Updated August 06, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

The 10 Best Tanning Lotions

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This wiki has been updated 17 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you don't have the cash or the time to take a break in the sun this year, but still want that bronze glow, try one of these tanning lotions. Not only are they safer and healthier than tanning booths, but they are more affordable, too, since you can apply them at home. So, turn the heat up, make yourself a frozen drink, slather some on, and pretend you're lying on a tropical beach somewhere. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best tanning lotion on Amazon.

10. Neutrogena Build-A-Tan

9. Clarins Instant Gel

8. Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer

7. L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze

6. Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body

5. Tan Towel Classics

4. Sun Laboratories Ultra Dark

3. St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

2. Fake Bake Flawless

1. Beauty by Earth Self Tanner

Editor's Notes

August 05, 2019:

Tanning lotions can be a great way to achieve that fresh-from-vacation look, without subjecting your skin to UV damage from hours in the sun or a tanning booth. If you don't want to wind up like a streaky, orange oompa loompa though, it is important you pick your product carefully. Luckily for you, we have done all the leg work and found effective formulas that produce a natural color.

There is no such thing as a completely scent-free tanning lotion, but at least you can get one with an aroma you find pleasant, rather than off-putting. If you are particular about fragrances, we recommend you go with Beauty by Earth Self Tanner, Fake Bake Flawless, St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse, or L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze. We believe that most people will find these scents relatively light and enjoyable.

If you are worried about skin damage and want to steer clear of chemicals, we recommend Beauty by Earth Self Tanner, which is made with all-natural and organic ingredients, or Sun Laboratories Ultra Dark, which is a sugar-based formula.

We realize that for some, the big fear of using a tanning lotion is winding up with an overly dark skin color, which is why we included Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer, Neutrogena Build-A-Tan, and Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body. Each of these has a very subtle effect, so the chances of over-darkening before you become familiar with the product are slim.

We would like to note, that some people mistakenly think that tanning lotions are designed to be used when sun bathing, and that they actually provide some form of UV protection, too. Both of these things are untrue. So, if you are heading to the beach, reach for a good bottle of sunscreen and not a tanning lotion.


Brett Dvoretz
Last updated on August 06, 2019 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.


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