11 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions in 2019

Last updated: April 22, 2019
Sara Fletcher
Published 12:00 am

Ed Hardy
Coconut Kisses
Golden Tanning

Australian Gold
Jwoww Black Bronzer
Dark Tanning Lotion

Devoted Creations
#Tanlife Hydrating
Tanning Butter

Sara Fletcher
Published 12:00 am

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I just love getting a tan and having that feeling like I just came from a tropical vacation. But due to genetics, tans don’t come easily to me. That is why I need to tan as safely as possible.

I have a lot of concerns about getting the skin tone that I prefer because tanning comes with some adverse effects too. And because of these concerns, I have done quite a lot of research regarding the best way to obtain a tan without harming our skin.

One method that has stuck out to me is indoor tanning and I want to share what I know about it with you. So, come with me as I track down the best indoor tanning lotion!

In this blog post, you will discover the pros and cons of several brands in my indoor tanning lotion reviews.

The Best Indoor Tanning Lotion

This is heaven in a bottle. It is packed with coconut milk and coco oil to keep your skin moisturized and healthy. 

I experienced real results with this tanning lotion, even if there are no bronzing agents in it. I find it to be one of the best indoor tanning lotions without a bronzer by far.

The active ingredients found in this tanning lotion stimulate and increase melanin production. It leaves you with darker and longer-lasting results. And here are two great bonuses: this lotion also helps reduce the appearance of cellulite and promotes skin firmness!

Key Features:

  • This product has no added bronzers
  • Gives that light scent of a coconut

Specification:

Brand
Ed Hardy
Model
Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
Weight
1.1 pounds
Pros
  • No bronzers and no orange
  • It contains natural accelerator
  • Gives you a deep dark tan with no stench
  • It does not tingle
Cons
  • Scent may not suit others

If you are looking for solid black tanning lotion, this one is for you. It features caramel, Monoi de Tahiti, walnut shell extract, and dark natural bronzers to give you the deepest tan you never had.

You do not have to worry about this product drying out your skin because the hemp seed and black currant oil work in tandem to provide superior moisture that other lotions just can’t match.

I love all the added ingredients in this lotion. I swear my tan was one of the tannest tans I ever had in my entire life.

The smell is quite amazing, too. I felt like I was on a mini-vacation every time I used it.

Key Features:

  • Contains Black Currant Oil
  • Has sunflower oil and Kukui Nut Oil
  • Berry scent

Specification:

Brand
Australian Gold Jwoww
Model
Black Bronzer Dark Tanning Lotion
Weight
13.5 Ounce
Pros
  • It has a very good consistency
  • The lotion is quite easy to apply
  • Budget-friendly
  • Tans naturally
Cons
  • Does not give much color
  • The smell is not the greatest

This tanning butter is a luxury that gives you a sun-kissed, glowing, tanned skin as if you just came from the beach. It’s safe for your skin and is easy on your wallet. It is very gentle and mild even if you have very sensitive skin. Its formulation keeps your skin hydrated and protected all day, thanks to the shea butter that it contains.

There are many reasons to love this tanning lotion. It keeps your skin firm, protects your tattoos from fading, and minimizes your fine lines and wrinkles.

Other than it is hypoallergenic, it is also free from parabens. You don’t have to worry about your skin type too because it’s suitable for all skin types. You have to note, though, that this tanning butter has no SPF.

Key Features:

  • Great for sensitive skin
  • Has skin-firming benefits
  • Builds and maintains the natural glow of your skin

Specification:

Brand
Devoted Creations
Model
#TANLIFE Hydrating Tanning Butter
Weight
12.25 oz.
Pros
  • Goes on the skin smoothly
  • The lotion does not have bronzers in it
  • Smells good and consistency is great
Cons
  • Could make skin smell after awhile
  • Color may not retain on some type of skin

A lot of indoor tanning lotions have that tingling sensation which I many of you do not fancy. I personally enjoy the tingling feeling, but if you don’t, try this lotion. You might notice a little tingle, but it is nothing like other brands.

You can also expect results after the first application. This lotion made me a couple of shades darker, but it does have its limits.

It’s great to use for a big weekend coming up when you want to deepen your tan quickly, but it might not be the best indoor tanning lotion to use for an entire summer.

Key Features:

  • Contains tantalizing silicone bronzer with warming energy beads
  • 75x bronzing for fast results
  • Its tan technology allows auto-darkening

Specification:

Brand
Millennium Tanning Products
Model
Black & Tan 75x Indoor Tanning Bed Bronzer
Weight
13.5OZ
Pros
  • Lotion does not make the skin tingle
  • Effects of this tanning lotion work fast
  • It has a great texture that makes it pour smoothly
Cons
  • The scent is not that great
  • Its application can be messy
  • It may leave orange streaks on skin

This indoor tanning lotion really goes above and beyond. It is paraben free, nut free, and gluten-free. It also has special ingredients to help protect tattoos. It was made for all skin types, even sensitive skin.

But here is where it gets really good. You will enjoy instant results, but the lotion also keeps working for up to 12 hours. When I used it, I noticed a hint of gold right after my tanning session in the afternoon.

But by the next morning, I had a seriously noticeable tan. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a subtler change. But if you are looking for more ongoing results, this is the best lotion to try.

Key Features:

  • Has powerful dark black bronzers for instant and long-lasting results
  • Color continues to develop for up to 12 hours after tanning
  • Multiple maximizers help further your dark tanning results

Specification:

Brand
Supre Snooki
Model
Skinny Dark Black Bronzer Firming Indoor Tanning Bed Lotion
Weight
12 oz
Pros
  • This product is easy to apply
  • Does not make you look orange
  • Lotion does not give you any tingle
Cons
  • The smell can be terrible
  • Its consistency feels like you are applying glue to skin

Not tan enough? Well, you will definitely fall in love with this product. Imagine, you can control how tan you can get. By applying this tanning lotion more often or less, you can get that deep tan you want or a lighter tan for that sun-kissed effect.

Now, isn’t that great? It is also very lightweight and packed with quick drying formula. So, say goodbye to that icky feeling. In just two to four hours, you get the tan you desire without exposing yourself to the sun’s harmful rays. This lotion’s formula is clinically proven. It has sheer coverage and a long-lasting effect. You have to take note, though, that it contains alcohol and parabens.

Key Features:

  • Gives you a deep tan skin or a healthy-looking glow
  • It has a gradual tanning formula
  • Lightweight and delivers sheer color

Specification:

Brand
Neutrogena
Model
Build-A-Tan Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion, Lightweight Self-Tanning Body Lotion for a Healthy Glow or Deep Tan
Weight
6.7 fl. oz
Pros
  • Does not leave visible streaks on your skin
  • Easy to apply and is effective
  • It goes on smooth and leaves no smell
Cons
  • Turns skin orange

This tanning lotion has skin tightening effect. Get instant tan without that greasy feeling. It is especially formulated for those with fair skin and it is suitable for every skin type. It has caramel, banana, and natural bronzers to help you get tanned quickly. Be careful though because it contains artificial color which might stain your light-colored clothes and the scent of this lotion might be too strong for you.

Key Features:

  • Great for fair skin to dark skin tones
  • Contains natural bronzers that give natural looking tan
  • Smells like Summer Sangria

Specification:

Brand
New Sunshine
Model
Designer Skin Belle
Weight
13.5 Ounce
Pros
  • You don’t end up orange
  • Amazing product for sensitive skin
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • May not give you the color you’re hoping for

This product wants to make sure that your skin is safe while you get that gorgeous tan. With its optic-glow formula, it lusciously melts into the skin, giving you that long-lasting tan and radiantly dark bronze glow. I also love that it contains amino acids and has that citrusy smell.

Key Features:

  • Refreshing Citrus Scent
  • Has tan extenders and amino acid to keep your bronze tan long lasting
  • Added 20x dark tanning bronzers

Specification:

Brand
Designer Skin Black
Model
Mega Magical Silicone 20x Bronzing Body Silk Indoor Tan Lotion
Weight
1.1 pounds
Pros
  • Gives you that natural looking tan
  • You won’t have to worry about stinking all day
Cons

One of the best ways to keep your tan dark is to switch up your lotions. You’ll get two separate formulas with this deal, so you’ll be able to easily keep your skin guessing and get the most out of your tan.

You will feel tingle with both of them, but it’s not unbearable by any means. Both of these lotions are the real deal.

Make sure you evenly apply them and rinse any excess off your hands or you’ll end up with a few unwanted streaks. A nice even application will leave you several shades darker than you would have been without it.

Key Features:

  • Has 2 different formulas

Specification:

Brand
Millennium Tanning
Model
Indoor Tanning Bed Lotion, Insanely Black and Solid Black
Weight
13.5 Ounce
Pros
  • The formula goes on even
  • Smells great, not perfume scented
  • Perfect for tingle lovers
Cons
  • The tingle may be too much for you
  • May give you a chemical burn

Not sure which indoor tanning option will work best or you? Why not try them all?

This sample of different lotions will allow you to affordably try a variety of options to see which works best for your skin. You’ll have 10 to choose from.

Just be sure to wait several days between trying a new lotion so that you can tell which ones are working best for you.

Keep track of which ones work best and check the ingredients.

This should help you figure out which active ingredients work best with your natural skin shade and skin type.

Key Features:

  • Assorted tanning packets

Specification:

Brand
Supre
Model
Indoor Tanning Bronzer Lotion Packets Samples Different (Lot of 10)
Weight
8 ounces
Pros
  • A mix of assorted packets
  • Packets come in handy
  • A great mix of maximizers or bronzers
Cons
  • Inventory may change
  • You may get more than one product in the packing
  • Tingle lotion may be included in the bundle

If you’re tired of buying more than one type of tanning lotion, this option can be used both indoors and out.

It’s a tanning lotion but also includes bronzer so that your skin gets as dark as possible in a shorter amount of time. The lotion has a great cocoa scent and contains vitamins A and E to keep skin healthy and moisturized.

I found this lotion to be affordable and easy to spread. I never had an issue with streaks, and the smell was subtle enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to rinse it off right away.

I keep this lotion in my summer bag at all times, so that I’m always prepared for a day at the beach.

Key Features:

Specification:

Brand
Model
Weight
Pros
Cons

What Is a Tanning Lotion?

Tanning lotions are solutions that can provide us with the glow of a tan in a shorter amount of time. They work to increase blood flow to the skin and stimulate the production of melanin, leading to darker, golden skin.

Tanning lotions do not protect you from the sun and usually contain no SPF, so don’t confuse them with any sort of sunscreen.

How Does It Work?

Tanning lotions are designed to enhance your body’s natural tanning process. You rub the lotion onto all areas of your exposed skin before entering an indoor tanning bed.

They shouldn’t be confused with sunless tanner. They won’t do anything unless you expose your skin to UV rays. Ideally, the top tanning lotions should give you more even coverage and a more intense tan.

Types of Indoor Tanning Lotion

There are several types of indoor tanning lotions. Here are some of the most popular:

Basic

Just as the name suggests, these indoor tanning lotions don’t have any extras. They are the best indoor tanning lotions for fair skin because they’re made for those new to tanning.

There are also many made for dry skin. Look for any with hemp seed oil.

Bronzer

You’ll find plenty of these tanning lotions on the market. They include bronzers in their formulas, which help you earn an instant tan.

Bronzed skin doesn’t last as long as truly tanned skin though, so don’t be concerned if your glow begins to fade.

Tingle

You’ll hear this term a lot while looking for indoor tanning lotions. Their formulas include ingredients that stimulate the skin, increase blood flow, and deepen your tan.

Some people do not enjoy the sensation of tingle lotions. If you try one, make sure you’re able to shower quickly in case the sensation is too strong for you.

What Are the Key Ingredients of an Effective Indoor Tanning Lotion?

Tanning lotions aren’t short on ingredients. You’ll find moisturizers, vitamins, and fragrances along with aloe, shimmer, and even caffeine. But one of the main ingredients is dihydroxyacetone or DHA.

This ingredient is a colorless sugar that creates a chemical reaction with dead skin cells. The color changes, lasting up to a week and can extend the depth and longevity of your tan. However, DHA has also been linked to skin cell damage over time.

Most lotions also contain menthol, which makes the skin tingle and increases blood flow, another factor that can help deepen your tan. Some people are sensitive to this ingredient. If you find that your indoor lotion stings more than tingles, look for one without menthol.

How Do Bronzers in Tanning Lotions Work?

Most bronzers include natural pigments. These are safe for the skin and essentially dye the top layer of skin. It’s always advised to test bronzers before applying them all over your body in case your skin reacts strangely.

Bronzers can be a great way to get a bit of a glow without spending the day at the beach. When included in tanning lotions, they give you more instant results and a better overall result.

What Are the Differences Between Outdoor, Indoor, and Regular Tanning Lotions?

You might think that tanning lotions are all the same, but it’s important to only use an outdoor tanning lotion while outdoors and only an indoor tanning lotion at a tanning salon. This is because outdoor tanning lotions usually contain SPF, which is necessary when tanning outdoors.

Remember, you can still tan, even with SPF included in your lotion.

Indoor tanning lotions do not contain SPF, which is why they should never be used outdoors. They are great for moisturizing skin when tanning indoors, though.

If you come across a tanning lotion that’s not marked as indoor or outdoor, read the ingredients to determine which scenario it’s best for. I’ve found that most unlabeled or regular tanning lotions are ideal for outdoor tanning.

Is Indoor Tanning More Harmful Than Outdoor Tanning?

The truth to this question is that both are dangerous. A tan is essentially the result of skin damage from UV rays.

While outdoor tanning is natural, your skin is still being damaged, especially if you’re exposed to midday sun. Tanning beds are typically marketed to be safer, but the average tanning bed actually emits nearly 12 times more UVA light than what you would be exposed to outdoors.

If you want to do your best to prevent skin cancer and other serious health conditions, both indoor and outdoor tanning should be avoided. Moderation is key. Do everything you can to keep your skin healthy otherwise.

You can also find the best self-tanning lotion and avoid rays all together, but I love my time in the sun! Use common sense when tanning and you’ll be a step ahead in preventing serious medical conditions.

How to Apply Indoor Tanning Lotion

To get the most out of your indoor tanning lotion, follow these directions:

1. Before applying your indoor tanning lotion, exfoliate your skin. If possible, you should also shave. Otherwise, the lotion can pool near hair follicles and lead to spots.

2. To apply your lotion, apply a generous amount to your hand. Rub it over your skin, making sure to apply it evenly. Avoid dark patches, like knees and elbows.

3. You can apply lotion to your face, but very lightly. Use a lighted makeup mirror to make sure you’re evenly applying the lotion.

4. Before hopping into the tanning bed, remove excess lotion from your hands and in between fingers.

5. Once you’re done tanning, wait a few hours before showering, especially if your lotion includes a bronzer. Avoid exfoliating until you’re ready for another tanning session.

You should also always wear clothing to the tanning salon that you’re okay with becoming stained. Not all lotions stain, but there’s always a chance.

Tips on How to Get a Consistent Tan

The tanning technique you use will have an effect on how long your tan lasts. To get the most out of your tan, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Don’t avoid sunscreen. You can still tan when using sunscreen, it will just happen more slowly. But a slow and steady tan will last longer than the one you rush.
  • Moisturize continuously. A tan can seriously dry out your skin, and no matter how golden your glow, dry skin never looks good. So moisturize before and after tanning to keep skin smooth and looking great.
  • Tan while moving. Even if you use an indoor tanning bed, move your arms and legs every few minutes for a more natural look. When your tan is more even, you can go longer between tanning since you won’t be trying to fix last session’s mistakes.
  • Exfoliate before tanning. This will give you a smooth base to work with. By tanning your newest skin cells, you’ll enjoy a healthier and longer-lasting tan.

Do You Have to Use a Tanning Lotion While Using a Tanning Bed?

No, you don’t have to. But using the best indoor tanning lotion helps deepen your glow, keeps your skin moisturized, and lengthens the life of your tan. Some people need tanning lotions more than others.

I always recommend using one, simply because of the added moisture it brings.

I’m so happy I took the time to put together some indoor tanning lotion reviews. It made it easier to find the best indoor tanning lotion for me.

Now I get the most out of each of my tanning sessions, and I know I’m doing what I can to protect my skin.

If you want to make your time in the tanning salon count more, it’s time to embrace one of the top tanning lotions. You’ll love your glow!

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