Tanned skin looks healthy. And most people desire a golden tan. Plus, it’s true that developing a bronze glow protects against UV damage from the sun. People with more melanin, or pigment, are less likely to develop skin cancer.
To that end, some tanners use tanning lotion with a low SPF factor. Or they combine sunscreen with tanning oil. No matter what your skin tone, here are a few things you can do to get the best tan in the least amount of time without burning:
- If you exfoliate your skin before you tan outdoors, you’ll bronze faster, and the color will last longer.
- It’s possible to tan while using sunscreen, so slather on some broad-spectrum protection 15 minutes before you hit the beach.
- Half an hour in the sunshine is better for building a base tan than spending hours outside.
- Consume tomatoes, oranges, dark chocolate, and green tea to boost your skin’s ability to protect itself against the sun.
Now it’s time to take a look at the best outdoor tanning lotions and oils. Ready? Let’s jump in.
Best Outdoor Tanning Lotions & Oils Reviews
1. Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion
Australian Gold is a popular line of tanning products based in Indianapolis. They belong to New Sunshine, the same company that owns indoor tanning brands Designer Skin and Swedish Beauty.
Their Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion contains ingredients like vitamin E, aloe, and panthenol to protect and soothe the skin. It doesn’t contain mineral oil, a substance that can clog pores.
Users comment that they love its tropical smell and the way it makes their skin soft. Many report that it helped them build a base tan in a short amount of time.
2. Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil Original
The original Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil is a favorite among longtime tanners. The reef safe formula has a delicious coconut fragrance. It’s packed with natural skin conditioners like coconut oil, papaya and mango extracts, and aloe.
Although this is a tanning oil with a proven track record for bronzing skin, customers with sensitivities to fragrances, lanolin, or mineral oil may want to try a different product like the BEACHIN lotion below.
3. Panama Jack Amplifier Oil
Panama Jack’s Amplifier Oil is another traditional favorite with sun worshipers. It’s an intense formula designed to deepen a tan. It contains jojoba, Kukui, sweet almond, wheat germ, apricot kernel, peanut, and mineral oils plus aloe extract to soothe the skin.
4. Australian Gold, CHEEKY BROWN Accelerator Dark Natural Bronzers
The CHEEKY BROWN intensifier lotion contains no artificial fragrance, and it’s ideal for indoor and outdoor use. It’s a good choice if you have sensitive skin and want to work on your tan without having a breakout or rash.
Although it doesn’t have a manufactured perfume, it does have a tropical scent. It contains Australian essential oils, Vitamin A and Vitamin E to promote healthy skin.
5. Sun Bum Tanning Oil, SPF 15
The Sun Bum tanning oil has broad-spectrum SPF 15 protection against UV radiation. It’s also water-resistant up to 80 minutes. This is the one to try if you want to tan without burning.
The ingredients include moisturizers like coconut, argan, Kukui, marula, and avocado oils, plus aloe vera. There’s also green tea butter and Kona coffee plant extract to protect against free radicals that make skin age faster.
6. Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil Broad-Spectrum Spray SPF 15
Hawaiian Tropic makes a version of their tanning oil in a spray with SPF 15. It’s popular because it feels very lightweight and not greasy. Plus, it still contains cocoa butter and aloe to nourish skin.
7. Banana Boat Tanning Oil Broad-Spectrum Spray SPF 15
Banana Boat’s tanning oil is also a spray with sun protection. It’s reef-safe which means ingredients won’t harm corals or sea life if you swim in the ocean. To be safe for coral reefs, it cannot contain oxybenzone or octinoxate.
Like other suncare products from the same manufacturer, this one has a summertime fragrance of banana and coconut. It also contains carrot extract, aloe, and vitamins a and E to protect the skin against burning and peeling.
8. Panama Jack Tanning Lotion SPF 4
Panama Jack’s tanning lotion has SPF 4 protection against UV radiation. A lot of people who tan appreciate the low SPF rating because they feel it makes it easier to get darker faster. And they like this product because it absorbs quickly, it doesn’t feel greasy, and it doesn’t have a strong fragrance.
The formula is labeled as hypoallergenic and water-resistant to 80 minutes. But it’s not reef-safe because it contains octinoxate. On the other hand, it contains vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 to help skin stay supple and young.
9. Maui Island Secret Browning Creme SPF 5
The Maui Island Secret Browning Creme is another outdoor tanning lotion with a lightweight sunblock. The SPF 5 formula will help you tan faster but lower your risk from UV radiation. It contains aloe, Hawaiian ginger, and Maui coffee and green tea extracts.
10. Botanic Tree Self Tanning Lotion
Botanic Tree makes this lightweight tanning lotion with 100% natural ingredients. It has a tropical fragrance but does not contain mineral oil or octinoxate. Instead it contains apricot, jojoba oil, rosemary, moringa and vanilla. Plus, it lasts up to 80 minutes in the water.
11. Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin from Naturally Sourced Ingredients with Zinc Oxide, Broad Spectrum SPF 50
Did you know that Neutrogena’s Purescreen products have the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association? Their Purescreen product is free from fragrances, oils, and other common irritants. But it provides SPF 50 protection against the sun and it’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes. You can even wear it underneath makeup.
12. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light for Sensitive Skin
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios is an award-winning lightweight product with SPF 60. This liquid absorbs fast and dries to a matte finish. It works well under makeup. And it lasts for up to 2 hours of swimming.
13. Maui Babe Browning Lotion
The Maui Babe Browning Lotion originates from Hawaii. It contains traditional Hawaiian remedies for sunburn like aloe and Kukui nut oil. It also has Kona coffee for color and vitamins to nourish the skin. It’s immensely popular whether you’re in the islands or poolside in Chicago.
14. Australian Gold Dark Lotion
The Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator also comes in a version with bronzer. It instantly grants your skin a golden tan. Instead of mineral oil, the formula relies on native Australian oils plus aloe and vitamins to soothe and protect the skin.
15. Australian Gold Dark Spray Gel
If you like the Australian Gold lotions and oils, but you prefer a lightweight product, try their tanning accelerator spray gel. It has a bronzer, or sunless tanner, to disguise those pale legs. But it also protects the skin from dryness and sun damage with vitamins, moisturizers, and other nutrients.
16. Somewhere on a Beach, Indoor Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion
If you tan indoors and outdoors, you might enjoy the Somewhere on a Beach lotion. It’s suitable for tanning beds and the seaside. And no matter where you catch some rays, your skin can look sun-kissed.
Even better, the bronzer in this tanning lotion does not rely on DHA to darken your skin color. Instead, it uses tyrosine and other natural extracts to enhance your pigmentation and moisturize your skin.
17. Australian Gold Moisture Lock Tan Lotion
Lock in your tan with this lotion from Australian Gold. It contains a variety of skin conditioning ingredients like vitamin E, aloe, panthenol, and tea tree oil. There’s also sunflower oil and glycerin to keep your skin soft. Fans of the formula enjoy the scent that brings back happy memories of time spent at the beach.
18. Hempz HYPOALLERGENIC DARK TAN Maximizer
There’s no THC in the Hempz Dark Tan Maximizer, but it does have 100% pure hemp seed oil. The lightweight lotion absorbs quickly but makes skin soft and supple for hours. Plus, the vegan formula is free of gluten, nuts, and parabens.
19. St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
Self-tanning technology has advanced to the point that it’s rare to end up orange. But if you’re leery of lesser brands, try the St. Tropez bronzing mousse. Thousands of happy customers have us convinced that this might be the best sunless tanning lotion on the market.
Smooth it on and wait an hour for a light tan. Or wait up to 3 hours before showering to achieve a dark bronze. If you follow the directions, you won’t see streaks at all.
Other Outdoor Tanning Considerations
Tanning Lotions and Oils With Sunblock
Here’s a quick way to understand SPF ratings and UV indices. First, how long does it take before your skin begins to burn? For example, most fair-skinned people burn in 30 minutes or less. So let’s use 30 minutes to do the math.
If you have sunscreen with an SPF 15, you have 15 times 30 minutes before your skin turns red. That’s 7 and a half hours of protection. Of course, factors like time spent in the water or perspiring can affect how effective the product is. Be sure to reapply after you go swimming.
We bet you can name at least one famous person who fake bakes. We were thinking of Lindsay Lohan, Victoria Beckham, Selena Gomez, and Zac Efron. These celebrities aren’t ashamed of the fact that they use sunless tanners. It’s not a bad idea, as decreases the risk of damaging your skin, and you don’t have to go to the beach or pool. Check out these spray tanning machines you can use at home.
A healthy tan is within your reach this year. Try an outdoor tanning lotion to maximize your bronze. And don’t forget sun protection if you’re outside for longer periods.
If you burn and don’t tan, don’t despair. You can achieve a tan without burning. Use a tanning lotion with bronzer or a sunless tanner to get up to speed before you head to the pool. There are plenty of options for everyone to look sun-kissed this summer.
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