Before we present you with the best outdoor tanning lotions, let’s talk about the risks of exposing yourself to the sun. There is a long ongoing debate whether to sunbathe or not. Does it cause melanoma? If so, what about the health benefits of sunlight, like the production of Vitamin D? According to the National Institutes of Health, not getting enough sunlight can even cause a form of depression knows as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Let’s be honest: We will not stop going into the sun. We love it. We even need it. But, we need to stay safe while doing so.
Minimizing the risks
Delicate touch of the best sun cream for a dark tan provides your skin with a thin layer of protection. Whether you’re staying closer to home this summer or going abroad, please minimize the chance of getting sun burning or provoking skin cancer. Practice sun safety!
What you should know about sun cream ingredients
Using nature-based ingredients is the key to sun safety, but don’t rely on them alone. Sun creams and tanning lotions undoubtedly provide valuable protection against harmful UV rays due to the following components:
- Limit the time you spent in the sun; this is crucial! There is no need to spend hours sunbathing. 15 Minutes per day can be enough to give your body the Vitamin D it needs. If you tend to have darker skin that doesn’t burn easily, the best sun cream for a dark tan will fit your particular needs. It can help you achieve gorgeous attractive tan you desire without distressful burning and protect against the sun’s harmful rays. If you use the right tanning accelerator or intensifier, this will also be sufficient to get a nice tan after a few sessions.
- Get a base tan. You are at the highest risk of skin cancer when you get a sunburn. So start small with 5 – 10 minutes sunbathing a day and increase in small steps. When you notice you’re getting a sunburn, take a break until the sunburn wears off. It is also advisable to use sunscreen. You can use tan accelerators that come with SPF or just use a sunscreen first and then apply the tanning lotion on top of it. Get a great looking tan and prevent sunburn at the same time, that’s a win-win.
- Moisturize! This is one of the best ways to minimize the risk of getting a sunburn. A well-moisturized skin also looks better and slows down the aging process. You don’t want to look all leathery and wrinkled, just because your skin got too dry. The best tanning intensifiers also moisturize your skin very well.
- Use the best sun cream for a dark tan before exposing yourself to the sun. The most popular sun creams with SPF30 or SPF50 contain an ultra-light and hydrating formula that protects your skin perfectly from the sun’s rays. It leaves your skin feeling non-greasy and silky. Don’t keep a sun cream for longer than year, as it can make the UV protection ineffective. Remember, even the high-quality sun cream has limited shelf life.
- UVA filters: absorb UVA light; sensitise your skin; can provoke allergic reactions;
- UBV filters: absorb UVB light; deflect radiation from your skin; are common irritants;
- Sunblocks (titanium and zinc oxide): smooth and easy to blend; contain new high-tech formula with fine micro-pigments; are less irritating than most chemical products;
- Preservatives (parabens): prevent zinc or titanium oxide from breaking down and not working in a proper way;
- Sunburn preventers (aspirin-like chemicals): act as antiseptics; prevent sunburn; allergic to those who are sensitive to aspirin;
- Skin protectors: (PABAS, include ethyl dihydropropyl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate A, padimate-O, and glyceryl PABA): act as local anaesthetic; can irritate skin, but at the same time prevent skin damage.
Bronzer or No Bronzer that is the question
Simply stated: A bronzer enhances your tan further. There are even tanning products that only have a bronzer and do not need sunlight to give you a tan. Bronzers are a great way to get a darker tan much faster, but there are some things to consider.
- You have to keep the lotion on your skin for a couple of hours. With a standard tanning intensifier, you can just wash it off, and it doesn’t affect your tan, as long as you moisturize afterward. A bronzer hast to stay on your skin to develop your tan.
- Bronzers can give you streaks if not applied evenly. Tanning lotions without it are move forgiving when it comes to uneven application.
- Stains on your clothes can also be a consequence. While tanning intensifiers may leave some color on your clothes, they’re usually washable. A bronzer is made to stick (to your skin!), but because of that it can also stain your clothes and is not so easily removable.
- It is also necessary to clean the palm of your hands immediately after applying it. Otherwise, these will stain too. Better yet: use gloves or an application mitt.
It is up to you in the end, which one you prefer. We give you the best sunbathing lotions, whether they have a bronzer or not.
Beware of fake lotions
If you buy on Wallmart and take a look at the reviews, you will sometimes see some negative reviews which mostly state, that the product either doesn’t work and/or smells bad. While the effectiveness of a product may vary on different skin types, there shouldn’t be a big difference in opinion about the smell.
Unfortunately there are some fake products out there. We want to help you avoid buying and using these products. Here is what you can do:
1. Buy directly from Wallmart. Almost always, you will find other sellers who offer the same product on Wallmarts website. For them to get people to buy from them instead of Wallmart, they sell the products at slightly cheaper prices. While there are good sellers out there, we recommend buying from Wallmart directly, even if it costs a bit more.
2. Check if the bottle has been opened before. Some products get delivered with a seal, make sure it is not broken. Some products should come in their own packaging. If you only get a bottle with no additional packaging, you might have gotten a fake product.
3. Smell it. If you buy a tanning lotion that is supposed to have a pleasant fragrance but you get a stinky product, something is not right. Most fake products only use the original bottle and fill it with some cheap, smelly stuff.
Finally: The Best Outdoor Tanning Lotions
Now that we got all the necessary information we can finally talk about the best tanning intensifiers and accelerators for you. It is practically impossible to pinpoint only one “best tanning lotion”. Therefore, we give you a selection of 4 products, which we believe to be the best.
Australian Gold Rapid Tanning Intensifier Lotion
We just told you; it is hard to pick the best tanning lotion, but if we were forced to give our #1 pick it would be Australian Gold Rapid Tanning Intensifier Lotion.
This product is very versatile. Not only does it give you a more intense tan if you already have a good one, but it is also totally suitable for beginners with no tan. That means you do not have to switch to another lotion once you get your base tan, and you can even share it with your partner if you have a different tan.
Even if you have a fair skin complexion, this product will not disappoint you. You will achieve a beautiful color, very fast. And all this without any bronzers. So no fear of streaking or ruining your clothes.
Another great thing is that you can use it both for outdoor tanning and indoor tanning as well. So, once summer is over and you have to head to the tanning salon you can still keep using this one.
Every good tanning product must contain a good moisturizer, and Australian Gold made it one of the best in their Hot Maximum Intensifier Lotion. It will make your skin smooth and look fresh while making the tan lasting as long as possible.
Of course, if you spent much time with a product on your skin you want it to smell good. Customers just love the smell and describe it as a yummy bubble gum smell.
Australian Gold SPF15 Lotion
There is no doubt that Australian Gold is one of the best tanning product manufacturers in the world. That’s why they have two products on our top list.
The SPF15 Lotion shares a lot of good qualities with the Hot Maximum Intensifier, but there are two major differences.
First, this is, in fact, a lotion and not oil. Some people prefer lotions over oil because they do not like the oily touch on their skin. Also, lotion usually gets absorbed more quickly by the skin. If you belong to this group, the SPF15 Lotion may be a better fit for you.
Second, this one contains a bronzer and is the only product on our list that does so. With a bronzer, you get a tan more quickly, but beware that this is not a real tan and not as long lasting and the actual tan you get from the sunbathing. So, part of your tan will fade away more quickly, the part that was achieved using the bronzer.
The actual suntan will last you a long time though, just as we are used to from Australian Gold products.
Australian Gold signature smell the “bubble gum” can also be found in this lotion and leaves you with a sweet fragrance.
Sunny Day Golden-Glow Self Tanning Lotion Pro
If you are looking for your best bang for buck, look no further. Sunny Day Golden-Glow Self Tanning Lotion Pro is one of the best outdoor tanning lotions out there and for a very affordable price.
Sunny Day Golden-Glow Self Tanning Lotion Pro is now the #1 bestselling tanning product in Hawaii. They do not care for a luxurious looking bottle but rather for the quality of their product. And it works very well.
Recommended: Best Tanning Lotion for Fair Skin
Sunny Day Golden-Glow Self Tanning Lotion Pro gives you all you want and need from an incredible tanning lotion.
You will get tanned very fast and keep it for a long time, which is what we want most from a product like this. And all this without the use of a bronzer. Talk about quality!
Because there is no bronzer you do not have to worry about staining your clothes. But, this is a thick, brown lotion, and it will leave some residue on your clothes until you wash them. So make sure to rub it in very well before you put on clothes.
The lotion is also water resistant, which is probably a must if you live in Hawaii since you spent more of your day on a surfing board. If you don’t have the luxury of sunshine all year around, you can use this lotion also in a tanning bed.
This lotion contains oil and, therefore, will be oily on your skin. Also, because it is water resistant, you need to make sure to clean yourself thoroughly after your sunbath. A simple jump into the ocean will not get the lotion off your skin.
People like the smell of this lotion, and it can best be described as coffee-caramel.
Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil
The last one on our list of the best outdoor tanning lotions is the Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil.
The Dark Tanning Oil will give you exactly what its name promises: A dark (golden) tan, which is achieved through a mix of different rich tanning oils and no SPF. This makes this product not suitable for fair skin, and we recommend one of the other products on our list.
If you just cannot get enough of its heavenly coconut fragrance (which maybe makes it the best smelling tanning product ever), but have pale skin, please apply a sunscreen to your skin and the tanning oil on top of it.
One downside is the use if mineral oil, which makes it unsuitable for long tanning sessions, since mineral oil supposedly damages the skin and accelerates aging. Please keep your sessions to a 30-minute maximum and make sure to get rid of all the oil after tanning.
What makes this product so attractive is the price, as it is the most affordable tanning product on this list.