Best Tanning Oil Review and Buying Guide

Discover The Best Tanning Oils For An Amazing Tan

Summer is always a magical time and you should get plenty of chance to decompress in the sun.

Whether you choose to hang out at the beach or lounge in your backyard, you need to take precautions.

Relaxing in the sun is unbeatable. Doing so unprotected, though, is entirely reckless.

Damage from the sun’s highly penetrating UV rays can wreak havoc both short-term and long-term.

From the pain of sunburn to the horror of prematurely aging and drying out your skin right through to the obvious risks of bringing about skin cancer, you can’t be too careful.

So, while wanting a deep and glowing tan is perfectly natural and gives you a welcome shot of confidence, you owe it to yourself and your skin health to take sensible precautions.

To this end, we’ve compiled a breakdown of the 10 most effective tanning oils in a glutted marketplace.

Before we double down on those reviews, how does tanning oil work and why should you care?

How Does Tanning Oil Work? 

The natural process of melanin production is what tans your skin. When you use a tanning oil, you can give nature a helping hand and accelerate this process.

The chemical in bronzers known as DHA mixes with the amino acids on your skin and speeds up the rate at which it browns.       

The other key benefit of a great tanning oil is the way it also moisturizes your skin which will make it more receptive to absorbing UV rays.

So far, so good but is it safe to use?

Is Using Tanning Oil Safe?

Here, the answer is a qualified, “Yes, but…”

If you tan through any type of exposure to ultraviolet rays, you’ll also elevate your risk of developing skin cancer.

With up to 90% of melanomas caused by exposure to UV, whether you choose to bake under the sun or use a tanning bed, you should safeguard yourself as much as possible.

The best way to mitigate the damage caused by those rays is to use a sunscreen in tandem with your tanning oil.

While this is not entirely effective, it will go some considerable way to reducing any risks attached to getting the tan of your dreams.

This is doubly important if you’ve got lighter skin since this is more prone to damage than skin that’s naturally darker to start with.

So with that proviso in place, we’ll dive in and highlight the 10 strongest contenders for best tanning oil.

Once we’re done with our capsule reviews, we’ll round out with some FAQs and a concise guide to choosing the best bronzer the easy way.

Buckle up and enjoy!

10 Best Tanning Oil Reviews 

top tanning oils for a good price
1.

Australian Gold has a mission statement of making the sun care experience enjoyable and they certainly inject a slice of fun into getting a deep tan with this dry oil.

 

Tea tree oil as base ensures your skin is cleansed immaculately and prepared for receiving those rays.


Packed with aloe vera, too, skin will stay supple and magnificently hydrated even during a lengthy session on the sun lounger.

Carrot oil, walnut shell, caramel and melanin all come together to really enhance the way the sun will naturally bronze your skin leaving you glowing with health.

 

There’s no sunscreen at all in this intensifier so you’ll need to make sure you take care of that separately. Don’t go without! Australian Gold offers an especially fine coffee-infused sunscreen if you want to stay loyal to the brand while keeping your skin completely protected.


2.

One of the most enduringly popular tanning lotions comes from the legendary Maui Babe, imported from Hawaii.

 

You should note that this formula is pretty greasy so you’re best giving this one a swerve if you’ve got oily skin since you’re liable to experience breakouts.

The stain-free lotion is easy to apply and a little goes a long way so you’ll get plenty of service from the 8oz bottle.

 

Natural ingredients work together to dramatically accelerate the natural tanning process giving you rewarding results in precious little time.

 

With no sunscreen and no protective ingredients, we can’t emphasize strongly enough the need to make separate provision for a sunscreen.


3.

The classic Hawaiian Gold dark tanning oil lives up to the claims made by its name.

 

This oil is SPF-rated 6 and enriched with botanicals and antioxidants so your skin will feel smooth and nourished while you’ll get browner in no time without damaging your skin to achieve the tan you’re hankering for.

As with many tanning oils, the brand remains fairly tight-lipped about the precise formula but Hawaiian Gold continues to fly off the shelves and win legions of devoted fans with just cause.


Put simply, this is among the very best tanning oils money can buy so what are you waiting for?


4.

An all-natural formula which is non-hypoallergenic and contains no fragrances, no emulsifiers and absolutely no harmful chemicals, this oil comes with another inbuilt advantage…

 

With no mineral oil, this product is perfectly safe to use if you plan to use a tanning bed.

Your skin nicely cared for, you won’t need to worry about your eco-footprint either.


With biodegradable packaging and safe to use in the water, Tropical Sand has everything in hand for the optimum tanning experience with no backlash to the environment or your skin health.

 

There’s no SPF rating so you’ll need to slather on some sunscreen.


Do this and you can generate a deep and even tan that will boost your confidence without exposing you to the risk of skin cancer.


5.

Fashion icon Ed Hardy steps into the tanning lotion fray with the remarkably effective Coconut Kisses lotion that’s selling out as quickly as his infamous T-shirts did a few years back.

 

Immaculately packaged as you’d expect, the rebranded Hardy is laced with tanning intensifiers that impart that golden look you crave without any unnatural bronzing agents thrown in.

Melactiva acts to stimulate melanin production and synthesis giving you speedy results with no nasty chemicals.

 

This lotion even claims to help treat the appearance of cellulite and tone the skin.

 

Ideal if you’ve got tattoos you don’t want to fade under the sun’s rays and enriched with coconut butter, coconut milk and cocoa butter, this powerful blend will keep your skin bathed in moisture while helping you get the tan you’ve been hunting for in next to no time.


6.

Banana Boat has a hard-earned reputation in the tanning oil vertical for producing top-tier products at pocket-friendly prices.

 

This oil comes bundled as a 3-pack so you can save a few bucks while making sure you don’t get caught short of supplies.

Infused with extracts of banana, coconut and carrot, you’ll accelerate the natural tanning timeline and get a great dose of moisture imparted as you do so.

 

With no sun protection baked in, don’t forget to stock up on that sunscreen and you’ve got a winning combo from a brand you can rely on.


7.

For one of the finest natural approaches to tanning, Isabella’s Clearly GOLD comes riddled with natural and therapeutic oils to give your skin a pampering rather than a battering.

 

Vitamins A and E along with beta carotene and an array of hydrating oils treat your skin with care but also help speed up the rate at which you’ll tan.

With squalene, a natural hydrating agent, your skin will remain soft, supple and laden with moisture so it’s fully prepared to absorb the sun’s rays with tanning optimized the natural way.


8.

With an SPF 4 rating, this pack of 2 Panama Jack tanning oils offers at least modest protection against the sun.

 

Filled with moisturizing agents and conditioners, you can guarantee your skin will stay receptive to the sun’s tanning rays while you get rapidly browner.


The spray is perfect and you can apply it from any angle with no risk of spillage and no danger of staining your clothing either.

Since this oil is a consistent top-seller, you’d be well advised to grab some while you can since it frequently sells out. Treat yourself this summer to some Panamanian delight!


9.

If you’re looking to get really dark skin in a hurry, this is one of our personal favorites.

 

Ocean Potion works equally well on a tanning bed or down at the beach so you’ll get a versatile lotion that’s a cinch to apply.


You should always reapply this lotion when you’ve been swimming and you should top it up after an hour or two in the sun for best results. 

A little goes a long way, so don’t worry about economy.


You won’t find any parabens in the formula and it’s gluten-free and completely cruelty-free.

 

The bottle is a little smaller than much of the completion at less than 7oz so why not treat yourself to a couple? You won’t be sorry you did when you come off the beach and glance in the mirror.

 

If you’re looking for a deep tan the natural way, this lotion is a must.


10.

Last but by no means least, Somewhere on a Beach serves up a delectable dark tanning lotion that deserves a place on any shortlist.

 

What makes it so good, though?

 

Coconut and walnut oils help to keep your skin soft and hydrated while the DHA-free bronzer ensures you get no streaks and deep, even tanning without needing to spend all day under the sun.

Matrixyl synthe 6 is a peptide that works with powerful anti-aging properties so you won’t end up looking dried-out and shriveled even if you put the hours in sunbathing.

 

Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, this hard-hitting bronzer is well worth your further investigation.

 

OK…

 

With no shortage of wonderful tanning oils at your disposal, we’ll push on with some handy hints and answers to the most frequently asked questions about tan accelerators…


FAQ's: All You Need to Know About Tanning Oil 

1. What is tanning oil?

By increasing the rate at which your skin produces melanin, your skin will get darker more rapidly than if you let nature run its course.

As melanin production increases, the sun’s UV rays will penetrate your skin more efficiently while it will also serve to block at least some of the harmful ultraviolet light.

You shouldn’t confuse tanning oil with sunscreen since it performs a different job entirely.

Although a decent tanning oil can stop some harmful UV rays, its fundamental purpose is to make your skin more responsive to these rays so make sure you’re clear on this distinction.

2. What’s tanning oil made of?

Ingredients vary substantially but, evidently, oil is one of the core constituents.

There are also many carrier oils that tend to be used in pretty much any tanning oil. This is no surprise since they’ve all been tested for efficiency and performance so you’ll see the same usual suspects cropping up including:


  • Avocado Oil: Packed with fatty acids and rich in vitamins, the hydrating avocado oil works wonders for healing damaged skin. This oil works well for dry skin.

  • Almond Oil: With a range of antioxidants, almond oil can help your skin purge itself of free radicals while its hydrating nature gives your skin a natural radiance. This oil also acts as a first-class natural toner.

  • Aloe Vera: Another antioxidant-rich substance, aloe vera helps guard against sunburn without clogging your pores. With vitamins A, B, C and E, pop on some oil containing aloe and your skin will stay wonderfully hydrated. You won’t suffer from any unsightly skin breakouts either with this all-natural ingredient.

  • Argan Oil: Originating from the seeds of the Moroccan Argan tree, your skin will stay supple, smooth and brilliantly hydrated.

  • Cocoa Butter: A vegetable fat produced from cocoa beans, this antioxidant serves to protect your skin against the ravages of the sun.

  • Coconut Oil: Moisturizing and ideal for dried out skin, tanning oils packed with coconut oil ensure your skin doesn’t lose too much moisture when you’re sunning yourself.

  • Corn Oil: A supreme tan intensifier, corn oil is filled with linoleic acid that works to bolster your skin’s natural defense mechanism. It will also promote better blood circulation so your health gets a shot in the arm while you’ll also end up secreting more melanin from your skin to tan the natural way.

  • Olive Oil: Laden with vitamin E, olive oil is a great antioxidant and protects against the sun’s UV rays while also fighting back against other potentially damaging rays. Moisturizing and highly effective at enhancing your tan, it’s no surprise olive oil finds its way into more than just your favorite pasta recipes!

3.  Is using tanning oils safe?

The only way in which tanning oils could be considered dangerous is if you fail to adhere to a sensible skincare regime.

If you choose to skip the sunscreen by imagining this will slow down the tanning process, you’re putting yourself in unnecessary danger.

Equally, if you choose to stay out in the sun throughout the day, even during the peak hours when you should head for some shade, you’ll endanger yourself so don’t attach too much blame to the tanning oil just yet.

4. What’s the safest tanning procedure?

You should always exfoliate before heading out into the sun to slough off any dead skin skills. Put on a generous layer of sunscreen appropriate for your skin type and the weather conditions.

Be sensible in terms of exposure and try your best to avoid the sun between 12pm and 4pm. Slot in your tanning sessions during the mornings and late afternoons instead.

Wearing a hat and sunglasses is also sound practice.

5. Do sunscreen and tanning oil work well together?

Absolutely.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming sunscreen will hinder your tanning efforts. 

While it’s highly effective at blocking those carcinogenic UV rays, it won’t hamper melanin production so you should get a deep and even tan without any of the attendant risks if you use sunscreen and tanning oil in tandem.

With those basics in place, how do you go about choosing the best oil without too much time or trouble?


How to Choose a Tanning Oil

While it might seem like the simplest buying decision in the world, when you’re buying a tanning oil you’re investing in your health and safety.

Focus on the following factors and you’ll maximize the chance of getting the most effective tanning oil the easy way:

  • Type of Oil
  • Ingredients
  • Time You'll Spend in the Sun
  • Time of Day You'll Sunbathe
  • Skin Type
  • Skin Conditions

Type of Oil 

You’ll find tanning oils in many different forms such as:

  • Lotions
  • Oils
  • Serums
  • Sprays

As a rule, an oil will sit best on the skin while attracting more rays than the other variants. On the flip side, oils can be messy.       

If you’re looking for the ultimate in convenience, you can’t beat a spray. You’ll get no wastage, no spillage and it won’t ruin your clothes either.

Ingredients

Obviously, any tanning oil stands or falls depending on the quality of the ingredients. Check out our breakdown of these in the FAQs above.

Natural ingredients blend well, minimize the chance of any skin breakouts and lend to a deep and even tan.

You should also keep your eyes peeled for the SPF factor the tanning oil you’re looking at features.

Some offer no protection at all while others are SPF30+ so make sure you strike the optimum balance between tanning and looking after your skin.          

Time You’ll Spend in The Sun

Be honest with yourself about how much time you plan to devote to acquiring a tan.

If you’re likely to put in some serious hours in pursuit of bronzed skin, look for an oil that lasts the distance after application.

You should also pay close attention to the SPF rating if you’ll be sunbathing for hours.

Time of Day You’ll Sunbathe

Linked to the length of time you’ll be sunbathing is what time of day you plan to laze around on the lounger.

If the bulk of your tanning time will be during the early morning or late evening, you can afford to shoot for one offering a lower SPF rating.

Conversely, if you’re flying in the face of all advice and determined to hit the beach at high noon, make sure you choose an oil in line with this.

Skin Type

Your type of skin will also dictate the kind of oil that makes the best fit.

Dry skin calls for a more unctuous compound while oily skin responds particularly well to creams.

If you’ve got fair skin, this will burn more easily. Shoot for an oil with a higher SPF to create the optimum conditions in which your lighter skin can tan sustainably. With darker skin, you can dial back a little on the SPF.

Skin Conditions

Have you got any skin conditions or sensitivities?

You should ensure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients listed out on the oils you’re considering.

It’s a smart move to think about a natural tanning oil like Isabella’s Clearly GOLD.

Final Word

Well, by now you should be an expert on tanning oil and have a clear picture of why it’s crucial to use a supplementary sunscreen if you want to stay protected.

Our parting advice is simply to reiterate what we’ve mentioned repeatedly above.

Don’t skip the sunscreen and don’t stay out in the sun during the danger hours.

You can stay safe while still developing a thorough and deep tan so don’t leave things to chance.

Bookmark our site as your go-to resource for all your sun-related needs and come back soon! Happy tanning!

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