Not everyone loves to tan outdoors. If you are one of those who prefer to tan indoors you should bear it in mind that your first point of call is getting any of the best indoor tanning lotions. Remember, if you make the right choice of a tanning lotion (whether indoor tanning lotion or outdoor tanning lotion), the tanning process would be sped up. You also maintain your healthy skin and of course keep you tanned for much longer.
How do you choose the best indoor tanning lotion?
Choosing the best indoor tanning lotion might be a little difficult especially for those who are yet to begin tanning. However, we have taken our time to highlight the ten best indoor tanning lotions from the endless list of brands available.
But before that, let’s talk about what an indoor tanning lotion is, and how it differs from a sunblock.
Indoor tanning lotions are used to accelerate the tanning process. They do this by promoting melanin production by increasing blood flowing into the skin. Indoor tanning lotions, unlike sunblocks, don’t contain any sunscreen, therefore, there’s no protection from the UV of the sun.
Difference between Tanning Lotion, Sunblock, and Self-Tanners
Let’s talk about the difference between tanning lotion, sunblock, and self-tanners.
- Tanning lotions: Their main duty is to help you tan faster without the need to lie out in the sun.
- Sunblock: If you are going to be tanning outside (laying in the sunshine), then sunblocks are handy to avoid UV rays from destroying your skin.
- Self-tanners: If you prefer to self-tan, then self-tanners are useful as they help you dye (or change the color) of your skin for a few days.
Remember that sunblocks are recommended for outdoor tanning as the dose of UV rays which would directly bounce on your skin is unpredictable. If you are tanning outside you could easily get serious sunburns depending on the duration you spend outside, the weather and of course the altitude.
No, you don’t want to apply indoor tanning lotion on your skin while you’re sunbathing outdoor. Why? These lotions magnify UV rays, so you get a higher dose of UV rays instead of limiting them.
Same way sunblock should never be used in a tanning bed. The reason is obvious since you’re trying to tan (which is the work of the tanning bed), you wouldn’t want the chemicals in a sunblock to do damage to the acrylic inside the tanning bed.
For the “fake tan in a bottle” self-tanners, there are some indoor tanning lotions which contain bronzers which you could use to change your skin color. The effect is not long lasting though and some would wash off when you take a shower while others would stay put for a couple of days.
The Five Kinds of Indoor Tanning Lotion
We already know that there different kinds of indoor tanning lotions and in this text, we would be reviewing several of them. But for people who don’t know the different available types of tanning lotion, here they are…
- Bronzers: The bronzers are the most popular tanning lotions available and are of two types – the immediate and the delayed bronzers. Depending on your preference, they both offer similar results but as their names reflect – one takes time while the other is instant. The application process is the same. Ensure you apply them evenly and then wipe your hands off immediately you are done bronzing to keep your skin from streaking.
- Accelerator: Accelerator indoor tanning lotions are great for new beginner tanners who have sensitive or pale skin. Most accelerator tanning lotions have anti-aging properties like CoQ-10 present in them. For tanners with especially dry skin, consider going for an aloe based tanner which has moisturizing hemp seed oil present.
- Tingle: The tingle tanning lotion is a small but very risky pack for new beginner tanners. They are so risky that even regular tanners may have problems when using them. The tingle tanners are indoor tanning lotions that stimulate your skin and make it redden and irritated. The effect of tingle tanners can last hours and also result in an uncomfortable itchy and burning feeling. Please note that these tanners can cause serious pains to small children so ensure you properly rinse off before touching them. While the tingle lotions have several bad side effects, they are still the most effective tanning lotions available. If you are craving a beautiful dark tan, tingles, when combined with bronzers, could produce effective results.
- Facial Tanners: Another type of indoor tanning lotions are the facial tanners. These are special tanning lotions meant to be applied just on your face since you can’t apply other types of tanning lotions on your face since the skin is more sensitive no thanks to its thinness. If you don’t plan to apply special tanning lotions, you can use SPF (sun protector factor/sunscreen) for face protection when tanning then use a makeup bronzer which you like to give your face the perfect glow.
- After-Tan Moisturizers: They are usually promoted as tanning lotion add-on during purchase and not stand alone tanners. They are effective once applied at the right time – usually within five minutes of leaving the tanning bed. The best after-tan moisturizers are the non-mineral oil based ones.
Are Indoor Tanning Lotions Worth It?
If you haven’t been using indoor tanning lotions you might be skeptical considering that the best indoor tanning lotion according to most tanners are tingles and we all know their side effects are really bordering. But if you ask anyone who’s ever tanned in bed without a tanning lotion, they’ll explain to you why indoor tanning lotions are worth it. One of the highlights you’ll get is “tanning will cause your skin to dry out quickly, and the tan you got would not last as long as it would if you had applied a tanning lotion.”
Here’s a breakdown of what an indoor tanning lotion does for you:
- Moisturizes your skin
- Protects the skin from burning
- Helps speed up the tanning process by intensifying the UV light
- Keeps your tan developing even after the session
The Ideal Way to Safely Tan Indoors
Considering the process of indoor tanning grows on you, for new indoor tanners, it’s advisable to begin slowly. Don’t jump to advanced/longer sessions. Begin with short sessions and always adhere to advice from professionals like tanning salon staff. Also, remember to take it easy on your skin.
Don’t forget your safety requirements like goggles for your eye protection. Also, use tanning lotions and of course gulp down enough water since the process dries out your skin.
Skin Type and Tanning
Depending on your skin type, your tanning duration, color, and the process may vary. You should find out the type of skin you have and then decide on the best tanning lotion to use for your skin and how long you should tan. Remember that skin is of different types so knowing which you fall under is crucial.
Here’s a breakdown of the different types of skin:
- Skin type 1 – Regular burns due to the sensitivity of their skin. It is not recommended to tan
- Skin type 2 – Requires slow and careful tanning procedures
- Skin type 3 – Covers almost all existing human race. Tanning is possible on this skin but there are occasional burns.
- Skin type 4 – These folks have a better sensitivity and can tan a bit faster and would rarely burn.
- Skin type 5 – These skin types hardly burn and their tan goes deep.
- Skin type 6 – These are people with dark skin so tanning won’t be very visible.
Now that we’ve covered the skin types, let’s take a look at the best indoor tanning lotion available for you.
The Best Way to Get That Perfect Indoor Tan
Since not everyone loves to tan outdoor and if you need to tan so bad maybe for your big event, the ideal thing to do is to start tanning early enough. You can start with either two or three brief tanning sessions every week. Do this for about four to five weeks before your event. Asides the tanning session, you need to incorporate the following routine:
- Exfoliate prior to your first tanning session
- Use bed tanning lotion and wear protective goggles in the tanning bed
- For tanners with pale skin, start with short sessions. About 5 minutes session is ideal
- Remember that results may not show instantly, so be patient
- Leave your lotion on (don’t shower) for a few hours after each session
- Space your tanning sessions, have 2-day breaks between tanning session bringing the total number of sessions to a max of 3 weekly.
- Once your base tan is decent enough, you can start maintenance using only a session or two per week. Each session lasting about 20 to 30 minutes.
If you are bothering about the safety aspect, indoor tanning is generally safer than outdoor tanning/sunbathing. Also, you stand a better chance of being protected from the worrisome skin cancer.
Best Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews
Top Bed Tanning Lotion 2018
Millennium Tanning Paint It Black 50X Bronzer
The Millennium Paint it black bronzer tops the chat of best indoor tanning lotions as it uses an auto-darkening tan technology to completely deliver a stunning dark bronze tan.
With the extreme silicone emulsion blend, the paint it black bronzer not only tans but leaves your skin just the way it should – soft and smooth. It doesn’t have a corrosive smell like several tanners do instead the cotton blossom scent is fresh and warm.
As said, it’s silicone based and non-greasy and doesn’t get stuck on your clothes. There’s no tingle addition so can be used for all ages. On the downside, it’s not an all natural tanner and contains chemicals like DHA.
Millennium Solid Black X100 Silicone Bronzer
The Millennium Solid Black X100 is another silicone based bronzer from Millennium Tanning. The ultra-advanced 100X solid black utilizes the auto-darkening tan technology aimed at delivering extreme, stunning tan results.
The presence of tyrosine in the solid black silicone bronzer speeds up the melanin production and makes the tanner fast acting, thus getting darker skin in no time.
It has an orchid blush fragrance which is pleasant and not irritable. This silicone based tan enhancer won’t turn your skin orange but rather deepen your skin. It’s a mix of natural and chemical ingredients including dihydroxyacetone – DHA which not very many people appreciate.
Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
Coconut Kisses golden tanning lotion by Ed Hardy is a favorite of tanners with tattoos as it has a tattoo and color fade protector which ensures your tattoos are well protected and even shine better.
If soaking up in natural coconut oil and coconut milk sounds like fun to you, you’ll love this. As the soaked skin hydrates better and makes it a lot softer. It uses tanning intensifiers to deliver the perfect dark golden tan and the best part is you don’t need any additional bronzing agent.
The quad tyrosine and melanobronze added help stimulate and increase the production of melanin which helps to accelerate the tanning process, keeping you from spending time in the tanning bed. It’s a suitable indoor and outdoor tanning lotion. The coconut kisses golden tanning lotion is believed to have ‘body fit’ which helps reduce the presence of cellulite as well as promote the firmness of the skin.
Tan ASZ Luau 200X Island Black Bronzer
Tan ASZ 200X Island Black Bronzer is a DHA-Free and Paraben-Free bronzer which gets you an irresistible island glow without those pesky chemicals. It has an awapuhi peach smoothie fragrance which is soothing and doesn’t irritate.
This tanning lotion uses island extracts and silicon cocktail to ‘condition’ your skin, giving it a glow and softness while the Marula Goddess glow serum added benefits the skin thanks to the helpful marula oil.
The Tan ASZ Luau bronzer provides your dark-tan free of chemicals just like you like it.
Sinfully Black 15x Dark Bronzing Tanning Lotion by Australian Gold
Sinfully Black 15x deep dark bronzing tanning lotion is a favorite amongst indoor bed tanning users. For one it doesn’t give out awful smell like many other tanners on the market but a sensual temptress berry fragrance. Also, with the combination of vitamins, kukui nut oil, and sunflower oil you get their skin softened.
This is an all natural tanning lotion with bronzers gotten from walnut shell extract, caramel, Monoi de Tahiti and several other bronzers to get you the deepest darkest tan. Hemp seed oil is also present for moisturizing, being one of the best natural moisturizers available.
Australian Gold Jwoww Tanning Lotion
Another bronzer from Australian Gold, the Jwoww tanning lotion black bronzer uses a lot of natural bronzers like Monoi de Tahiti, caramel, walnut sell extract and a lot of other dark natural bronzers to give out that desired dark tan.
This Australian Gold bronzer is the best Jwoww tanning lotion available and it’s made of natural moisturizers like black currant oil and hemp seed oil to keep the skin well moisturized, hydrated and ready for the darkest possible tan. A combination of natural ingredients like the kukui nut oil and sunflower oil are on board to give the skin the desired blend for a smooth, healthy skin. The Australian Gold Jwoww doesn’t just deliver great dark tan but also keeps the skin soft, leaving you feeling sexy.
Now that we have covered the best indoor tanning lotions available on the market, all you have to do is confirm your skin type and opt for any that best suits you.
Black Chocolate Cream 200X Bronzer by Brown Sugar
The Black chocolate cream bronzer (200X) by Brown sugar is another all natural tanning lotion which doesn’t contain DHA and paraben. Talking about everything natural, there are extracts of Argan and dark chocolate which have potent anti-aging oxidants. You also get smooth, moisturized skin with the silicone and coconut cocktail blended in it.
Several users have complimented the fast skin deepening of the black chocolate and with many users saying it doesn’t release those streaks of orange if you wash off after application.
Sungodz Artemis/Apollo Indoor Tanning Lotion with Bronzer for Indoor Tanning Beds
The sungodz indoor tanning lotion is a fast-acting tanning lotion with anti-runoff ingredients meaning you can shower without bordering about the tan washing off. This dark tan lotion is also tattoo-safe as it’s equipped with a tattoo protector and prevents it from fading. It’s also long lasting and doesn’t fade quickly.
The Sungodz indoor tanning lotion is silicone based and is infused with several natural extracts like coconut oil, agave extract which are great moisturizers and skin softeners. However, the selling point of the Sungodz indoor tanning lotion is the beautiful smell with most users complimenting the sweet custom unisex smell.
Elixir Silicone Bronzer with Tattoo Fade Protection by Ed Hardy
Ed Hardy’s Elixir silicone bronzer is unarguably one of the best tanning lotions for people with a tattoo. The elixir is silicone based and uses super advanced tanning technologies which make your natural color keep darkening over time. It’s also mixed with potent anti-aging ingredients and melano bronze which helps stimulate natural melanin formulation thereby leading to better pigmentation.
The presence of nouritan is also very helpful as it keeps the tan on for longer thanks to the stimulating of the tyrosine activity.
What to do if you can’t tan?
We have covered the different skin types and know that type 1 skin can’t tan as you would always burn. Also, people with certain types of skin conditions and/or health conditions may not be able to tan after receiving warnings from doctors about the dangers of exposure to the sun. So what it is the way out for you? Sunless tanning lotions. If you fall under any of the above categories, a sunless tanning lotion may be the way to go. There are several available, you can check some of the below that would most likely work for you. Remember to play it safe and test only a little on a small area of skin and document how it reacts to the sunless tanning lotion.
Best Sunless Tanner for You
Organic and Natural Sunless Tanning Lotion by Beauty by Earth
This sunless tanner is thicker than most tanning lotions so using just a little is very effective. It is also made of natural organic materials and is free from DHA and similar chemicals. It’s very long lasting but for best results, ensure you exfoliate before application.
Fake Bake Sunless Tanner
The fake bake flawless sunless tanner is another easy to apply tanning lotion and comes with a tanning mitt. The non-sticky formula doesn’t take time to dry up and while it uses DHA (boosted by Erythrulose and DMI), it sure gives the desired results. The end result has made fake bake flawless a favorite among people with sensitive skin and super light/fair skin looking for the ideal sunless tanner.
Ultra Dark Sunless Tanning Lotion
Another natural ingredients and easy to apply sunless tanning lotion, this Sun laboratory manufactured sunless tanner gives you an overnight tan. Also, you get to revitalize, nourish, enhance and hydrate your skin. Little wonder it’s a top choice for many celebrities.
Self Tan Bronzing Mousse by St Tropez
The self-tan bronzing mousse by St Tropez is an easy to apply tan which has the advantage of releasing no self-tan smell and also drying pretty quickly (in about a minute). However, it takes a couple of hours to darken to that desirable tan and lasts for days. On the flip side, it isn’t an organic self-tan and uses DHA. Exfoliate before application and also buy a mitt help with the application.
St. Tropez Applicator Mitt
If you are purchasing the self-tan bronzing mousse by St. Tropez, it’s only natural that you get their applicator Mitt since it would aid you in your application of the sunless tanning lotion. It’s both soft and washable and is sure to do you a world of good.
Indoor Tanning Accessories
A tanning lotion is not all you need to get the perfect tan. There are several accessories which come in handy like protective gears, sponge, and the likes. You might want to consider getting some of the needed accessories – over here.
Tips to Tan Indoors for Cheap
Not everybody has the money to throw around so reducing the cost even when looking out for your skin is normal. If you are curious to find out ways to tan indoors for cheap, here are a few helpful tips to pick out a reliable tanning salon and maximize your tanning session.
- Look out for discount deals at your local salons. You can check online or with your local ad mailers. Check if the employees of the salon have the best deals and offer little extra perks on tanning lotions.
- Head to the salon and ask to be shown around. Check out their tanning beds or booths and most importantly consider their cleanliness (how they are cleaned)
- Before commencing your tanning session, exfoliate properly and make use of a bed tanning lotion. Doing these would ensure you get a better tan and faster than normal. So you’d be spending less time and money over at the salon.
- Try not to shower for a few hours after your tanning session, this way your tan soaks into your skin for a long durability.
- Apply a moisturizer after showering to help keep your skin moisturized.
You might want to cover up sensitive parts like genitals, lips, nipples, armpits with a sunscreen or other protectors because you won’t be feeling yourself if you get a sunburn in those parts.
Tanning Outdoors: The Perfect Way to Tan on Sun
Tanning outdoor follows the same procedure as tanning indoors so you can make do with the same advice given here.
But if you are planning to ask if indoor tanning lotions can be used outdoors, the answer is NO. The reason is that indoor tanning lotions actually enhances effects UV rays have on the skin, they don’t have a sun protector factor (SPF).
So, use indoor tanning lotions indoor and outdoor tanning lotions with SPF outdoor.
Don’t forget to exfoliate. Also, make use of lotion or sunblock depending on how hot the sun is to avoid getting sunburn. Keep your eyes protected and don’t spend long hours with your clothes off your body outdoor. Keep those UV rays away from those sensitive areas and also moisturize once you shower.
Remember that outdoor tanning is a lot more challenging than indoor tanning since you don’t have control of the UV lights your skin absorb. Be careful and take your time. Don’t rush it, the tan would come.
That perfect tanned skin is a craving most of us are all too familiar with. However most times you can’t achieve this without the perfect tanning lotion. If you are not comfortable with sun tanning outside you would need to either use self-tanners or indoor tanning lotions. Most of us prefer the latter because of the combo with tanning beds. We have listed some of the best indoor tanning lotions available which should give you the perfect tanned skin. You get to enjoy being bronze for maximum hours using any of the reviewed products. For what it’s worth, remember to tan safely and take care of your skin.