Top 10 Best Indoor Tanning Lotion 2017

Tanning is a huge part of many people’s summer readiness plan. Not only do you want to get in the right swimsuit, but you also want to soak up the rays and have a beautiful shade on your skin before you hit the pool or the beach. Indoor tanning at salons makes it easy to build up your base tan to prepare your skin to soak up the sun this summer! If you want better results from the tanning beds, you’ll need the best indoor tanning lotion to speed up the process and encourage an even coloring.

What is Indoor Tanning Lotion Used for?

Just like other tanning oils that you’d apply outside, an indoor tanning lotion helps you get an even color coating around your whole body when you use a tanning bed. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for a great tan, the right lotion will increase your chances of actually looking like you want to while also trying to take care of your skin in the process.

Is Tanning Safe?

I would like to note that using tanning beds is not considered a safe and healthy practice. The exposure to high powered UVA rays can damage your skin and increase your chances of developing skin cancer. While it’s not a practice encouraged by medical professionals, it is something that many people choose to do anyway.

None of the lotions I am talking about will reduce the risks of tanning, nor will they make it a safe and healthy practice. Tanning has to be done at your own risk, with knowledge of the potential consequences you may face.

How to Use Indoor Tanning Lotion?

Most lotions come with directions about how that specific product should be applied before tanning. In most cases, you’ll want to apply it a little while before you get into the tanning bed, so that it will have time to get absorbed into your skin before you start the treatment. Lotions that contain moisturizing and nourishing components may require application a few hours before you tan for best results.

Some tanning lotions don’t help with moisturizing your body, and these should be applied after a moisturizer is used. If you have dry skin patches, they may not tan as evenly as your soft, moist skin, so making your whole body softer is the best way to get an even color.

How to Choose the Best Indoor Tanning Lotion?

What do you need to look for in the best bottle of indoor tanning lotion? There are a lot of reviews and tanning salons trying to push certain products, but you should really know what makes a good versus a bad lotion before you make any purchases. Here are some of the things to look at:


A bronzer is a set of ingredients that help to cover up your fair skin while your body’s tan catches up. They’re useful if you want to look well-tanned after your first session, but the effects will go away if you stop going to the tanning salon. Essentially, a bronzer adds a layer of fake tan on top of your slowly developing tan to make sure you look fantastic after each session.


These types of lotion work with the moisture levels in your skin, adding a lot of moisture to prepare your skin for the tanning session. Well moisturized skin tans more quickly, which is why this is a good product for those who are just starting out on indoor tanning. You’ll see results a lot more quickly than if you neglect to use an accelerator.


Maximizers are formulated to give you a darker tan after you already have a base tan developed. They’re not as useful if you’re just starting out, but are great for those who have been tanning for a little while in a salon.

Tingle Lotions & Body Blush

Both of these work the same way, but at different levels of activity. What they do is draw the blood closer to the surface of your skin, boosting the production of melanin, the natural darkening agent in your skin. This can result in a better, quicker tan. Tingle lotions are usually stronger than body blushes, but they are available at different potency levels from 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest.

Body blushes have the same effect as a tingle lotions, but are generally less potent overall. They also don’t give you the same burning or heated sensations that gave tingle lotions their name.

Facial Tanner

Most tanning lotions are not formulated to work well on your face. Facial skin is different, and should not be treated exactly like the rest of your body if you actually want a great tan. Look for special facial tanning lotions for tanning beds instead of applying one on your face and body.

Indoor and Outdoor Lotions

Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking all tanning lotions are the same. The best indoor tanning lotion will not work outdoors, and vice versa. Tanning may have the same effect wherever it’s done, but the lotions are made completely differently.

Outdoor tanning lotions often include SPF protection, an ingredient that may end up damaging the tanning beds you’ll be laying on. They also work to block varying levels of UVA and UVB rays, whereas tanning beds only actually use UVA rays, making the UVB blocking useless.

Indoor tanning lotions are made to accelerate the effects of UVA rays on your body. They don’t all work in the same way, but they are all designed for that specific purpose, not for use outdoors. They will do nothing to block UVB rays from the sun. Instead, they focus on controlled UVA rays from tanning salon beds.


Tanning lotions with moisturizing elements should be applied a few hours before you get into the tanning bed. They will help to make your skin ready for the tanning session, helping you get a better tan and hold onto it for longer.


Tanning can give you a bad odor, because you’ll be heating up bacteria on your skin that may then start to smell after you’re done. To avoid this, you can use a tanning lotion with anti-bacterial properties or one with a nice fragrance. Both will work until you can get your shower in after the session.


DHA is an ingredient used in a lot of different indoor tanning lotions. It causes a chemical reaction with the dead skin cells on your body and makes them change colors to become darker. The effect usually lasts for a maximum of 7 days, and it does add a nice glow for that time period. But, there are some negative effects that can come from extended DHA use, so you may want to read more about that and decide if you want to use a lotion with DHA or not.

Top 10 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions

This is an indoor tanning lotion with a list of natural ingredients to help nourish your skin and hold onto your tan for as long as possible. It’s a bronzer with 200X black bronzers to give you a very dark tan after use. It’s also packed with moisturizing antioxidants, coconut extracts, and a silicone formula to easily apply the lotion. There are no parabens or DHA included in the formula.


  • Made without harmful DHA or parabens
  • Helps to moisturize and nourish your skin for a soft feel and a glow
  • Rich and creamy product to apply
  • Uses nutrient rich coconuts in the lotion formula
  • Doesn’t leave streaks on your body
  • Pleasantly scented with a neutral smell


  • Can stain your hands if you don’t wash or wipe them before tanning
  • Orange tint may show up on some skin tones

A well-known part of the indoor tanning lotion competition, Australian Gold has the Jwoww lotion as part of their collection. It’s made with hemp seed oil and black currant oil for natural nourishment and moisturizing for your skin. These ingredients also help you to get darker more quickly, especially when mixed with the bronzer components for a better shade in every session.


  • Great for developing a base tan quickly
  • Won’t stain your clothes after you’re done tanning
  • Applies easily over your whole body
  • Simple to spread it well and apply evenly
  • Doesn’t leave streaks on your body
  • Pleasantly scented with a neutral smell


  • Some people got fake lotions when ordering it online (look for the original seller, not a third party!)
  • May not work as well if you already have a good tan going

For a long-lasting tan, this natural formula is a crowd pleaser. It’s formulated to help you hold onto your tan for as long as possible, helping you extend the time between tanning sessions without getting too light in the process. Many different natural ingredients are used to moisturize and protect your skin, while opening it up to a beautiful tan color.


  • Great for use as a tan accelerator in a bed
  • Subtle, pleasant scent
  • No bronzing ingredients used, although some ingredients provide similar effects
  • Many natural, recognizable ingredients used in this lotion
  • Good value for the money


  • Thick texture can be harder to rub in than some other lotions
  • May not accelerate your tan as well as a bronzer or tingle lotion

For those that want to bring out the inner bombshell, this indoor tanning lotion from Designer Skin is a great fit. It’s enriched with a lot of antioxidant and vitamin ingredients to quickly moisturize the skin and get you ready for tanning. It’s a tingle lotion with a high “sizzle” to get your tan darker as fast as possible.


  • Helps to get you very dark quickly
  • Hot tingle for your tanning pleasure
  • Great for an advanced tan after you already have a light base tan
  • Good bronzer for fast, brown results without any orange tint


  • Not good for beginning tanners without experience
  • Poor choice for sensitive skin types
  • Tingle may be uncomfortable for some people

Made with a pleasant orchid scent to help you hide the tanning salon smell, this indoor tanning lotion promises a medium-dark shade through using a silicone-based bronzer. It enhances your tan with tan-darkening technology that moisturizes quickly to bring a deep color to your skin.


  • Doesn’t leave streaks, even if it’s not applied 100% evenly
  • Most people can use this on their face without breaking out
  • Great for leaving you with a dark tan
  • Keeps your tan for longer with continued use


  • Long and complex list of ingredients
  • Will stain your hands if you don’t wipe or wash them after applying the lotion

Another indoor tanning lotion from Ed Hardy, this blend accelerates tanning without using any of the usual bronzing agents. The mix works to stimulate melanin production while you’re tanning, bringing an overall darker appearance to your skin after every session. It features luscious coconut oil and coconut milk to help take care of the skin while it’s working.


  • Effective as a natural, light bronzer
  • No discolored, orange shades or streaks
  • Makes your skin feel soft after you apply it
  • Keeps skin from drying out while you’re tanning


  • Not good for use on your face
  • May not be ideal for a veteran tanner that wants to keep getting darker

A great tanning lotion for a long-lasting, dark color, the Woke Up Like This formula includes antioxidants for moisturizing as well as DHA and other natural bronzers for a great look after every salon session. Along with helping you tan, you’ll get anti-aging benefits like tighter and firmer skin.


  • Great for skin pigmentation issues when tanning
  • Smells great before and after tanning
  • Gives a nice bronze without orange coloring
  • Works quickly to give you a nice tan


  • May cause your face to break out
  • Needs to be rubbed in well, or it may become visibly splotchy

Instead of an oil base, this lotion uses a gel base for a smoother application without any mineral or nut oils. It has hemp seed extract for great moisturizing that will give you good tanning results while also taking care of your skin. The formula includes vitamins A and E, and does not include any bronzing ingredients.


  • Gives you a good tan without any added bronzers
  • Dries quickly and doesn’t leave a heavy residue like some other lotions
  • Smell is mildly fruity, but not overpowering
  • Great comparative pricing
  • ​No tingling feeling for tanning
  • Good for new tanners


  • Although it says it’s useful for indoor and outdoor tanning, it’s not good for outdoor use
  • Not as effective if you already have a good base tan

Sold in an intricately detailed bottle, the Trust Fund Baby indoor tanning lotion helps you get a streak-less beautiful tan from a tanning salon. It’s made from a DHA-free formula that blends silicone with a variety of nourishing ingredients for a moisturizing tanning lotion.


  • Great value for the money
  • Gives a clean, brown tan
  • Scented with sugar & spice fragrance
  • Good tanning results even on the lowest level of tanning beds
  • Helps to even out your skin tone


  • May cause blemishes if used on your face
  • Not ideal if you’re sensitive to fragrances or smells

The black elixir from Ed Hardy is made as a bronzer for a darker tan. It uses a silicone-based formula for tanning that helps you develop a dark, natural looking tan. Your color will also stay for longer when you use this oil, sine it helps the UVA rays to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Along with the other benefits, this indoor tanning lotion is made to help keep tattoos from fading while resisting the signs of aging in your skin.


  • Reduces any noticeable tattoo fading
  • Creamy and comfortable to apply
  • Helps you get a darker shade while tanning
  • Has a neutral scent that’s not too strong
  • Good value for your money


  • Will stain your hands orange if you don’t wash hands after applying
  • Not a good choice for new tanning bed users


From the list of lotions I’ve reviewed here, I would like to recommend the Ed Hardy Elixir Silicone Bronzer Tattoo Fade Protection Tanning Lotion as the best indoor tanning lotion. This bronzer has got a solid fragrance, it’s easy to apply, and it has the added benefit of helping you avoid tattoo fade while you’re tanning. It’s a great mix of function, style, and added features that makes it a great deal for anyone who wants to start or continue tanning.


About the Author

Hi! My name is Kylie Sarah. I’m addicted to taking care of myself and learning new beauty hacks every day! After my friends kept asking for my advice about their own beauty routines, I found out that I also love to share what I’ve learned with everyone else. Knowing that my advice helped my friends get more confident about themselves and happier made me feel fantastic as well.