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Ultimate Guide To Indoor Tanning Lotion | The Top 6 Best Lotions in 2019

indoor tanning lotion

Indoor tanning lotion is an essential for obtaining the perfect golden glow in a tanning bed. With so many lotions on the market, it’s hard to know which one is best for you.

We’ve made your decision easier!

Are you on a budget, do you want a lotion with anti-aging benefits, or maybe you’re looking for an indoor tanning lotion for men?

Keep reading to find out which accelerator tanning bed lotion (with or without bronzer) is best for you!

♥ Best Indoor Tanning Lotions

indoor tanning lotions

Best accelerators (designed to accelerate the natural tanning process) without bronzer

Check out our review of the Maui Babe Tanning Lotion (including the indoor tanning bed version, and the mineral oil-free formula).indoor tanning

#1. Best Value Accelerator Tanning Lotion: Immoral Black Market 200X Private Reserve Tanning Lotion (No SPF)

best tanning lotion

  • 11 ounces
best tan lotion
  • Fuss Free
  • Made in the USA
  • No After Tan Odor (ATO)
  • High quality ingredients
  • Indoor and outdoor tanning
  • Suitable for those who find it hard to tan

best tanning lotion

best tanning lotions
  • Don’t apply too much
  • Can stain jewelry – be sure to wipe off
  • Mixed reviews on the smell

best tanning lotion

A Cult Favorite: High Quality Ingredients, Good Value For Money

This accelerator earned the number one spot for its high quality ingredients and good value for money. A range of natural, organic products are included in the ingredients – nourishing your skin while you tan.

There’s 11 ounces in each bottle, and each bottle lasts a long time. A little goes a long way with this accelerator!

Immoral promises a streak-free tan with this silicone tanning lotion. The US-based Immoral Black Market brand is not as well known as Australian Gold or Supree, but it has a huge cult following.

This is a fuss free accelerator.  It does not contain any added bronzer, heat or cooling effect, or tingling sensation. Worried about that classic tanning smell? This Immoral Black Market lotion does not have any after tan odor (ATO). It can be used for both inside and outside (with SPF) tanning.

Sometimes you just want an accelerating lotion that you can apply and completely forget about. No need to worry about orange palms, an unpleasant after-tan smell, or an irritating tingling or heat sensation. Just apply the moisturizing lotion and enjoy your tanning session!

This Immoral Black Market lotion also works better than other accelerators for people who find it hard to tan.

best tanning lotion

High Quality Moisturizing Ingredients

A luxury lotion – the high quality ingredients match up with the higher price tag.

A combination of vitamins, natural oils, caffeine, and fruit extracts combine with the tan-accelerating agents to provide a quicker, deeper tan without drying out the skin.

The ingredients include: aloe vera, caffeine (white tea, green tea), hemp seed oil, macadamia seed oil, jojoba seed oil, rosemary, rose hip, ginger and ginseng extracts, moisture rich shea butter, vitamin A, and vitamin E.

We apply so many products to our skin day-to-day. From body washes, moisturizers, to perfumes – it’s important to give your skin a break from all the harsh chemicals.

The high quality, naturally occurring ingredients in this Black Market lotion pamper the skin while accelerating your tan and help counteract the dry, flaky skin that tanning can cause. The ingredients are safe to use over tattoos, so it’s a great option for any tattooed ladies.

The lotion is scented with a beach fragrance, but there’s no after tan odor.

best tanning lotions

On first glance, the average ratings online don’t seem that impressive. However, some reviewers had an issue with one particular seller, not the actual product. A lot of reviews online are entirely positive.

Overall, customers are impressed with the no streaks, natural looking tan that this lotion provides. Reviewers said that while it is a thick lotion, it’s not greasy, it’s easy to apply, and it absorbs into the skin quickly.

Customers like that they get their money’s worth with this tanning accelerator. There’s a lot of product in each bottle and only a small amount of product is needed per tanning session. It’s easy to overdo it – be careful not to use too much!

Reviewers like the high quality, moisturizing ingredients and how soft the lotion feels on the skin. It doesn’t dry up on the skin (a common issue with tanning lotions) and even helps satiate and replenish dry skin.

The scent has mixed reviews. Some said it smells just okay, others liked it, but none were bothered by it.

It also seems to works great for tanners who usually find it hard to catch a tan, and for those who hit a plateau when tanning.

Customers noted that it can stain jewelry, so be careful to wipe off the lotion if it accidentally touches your jewelry.

best tanning lotion

indoor tanning lotion

Looking for a high quality, no fuss tanning accelerator? This cult fave is packed with organic, and high quality hydrating ingredients, to provide a streak free, natural looking deeper tan.

Although it’s not cheap, this lotion is good value for money. There’s a lot of product in each bottle, and only a small amount of product is needed for each application.

It’s a great option if you find it difficult to build up a tan, and for those who have reached a tanning plateau.

#2. Best Luxury Accelerator Tanning Lotion: Australian Gold Hot Maximum Intensifier (No SPF)

best tanning lotion

  •  8.5 ounces

best tan lotion

  • Indoor and outdoor tanning
  • No fuss accelerator
  • No After Tanning Odor (ATO)
  • Anti-aging antioxidants and vitamins
  • High quality ingredients
  • Works well for fair skin
  • Moisturizing, not sticky

best tanning lotions

  • Contains 2 parabens
  • Mixed reviews on the scent

A Best Selling Tan Accelerator From A Reputable Brand

This Australia Gold lotion is packed with high quality, moisturizing and conditioning ingredients. These include: Macadamia, kukui, olive, omega and tea tree oils.

The pure aloe vera helps develop a natural tan as fast as possible. To help build a deeper, darker color, the tanning lotion also contains liposomes and amino acids.

The lotion is fragranced with the classic Australian Gold Cocoa Dreams scent.

best tanning lotions

Reviewers were overwhelmingly impressed with the product, with a very high average rating online.

Customers were impressed with how the lotion moisturizes well and doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy or sticky. Reviewers with sensitive skin said it worked well. They appreciated the high quality ingredients, and noted the lotion didn’t irritate their skin.

It works well to produce a natural color for indoor or outdoor tanning, and is especially suited to fair skin that does not tan easily. However, some said it works best to build upon an existing tan on pale skin.

Some reviewers were confused by the addition of ‘Hot’ in the product name, and expected a tingling hot tan. This is a no-heat, no-bronzer intensifier. Don’t let the questionable name choice fool you!

A few reviewers said they were impressed with the performance of this tanning lotion on the face. Especially because, unlike other lotions, it didn’t cause breakouts!

Customers had mixed reviews on the scent. Some like the scent, others say it’s too sweet. Reviews were impressed that the tan doesn’t leave an after tan odor (ATO).

Tip: If there is a little on your hands after applying it, run your fingers through your hair!

indoor tanning lotion

#3. Best Budget Accelerator Tanning Lotion: Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator (No SPF)

best tanning lotion

  • 8.5 ounces
best tan lotion
  • Biosine Complex: Tea Tree Oil, Olive Oil and Panthenol to soothe, soften, & moisturise.
  • Quinoa Extract: provides powerful antioxidants for nourished, healthy color.
  • No Animal Testing
  • No Mineral Oil
  • 2 in 1: Indoor & Outdoor Tanning
  • Vitamin A + E
  • No sticky residue

best tanning lotions
  • Mixed reviews on the effectiveness
  • Mixed reviews on the cocoa ‘creamsicle’ smell
  • Doesn’t protect tattoos from fading

High Quality, Award Winning Lotion On a Budget

Made in the USA and a leader in tanning lotion for over 30 years, Australia Gold’s Dark Tanning Accelerator is an award winning tanning lotion. It earns the third place on our list for its affordable price – a great option if you’re on a budget!

While it’s still a high quality, highly reviewed product, it ranks third because there’s mixed reviews on its effectiveness. This tanning lotion is simply a no fuss accelerator. It doesn’t provide tattoo-fading protection, unlike some of the more expensive models.

Like the others on the list, Australia Gold’s Dark Tanning Accelerator is suitable for both outdoor or indoor bed tanning.

Notes: Although this lotion is named ‘Australia Gold’ it is made in the USA. Renamed from ‘dark tanning accelerator’ to ‘accelerator’ in the UK as of 2018. Also available with hemp seed.

Moisturizing, Skin Protecting Ingredients Included, Mineral Oil Excluded!

This tanning lotion contains moisturizing and anti-oxidizing ingredients – impressive considering the affordable price.

Quinoa extract produces an antioxidant effect and provides a natural looking tan color. No need to worry about turning orange!

The Biosine complex of olive oil, tea tree oil, and panthenol combine to soothe, soften, and moisturize the skin. These hydrating properties are great to prevent the flaky, dry skin that often comes with tanning.

Vitamin E works to provide antioxidant protection and reduce damage from UV rays. Important considering tanning is not healthy for your skin! Vitamin A also protects your skin from the UV rays, and even reduces the signs of aging.

Not only does it contain these beneficial ingredients, this Australian Gold accelerator deserves some praise for what’s not included and how the product is developed.

This lotion doesn’t contain any mineral oil: a comedogenic oil that can clog pores and often causes blemishes. Additionally, it’s not tested on animals.

best tanning lotions

While the reviews are for the most part very positive, there are some mixed reviews on the effectiveness and scent.

Some customers really liked this accelerator and noticed results after first use – even on fair skin! Many noted it works well to extend an existing tan. Others said they didn’t get noticeable results and preferred their usual, pricer tanning lotions instead.

Most customers had no trouble using the lotion indoors or outdoors. A lot of reviews mentioned that the accelerator is moisturizing and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. A majority also really liked the cocoa ‘creamsicle orange’ smell, but a minority didn’t like it at all.

indoor tanning lotion

If you’re looking for a tan accelerator for indoor or outdoor tanning on a budget, this is a great option.

It contains great ingredients considering the price, and it’s not tested on animals.

However, it does not work well for everyone – some customers said they prefer their pricier lotions, like the ones listed in first and second place above.

Accelerating & Bronzing Lotions

#4. Best Bronzing Tanning Lotion: Supre Snooki Ultra Dark Black Bronzer

best tanning lotion

  • 12 ounces

best tan lotion

  • Indoor or outdoor tanning
  • No parabens
  • Contains Vitamins, Coconut and Sweet Almond Oil
  • Doesn’t transfer on clothes
  • Provides a nice, non-orange tan

best tanning lotions

  • Scent is overwhelming for some
  • Some find it only works well with a prexisting base tan

A collaboration with Snooki (of Jersey Shore fame), this Supre tanning lotion is an accelerator and bronzer in one to provide a very dark tan.

The difference between this product and the ’70x Ultra Black Bronzer’ (another tanner in the range) is the amount of bronzer in the lotion. This lotion contains less bronzer than the ’70x Ultra Black’.

Bronzer and Accelerator In One

The lotion contains a combination of black walnut, henna, and DHA. These ingredients combine to produce the bronzy glow that appears in the initial few hours after applying this lotion.

It’s important to wait 3 to 4 hours before getting into the pool/shower for the DHA to develop correctly.

It’s not an instant sunless tanner. There is no immediate guide color. It takes a few hours for the bronzer to appear, but it’s visible a lot sooner than the actual tanning process will take.  The color tends to be subtle, and it’s also forgiving if you do not apply it carefully.

This tanner has really high average reviews online. Multiple reviewers said they’ve tried many lotions and this Supre lotion is their favourite.

Overall, reviewers said it really works to accelerate the tanning process, and produces a nice moisturizing feel to the skin.

Customers like the deep dark tan that this lotion provides. It doesn’t develop into an orange color, and it works particularly well for red tones.

The Supre Snooki lotion does not rub on clothing, and even though it’s also a bronzer, customers noted it didn’t turn their hands or skin orange.

#5. Best Tanning Lotion For Men: Devoted Creations Camo King Enhancer and Bronzing Lotion

best tanning lotion

best tan lotion

best tanning lotions

This lotion is well liked, with a very high average rating online.

Customers like that this lotion provides a natural looking and high coverage tan.

Reviewers see the difference in their skin: it’s noticeably darker in the tanning booth after use.

It works well for sensitive skin. There’s mixed reviews on the manly cologne scent. This lotion emits a powerful smell, and some find it too strong.

Although it’s easy to apply, some customers complain that it can stain the knuckle area of the hands. Make sure you wash your hands immediately after applying it.

Wait for your skin to dry before you put clothes on to prevent staining.

indoor tanning lotion

Looking for a tan enhancer and bronzer for men? The Camo King is a good option for you.

It provides BB cream coverage, tattoo and color fade protection, skin benefits, and has added ATO prevention.

However, the smell can be overpowering and it can stain the knuckles if you don’t wash it off immediately.

The current price of Camo King is available on Amazon here 

♥ TL;DR – Which Tanning Lotion Is Best For Me?

Makeup Scholar

  • Looking for a high quality, no fuss tanning accelerator lotion? The Immoral Black lotion, a cult fave, is packed with organic, and high quality hydrating ingredients. This lotion provides a streak free and natural looking deeper tan. It works especially well for those who find it hard to build up a tan.
  • Australian Gold’s Hot Accelerator is a good option for a luxury, no bronzer, no heat, and no tingle, tanning accelerator lotion. This accelerator works well to counteract some of the fine lines and wrinkles that appear after tanning thanks to its high quality anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients.
  • Looking for a tanning accelerator and bronzer in one?  Supre Snooki Ultra Dark Black Bronzer Lotion is a good option at a great price. It’s enriched with vitamins and hydrating oils, produces a natural but deep (and not orange) color. This lotion works best with a preexisting tan, and the scent can be overpowering.

♥ Indoor Tanning for Newbies

♥ Reduce Risks When Tanning

Indoor tanning is damaging to the skin and can increase the risk of certain cancers. Try a self tanner instead for a less risky glow (check out Clean Tan here).

Using sun beds can increase the signs of aging to the skin. Many of the tanning lotions on this list included hydrating, anti-aging ingredients to attempt to counteract some of the skin damage caused by tanning.

Cut down on your tanning by using a tan extender/healer to maintain a tan for longer (check out number 6 on this list).

Googles should be used for indoor tanning to prevent retinal damage, or burns to the cornea and cataracts.

♥ Any Benefits To Indoor Tanning?

Many use tanning beds to feel good, to develop a pre-vacation tan, or to get a glow before a special occasion.

Tanning can increase the feeling of wellbeing. Exposure to UV increases the production of beta-endorphins by 44% – leading to a more euphoric and relaxed feeling.

An even tan is easier to achieve in a tanning bed than sunbathing outside and can help to avoid tan lines.

Tanned skin is concerned a sign of beauty, youth, and health by many. Women in one study claimed that not only did they prefer their own appearance with tanned skin, but also that their friends and family thought they looked better with tanned skin. The women in the same study claimed that they look thinner and more toned with tanned skin, and it helps to cover and heal imperfections and acne on the skin.

Tanning beds are sometimes used to treat certain skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, and keratosis among others).

♥ Indoor Tanning Lotion Accelerators/Intensifiers/Maximizer

The basic accelerators are not a false/self tanning product. There’s no bronzer added and the lotion does not stain the skin, which is useful to avoid orange palms, and makes it easy to apply with your hands without a tanning matt.

Accelerators without bronzers are great if you have a special occasion and don’t want to ruin your dress. Especially if you’re looking for a healthy glow for your wedding. Nothing worse than an orange stained white wedding dress!

While all of the accelerators and tanners on this list can also be used for outdoor tanning, none of the lotions have SPF protection. It’s important to use an SPF outside to protect your skin from burning.

Accelerators typically include tyrosine (an amino acid, that is connected to the production of melanin) to help encourage the tanning process on the skin.

♥ Tanning Bed Bronzing Lotions

Some accelerating lotions include bronzers. The bronzers usually contain DHA that works to give the skin a glow even without tanning outside or in a sunbed. The bronzer can sometimes become visible immediately after applying the lotion, other bronzers gradually develop over a few hours, and continue developing after your tanning booth session.

The advantage of bronzers is that the color they provide may reduce the amount of UV tanning you need to reach your desired color. The disadvantage is that some bronzers have a fake tan scent, and you need to be careful to apply the lotion evenly, as you don’t want a streaky, orange tan.

Tingle lotions are also available on the market. These kind of lotions work via a micro- circulation process whereby the oxygen in the blood is raised to the surface of the skin, allowing the UV light to reach the skin much easier and deepen your tan. Never apply tingle lotions to the face.

♥ How To Use Indoor Lotions

  • Apply liberally, about 1/2 to 1 ounce of lotion per session, before tanning.
  • Don’t use it for too long – 20 minutes to 1.5 hours.
  • After tanning, use a regular moisturizing lotion to keep the skin hydrated and extend the life of your tan.

best tanning lotion

Looking for the best tanning lotion for outdoor use? All of the lotions listed below are suitable for sun tanning too, but we also have a separate list of sun tanning lotions, gels, and oils (both with and without SPF)

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