Best Indoor Tanning Lotion: Ultimate Review Guide

Top Indoor Tanning Lotions For Getting Dark Fast

If you’re looking for tanning lotion, it can feel like you’re navigating a minefield.

Which ones work well indoors and what do you need to look for, specifically, in an indoor tanning lotion?

Luckily for you, we’re here to answer those questions and much, much more today.

Before we give you those handy hints, we’ve curated a collection of the 10 most effective lotions for indoor tanning and we’ll launch straight into some capsule reviews first and foremost.

10 Best Tanning Bed Lotion Reviews

woman applying indoor tanning lotion
1.

One of the keys to an effective indoor tanning lotion is moisturizing and Ed Hardy slathers that on in fine style. The marriage of all forms of coconut ensures your skin is perfectly prepared for tanning with oil, milk and butter hydrating your skin in harmony.

 

The inbuilt benefit of all those types of coconut product is, of course, the beguiling smell of the tropics.


What about the other ingredients, then?

Nouritan is a chemical that encourages tyrosine activity to help your tan last for longer. Melanobronze helps your skin to produce the melanin required for a glowing tan while this is synthesized by Melactiva so your hard work will stay the distance. If you’ve got tattoos, they’ll be protected from fading out as well as your tan.

 

Coconut Kisses is not for the faint-hearted but if you like your tanning oil with a natural but heavily-fragranced kick, Ed Hardy has that on lock.

PROS

  • Coconut sensation with oil, butter and milk
  • Naturally enhances melanin production without any bronzers
  • Get longer lasting results thanks to Nouritan

CON

  • Heavily fragranced which polarizes opinion
2.

If you’re hoping to give your skin a leg-up under the tanning bed, this coconut and chocolate-infused bronzer packs a powerful punch.

 

Argan extracts and chocolate deliver antioxidants to keep your skin protected against the ravages of free radicals. A mélange of coconut ensures your skin remains soft and supple to help your tan last the season.

As long as you take the trouble to apply this lotion slowly and evenly, you should experience absolutely no issues with streaking. As with any bronzer, you should scrub your hands immediately after use and keep this lotion away from your towels and clothing.

For fans of natural tanning lotions, Brown Sugar comes with no parabens and no DHA either giving you the next best thing to a natural tan without the lengthy wait for nature to do its work.

PROS

  • Get the darkest tan imaginable with 200 x accelerator
  • Argan and chocolate to hydrate your skin while tanning
  • You won’t get any streaks with this bronzer

CON

  • Some issues with stained clothing so apply with care and wash hands thoroughly after application
3.

Australian Gold are tanning specialists and they’ve just built out their regular tanning lotion to include a bronzer for even more rapid and pronounced results.

 

Rich in both vitamins A and E, you’ll ensure your skin is amply laden with the moisture it needs for a deep and effective tan. All-natural Australian oils also help to give your skin a welcome shot of hydration.

This tried-and-true classic now comes with bronzer so you can speed up the work of the tanning bed and get browner quicker with no tale-tale streaks or unsightly orange hue.

Although you’ll get a delicate hint of coconut fragrance, this is subtle and understated.

As with all lotions targeted at indoor use, if you head out into the sun, make absolutely certain you apply a layer of sunscreen under your tanning oil or you’ll leave yourself unprotected.

PROS

  • This lotion will also work well outdoors but you need to be careful to apply sunscreen 
  • Packed with vitamins A and E for optimum skin nourishment
  • Lightly fragranced but not overpowering

CON

  • Check expiration date closely
4.

If you want a hard-hitting lotion to speed up the effects of your session on the tanning bed, Pro Tan pitches up a home run with Unbelievably Black.

 

For once, the marketing hype is justified with skin turning much darker much more rapidly if you apply a thin and even layer of this potent lotion ideal for indoor tanning.

You’ll benefit from both black bronzer and DHA so you’ll find the work of that bed consolidated and your tan looking like you just returned from a fortnight in the Caribbean.

Despite such powerful results, the finished look is amazingly natural. You can also expect the fruits of your labor to stay in place for the rest of the summer, too. You won’t get any parabens in this formula so you can buy with complete confidence.

PROS

  • Black and DHA bronzers combine to serve up powerful tanning enhancement 
  • Highly effective results but natural and paraben-free formula
  • Delivers noticeable results in precious little time

CON

  • Stains clothes easily so apply with care and precision
5.

The packaging of Paint it Black makes a real statement but how about the contents?

 

Well, the 50 x accelerator means you can save some minutes in your hectic day and enhance the results achieved on the tanning bed the easy way.

 

With a proprietary Auto Darkening formula, you won’t need to resort to a tingle cream to get a rich and deep tan.

As well as ingredients designed to make your skin go darker and remain tanned for longer, you’ll also get a hydration-fest meaning your skin will be ideally prepared to take the tan on.

Since so many people like to wear their perfume as well as a tanning lotion, the fragrance here has been dialed back so it’s not too dominating.

If you’re happy with the tan you get from an indoor bed but you fancy speeding the process up substantially, Paint it Black bronzer might be the smartest investment you make this summer.

PROS

  • Subtle yet alluring perfume 
  • Bronzing and accelerating action alongside the hydration you need for long-lasting results
  • Silicone emulsifiers leave your skin feeling silky smooth

CON

  • Reasonably expensive but still represents sound overall value
6.

Tan Asz makes a dramatic statement with this 200 x accelerator capable of supercharging the results you can expect on the tanning bed.

 

A serum packed with marula oil is the key winner with this formula. You’ll find that your skin becomes softer and better hydrated, immediately increasing your chances of a tan that lasts.

You won’t get any DHA in the mix and there are no parabens either. While chemical bronzers and accelerators can undeniably make a significant difference to your tan, that’s not much use if you want to lower the ecological impact you make. For the best of both worlds, Island Black bronzer is well worth popping on your shortlist.

PROS

  • 200 x accelerator giving class-leading pace to tanning along with an impressive longevity 
  • ​Harness the skin-nourishing benefits of marula oil
  • Subtle fragrance of peach smoothie for an all-natural finish

CON

  • A few complaints about orange staining so apply with precision
7.

Dark tanning lotions work to intensify the tan you get from an indoor bed and Ocean Potion prove they can deliver with indoor tanning products just as impressively as they cater for outdoor sun sessions.

 

Since this lotion is primarily intended for indoor use, you’ll need to reapply if you hit the pool and do any form of exercise. As with all products designed for use on the bed, these areas are not provided for.

Seaweed and algae extracts are part of a vitamin-rich formula. Your skin will receive a welcome shot of moisture and nourishment to get that tan started in fine style. Tea tree oil is a welcome addition and it encourages your tan to stick around for longer while also acting as a powerful antiseptic.

The only notable drawback with this lotion is that a handful of disgruntled customers have complained about getting a nasty rash. They all admitted to having sensitive skin so if you fall in this camp, you’d be well advised to roll with a patch test first.

PROS

  • Works equally well out on the beach and indoors under the tanning bed 
  • ​Packed with vitamins, your skin will get all the moisturizing it needs to set up the foundation for a great and enduring tan
  • Intensifies your indoor tan quickly and with a natural finish

CON

  • Some issues with rashes developing on users with sensitive skin so make sure you apply a small patch test first
8.

As with any dark bronzer, you should take care when you’re applying this product or you could end up with some deeply stained clothing and towels.

 

Once it’s on, though, your skin will get a powerful dose of antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients to prime it for a solid stint on the tanning bed. 

The bronzer really intensifies and enhances the work done by those UV lights and you’ll be safeguarded against the damaging effects on your skin thanks to the powerhouse roll call of ingredients.

Ingredients with toning and firming properties help your skin to stay looking great even after that initial glow has worn off.

PROS

  • Get powerful skin-firming benefits from this lotion along with protection against aging 
  • Understated and matte finish for a neatly natural look
  • Ingredients included Retavit and Body Fit for wider-reaching positive effects beyond a simple tan

CON

  • ​Some issues with staining
9.

Perhaps you want a more natural indoor tanning lotion that’s not riddled with bronzers? If so, Australian Gold Hot! manages to kick like a mule without recourse to chemical bronzing agents.

 

Instead, you’ll get a formula with all the vitamins that count for skincare along with a healthy dose of aloe vera to make sure you don’t feel sore after a sunbathing session.

If you’re looking to impart a tan that lasts, it’s absolutely key that you keep your skin properly hydrated. You’ll get plenty of assistance on that front since this lotion is remarkably moisturizing.

A few users have complained about relatively underwhelming results with this lotion perhaps feeling they were buying a bronzer. This is only an intensifier so don’t expect striking and immediate results from Australian Gold Hot! If you’re patient and you prefer a more natural look, we can’t recommend this lotion highly enough.

PROS

  • Intensifier laced with aloe to soothe after your tanning session while ramping up the bronzing effects 
  • Filled with vitamins A, C, E and F to give your skin a real treat as it tans
  • Outdoor version also available so you have all bases covered

CON

  • ​No bronzers included with this lotion
10.

Not everyone is looking to make a bold statement with bronzer so this lotion from Fiesta Sun is a clear version that still enhances your tan but in a far more natural manner.

 

You’ll get a potent combination of natural ingredients including aloe vera, shea butter and monoi de Tahiti along with the delicately fragranced coconut oil to enhance the tan imparted by the tanning bed.

You’ll accelerate the way the tanning bed gets to work on your skin by a factor of 15 so sidestepping the dark bronzers needn’t mean pale skin in return.

If you’re looking for a thick and gloopy lotion, this is not for you. Be prepared for a very watery formulation and apply with care.

PROS

  • 15 x intensifier for gentle and natural tanning results indoors 
  • Shea butter and monoi de Tahiti for a hydration overload
  • Clear bronzers deliver a striking yet subtle finish

CON

  • Very watery consistency 

OK…

With our reviews put firmly to bed, you should have a pre-assembled shortlist of the best indoor tanning lotions.

We’ll look now at what to focus on when you’re on the buying trail.

Choosing The Best Indoor Tanning Lotion The Easy Way 

You’ll need to ask yourself a few simple questions before you think about picking up a bottle of tanning oil.

We’ll assume that since you’re reading this today, the bulk of your tanning will be done indoors under a bed.

Think about how much of an effect you want from the lotion. Are you looking for a deep and intense tan like you just finished up with a month on a beach?

Do you want a subtler and lighter tan instead?

How about your skin type? Is it prone to breakouts? Do you need a helping hand by the way of a moisturizer?

With an indoor tanning lotion, moisturizing is really the key. Get started with skin perfectly prepped for lotion and a stint on the tanning bed and you’ll get a tan that will endure.

Don’t forget, if you decide to go tanning under the sun, add a layer of sunscreen under the tanning oil. This lotion don’t come SPF-rated and they won’t offer you any protection against UV rays so take precaution if you stray outside.

Once you’ve thought about your tanning needs and the overall state of your skin, consider which type of tanning lotion might make the best fit.

Indoor Tanning Lotion: Types

You’ll encounter a variety of different tanning lotions for indoor use.

These are the primary categories:

  • Accelerators
  • Bronzers
  • Cooling
  • Maximizer
  • Tingle

Accelerators

An accelerator, also known as an intensifier will thoroughly hydrate your skin so you start your tanning from the optimum foundation.

This form of lotion works wonderfully for beginners and anyone with particularly pale or sensitive skin. By using an accelerator, you can achieve a deep and natural tan while sidestepping that foul orange huge that many cheaper indoor lotions impart.

Accelerators are priced correspondingly but if you’ve got a generous budget and exacting tastes, intensifying your tan is a possibility.

Bronzers

A bronzing included ingredients to naturally darken and enhance the results of your indoor tan.

Ingredients and formulations differ substantially but the core purpose remains to make your tan noticeably more bronzed.

You need to exercise an extremely light touch with bronzer to avoid that trademark orange look.

Coolant

This type of lotion works to soothe your skin while you’re tanning and can also be used just after your session on the tanning bed.

While this is a product you’ll often see bundled for tanning, it’s much more about skincare and aftercare with a coolant. You won’t increase the effects of your tan, you’ll simply find an ingredient like aloe vera will reduce that searing heat that follows a stint under the tanning lights.

Maximizer

Maximizers form part of a two-tier strategy and need applying before you hit the tanning bed.

Since maximizers have very low moisturizing content, you should stave off using these until you’ve worked on a deep base tan first.

Tingle

A tingle lotion helps to boost micro-circulation. As a result of this process, your skin can actually feel firmer.

If you’ve got especially sensitive skin, avoid tingle lotion, named for the way it makes your skin fizz after application.

What’s The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Tanning Lotion?

If you’re looking for outdoor tanning lotion, you’ll encounter products rated for SPF (sun protection factor) to keep you safe against those damaging UV rays.

The bulk of indoor tanning lotions, for obvious reasons, don’t offer protection against the sun’s rays. If you opt to wear one of these outdoors, it’s crucial to apply a proper sunscreen underneath.

The majority of lotions dedicated for indoor use don’t place a premium on being water-proof either. You’re not likely to be jumping into the water nor will you be exercising so most of these lotions are just designed to be applied and then they penetrate the skin.

You could just use a regular tanning lotion but you might find the product ends up blocking the rays you want to penetrate your skin. Stick to one of the lotions we look at today and you’re in safe hands.

How do you use these lotions, though?

How to Use an Indoor Tanning Lotion

Follow these simple steps to apply your lotion the easy way.

  • Make a patch test: This is doubly important if you suffer from sensitive skin. Rather than relying on the label and manufacturer’s claims, you’re much better to carry out a small patch test. Once you’re sure you won’t experience an adverse reaction from any of the ingredients, slather it all over with a clear conscience.
  • Check the color: You’re well advised to perform another patch test so you can see how the color looks against the rest of your skin. You might well have seen the product work admirably on one of your friends but that’s no guarantee your skin’s chemistry will produce the same results. Again, a small test here could save you from the horror of being a color you don’t like the look of from head to toe.
  • Don’t use the product in direct sunlight: Absolutely do not rely on an indoor tanning lotion to offer any kind of protection out in the direct sunlight. If you plan to spend time under the sun after applying an indoor lotion, limit your exposure or you’ll be prone to sunburn.
  • Follow instructions closely: Pay close attention to all the instructions bundled with your lotion. Look carefully for any kind of warnings or safety advice and bear them in mind at all times.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after applying the lotion: Don’t touch your clothes once you’re done applying your lotion and wash your hands right away. The lotion could work its way into your skin so needs cleaning off immediately after use.
  • Avoid using the lotion on children: Kids have sensitive skin that’s particularly susceptible to the sun’s rays. Avoid using any kind of indoor tanning lotion of kids, period.

Final Word

Well, we trust you’ve found an indoor tanning lotion that meshes with your needs and skin type.

As long as you take the trouble to work out what, exactly, you want from your tanning lotion, finding the right one hard is really pretty simply.

Don’t forget to bookmark our site as your go-to resource for all things tanning and come back soon. We’ve got something special lined up for all you redheads out there!

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