13 Best Tanning Oils For Perfect Tanned Skin, 2024, Skin Therapist-Reviewed

✔ Research-backed

It’s time to flaunt tanned skin by adding these best tanning oils to your cart. We have picked a few tanning oils that will give you tanned skin quite effortlessly. Tanning oils speed up the tanning process by attracting UV rays to the skin. Some of these expert-recommended oils also moisturize the skin and help keep it flexible. So, plunge into this list to check out the best tanning oils and pick your favorite.

In This Article

How Do Tanning Oils Work?

Tanning oils aid the natural production of melanin and speed up the process of getting tanned. When tanning oils are applied, the chemical dihydroxyacetone, popularly known as DHA, reacts with dead skin cells and darkens the skin temporarily. They are also considered a safer option than spray tan booths, which may cause respiratory toxicity (1).

Gabrielle Richens, a London-based skin therapist and clean beauty blogger, says, “Tanning products have improved considerably in the last decade. Gone are the unhealthy, toxic lotions with bad smells that turned your skin orange. Using a tanning oil with SPF is a great multitasking beauty step in the summer. Get an even tan without having to sunbathe while protecting your skin.”

13 Best Tanning Oils

1. Best For Pale Skin: Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil

Bring home the best tanning oil for the beach, nourish your tan skin and protect the skin with SPF 15. It also suits pale skin. The product is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and yields a natural-looking tan. It is free of harmful chemicals and dermatologist-tested.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.95 x 1.95 x 7.53 inches | Weight: 8.48 Ounces

Pros

  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Paraben- and gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Might dry the skin in some cases
  • Could feel greasy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This product delivers decent results even for someone like me, who doesn't tan easily. It also works as a sunscreen and moisturizer, and I love its soothing fragrance."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 5,415 reviews on Amazon, it's clear that many people love this product.

2. Best For Sensitive Skin: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning oil

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.6

Pamper your sensitive skin with dark tanning oils that are dermatologically tested. Hawaiian tanning oil soothes the skin and provides coconut fragrance,adding rich moisturization to your skin. You may check out this video for a better understanding of this product.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 2.8 x 7.37 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Has a pleasant smell
  • Good moisturizing capacity
  • Long-lasting tanning effect
  • Comes with skin conditioners
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Low sunburn protection
  • May not be suitable for pale complexion

My Personal Experience

"The subtle aroma made me choose this tan oil over the rest. It offers me a sun-kissed glow, and though it lacks SPF protection, I don't mind; I just need to apply a layer of my favorite sunscreen."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 2,720 reviews on Amazon, this product is a winner.

3. Best Broad-Spectrum Protection: Australian Gold Dark Tanning Oil

Bring home Australian Gold Dark tanning oil,one of the best sun tanning oils. It has broad-spectrum protection and protects you from UVA and UVB rays. You can stay up to 80 minutes in water after applying this oil.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 2.28 x 7.88 inches | Weight: 8.47 Ounces

Pros

  • Antioxidant-rich formula
  • Blends nicely into your skin
  • Hydrating and nourishing
  • Fragrance-free
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • May feel greasy
  • Tanning effect might take time to show

Our Tester's Experience

"It helps me achieve a sun-kissed glow and even enhances the already existing tan on my skin. This one also works as a moisturizer when used post-shower, and while it smells divine, the application is a bit messy."


protip_icon Did you know?
Antioxidants effectively regulate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). It also helps your skin combat aging of the skin due to exposure to UVA rays (2).
Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil
Best For Pale Skin
Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning oil
Best For Sensitive Skin
Australian Gold Dark Tanning Oil
Best Broad-Spectrum Protection
Skin Type All Sensitive All
Dimensions 1.95 x 1.95 x 7.53 inches 1.3 x 2.8 x 7.37 inches 1.5 x 2.28 x 7.88 inches
Weight 8.48 Ounces 8 Ounces 8.47 Ounces
Rating
Reviews5,4152,72020,560
Price$14.5$8.89$9.39

4. Best For Moisturizing: Art Naturals Tanning Oil

This is one of the best oils for tanning beds. Use this tanning oil to obtain a deeper tan while moisturizing your skin. Besides helping get a natural-looking tan, this paraben-free tanning oil helps in toning the skin and tightening it.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal

Pros

  • Helps to achieve a long-lasting tan
  • Smoothens the skin well
  • Helps in toning the skin
  • Paraben-free
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Might leak in some cases

Our Tester's Experience

"I noticed that this oil supports quick tan development. It also doubles as a pre-tan moisturizer, and the pleasant scent leaves me feeling refreshed. The oil pump design could use some improvement for easy application."


5. Best Water-Resistant: Banana Boat Tanning Oil

This suits if you are planning to hit the beach in the early morning hours when the sun intensity is less. Banana Boat tanning oil comes with a low SPF value. It offers 80 minutes of water resistance. Apply this oil 15 minutes before you go out into the sun.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 2 x 1.9 x 6.9 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Suitable for dry skin
  • Quick tanning effect
  • Suitable for deep tan color
  • Long-lasting effect
  • Spreads smoothly

Cons

  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

My Personal Experience

"Its dark golden tan and excellent moisturizing properties are unquestionably advantageous for my skin, and the blend of banana and coconut scents is quite pleasant. However, I have to use extra sun protection as it lacks the desired SPF."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

About 526 reviewers on Amazon have given their seal of approval to the product.

6. Best Toxin-Free: Dr. Mercola Tanning Oil

Dr. Mercola tanning oil is claimed to be free from toxins and artificial fragrances. The expert-recommended drugstore tanning oil comes with a nice blend of natural ingredients.

Skin Type: Sensitive | Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 1.5 x 6.4 inches | Weight: 9.6 Ounces

Pros

  • Has a soothing effect
  • Chemical-free formulation
  • Makes your skin feel fresh
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Takes long to apply

Our Reviewer's Experience

"After using it daily during vacations, I've noticed a significant difference in my skin tone. It feels more moisturized with a much-desired tanning effect. However, I often have to pour it directly from the bottle as the sprayer gets a bit finicky at times."


7. Best Quick-Absorbing: Moroccanoil Sun Oil

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4.2

Tired of tanning oils that absorb slowly? Moroccanoil sun oil is a fast-absorbing tanning oil spray that comes with 80 minutes of water resistance. It nourishes your skin and hydrates it.

Skin Type: Normal | Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 7 inches | Weight: 8.5 Ounces

Pros

  • Has a pleasing fragrance
  • Non-greasy and sprays evenly
  • Lightweight formula
  • Not tested on animals
  • Free of nasties

Cons

  • Some may not like the fragrance

8. Best For Hydration: James Read Tan Oil

Spray this scientifically formulated self-tanner oil that contains vitamin-E and coconut oil. It is formulated with a patented Hydration Technology to keep your skin hydrated for a longer time. Watch this review video highlighting a tester’s experience with using the coconut-infused tanning oil spray.

Skin Type: Dry | Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches | Weight: 3.3 Ounces

Pros

  • Facilitates even and proper application
  • Provides a good tanning effect on a single application
  • Protects skin against pollution
  • Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  • Some may find it greasy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This self-tanner helps me achieve the desired tan color with a single application. It's hydrating, too, and the longevity is decent. Note that it has that typical tanner odor though."


protip_icon Caution
Avoid direct exposure to sunlight after applying this tanning oil, as it may damage your skin and increase the risk of skin aging.

9. Best Organic: Isabella’s Tanning Oil

This organic tanning oil is free of toxins and formulated to remove the dead cells of your skin. This high-quality tanning oil protects the skin by repairing the damage caused due to exposure to the sun.

Skin Type: Oily, mature, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 1.3 x 4.3 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces

Pros

  • Prevents sunburn and dehydration
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Formaldehyde- and alcohol-free
  • Pleasant smell
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Tiny bottle

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I absolutely love using this tanning oil. It keeps my skin moisturized without leaving any residue on my clothes. The best part is its bronzing effect. It also has a subtle scent that clings on even after swimming. Do remember to layer it with sunscreen for added skin protection."


10. Best Even-Toned Tan: Tanning Indoor Oil

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4.1

Enjoy a deep, natural-looking tan with this vitamin-enriched tanning oil. The oil helps in keeping your skin soft, silky, and even-toned. Also, the natural tanning oil is free from parabens and artificial fragrances.

Skin Type: All

Pros

  • Keeps your skin soft
  • Well-suited for fair skin
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Made with antioxidants
  • Works well both indoors and outdoors
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Might smell like cooking oil
  • Thick consistency

My Personal Experience

"This oil's moisturizing quality has been a boon for my skin's dryness. It offers a nice, even tan, if not a dramatic darkening effect. Though the scent isn't my cup of tea, its chemical-free composition makes it a worthwhile purchase."


11. Best Lightweight: Seree Exotic Tanning Oil

Stay hydrated with this natural tanning oil formulated to help prevent premature aging. Enjoy a deep, enduring tan with the pleasant smell of coconut oil.

Skin Type: All | Item Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Smoothly absorbs into the skin
  • Provides broad spectrum protection
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • Lightweight formula
  • Free from nasty chemicals

Cons

  • Might be greasy for some

Our Reviewer's Experience

"With its delightful coconut scent, this tanning oil has caught my attention. It delivers a lovely deep tan, and I like that it is non-greasy and lightweight. The natural and organic ingredients are a bonus."


12. Best Long-Lasting: Bondi Sands Tanning Oil

One of the best self-tanning oil sprays for all skin types, Bondi Sands is formulated for a long-lasting tan effect. The tanning effect starts showing after two hours of application. To obtain a stronger tanning effect, you may re-apply the oil after 30 minutes.

Skin Type: Normal | Product Dimensions: 2.28 x 1.38 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 5.07 Ounces

Pros

  • Quick-drying formula
  • Mess-free application
  • Even and streak-free tan
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Tan lasts long
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Stays sticky

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I love how this self-tanner offers me a natural-looking color and dries without leaving any greasy residue or staining my clothes. And to achieve a deeper tone, I just need to layer it."


protip_icon Do remember
Moisturize your skin well with your regular moisturizer post-tanning, as it will help soothe dehydrated skin.

13. Best Smelling: The Fox Tan Natural Tanning Lotion and Accelerator

Enjoy quicker and darker tanning effects irrespective of your skin color and shade with the scientifically formulated Fox Tan lotion and accelerator. Ensure this tan accelerator is used one week before the application of the tanning oil.

Skin Type: All | Item Weight: 10.58 Ounces

Pros

  • Has a pleasant smell
  • No irritation found on sensitive skin
  • Feels smooth
  • Helps get a deep natural-looking tan
  • Provides a rich moisturizing effect
  • Not tested on animals

Cons

  • Some may find it greasy

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This quick-absorbent formula is much appreciated as it doesn't transfer to my clothes or towel. It enhances the natural tanning process without any harsh bronzing agents. I also like the pleasant scent it has."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose A Tanning Oil?

Here are a few points to consider while buying tanning oil.

  1. SPF: Tanning oils have less SPF values than sunscreens. Yet, it is good to choose a tanning oil that comes with a good SPF for adequate sun protection. Also, if you are planning to go out on hot days, your tanning oil needs to have SPF to protect your skin from damage. Low SPF-infused tanning oils are best used when you are going out in the morning hours when the temperature is bearable and not hot.
  2. Moisturizing effect: The tanning oil needs to contain moisturizing and skin-healthy ingredients to prevent dullness and dehydration.
  3. Need-based: An indoor tanning oil may not work when you are heading to the beach or while staying in the sun for a long time. Every brand offers tanning oils that are prepared to satisfy specific needs. Indoor tanning oils work well when used indoors, while outdoor tanning oils work better when used outdoors.
  4. Ingredients: Look for the list of ingredients used in the tanning oils. Make sure you are not allergic to any of them. A few tanning oils claim to use natural ingredients but they do not seem to have a proper SPF value.
  5. Skin type: People with dry skin need more hydration and oil to stay protected. Oily skin people can do good with less oil.

Safety Tips To Follow When Using Tanning Oils

  • Never use tanning oils on broken or damaged skin.
  • Do not apply tanning oils near your eyes.
  • Exfoliate your skin before tanning.
  • Avoid staying outside in the sun during midday hours.
  • Breastfeeding mothers must take additional steps. Ensure you are not feeding your baby after applying the tanning oil. Your baby may have skin irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can sunscreens and tanning oils be used together?

Yes, you may use both sunscreens and tanning oils together. However, you should have a time gap between applying the sunscreen and the tanning oil.

2. Can pregnant or breastfeeding women use tanning oils?

The use of tanning oils during pregnancy has not been thoroughly researched. It is good to seek your doctor’s advice on this. This applies to breastfeeding mothers as well.

3. How much time can I spend in the sun after using a tanning oil?

It depends on the tanning oil you use. A few tanning oils allow you to stay in the sun for a significant time, while others offer less time to spend in the sun. So, ensure the tanning oil you choose offers sufficient UV protection if you plan to stay for a longer time in the sun.

4. What are the risks involved with using tanning oils?

Excessive use of tanning oils can lead to sunburn, premature aging, skin bumps, eye damage, and even skin cancer (1).

Why Trust MomJunction?

Poulami Nag is a fashion and beauty enthusiast who conducts extensive research to recommend the most popular and reliable products for her readers. Hence, she has analyzed numerous user reviews to compile this list of the best tanning oils in the market. In addition, she has shared some essential safety measures to keep in mind while using tanning oils and some factors to consider, such as moisturizing effect, skin type, and ingredients, before buying one.

The Bottom Line

Body tanning is a trend that never goes out of fashion. However, finding the right tanning oil can be tricky unless you know the basics. Our list of the best tanning oils shares different options you can try keeping in mind different factors, such as your skin type, moisturization, and SPF. Remember, a tanning oil should give you a tanned look while keeping your skin healthier and safer from UV rays. The dermatologist-tested Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil might be a good option as it effectively shields from UVA and UVB rays. We would also recommend the Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, known for its exotic skin-moisturizing ingredients, and the Australian Gold Dark Tanning Oil, if you want a deeper tan. So go through each product’s pros and cons and make the best choice based on your budget and requirements.

Infographic: How To Use Tanning Oils?

Tanning oils are popular products used to enhance and accelerate the tanning process. Their unique formulations provide nourishment and a bronzing effect for a sun-kissed glow. Explore the infographic below to learn how to use these oils to maximize their benefits while ensuring skin safety.

Steps Involved In Using Tanning Oils (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. The Risks of Tanning
    https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/tanning/risks-tanning
  2. Natural Antioxidants: Multiple Mechanisms to Protect Skin From Solar Radiation
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00392/full

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Gabrielle Richens

Gabrielle RichensSkin therapist

Gabrielle Richens is a London-based skin therapist with 20 years of experience. She is also a clean beauty blogger, and owner of The Rich Skin Club, an online anti-aging coaching service. She specializes in the education of skin, helping women to better understand the aging process, and build a knowledge in anti-aging skincare ingredients and how they work. She believes...read full bio