Best Outdoor Tanning Lotion: Ultimate Buying Guide

Outdoor Tanning Lotion That Gets You The Darkest

If you’re looking to hustle down to the beach and get a tan the natural way, you can find plenty of products out there to intensify and strengthen the way your skin naturally bronzes.

Today, we’ll be highlighting our favorite batch of tanning oils suitable for all skin types and coming in both chemical and natural form.

Before that, a few words about proper skin care when you’re on the tanning trail…


Can You Skip Sunscreen When Using Tanning Oil?

This is not advisable, no.

Many tanning oils make claims about offering some form of sun protection but in order for a product to deliver on those claims, it needs to come with an SPF (sun protection factor) rating.

As you’ll see from the lotions showcased below, these are not generally intended to prevent the sun’s damage but to intensify tanning.

What can you do to mitigate this?

Luckily, all you need to do is apply some SPF-rated sunscreen underneath your bronzing oil.

That way, you can protect your skin from the ravages of ultraviolet rays in terms of both aging and reducing the chance of skin cancer while also getting a deeper and longer-lasting tan in less time.

We’ll give you some more guidance on choosing the right lotion after we present our curated list of the 10 best outdoor tanning products in a glutted market segment…

10 Best Outdoor Tanning Lotion Reviews

best suntan lotion to get dark fast
1.

What can you do if you’ve got sensitive skin but still fancy giving nature a helping hand when it comes to tanning?


Devoted Creations serve up a superb solution in the form of #TANLIFE. Containing all-natural shea butter, you’ll give your skin all the hydration it needs when you’re basking under those fierce rays on the beach.


The formulation is specifically designed to melt quickly into your skin, penetrating deeply and promoting the bronzed look of your dreams.

Other active ingredients include Matrixyl Synthe 6, a synthetic peptide that helps to reduce wrinkling.


If you’ve got tattoos, this tanning butter will help to ensure all the pain you went through getting inked doesn’t go to waste. This product ensures that your tats won’t fade even if you spend hours outside in the sun.


As with all tanning oils, don’t stint on the sunscreen since this butter is not SPF-rated. Simply slather on some sunscreen first then work in some #TANLIFE and you’ll keep your skin from aging and reduce your risk of skin cancer while maximizing the effects of those UV rays.


For a luxurious and reasonably cost-effective way to increase the depth of your tan, #TANLIFE is one of our personal favorites.

2.

A classic Hawaiian formulation, Maui Babe will give your tanning efforts a welcome leg-up the natural way.


Packaged in a minimalist bottle that’s easy to open on the go, this lotion smells enticing. You’ll get a heavy undertone of coffee with traces of coconut that’s not too overpowering and has no chemical taint.

While the precise formula remains a closely-guarded secret, this lotion contains vitamins A, C, and E along with aloe vera, kukui nut oil and coffee plant extract. 


These come together to ensure your skin is wonderfully moisturized, adequately hydrated and fully primed to accelerate the natural tanning process.


Maui Babe is suitable for pretty much any skin type and won’t provoke problems even if you’ve got sensitive skin. While you could apply this lotion to your face, it’s pretty greasy so we wouldn’t recommend this, especially if you’re prone to breakouts.


Don’t panic if you notice a few marks on your clothing or swimsuit after applying this oil. The product washes out easily.


For a lotion that’s easy to apply, rubs on like butter and is capable of helping even paler skin take on a rich, brown hue, give Maui Babe a shot this summer and thank us later.

3.

This hypoallergenic tan maximizer from Hempz comes with a shower of natural ingredients to help you speed up nature’s tanning process without recourse to chemicals.


The moisturizing component prepares your skin so it’s in peak condition to tan efficiently. You should always remember to exfoliate before heading out into the sun to reap even greater benefit. 

Mango seed butter powerfully hydrates your skin while oatmeal calms your skin down if it’s feeling torched after sunbathing.

 

The powerful and all-natural hemp seed oil keeps your skin locked and loaded for the effects of those UV rays to work even more effectively. Just don’t forget a layer of sunscreen beneath so you experience the benefits of ultraviolet light without endangering yourself into the bargain. Never make the mistake of assuming a sunscreen will undo the work of your tanning oil. The two are designed to work hand-in-glove giving you protection while still enhancing your tan.

 

Free of gluten, fragrance and nuts, Hempz is a superb solution for anyone wanting a green-friendly approach to bronzing.

4.

The Fox tanning kit can be used indoors but also works remarkably well outside so serving double-duty.


You’ll get a rapid tanning elixir along with a tanning mist. The exotically-named elixir works as a daily moisturizing agent so priming your skin perfectly for the sun lounger. At the same time as giving your skin a welcome boost of hydration, it will also help boost your body’s natural melanin production.

 Even if you’re not able to put in enough hours for your liking on the beach, you’ll lay the foundations of a base tan before you get there.

 

As soon as you are ready to hit the sand, liberally apply the mist so you can really ramp up the tanning process. By using these products in tandem, you should see demonstrable results in very little time indeed.

 

With almond oil, jojoba, cocoa butter, olive oil, aloe vera and almond oil, you’ll get incredible results without needing to resort to chemical assistance.

 

If you’re looking for a magnificent and powerful way to speed up tanning that works equally well on the beach or the tanning bed, invest in this cruelty-free and all-natural kit and you’ll be smugly bronzed in no time.

5.

Australian Gold is legendary in the tanning oil vertical and Sinfully Black shows just why their reputation is so solid.

 

As with all the best outdoor tanning lotions, the work starts with the lotion delivering a vigorous burst of moisturizing so your skin is at its most receptive to those pulsing rays.


With the groundwork laid – don’t forget to exfoliate first then apply sunscreen before this lotion -  the magic kicks in at the bronzing stage. Walnut shell extract, caramel and monoi de Tahiti all come together to brown your skin to a turn.


This is achieved without the need for harsh chemicals and without damaging your skin either. On the contrary, you’ll find your skin feels nourished and rejuvenated rather than parched senseless after a stint on the beach.

 

As long as you apply this lotion thoroughly and rub it in well, you shouldn’t find you’re niggled by staining of any kind on your clothing. This will also ensure you don’t get any of those telltale streaks that crop up when you hastily and shoddily apply outdoor tanning lotion.

 

As long as you don’t forget to protect your skin with some sunscreen, you’ll have a winning approach to getting browner quicker with Sinfully Black whatever your skin type.

6.

If you spend a great deal of time in the water and you want a dark tanning oil that will stay the distance without creating any environmental damage, Tropical Sands delivers a first-class solution.

 

With no fragrance, no emulsifiers and absolutely no chemicals, this lotion is biodegradable and coral reef friendly so you’re in safe hands.

Even though this bronzer is expressly designed for outdoor use, if you do press it into action on an indoor tanning bed, you’ll get no mineral oil interfering with proceedings.


What do you get instead? 


Well, sunflower oil and coconut oil along with cocoa butter act as great moisturizers. Green tea and sweet almond oil give a delightful natural fragrance while vitamin C nourishes your skin a treat.

 

If you’re hunting for a natural way to hasten the tanning process, Tropical Sands has a multi-purpose beauty on its hands so why not road test some of this potent tanning oil this summer? You’ve still got time to get that catwalk tan even if you’ve left it late this year!

7.

Fashion icon Ed Hardy turns his attention away from graphic Ts with #Beachtime, a tanning lotion packed with coconut to give you that alluring tropical scent in a bronzer that packs a real punch.


Packaging, as you’d expect, is sublime but how about the contents?


Open the bottle and you’ll get a lotion that goes on easily and penetrates your skin to soften and moisturize giving the sun’s rays less work to do.

Coconut milk along with coconut oil do more than just impart a lip-smacking smell. They’ll hydrate your skin to make sure the tan you worked so hard for lingers for longer.

 

Seaweed extract has powerful properties to draw toxins from your body while hibiscus extract helps your skin look younger and more elastic. Laden with vitamins A and C thanks to passion fruit extract, your skin will be to some extent protected against the havoc wreaked by free radicals.

 

Throw in protection against your tattoos being faded under the sun and you’re looking at an upscale tanning lotion that hits all the main pain points without costing the earth. What’s not to love?

8.

Solid Black comes in a striking bottle but is it a case of form over function?

 

Absolutely not. This silicone bronzer might not be quite such a natural way to tan as some of the lotions above, but if you don’t obsess over the ingredients of your tanning product and simply want a bronzer that achieves results at all costs, Millennium Tanning products delivers on that front.

The lotion is fairly heavily fragranced so make sure you’re OK with that. Ideally, test some Solid Black before committing to purchase since the smell is certainly an acquired taste.             

 

Packed with moisturizers and bronzers, the list of ingredients is bewilderingly long. Among a number of chemicals, you’ll also sunflower seed oil, walnut seed oil, willow bark extract and a handful of other natural bronzing agents and hydrators. If you don’t object to a product that throws everything but the kitchen sink into their formula, you’ll find out that Solid Black lives up to its names and helps you achieve a truly deep, dark tan that will stay in place.

9.

Devoted Creations has a modern classic in the making with Somewhere on a Beach. This is another lotion that’s tailor-made for outdoor use while also working well indoors.


The blend of coconut oils mixed with sea buckthorn berry ensure your skin is brilliantly prepared for those UV rays and plumped up with moisture. Natural bronzing agents help to intensify your tan without calling for DHA.

Despite being loaded with natural ingredients, you will get a few chemicals thrown in the mix, too. If you’re looking for a totally natural approach to bronzing, Somewhere on a Beach is not the best fit.

 

If, on the other hand, your absolute priority is to get browner more rapidly and stay that way all summer, this lotion is a home run.

 

The fragrance is delicate yet unmistakable and if the smell doesn’t have your friends asking what you’re using for tanning lotion, the results of your impeccably bronzed skin certainly will!

10.

Last but absolutely not least, Bronzo Sensualé is a tanning lotion that comes certified completely organic in contrast to some of the more chemical-laden products out there.

 

Organic carrot and aloe vera sit alongside shea butter, squalene and allantoin to hydrate and prepare your skin for a vigorous sunbathing session. Not a dedicated bronzer, you’ll nevertheless reap all the benefits of a less natural approach to tanning with none of the drawbacks.

The aromatherapy fragrance helps you to relax fully as you kick back on the sun lounger and let the stress of a busy week at the office melt away.

 

Along with those powerful but organic ingredients what you won’t get is PBA, parabens or phthalates. There’s no mineral oil either and the lotion, it goes unsaid, is not tested on animals.

 

If you’re prepared to harness the power of nature while not patient enough to go tanning without a helping hand, Bronzo Sensualé is the perfect compromise. Check some out today and start intensifying your tan tomorrow.

 

OK…

 

You should now have a clear picture of which products might make most sense for you and best align with your requirements. We’ll round out with a few helpful pointers to streamline your buying decision further.

How To Choose The Best Outdoor Tanning Oil The Easy Way

Fortunately, if you’re hoping to boost the way your skin produces melanin and reacts to the sun’s rays, you’ve got an easier job on your hands than when you’re looking for a sunscreen.

First thing’s first, check the product is for the intended purpose of outdoor tanning.

Make Sure The Oil is For Outdoor Use

You might be wondering why this is important but the lotions used cater for such difference purposes that there are important variations.

When you’re tanning indoors in a controlled environment, you’ll only be exposed to UVA rays. Outdoors, on the other hand, you’ll also have UVB rays tossed into the equation.

Where an indoor tanning lotion is specifically designed for use during short and intense tanning sessions, you’re far more likely to spend longer under the sun when you’re at the beach or out in the yard.

There is some cross-over here with some lotions acquitting themselves for both purposes but check closely that you’re getting the right weapon for your artillery to avoid misfiring.

Next, you’ll want to think about which type of lotion would make the best fit for you.

Types of Outdoor Tanning Lotions

You’ve got 3 main types of outdoor lotions to choose between:

  • Accelerators
  • Bronzers
  • Tingle Lotion

Accelerators

Accelerators – commonly known as tan maximizers -  work especially well if you have sensitive skin or your skin shade is paler.

Most of these lotions are riddled with anti-aging ingredients, vital if you’re planning to spend time prone under those beating rays.

You won’t get any tingle from accelerators and they don’t contain bronzers so they work well for setting a solid foundation with a base tan.

Bronzers

By far the most popular category of outdoor tanning lotion is a bronzer. These tend to come offering immediate or delayed results.

A combination of active ingredients and DHA means you’ll get a deep and luxurious tan imparted and it will continue to develop even after you’ve long left the beach.

Taking the time to apply bronzers evenly is vital. Rush the job and you’ll end up with an unsightly and patchy tan.

Tingle Lotion

A tingle lotion works by encouraging your blood to the surface of your skin so the effect of those UV rays is magnified. This process leads to a mild tingling feeling for which the lotions are named.

If you want an impactful and penetrating tan in a hurry, a tingle lotion is well worth considering.

Ingredients

If you’re hunting for an all-natural and organic tanning lotions for use outdoors, you’ll be spoiled for choice. A great number of lotions come cruelty-free and without any of the questionable chemicals that some people run a mile from.

Look for ingredients capable of moisturizing and plumping up your skin. This helps the sun’s rays to penetrate more effectively. Hemp seed oil, cocoa butter and shea butter all work well in this regard.

Vitamin E will help your skin feel smoother while making it more resistant to the aging effects of those UV rays. Monoi de Tahiti oil serves the same purpose.

Vitamin A, also known as beta carotene, helps enhance the dark pigmentation of your skin the natural way. DHA is a chemical that performs the same role but with even more pronounced results.

Aloe vera helps to calm your skin after a prolonged sunbathing session and is worth looking out for on the ingredients list if you tend to burn after exposure to the sun.

Fragranced or Fragrance-Free?

Only you know whether you prefer that classic coconut scent of the tropics from your tanning oils or you prefer the idea of a fragrance-free formulation.

All lotions will be clearly labelled in this regard so make sure you check carefully to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Remember: Don’t Sidestep The Sunscreen!

If you bear these simple pointers in mind, there’s no reason not to find the best outdoor tanning lotion quickly and easily.

While we said this before, it bears repeating: do not forget to use sunscreen alongside these products.

You might feel that using an SPF-rated product will slow down the tanning process you’re trying to accelerate but you shouldn’t view it that way.

If you have an effective lotion in place, you’ll still see swift results but layering on some sunscreen will help prevent your skin from aging prematurely while also reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. With the stakes that high, don’t leave things to chance.

Final Word

We hope by now you’ve got a great overview of outdoor tanning oil and a neat shortlist of the best products for use in the garden or on the beach.

If you prefer to do your tanning indoors under the tanning bed, we’d urge you to come back next week. We’re working on a guide to the best indoor tanning lotions right now to complement today’s exploration of outdoor oils.

Come back soon and expand your knowledge of all things tanning-related!

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