You may not know this, but applying a tanning lotion before indoor or outdoor UV tanning is the secret to achieving the deepest, darkest, bronziest, and most even tan.
*Experts pick for The Best Indoor Tanning Lotion: Hempz HYPOALLERGENIC DARK TAN Maximizer
Tanning lotions and accelerators actually interact with the melanin producers in your skin cells, heightening and lengthening your tan for the best results.
If you’re on the hunt for the most effective tanning lotions, look no further! Here are 9 of our favorites!
Best Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews
1. Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion, 13.5 oz.
This rich, coconut-scented tanning lotion will smooth, tone, tighten, and of course, tan your skin. It features powerful tan-enhancing ingredients to stimulate the natural melanin production of your skin. Plus, its delicious coconut scent creates a relaxing beachy experience!
This tanning lotion features rich, moisturizing coconut milk and coconut oil, as well as a quad tyrosine blend and MelanoBronze, which work together to stimulate melanin formation and tan your skin. It also includes Melactiva, a melanin synthesizer that helps your tan last longer.
Protects Your Tattoos
This tanning lotion uses two different types of coconut to smooth, soften, and hydrate your skin. Plus, it also features a tattoo and color fade protector that keeps your tattoos looking freshly-inked, even against your newly-bronzed skin. It’s the perfect way to achieve a gorgeous tan without causing your tattoos to fade.
Tones Your Skin
This tanning formula also features an exclusive BodyFit complex, which helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. Your skin will look smoother, firmer, and more toned, making you pool or beach-ready almost instantaneously!
Great for Coconut Lovers
This luscious, hydrating, smooth tanning lotion is a fan favorite because of its delicious smell and effective results. If you’re a huge fan of coconut scents, you could also wear this tanning lotion as a rich, moisturizing daily moisturizer, even when you’re not tanning!
2. Hempz HYPOALLERGENIC DARK TAN Maximizer – 9 oz.
This rich, moisturizing, and hypoallergenic tanning lotion formula is perfect for people with sensitive skin. Its ingredients are gentle and hydrating, but still very effective at giving you the bronzed, glowing tan that you’ve always wanted.
Hydrating Oils and Extracts
Like all other Hempz products, this tanning lotion features 100% pure, natural hemp seed oil, which hydrates, nourishes, and smooths your skin, creating the perfect canvas for a tan. It also includes an oatmeal extract and mango seed butter for even more hydration and nourishment.
Free of Irritants
This formula is especially great for people with sensitive skin. It’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and THC-free, which means that it’ll work for people with allergies, ingredient sensitivities, and overall reactive skin.
Lightweight, yet Hydrating Formula
This tanning lotion’s formula is also lightweight and non-greasy. It absorbs quickly into your skin, so you’re not left with an uncomfortable oily residue. However, even though it’s non-greasy, the formula doesn’t compromise its hydrating properties, so you get the best of both worlds!
Perfect for Sensitive Skin or Allergies
If you have sensitive skin and can’t use most other tanning products, this Hempz lotion is perfect for you. It won’t irritate your skin, cause rashes, or cause allergic reactions. It’s great for people with psoriasis or eczema, too, because its ingredients are so gentle and hydrating.
3. Somewhere on a Beach, Indoor-Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion
This powerful tanning accelerator can be used both indoors or outdoors. That means that no matter whether the weather outside is sunny or cloudy, hot or cold, you can still achieve the deepest, darkest, most bronzed tan of your dreams!
The Somewhere on a Beach Instant Dark Tanning Lotion is 100% DHA-free, which means that it won’t stain your hands or create ugly streaks all over your skin! You absolutely can apply this tanning lotion without gloves, and you don’t ever have to worry about developing obnoxious orange splotches on your palms!
This formula features rich coconut and walnut oils, which soften and hydrate your skin to create a smooth, silky, conditioned canvas for your perfect tan! Plus, it also contains sea buckthorn berry, an ingredient that is extremely rich in Omega 7. It does an incredible job at healing dry, damaged, and flaky skin!
The Somewhere on a Beach Instant Dark Tanning Lotion is also infused with an advanced matrixyl synthe 6 formula. This innovative formula is full of powerful anti-aging peptides that eliminate fine lines and wrinkles on your skin, making you look younger and smoother in addition to tanner!
Hydrating and Non-Irritating
If you don’t like to visit tanning salons, but still want to look bronzed, tanned, and fresh off of a relaxing tropical vacation, this product is perfect for you! Plus, it hydrates, smooths, and conditions your body, avoids irritating sensitive skin, and it smells absolutely delicious!
4. Millennium Tanning New Solid Black Bronzer Tanning Bed Lotion, 100x, 13.5 oz.
This tanning lotion features auto-darkening tan technology, which works overnight to develop the perfect tan for your skin tone. It also contains 100x silicone bronzers that start working instantly, creating an amazingly deep, dark tan!
Full of Nourishing Plant Extracts
This tanning enhancer is full of nourishing ingredients like walnut seed oil, pecan seed oil, sunflower seed oil, carrot seed oil, banana extract, apple extract, melon extract, and a willow bark extract. All of these ingredients will do an excellent job at hydrating and smoothing your skin!
Extremely Easy to Use
This tanning enhancer is also extremely easy to use! It’s intended to be applied before tanning inside or outside to create your perfect tan. Just apply liberally to clean skin before tanning and enjoy! This product does not contain SPF, so be sure to apply sunscreen to sensitive areas like your face in addition to this tanning lotion.
In addition to being infused with plenty of powerful, hydrating, tan-enhancing ingredients, this tanning lotion also features a delicious Orchid Blush scent, which adds a pleasant, spa-like element to your tanning experience!
Perfect for Pale Skin
If your skin is naturally very pale, but you still want to experience a gorgeous, glowing, bronzed tan, this tanning accelerator is the perfect product for you! It never makes you look streaky or orange, but it does give you the deep, dark tan that you’ve always wanted!
5. Tan Asz U LUAU 200x Island Black Bronzer – 13.5 oz.
This powerful tanning lotion promises to deliver your deepest, darkest, tan yet! It features 200x bronzing technology that stimulates your natural melanin production, making you look like you’ve just come back from a week at the beach!
Moisturizing Marula Oil
This tanning lotion features a Marula Goddess Glow Serum formula. Marula oil is a potent, lightweight moisturizing ingredient. It has a high antioxidant count and promotes hydration, smoothness, and softness, all without irritating sensitive skin!
Streak-Free and Stain-Free
This tanning lotion is formulated without DHA, which is the number-one compound responsible for staining and streaking in most self-tanners, body bronzers, and tanning lotions. That means that it won’t ever stain your hands or cause weird streaks on your skin.
This tanning lotion also features a delicious, exclusive Awapuhi Peach Smoothie scent, which will make you feel like you’re sipping on a delicious drink by the pool in a luxurious Hawaiian resort. If you’re looking for a tanning lotion that’s both effective and delicious-smelling, this is the perfect one for you!
This tanning lotion comes highly recommended for being as effective as expensive, high-end formulas while costing a fraction of the price. Plus, it smells incredible, unlike other, more chemically-scented lotions. Finally, it really does work, giving you the tan of your dreams!
6. Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion 8.5 oz.
This tanning lotion is one of the most popular in the entire industry. Its tried-and-true formula is proven to work on tanning enthusiasts of all ages, genders, skin types, and skin tones, which makes it a perfect option for both tanning novices and experts!
This powerful formula is full of native Australian oils and vitamins A and E. Plus, it features an exclusive Biosine Complex. All of these ingredients work together to hydrate and smooth your skin while also stimulating melanin production, making you feel soft, smooth, and super tan!
Smooth, Spreadable Consistency
Australian Gold tanning accelerator is also formulated with silicone and glycerin, which give it an incredibly smooth, spreadable consistency that absorbs into your skin quickly without ever making you feel oily or greasy.
Delicious, Unique Scent
This tanning lotion also contains Australian Gold’s proprietary CocoaDreams fragrance, which combines notes of orange, citrus, banana, floral rose, fruity coconut, and sweet vanilla to give you the lushest, sweetest, and most delicious tanning experience!
Fan Favorite Product
People everywhere love this tanning lotion for its effectiveness, unique formula, and iconic Creamsicle smell! It’s never streaky, never orange, and never splotchy, and it does an incredible job at smoothing and hydrating your skin in addition to giving you a beautiful, expensive-looking tan!
7. Brown Sugar BLACK CHOCOLATE COCONUT CREAM 200x Bronzer – 13.5 oz.
This powerful self-tanning formula features the absolute highest concentration of bronzing compounds out of all other tanning lotions. That means that it’ll stimulate your skin cells’ melanin production, and helping you achieve your deepest, darkest, glowiest tan!
The Brown Sugar Black Chocolate Coconut Cream bronzer is full of rich ingredients like double dark chocolate extract, argan oil, a triple coconut cocktail, and silicones that help smooth, soften, and moisturize your skin while also creating a deep, dark, streak-free tan!
No Dangerous Additives
In addition to being full of good-for-your-skin ingredients, antioxidants, and moisturizing compounds, this tanning lotion’s formula is 100% of parabens and DHA, which means that it’ll never streak or cause any allergic reactions, even on the most sensitive skin!
Super Easy to Use
This tanning lotion is super easy to use! It’s formulated specifically for use indoors, so you don’t have to expose your skin to the sun’s dangerous rays to get your perfect tan. Just apply with bare hands to dry, clean, exfoliated skin and watch in amazement as your, deepest, darkest, most perfect tan develops!
Works Almost Universally
This tanning lotion works almost universally, even on people with super pale or fair skin that usually have trouble getting a tan. Plus, coconut lovers will rejoice at this tanning lotion’s delicious scent, which features a triple coconut cocktail! Finally, it’s DHA-free, which means that it never streaks, splotches, or turns orange.
8. Supre Snooki Skinny StreakFree Bronzer Tanning Lotion, 12 Fluid Ounce
This tanning lotion is a collaboration with Snooki, aka Nicole Polizzi, the queen of tanning! It’s unique because it’s specifically formulated to combat imperfections in your skin that can make your tan look less-than-flawless.
Fit and Firm Complex
This tanning lotion features Supre’s proprietary Fit and Firm Complex, which helps reverse the visible signs of aging. It increases the elasticity of your skin, erasing wrinkles and fine lines and eliminating sagging. Plus, it tones and tightens your skin, making you look firmer almost instantly!
Keeps Your Tattoos Looking Vibrant
This tanning lotion also includes ingredients that help fight against tattoo fading. If you’re scared to go indoor or outdoor tanning because you don’t want your tattoos to suffer from sun damage, this tanning lotion is the perfect way to achieve a gorgeous tan without compromising the look of your tattoos!
Light, Floral Scent
In addition to its complex of firming and anti-fading ingredients, this tanning lotion is also unique for its delicious, lightly floral scent. If other tanning lotions with tropical scents are too strong for you, or if you just don’t like the smell of coconut, this tanning lotion is a great alternative.
Great for Tanning Beginners
This tanning lotion is excellent for tanning beginners who haven’t ever used a tanning lotion before. Its light scent, thick formula, and tattoo protection ingredients are a great way to ease into the world of tanning lotions.
9. Supre Snooki – Ultra Dark Black Bronzer by Nicole Polizzi 12 oz.
This lotion was formulated by infamous Jersey Shore reality TV personality Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, so you know that it’ll work hard to create the deepest, darkest, bronziest tan that’ll make you look like you spend all your time on the beach!
Super Effective Ingredients
This lotion features a blend of black walnut oil, henna, and DHA, which work together to boost melanin synthesis in your skin after exposure to UV rays, giving you the deepest, darkest, tan that your skin could possibly ever develop.
This tanning lotion also features a vitamin-enriched skin conditioner full of coconut and sweet almond oil, which helps hydrate and soften your skin for a smoother, softer, glowier, and more youthful-looking result. It also helps combat the effects of environmental stressors, keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy!
Out of all the Supre Snooki tanning lotions, this Ultra Dark Black Bronzer is the strongest and most effective. It’s perfect for tanning experts who are looking to take their indoor tanning game to the next level. If you’re looking for the ultimate deep dark tan, this is the lotion for you!
Perfect for Tanning Experts
This tanning lotion is best for tanning experts and enthusiasts. It smooths quickly and evenly into your skin without causing an ugly orange tint. It’ll work to deepen and darken your skin for the most natural, but dramatic results!
What Is the Best Indoor Tanning Lotion?
If you want to go into the new year with a gorgeous, deep, dark tan, a good tanning lotion is an absolute must. All of the tanning lotions listed above are fantastic options, but we especially recommend the Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer. Its ingredients are especially soothing, moisturizing, and hydrating. It’s safe for all skin types and tones since its ingredients are very gentle, hypoallergenic, and effective even on the most sensitive of skin. Plus, it’s super effective, so you can rest assured knowing that you’re not sacrificing the deepest, darkest tan possible, even with such a gentle formula.
How Does Indoor Tanning Lotion Work?
Indoor tanning lotion works by temporarily darkening the cells at the surface of your skin. Most kinds of tanning lotions use dihydroxyacetone, otherwise known as DHA, to create this temporary darkening effect, which wears off after a few days. However, many other indoor tanning lotions use alternate compounds besides DHA, creating a less streaky effect. When combined with the UV rays from a tanning bed or booth, all indoor tanning lotions, regardless of whether or not they contain DHA, can boost the natural darkening of your skin, causing a deeper, darker, and longer-lasting tan than you would normally have if you didn’t use tanning lotion.
Can You Use Regular Lotion in a Tanning Bed?
There isn’t anything dangerous or inadvisable to wear regular lotion in a tanning bed, but you definitely won’t experience the same tan-boosting effects as you would if you wore a specifically designated indoor tanning lotion. This is because indoor tanning lotions contain compounds that are formulated for the specific purpose of temporarily darkening your skin and boosting your skin’s natural melanin production, which cause your tan to be enhanced. Regular lotions will moisturize, hydrate, and smooth your skin, but they won’t do anything to help you look tanner.
What Is the Best Indoor Tanning Lotion for Fair Skin?
If you have very pale or fair skin, you’re probably a little nervous about using indoor tanning lotions. If you’re not careful or if you use too strong of a formula, some indoor tanning lotions can make your skin look streaky, stained, orange, or unnaturally dark. You’re going to want to look for a formula that’s quite gentle so that your tanning lotion results look realistic. The Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion is an excellent option for pale or fair skin. It smells great, but more importantly, it’s smooth, spreadable, and gentle enough to use on fair skin.
Can You Use Tanning Bed Lotion in the Sun?
Although you technically can use tanning bed lotion in the sun, it’s not a very good idea. Indoor tanning exposes you controlled amounts of UVA radiation for a relatively short period of time. Outdoor tanning is much less regulated, and people tend to spend a lot more time tanning outdoors under the sun than they do in a tanning bed. Since most indoor tanning lotions don’t have SPF, using them outside might actually damage your skin, causing sunburns and even heightening your risk of developing skin cancer. Indoor tanning lotion is also formulated to enhance the effects of UVA rays, which means that they might hurt your skin, even more, when used outside.
How Long Does Tanning Lotion Stay On?
After you apply your tanning lotion and sit through a session in a tanning bed, you shouldn’t immediately wash the lotion off. Wait at least an hour or two after finishing your tanning session. This will allow your skin cells to fully absorb the lotion, giving you the deepest, darkest results. It’ll also allow your melanin pigments to fully absorb the tanning bed’s UV rays. After about one hour or four hours at the most, you should be good to wash off your tanning lotion and go about the rest of your day!
Should You Shower After Tanning?
After you step out of a tanning bed, you might feel kind of hot, sweaty, and gross. Try to resist the urge to shower for at least one hour, or even up to four hours. As we mentioned above, especially if you’ve used a tanning lotion, your skin needs more time to fully interact with the tanning lotion’s formula and the tanning bed’s UV rays. One to four hours is enough time for your skin to fully absorb the lotion and UV rays and begin to develop the pigments that create your deepest, darkest tan. After that initial one-to-four-hour period, you’re OK to take a shower!
How Long After Tanning Can You See Results?
After your very first indoor tanning session, you might be disappointed in your results. Don’t worry; this is perfectly normal. Your skin needs a lot of time to absorb the tanning bed’s UV radiation, create melanin, and oxidize that melanin, which creates your tan. Many salons recommend that you sit through a tanning bed session twice a week, to begin with. After three to five sessions, you’ll begin to see your skin darkening and deepening. Once you reach your ideal level of darkness, you can reduce the frequency of your tanning sessions to once a week to maintain your tan.