Each summer, beach season makes us look forward to swimming, tanning, and playing in the sand. Hot weather and sunshine are the ideal conditions for outdoor tanning. But, I know you want your skin to look its best before heading to the beach. So, before heading out, remember to buy an excellent outdoor tanning lotion as it’s important that you keep your skin safe and protected. That’s why, if you’re considering heading out to tan, don’t forget to bring along some tanning lotion! It will help keep your skin hydrated and looking fresh. Not all tanning lotions contain SPF, but they moisturize the skin to keep it healthy, so you get a nice tan faster.
Many of these lotions prevent your skin from premature aging, sun damage, and sunspots. They also help to avoid dangerous sunburns. Some formulas with self-tanners even offer a glowy tint, so your skin looks bronzed before you hit the beach.
What is outdoor tanning lotion and oil?
An outdoor tanning lotion or oil is a product that accelerates the tanning process while exposed to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. The majority of outdoor tanning lotions are formulated using natural ingredients. These ingredients keep your skin hydrated and moisturized, which in turn helps accelerate the tanning process on the skin’s surface.
Use outdoor tanning lotions when going to the beach, at the pool, or whenever you sit out in the sun to tan.
Does outdoor tanning lotion contain SPF?
Most formulas do not contain high amounts of SPF, so if you want to protect your skin, add a thin layer of your favorite SPF before you apply the tanning lotion. However, as you’ll see on our list of the best products, some do contain SPF protection. The problem is that the level of SPF is usually below 20, which is very little.
It’s up to you what type of product you choose, depending on how your skin reacts to tanning and how much SPF you want under the tanning lotion.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the best outdoor tanning lotions so that you can make smart and informed decisions when choosing your tanning lotion.
10 Best Outdoor Tanning Lotions Reviewed
Best Value: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil Original
Hawaiian Tropic is a classic brand known for its great tanning oils. This formula leaves your skin looking moisturized, fresh, and healthy. The product has a light coconut scent that gives you instant Hawaiian beach vibes. As you tan, you’ll notice your skin looks sleek and radiant. This is the tanning oil to use if you want an intense glow fast because it absorbs into the skin quickly, and you’ll start seeing results.
The Hawaiian Tropic Dark formula contains a lot of natural ingredients that help keep skin hydrated and healthy, even after tanning. You’ll love the fact that this formula contains antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E, which help fight any sun damage and skin irritation as well as keep the skin safe from the drying effects of sun exposure.
This product made this list because it is the best value product – it has a low price and works well.
- This formula is non-sticky, which means it absorbs into the skin quickly and easily without excessive rubbing.
- The formula is the perfect primer for a healthy glow and bronze because it hydrates the skin, which in turn accelerates the tanning process.
- This is an affordable tanning lotion that costs under $20.
- The product does not contain SPF, so use an SPF as a primer if you need sun protection.
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Black Label Black DHA Skin Hydrating Bronze
Get ready for super bronzed skin with this heavy-duty tanning lotion. It works to stimulate melanin production, which speeds up the tanning process. It has a fantastic cocoa butter scent to give you that tropical beach fragrance all day. You’ll love the effect of this product because you’ll get a darker, deep golden-hued tan, thanks to the melanin synthesizer in the formula.
The tanning lotion also softens and moisturizes the skin, so your tan looks glowy and healthy. It is easy to apply all over the body and does not leave any marks or streaks. This lotion is excellent for protecting tattoos from sun damage and discoloration. Next time you want a long-lasting tanning lotion that gives you a deep tan, and protects the skin, try this premium brand.
We chose this formula for those of you with tattoos because it helps protect them from discoloration.
- The coconut milk and coconut oil in this formula are extra nourishing for the skin so that it will be soft and glowy for days.
- This tanning lotion is excellent for protecting your tattoos from fading and discoloration because it contains a tattoo and color fade protector.
- The product contains Nouritan, which is known to stimulate tyrosine activity, responsible for making your tan look even and last longer.
- The scent of the lotion is potent and long-lasting, so that you can end up with a synthetic coconut scent all over the body.
Australian Gold Sinfully Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion
This is a tanning lotion that you can use for both indoor and outdoor tanning. It’s known to be a powerful formula that gives an even golden tan on even the lightest skin tones. In less than two weeks, you can build up a dark bronze and get that beach body you’ve always wanted. You’ll love that this is an intense tanning product of superior quality. Therefore you can expect excellent results after the first few applications.
The lotion is made of high-quality ingredients such as walnut shell, caramel, kukui oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil. These combine to give you fresh, glowy, and healthy-looking skin with a beautiful caramel hue. The smell is pleasant and similar to other tanning lotions, as it has that tropical fruit fragrance.
We chose this lotion because it leaves you with a caramel bronze and doesn’t leave orange streaks.
- This is an ideal product to use if you want to build up a tan gradually. It applies evenly and streak-free for glowy results.
- You can also use it over your existing tan to make it pop and enhance the color and glow.
- It is suitable for both indoor use on a tanning bed or outdoor use and gives great results used both ways.
- It can dehydrate skin when used frequently, so always use a moisturizer after using the tanning lotion.
Supre Smoke Black Bronzer Tanning Lotion
Consider this the most innovative tanning lotion on our list. It does more than the average tanning lotion because it gives you youthful and fresh skin. The formula covers and fills in all the fine lines, for the most even tan. Supre has a trademarked Oxygen Regeneration System, full of healthy antioxidants and trace minerals.
This water-based tanning lotion will give you an extra dark tan, for a deep glowing bronze that lasts. It’s easy to apply all over the body, and it has a pleasant fruity fragrance that smells of pineapple, mango, and passionfruit. This lotion contains self-tanners, which means it gives your skin color while you are getting a tan from the sun.
We selected this unisex tanning lotion because it is suited for all skin types and skin tones.
- This product works for both men and women and gives great results on all skin types.
- The lotion is ideal for advanced tanners who are looking for a deep type of tan since this product contains self-tanners.
- There are many vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals in this formula, so your skin feels soft and supple after tanning.
- Some customers report a tingling feeling on the skin after using the tanning lotion. Be careful to moisturize if you have dry skin.
Maui Babe Browning Lotion
Maui Babe is a Hawaiian brand known for its amazing tanning products. It is a bestselling product because it uses local Hawaiian ingredients that are incredibly efficient at accelerating a beautiful bronze. Maui Babe still uses a secret family formula that has stood the test of time. Their formula is packed with nourishing Kukui nut oil, Kona coffee, iodine, and contains antioxidants, to leave your skin feeling supple and hydrated.
You can use the lotion without sunscreen to accelerate the tanning process and achieve a deep dark tan color. The combination of coffee and coconut makes this lotion smells so good that you’ll want to keep re-applying. No wonder this is a cult-favorite tanning lotion for experienced tanners.
We chose this Hawaiian cult classic because of its naturally derived ingredients and high efficiency.
- The premium formula of this tanning lotion is non-sticky, non-greasy, non-oily, so you get buttery skin without a visible layer of oil.
- It is safe for all skin types, even people with a very fair skin tone or highly sensitive skin.
- The formula is extremely potent and offers a deep dark brown shade, perfect for avid outdoor tanners.
- It is an expensive lotion. It costs approximately $45 for 8 ounces of fluid.
- The lotion is thick and may clog pores, so be careful if you suffer from body acne.
Millenium Tanning New Paint It Black Auto-darkening Dark Tanning Lotion
For the fastest tan possible, choose the Paint it Black formula from Millenium Tanning. This lotion claims to give you a 50x darker tan in a short period of time. The product is best suited to people looking for a quick deep tan. You’ll love the feeling of this silicone-based tanning lotion because it leaves skin feeling super soft. The product already contains auto-darkening technology, which makes the skin darker even before sun exposure.
Not only does the lotion accelerate the tanning process, but it also firms the skin, covering wrinkles and cellulite for a youthful appearance. The scent of cotton blossoms is subtle and pleasant, so you don’t end up with the typical tanning lotion fragrance.
This lotion made our list because it works efficiently and very quickly, limiting the time you need to expose yourself to the sun.
- This formula is excellent because it gives your skin a chocolatey brown or caramel hue and doesn’t give off an orange tint.
- The effects of this lotion are long-lasting; the color doesn’t fade away after the first shower. Expect results for 4 to 5 days after use.
- It has a very moisturizing formula that leaves skin soft and hydrated. The silicone emulsion is not sticky.
- There can be some tingling sensation on some skin types because the formula is very powerful.
Best Outdoor Tanning Lotion for Women: Devoted Creations Somewhere on a Beach Tanning Lotion
This product is specially formulated for women who don’t want any streaks and orange color from their tanning lotion. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor tanning and contains high-quality ingredients. The formula is powerful, so it can transform even the palest skin from pasty to bronzed in a short period.
Unlike other tanning lotions that use DHA to give you a sunless tan, this formula contains tyrosine and walnut oil. This way, the sun’s rays give you the tan, but this product helps accelerate the process. You will also appreciate that this lotion contains anti-aging peptides that help protect skin cells from the harmful ultraviolet rays.
We chose this product because it helps women with very fair skin get a natural-looking tan.
- The lotion leaves skin feeling fresh and moisturized because it contains coconut oil and sea buckthorn berry.
- This is a great value tanning product because it has a great price, and it is highly efficient – you’ll start seeing results in as little as 15 minutes.
- After rubbing it in, the lotion doesn’t leave a white pasty residue and has a blendable texture.
- This product doesn’t contain any SPF, so if you want to be protected, you need to apply an SPF first.
- For the best results, you’ll need to wax or shave first so that the skin is smooth.
Best Tanning Lotion for Sensitive Skin: Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer
Here is the top-rated tanning lotion for sensitive skin. The Hempz cream is a hypoallergenic product, which means it won’t cause an allergic reaction or breakouts. This lotion contains 100% pure natural hemp seed oil, which works to moisturize, hydrate, and condition the skin. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about dry or peeling skin after tanning because this product leaves you with baby-smooth skin.
The formula absorbs into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind. It’s an excellent choice for people who want a nut-free and fragrance-free tanning lotion, as this product has no scent. Plus, the lotion is full of good-for-you ingredients, such as oatmeal, which soothes skin and mango, which offers moisture.
This product made a list because it is the most eco-friendly option, and even people with allergies can use it.
- This product is specially formulated for people with sensitive skin, so it is free from harsh chemicals and fragrances.
- You’ll get a healthy dark looking tan with this product even though it is hypoallergenic.
- The ingredients in this lotion include natural tan enhancers to help your skin look radiant.
- This product doesn’t contain any bronzer or self-tanner; therefore, it only helps accelerate a tan while outdoor tanning.
Australian Gold Exotic Oil Spray
Although the title suggests otherwise, this is not an Australian brand. However, the product is inspired by Aussie beaches and sunshine. The brand doesn’t test on animals and contains many natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil. You can feel good when using this lotion because it is reef safe, which means it doesn’t bleach coral.
This isn’t your typical oily product; it leaves skin smooth and soft, with no greasy layer or sticky texture. To speed up the tanning process, the formula contains carrot pigment and leaves you with darker, bronzier skin. The best part is that you can step into the pool or ocean after using the tanning lotion because it lasts for up to 80 minutes in the water.
We chose this spray formula as an alternative to those of you that find cream applications hard.
- This is an environmentally friendly product because it doesn’t damage coral reefs, and it is cruelty-free.
- This product is voted as having the best tanning lotion fragrance with a sweet cocoa scent.
- The product is easier to apply than traditional tanning lotions and creams because you just spray it.
- The color doesn’t last as long as some other products of the same price point. It washes off after showering.
Supre Tan SNOOKI ULTRA DARK 70X BLACK BRONZER
This product is the one to buy for that ultra-dark suntan. If you’ve watched Jersey Shore, you’ll know Snooki, one of the main stars and her iconic super dark tan. This lotion contains a 70X dark bronzing blend. The main ingredients are henna, black walnut, and DHA, which means that you’ll continue to glow because the skin darkens even after tanning. The HyperDark technology ensures that darkening occurs as soon as the product is applied.
This lotion also conditions and moisturizes your skin, since it is enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It also helps to firm out any fine lines and wrinkles for an even, streak-free color. If you want long-lasting tanning lotion, this is the one to choose because it lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 days post-tan.
We selected this tanning lotion because it gives you extremely deep tans.
- The product contains an advanced skin firming blend that helps you achieve firm, tight, and toned skin that looks healthy.
- The HyperDark technology preps and primes the skin for tanning, so it’s easy to achieve a dark golden color.
- This product is intended for advanced tanners because the formula contains strong bronzers, so prepare to get dark skin.
- The product has a high cost – at approximately 70 dollars per 350ml bottle.
- The cream is very thick, so it is hard to apply.
As you know, a good tanning lotion helps speed up the tanning process, it enhances a tan, and it also moisturizes skin to make it healthy-looking. Here are some things to consider before you purchase an outdoor tanning lotion.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Tanning Lotion
You’re probably wondering what the difference between an indoor and an outdoor lotion is?
Indoor tanning lotions:
- Designed for shorter exposure to UV rays, so they don’t contain SPF.
- They contain more ingredients that help you achieve deeper tans in a short period.
- These lotions stimulate the natural tanning process of the skin.
- The formulas are designed to enhance the effects of UV rays without moisturizing the skin.
Outdoor tanning lotions:
- They are designed for prolonged outdoor exposure to the sun and UVA + UVB rays.
- The formula hydrates and moisturizes the skin to minimize sun damage.
- These formulas are designed to accelerate the body’s natural tanning process since tanning is a biological function.
- Many of the outdoor lotions are suitable for use indoors and outdoors, so check the label.
Is tanning lotion safe?
An outdoor tanning lotion is safe to use, but remember that many of these lotions DO NOT contain more than 5-20 level SPF. Thus, they don’t protect your skin adequately from UVA & UVB rays, which are known to harm the epidermis and cause discoloration, burns, and damage. For protection, look for lotions with added SPF or add a layer of SPF before the tanning lotion.
The Bottom Line
If you want to look like a bronzed glowy goddess, use an outdoor tanning lotion to help accelerate and accentuate your sun-kissed skin. If you use one of the products we mentioned, you’ll be able to keep your skin hydrated and fresh and avoid dry, patchy or uneven tans. We all know there’s nothing like going to the beach with a natural glowy tan.