Tanning oil brands never fail to help you get that bronzed tan. Especially during the hot summer days, you would rather bask in the sun for a glowing golden suntan. But end up with nasty sunburn and tender, tingling skin.
If you don’t want to end up looking like freshly but unevenly fried human sausages, tanning oils are the best way to go! A little tanning oil can go a long way. They give you the perfect, gentle, and evenly sun-kissed glowing texture while opting you out of harmful UV exposure. How wonderful does that sound? In this article, I will help you find the best tanning oil brands you can choose as your new suntan oil.
Your Buying Guide: Top 10 Tanning Oil Brands For Bronzed Tan
- 1 Your Buying Guide: Top 10 Tanning Oil Brands For Bronzed Tan
- 2 What Is Tanning Oil And How Does It Work?
- 3 Tanning Oil VS Sunscreen
- 4 Top 10 Tanning Oil Brands You Can Pick
- 5 What Are The Benefits Of Tanning Oils?
- 6 How To Choose A Tanning Oil?
- 7 Is Sun Tanning Oil Safe To Use?
- 8 Final Thoughts
How could you possibly get tanned without getting sunburnt from UV exposure? With a little help from tanning oils of course!
After shedding your heavier layers, lounging around the pool, rooftop, or the beach gets the priority. You have to make up for the lost sunny days, right? Not to mention how the weather is ready to give all the warmth you want! So, get ready to get rid of that pale and dull winter texture for a well-deserving plump texture.
But how do you get that without enduring sunburn(1) from outdoor tanning? Can tanning oils reduce the intensity of UV exposure without losing the glowing part of the bargain? Well, yes! Several tanning oil brands promise the golden glow you desire. And they don’t disappoint.
If you are planning to stay longer in the sun, there are two options for you. One, choosing a tanning oil with lots of protection —an SPF of more than 15 is necessary. You have to cook yourself safely as possible: the higher the SPF, the better. Two, choosing a tanning oil with low or no SPF factor but smothering your body with sunscreen afterward. Because a tanning oil can never be considered a sunblock.
Ranging from organic formula to hypoallergenic to spray oils to tanning oils with built-in sun protection, there are a variety of options for you on the market. But there is no room for confusion here. I have compiled the top 10 tanning oil brands so that you don’t have to. Before you choose any and start tanning, always remember to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during its peak time, which is from 11 AM to 3 PM.
What Is Tanning Oil And How Does It Work?
Popularized in the early 1920s by Coco Chanel, anyone who needs a quick tan uses tanning oils. Now that modern tanning oils contain various nutrients and essential oils that give tremendous improvement to the skin, their popularity is increasing more than ever.
This summer staple is a blend of natural ingredients that are beneficial for all skin types. Tanning oils provide nutrients, such as vitamin E, copper, etc, which your skin requires during any tanning process. Typical tanning oils contain antioxidants to prevent your skin from skin damage from the UV rays, anti-aging elements to prevent wrinkles or scars, moisturizing ingredients, and anti-carcinogenic ingredients to prevent potential cancers (like melanoma).
So, how does a tanning oil work? It works by naturally triggering melanin production, which speeds up the tanning process without having to absorb all the UV rays. The UVA rays stimulate melanocytes in the skin to produce melanin. The oil attracts and focuses the rays onto the skin while accelerating the tanning process, which is why the majority of tanning oils use bronzers.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colorless natural sugar, is one of the standard bronzers commonly used in tanning oils to accelerate the tanning process. Bronzers along with natural amino acids react chemically on the outer layer of the skin, resulting in a natural bronzing effect. But this wears off as the affected outer skin cell layer dies and naturally peels off.
Though a bit similar, tanning oils and lotions are entirely different from each other. To be more precise, tanning oils stay somewhere between sunscreen and tanning lotions. With less SPF than lotions, tanning oils work faster and way more effective if you have a base tan or already tanned skin. Otherwise, an outdoor tanning lotion is recommended for fair skins. But most people confuse tanning oil with sunscreen or sunblock and assume that they don’t have to use sunscreen while using tanning oil. When using tanning oil, is it wrong to avoid sunscreen altogether?
Tanning Oil VS Sunscreen
Yes, tanning oil and sunscreen have a lot in common. But they are not the same. If anything, they offer two different purposes. When sunscreen saves and protects you from the harmful UV rays to prevent tanning, tanning oil helps you tan safely. The sun’s UV rays come with both benefits(2) and risks. The biggest risk could be the high energy they contain to cause skin burns on skins. To reduce these effects, sunscreen contains ingredients that reduce the impact or strength of rays on the skin.
The chief purpose of sunscreens is to guard the skin against these UV rays. But though tanning oils guard you to some extent, they mainly provide nutrition and moisture to cope with UV exposure. Tanning oil, by contrast, intensifies the impact of UV rays on the skin without causing any burns. It focuses on rays on the principal parts of your skin where melanin is produced. Now you see the obvious differences, right?
Sunscreens have an SPF of 15 to 75 while tanning oils may not have SPF content at all. Even if they do, it’s usually below 20. Another difference is that sunscreens are cream that usually sits on top of your skin whereas tanning oils get absorbed deeper into the skin. Tanning oil enhances the tanning process, making the rays penetrate deeper into the skin glands for enhanced melanin(3) production. So, it is safe to say that sunscreens and tanning oils are different from each other.
Top 10 Tanning Oil Brands You Can Pick
Gleaming limbs under the sun sounds refreshing. Until the sun rays burn your skin. Here comes the heroic role of suntan oils! From the best natural tanning oils to the best self-tanning oils, several brands offer different types of sun tanning products. No worries, I have scoured the internet for the top picks from popular tanning oil brands to help you shop the best. Take a look!
A trusted and popular brand that is praised for its self-tanning properties, Sun Bam offers tanning oils that deliver the golden tan, as promised. It also offers moisturizing oil that is suitable for fair skin to deliver a good base tan to work on. The brand uses self-tanning ingredients such as green tea and argan oil combined with other incredible ingredients such as aloe vera, marula, coconut, and avocado oil. Their hypoallergenic tanning oils are free from harmful parabens, gluten, and oxybenzone. More importantly, most of their oils provide UVA and UVB protection. Some are water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. So if you have fair skin, you can shop the best tanning oil for fair skin from Sun Bum.
Hawaiian Tropic offers tanning oils formulated with reef-safe formula with no toxic substances. These best drugstore tanning oils contain antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E and skin conditioners with moisturizing effects. All of these ingredients work to help you give a glowing tan while making your skin look and feel smoother than before. Especially if you have dry skin. Their tanning oils are fast at their effectiveness. However, they don’t have SPF content, meaning wearing sunscreen is necessary with these oils. But their affordable eight-ounce bottles offer a variety of natural scents you will not have enough of!
This is one of the best and top tanning oils that have been used for generations of sunbathers. But many complain about the lack of SPF content in many oils. Australian Gold also offers formulas spiked with SPF 15 that protect your skin against harmful UV rays while helping you a tan that golden shade within 80 minutes. The brand offers 8 ounces of fancy bottles of affordable oils with a sprayer to help your application easier and efficient. They use ingredients processed for quick absorption to deliver desired dark tone. But none of their oils are suitable for indoor tanning sessions.
Sol De Janeiro
Don’t get discouraged by the hefty price tag. Sol De Janeiro offers brilliantly effective tanning oils with 80 minutes of protection to avoid reapplication every hour. Their lightweight and non-greasy formulas are infused with hydrating agents and antioxidants to give soft and supple skin to the touch. Fortunately, Sol De Janeiro is one of the best tanning oil brands with SPF 30 to protect the wearer’s skin. If you want, you can wear the oil at night, too, for an additional boost of luminance. Other brands that offer SPF 30 are Nuxe, Caudalie, Lancaster, and Bioderma.
Bali Body promises the deepest and darkest fake tan. Formulated with 100% natural DHA, their suntan oils leave your skin hydrated, smooth, and perfectly bronzed. They offer six different —watermelon, pineapple, peach, grape, cacao, and natural tanning oils with bonus sun protection (SPF 6). Their self-tanning oils in fancy bottles with different scents can be your next summer’s must-have staple.
Best known for formulating hypoallergenic tanning oils, B.Tan’s tanning oils are designed specifically for sensitive skin. They are paraben-free and completely vegan. The brand uses different oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, argan oil, to get the darkening formula. These oils lock in moisture and work to accelerate the tanning process. There is no need for spending too much time under the sun either. Anyone with sensitive skin can choose the B.Tan to buy tanning oil.
Art Naturals is a tanning oil brand that uses gentle formula without chemicals to give you a healthy golden glow. With natural botanical oils such as coconut, olive, safflower seed, jojoba oil, you can soften and tan your skin without harming the environment. They are free of synthetic mineral oil and contain green tea and sea algae antioxidants to fight off radicals. If you already have a base tan, their oils act quickly in delivering bronzed tan. Plus, Art Naturals’ tanning oils won’t leave residue on clothing.
For rich tan with a great scent, Banana Boat is the way to go. Their tanning oils give no sticky mess on your skin or your clothes. But you cannot rely on them for sun protection, especially if you are fair-skinned. However, their mix of essential oils nourishes the skin smoothly while giving a gentle sunkissed tan. Once applied, your skin will be left moist instead of dry. The brand Banana Boat offers the best tanning oils for outside tanning sessions. You can even go for a dip in the pool as their oils have 80 minutes of staying power. But you may need to reapply now and then after several dips. Since the formula is lightweight, you can cover all areas of the body. Anyone will like the tropical scent of bananas this brand offers. If you don’t, you can choose another tanning oil brand from the list.
The lightweight formulas of Panama Jack’s tanning oils pose a tropical scent of heavenly beach. Some oils contain moisturizing agents to prevent damaging your skin while tanning. But their seamless blend of exotic oils with fruit and nut extracts makes the tanning oils powerful at intensifying the tan. None of the ingredients are harmful chemicals. Unlike Sol De Janeiro, Panama Jack’s oils don’t provide real sun protection. So wear your sunscreen after you are done with the oil.
If you prefer natural ingredients, Cocosolis Choco’s blend of six organic cold-pressed oils may be your pick. The chances of irritation or allergies will be considerably less. Oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, almond seed oil, and nutrients such as cocoa butter and vitamin E help the skin smooth and healthy. It is true that their tanning oils are not water-resistant or have SPF protection. But the tan will be as good as any other, if anything they will be more gentle. The most praised quality of Cocosolis Choco is its chocolate scent. You will instantly love the richness of the scent!
These are my top picks of the best 10 tanning oil brands. Regardless of your skin type or condition, these brands offer tanning oils for all. You can shop yours from the listed brands! To get the full picture, here’s everything you need to know before using tanning oil.
What Are The Benefits Of Tanning Oils?
You don’t have to use a tanning oil merely for the sake of tanning your skin. Why not use tanning lotions or any other tanning products instead? Well, you can reap many benefits from tanning oils. They offer hydration and moisturization of the entire body, which helps in the tanning process. Because moisturized skin will tan better. Lack of moisture will make your skin dry out —which winter may have already done— and develop blisters in place of a golden tan.
With the right tanning oil packed with dehydrating ingredients, your skin becomes more pliable to help in deeper tan. For dry skin, tanning oil creates a protective layer that moisturizes the skin. You can look for moisturizing agents in the oil such as sodium PCA, sodium isethionate, vitamin E, glycerin, or panthenol.
Using tanning oils regularly not only moisturizes the skin but also supplies your skin with necessary nutrients. Because several tanning oils come with other essential oils that improve overall skin health. For this protection of the skin, you can choose tanning oils that contain vitamin E, green tea, aloe vera, coconut oil, cocoa butter, argan oil, hemp seed oil, avocado oil, or other natural ingredients that are known to help with tanning.
Another benefit of tanning oil is that it naturally tans your entire body quickly in a short period. You don’t have to sit in the sun for too long to get the sunkissed glow. Especially when tanning oils use ingredients that further speed up tanning. So, if you are in a hurry, grab your tanning oil and start tanning!
How To Choose A Tanning Oil?
Now comes the difficult part. How do you choose the right tanning oil for you? To avoid getting dissatisfied with no use at all, or worse, ending up with a sunburn, you have to be careful before choosing a tanning oil. With multiple brand names, different quality, needs, packages, ingredients, and fragrances, choosing a tanning oil seems hard. But with these basic points to consider, choosing one would be easier for you.
Who looks at the back of the product and inspects the ingredients it contains? If you normally don’t give it a second glance on any product you buy, start now. When buying a tanning oil, look at the ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of them. Know from which ingredients you should stay clear of. Check if it has commonly used, naturally derived ingredients (vitamin A, C, E, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter) as they prevent skin irritation or moisturizing agents.
Not many like the exotic aroma of tanning oils formulated with essential oils. Scents vary from brand to brand. There are oils with tropical, fruits, or flowery scents. You can choose any scent you would like or go with an odorless one.
If you are looking for tanning oil with sunscreen, choose one with an SPF of 15 or higher. Based on the amount of time you spent in the sun, you can choose the SPF. If you intend to stay for a longer period, choose an oil that stays on the skin for a long after the application. Also, choose a higher SPF or you can wear sunscreen after tanning oil. A tanning oil with lower SPF would suffice if you stay only for a short time. But you should keep in mind that tanning oils are formulated to give you a tan, so even the best sun tanning oil can have 0 SPF and work effectively.
Skin type and conditions
For dry skin, tanning oils work perfectly by absorbing well into the skin and keeping it moisturized and hydrated. But oily or greasy skin may want to opt for tanning lotions as lotions won’t make the skin oilier than it already is. If you have sensitive skin, you have to be careful while choosing your tanning oil. Those with high chances of developing allergic reactions should use oils with natural ingredients and fewer chemicals. And those with skin conditions like eczema(4) should choose an oil with hydrating ingredients. Also, dark-skinned people can rely on lower-SPF oils for quicker tan. But those with fair skin may need a long-lasting oil with high SPF to prevent sunburn.
If you are a swimmer or planning to go for a swim, you may choose a tanning oil with waterproof quality to lean more into staying-power.
Not many ingredients are safe for nature. Lethal ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide are not only non-biodegradable but also fatal for sea life. If you are concerned about not being a part of those who knowingly harm sea life and our environment, choose a tanning oil without harmful ingredients.
Cost and bottle size
Time for a quick evaluation of cost per use combined with quality. Because the cost will differ with the bottle’s size. And of course, a small bottle will be cheaper. But you cannot choose a tanning oil after considering just the hefty price tag. You have to consider the quality even if it is packed in an average bottle. So, choose an oil within your budget with good quality and that meets your needs, even from a not-so-popular brand. But always consider how many times you will use it. There is no reason to buy a large bottle if you use it only twice a year.
Is Sun Tanning Oil Safe To Use?
Now comes the important question. Think about it, when you layer your skin with tanning oil, it lowers the refractive index of your skin, allowing deeper penetration of sun rays. Do you think it is safe? No, it could be harmful, if the right skincare is not taken into account.
Though some tanning oils have SPF content, many don’t. So do not replace sunscreen with oil. Think of tanning oil as an addition instead of a replacement. This is why you must wear your sunscreen together with tanning oil (after 5 minutes) to protect your skin completely. Some argue that mixing these two may backfire, but there is no solid research behind that.
To be safe and protect your skin, here are a few tips to follow:
- Shower, shave and exfoliate before using tanning oil.
- Avoid areas around your eyes while applying the oil.
- Never use tanning oil on damaged skin.
- Wear sunscreen 5 minutes after tanning oil.
- Reapply your tanning oil every two or three hours without going over-the-top.
- Don’t wear makeup before you go tanning.
- Avoid tanning during peak hours.
- Never sit under the sun for too long even with tanning oil.
- Don’t shower or swim right after you apply the tanning oil.
- Breastfeeding mothers should be cautious.
Now imagine this: you basking in the summer warmth of the beaming sun and perfecting the golden tan without having to worry about UV rays. Sounds too good to be true, right? But a tanning oil from a promising brand can do that for you. All you have to do is choose the best natural oil for tanning from any of the best tanning oil brands listed above. This summer, though temporarily, you can have that evenly glowing golden tan you are after!
- The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2021). Sunburn and Your Skin. (Online). Available at https://www.skincancer.org/risk-factors/sunburn/
- National Centre For Biotechnology Information. (n.d). The benefits and risks of ultraviolet (UV) tanning and its alternatives: the role of prudent sun exposure. (Online). Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2692214/
- Azo Network. (2021). What is Melanin? (Online). Available at https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Melanin.aspx
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2021). Eczema Definition. (Online). Available at https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/Eczema