmer and smoother skin. On top of that is the alaria esculenta extract for improving skin elasticity and also increasing the moisture content in the skin.

Lastly, it is infused with powerful antioxidants to combat free radicals in the skin.

What Could Have Been Better

The only issue we have is that the lotion is not that easy to apply evenly. This would have made it suited for applying to the previously hard-to-reach areas of the body.


Has caffeine for a firmer skin
Paraben and gluten-free


Wears off unevenly

14. Self-Tanner by Golden Star Beauty

Gradual Bronzer


This product is just for you if you value quality and safety. It is manufactured in the USA under strict protocols, plus it features certified organic oils to assure you of its authenticity further.

Let’s discover more about this lotion.

What We Liked About It

Just to add on the safety aspect, this lotion is gluten, paraben, dyes-free. As a result, your skin would not be exposed to potentially toxic elements.

You should also like how easy it is to apply this lotion, whether you are an expert or a beginner.

This lotion is formulated to give you a natural bronze tan that is streak-free plus does not have any foul smells. On top of that, it is not sticky, nor does it give you a weird orange look.

Also worth mentioning is how fast this lotion is absorbed into the skin so that it does not stain your clothes.

We also like the fact that it comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

What Could Have Been Better

It would have been nice if the tan had been deeper to last longer and not need reapplying after short periods.


Perfect for all skin types
Has anti-aging properties


A bit pricey

15. Coco & Eve Sunny Honey Bronzing Form

Honey Bali Bronzing Foambutton

If you want your skin to develop that dark tan without exposing it to harmful chemicals or UV rays, the Sunny Honey bronzing foam by Coco & Eve would be the right choice. This is mainly due to its all-natural composition.

What We Liked About It

The first thing we liked is how fast-drying and absorbing this tan is such that within two hours, your ideal tan would have developed.

Then, it is infused with raw virgin coconuts and amino acids to hydrate the skin and also make it firmer.

There are also bananas and Bali cocoa ingredients that help in minimizing the uneven pigmentation plus make skin imperfections less visible.

Lastly are the antioxidants for fighting free radicals and also for better aging.

What Could Have Been Better

There have been numerous complaints regarding packaging issues. For instance, some products arrived without caps while others leaked in the package.


Packed with antioxidants
Awesome tropical mango fragrance
Easy application


Not everyone likes the orange tan

16. Vita Liberata Self-Tanning Tinted Mousse

Vita Liberatabutton

There are several reasons why we believe the self-tanning tinted mousse would be a worthy investment, with the primary reason being its super-fast drying.

What We Liked About It

Besides the fast-drying quality of this formula, the tint that develops also lasts for up to seven days.

Another benefit is the Odor Remove Technology that ensures there are no unattractive smells after applying this formula.

Also, the moisture-locking system is crucial in nourishing and hydrating your skin for up to 72-hours. Further, we liked the instant drying of the formula courtesy of the Flash Dry Technology.

The all-natural composition ensures that the mousse is safe enough, even for sensitive and dry skin.

What Could Have Been Better

In as much as the mousse is fast-drying and works for most skin types, you are not likely to be impressed with the results if you are pale-skinned.


Lasts for longer
Safe for sensitive skin


Too thin

17. Famous Dave’s Tanner Organic Self-Tanner

Organic Tannerbutton

For a natural tan and stunning brown summer glow, this self-tanner by Famous Dave’s Tanner is what you need. Other than that, there are several reasons why we believe you should try out this self-tanner.

What We Liked About It

To start with, this tanning lotion is formulated from organic ingredients such as Jojoba Oil, Organic Argan Oil, CoEnzyme Q10, among others.

Also worth mentioning is that the lotion is manufactured in an FDA-approved facility to assure you that you are dealing with a safe product.

You are sure to appreciate how there is no streaking or a weird orange color after applying the lotion. Further, it is paraben-free and safe for all skin types, including sensitive ones.

Lastly, we also liked the anti-aging properties that give your skin a youthful appearance.

What Could Have Been Better

The major issue we had with this lotion is how easy it wore off. Otherwise, it is still a fantastic product to try out.


No orange color
Has anti-aging properties


Does not smell nice

18. Bahama Tan Level 2 Medium Self-Tanner

Bahama Tan


We all like making safe investments, and the Bahama Tan self-tanner is one such item. It comes with a money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with the results that it yields.

What We Liked About It

The first benefit is the easy application, and you have a set of simple instructions to guide you through.

Then, it is made from natural and organic ingredients that deliver a natural-looking tan without exposing your skin tom the sun.

We should also mention that the formula is non-toxic i.e., alcohol, fillers, and paraben-free, to make it perfect for all skin types, including the sensitive nature.

You can expect no streaking or blotchiness of this self-tanner.

What Could Have Been Better

The major disadvantage with the Bahama Tan self-tanner is that it washes off too quickly. If it stuck for longer, it would save you from the hassle of repeated application.


Easy to apply
Comes with a money-back guarantee


Stains a lot

19. The Gradual Illuminating Tanning Lotion by Tan-Luxe


The last item on our list is what we consider the best gradual self-tanner. It has a wonderful scent and develops into a natural-looking tan without any blotchiness.

What We Liked About It

To start with, this lotion has a thin consistency for fast absorption without any streaking.

Then, the lotion develops an even tan that leaves your skin looking great. You are not going to experience the funny orange color that everyone is so keen to avoid.

What’s more, is that the lotion is non-toxic to make it safe for all skin types.

What Could Have Been Better

Without a tanning mint, you are not likely to get satisfactory results from this lotion. However, we believe the benefits outweigh the disadvantages of this lotion.


Nice scent
Perfect for all skin types
No streaking


The application is not that easy

Factors to Consider When Buying Tanning Lotions

As you can see from our reviews above, there are countless options of tanning lotions available in the market.

Therefore, there are certain aspects that you need to pay special attention to so that you could make an informed choice.

Let’s check them out.

  • Indoors VS Outdoor Tanning

The first thing that you need to be sure of is where you want to get the tan. Is it indoors on a tanning bed or outdoors by the pool?

If your preference is the former, then you need a sun protection factor (SPF), which you may know as sunblock, in addition to the tanning lotion. The SPF would help in protecting your skin from UV rays that often lead to severe skin damage or even skin cancer.

As for the indoor tanning, you also need the sunblock to avoid getting skin damage from the tanning bed.

  • Accelerators VS Bronzers/Maximizers

It can be confusing to understand the difference between these two terms. Bronzers are for those who are after a fake tan and only want the look rather than the actual thing.

They may have less moisture, but some bronzers are known to have anti-aging properties that reduce the formation of skin wrinkles.

Accelerators, on the other hand, are products with ingredients that help in the formation of melanin in the face of sun exposure. On top of that, they are crucial in moisturizing the skin and are ideal for those who are just getting into tanning.

  • Skin Types

You should also select a tanning lotion that is formulated to work best on your skin type. For instance, if you have dry skin, you should go for a lotion with moisturizing and hydrating properties. As for those with oily skin, water-based lotions would help in keeping away acne.

Lastly, if you have sensitive skin, then natural and fully organic lotions are best to minimize allergic flare-ups and irritations.

  • Pricing

Before you go off looking for the best tanning lotion, have a budget in place to ensure that the costs do not overwhelm you.

You may notice that the pricier products have more benefits and features, including UV-protection and nourishing the skin.

Useful Tips to Consider Before Using the Best Tanning Lotion

Once you have acquired your ideal tanning lotion, there are a few things that you ought to keep in mind. If you do that, you should not experience any adverse effects due to using that product.

Patch Test for Sensitivity

Not everyone is going to have the same reaction from using a particular lotion. Therefore, a patch test would help you know in advance whether your skin would be irritated or develop an allergic reaction after coming into contact with the formula.

Patch test for Color

This test is essential so that you can know whether the tanning product is going to deliver the shade of tan that you desire. Note that different skin types are going to develop different tans.

Read the Instructions Keenly

If you want to be on the safe side, read and follow all the instructions which usually are on the product’s label.

Pay particular attention to any safety precautions which may be listed on the label.


Some products are listed as being safe for both indoor and outdoor use. In this case, if you decide to use the lotion outdoors, you have to set a limit on the time you spend in the sun.

Should you exceed the recommended time outdoors, then you may expose yourself to sunburns, which may lead to skin cancer.

Look at your neighbor

Look out for anyone who has been using the tanning lotions for years. If they have experienced anything such as premature aging, cell damage, or poor skin texture, then this should warn you about the importance of following the instructions properly.

Also, negative results may be an indicator that the individual has overused the product.

Wash your hands afterward

This would ensure that your fingers would be safe from the discoloration brought about by bronzers after applying. On top of that, ensure that the lotions do not get to your clothes or sheets.

Keep away from children

If your kid wants to follow your example, consider going to the pediatrician for advice on the best product to use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

During our research on the best tanning lotions, we encountered some questions which we are going to answer in this section.

Q: What is an indoor tanning lotion?

A: This is a tanning lotion that is formulated to accelerate the tanning process when your skin is exposed to UV rays.

Unlike sunblock lotions, the indoor tanning lotion does not offer any protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Q: Why are natural skin tanning lotions ideal for people with sensitive skin?

A: This is because the lack of chemical elements in the products means that the lotion is less likely to cause any irritations or allergic reactions on the skin.

Q: Is there anything that I should do before you embark on any tanning process?

A: Well, there are many things you could do. However, we majorly insist on you moisturize your skin so that you unclog the blocked pores and cells to get you that even tan that you have always desired.

Best Choice

Best tanning lotion?In the end, we have settled on Beauty by Earth Self Tanner as our top pick. It is non-toxic and, therefore, safe for all skin types. Further, the lotion is not restricted to a particular age group and can be used by teenagers and older adults too.

Wrapping It Up

If you are tired of spending extended hours in the sun just to get that deep tan everyone else seems to have, tannings lotions are your other best bet. So take your time and read our article to know the main features of tanning creams.

After that, check out the list of products that we have reviewed, and we believe nothing should stop you from getting your preferred item.

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

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