19 Top Indoor Tanning Lotions You Need Right Now

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Seasons may come and go, but glowing bronze goddess skin is always in.

The problem is some of us just aren’t born with that gorgeous sunkissed complexion.

A photo of a woman's legs with tanning lotion

Fortunately, for those who need a melanin boost, indoor tanning beds exist to give us a taste of what it feels like to be a bronzed beauty.

And with the top indoor tanning lotion, we can live our best tan — without baking under the sun!

Looking for your ideal indoor tanning lotion? We got you! Check out our top picks for top indoor tanning lotions!

Millenium Tanning Products Solid Black Lotion
Editor's Choice
  • Boasts advanced tan technology with L-tyrosine and silicone for faster, safer tanning
  • Contains essential oils and fruit extracts for skin hydration
  • Tingle-free formula
Australian Gold Rapid Tanning Intensifier Lotion
Budget Pick
  • Contains the brand's proprietary Biosine complex to prep your skin for melanin production
  • Has hydrating ingredients to ensure an even, glowing tan
  • Gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan
Designer Skin Misbehaved Lotion
Premium Pick
  • Formulated with both cosmetic and natural bronzers with a high amount of DHAs
  • Microbiome balancer + silicone for a flawless finish
  • 70x color technology for optimal results

How We Get a Tan

First things first: how does tanning happen?

To understand the process, we first need to know the types of UV rays our skin gets exposed to, including UVA and UVB. 

UVA rays get deep into the layers of the skin, where they stimulate melanocytes to produce melanin, the brown pigment that gives us that tan. 

Melanin is the body’s defense mechanism against UV radiation, which helps prevent the risk of burning. The darker your natural skin color, the more melanin your skin produces.

Now, what about UVB rays?

Most UVB rays penetrate only the superficial layers of the skin, which means they don’t necessarily help with the tanning process. However, they can trigger sunburn.

We get tan in various ways: natural sunbathing, sunless tanners, or tanning beds or booths. Many prefer indoor tanning to help 

If you opt for the latter, you need an indoor tanning lotion.

What Is an Indoor Tanning Lotion?

Unlike self-tanners, an indoor tanning lotion is a product you apply before a tanning bed session.

An indoor tanning lotion serves several different purposes:

  • Speeding up the tanning process. Some indoor tanning lotions, such as bronzers, are formulated with a potent blend of ingredients to help speed up the tanning process. 

    When applied to the skin, they can stimulate the body to create melanin and prepare the skin to absorb the UV light from a tanning bed better.
  • Protecting your skin. An indoor tanning lotion is designed to protect the skin’s natural barrier to minimize the harmful impact of UV rays as you strive to achieve that perfect tan.
  • Hydrating your skin. UV rays can do a number on your skin, including drying it out. 

    With indoor tanning lotions, you get moisturizing ingredients that lock in moisture and ensure your skin stays hydrated, even as it tans.
  • Extending your tan. Indoor tanning lotions don’t just help you achieve a tan. They help you extend the life of your tan too. 

    Some lotions can even reportedly help you keep your color for weeks!

Types of Indoor Tanning Lotions

To help you achieve the tan you want, indoor tanning lotions work with tanning beds. And there are several types of them.

Bronzers

Bronzers are products that add an instant dark color to your skin.

They come in two primary forms: instant and gradual. Instant bronzers work immediately, while gradual bronzers darken the skin over time. 

Bronzers can be either natural or DHA. Natural bronzers feature herbal extracts with ingredients such as caramel and riboflavin to help provide a deeper, darker color to the skin.

On the other hand, DHA bronzers contain dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with the amino acids in your skin to create that beautiful brown color. These bronzers are very popular for their ability to create a fake tan.

In addition, bronzers can also have ingredients that can firm, tone, hydrate, and nourish the skin, which all help build an excellent tan base.

Accelerators/Intensifiers/Maximizers

These tanning lotions vary in intensity, but they’re all designed to help the skin produce, reinforce, or optimize a base tan. 

These products usually contain tyrosine, an amino acid that triggers the series of chemical reactions responsible for creating melanin in the body.

Additionally, many accelerators, intensifiers, and maximizers contain bronzers.

TypeWhat It DoesIdeal ForNeed Base Tan?
AcceleratorHelps your skin achieve a base tan through formulations that speed up gentler darkening of the skin
  • Beginner tanners
  • Those with sensitive skin
No
Intensifier
  • Helps provide a much darker tan
  • Reinforces a base tan and makes it last longer
  • Might take some time to work
  • Those who have had prior tanning experience
  • Those that want to build on their base tan
Yes
Maximizer
  • Helps you get the darkest possible tan
  • Typically contains more potent ingredients
  • Can provide immediate results
  • Experienced tanners
  • Those who have had prior tanning experience
  • Those who want to build on their base tan

Tingle Lotions

As their name suggests, tingle lotions create a tingling sensation due to ingredients that increase blood flow to the skin through ingredients like methyl nicotinate and benzyl nicotinate.

These ingredients are what set tingle lotions apart from other indoor tanning lotions.

Some tingle lotions contain bronzers, accelerators, intensifiers, and maximizers, but these other types cannot be classified as tingle lotions without either of the two ingredients.

According to a 2017 study, increased blood flow to certain areas of the skin is correlated with increased hyperpigmentation. As such, melanin production may be boosted by applying products that excite blood vessels in the skin. 

Tingle lotions can take some getting used to. Some are mild, while others can be outright uncomfortable.

Beginners or people with sensitive skin are advised to avoid these lotions.

19 of the Top Indoor Tanning Lotion Products

Ready to find the top tanning lotion for your needs?

Here are 19 products to consider.

Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion

Need the best indoor tanning lotion without bronzer? This crowd favorite is a must.

Benefits: Delivers great tanning results in just one session; easily gets absorbed by the skin and leaves it feeling smooth; doesn't leave streaks and grease after tanning

Features:

  • Contains tanning intensifiers to prep skin for a deep, golden tan
  • Infused with coconut oil, coconut milk, and cocoa butter to keep skin hydrated while tanning
  • Cruelty-free, gluten-free, oil-free

This indoor tanning lotion isn't just effective, it also has a sexy, subtle vanilla scent to make your session more enjoyable!

Formulated with a proprietary blend that stimulates and synthesizes the formulation of melanin and tyrosine, this indoor tanning lotion has users raving about its ability to deliver a dark tan in just one session!

It also adjusts to your skin tone, preserves tattoo colors, protects against fading, and helps reduce the appearance of cellulite to ensure an even, beautiful tan.

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator

If you want a tanning lotion with bronzers, this product has earned a stellar reputation.

Benefits: Doesn't make skin look orange; no streaks; results after just one session

Features:

  • Contains a blend of henna, caramel, and beta-carotene for immediate bronzing
  • Has aloe vera, vitamins, and tea tree oil to nourish and moisturize skin and aid in faster natural pigmentation
  • Intoxicating beach smell

This bronzer works both in and out of the tanning bed!

Formulated with henna, caramel, and beta carotene, this lotion gives skin that quick sunkissed glow without compromising the skin’s sensitivity.

As an accelerator, it’s gentler on the skin and helps provide a nice flush for a base tan as opposed to a super dark, orange base, which is why it’s the top indoor tanning lotion for fair skin.

It also contains skin-loving ingredients such as aloe vera and tea tree oil to protect the skin as it tans, helping facilitate its natural pigmentation process.

Millennium Tanning Solid Black Lotion

This is a fantastic choice if you are looking for the best indoor tanning lotion to get dark fast!

Benefits: Tans skin in as short as one hour; doesn't dry out skin; glides onto the skin smoothly for even application

Features:

  • With advanced tan technology with L-tyrosine and silicone for faster, safer tanning
  • Contains essential oils and fruit extracts for skin hydration
  • Tingle-free formula 

A fabulous darker tan, and it's non-sticky and non-greasy!

Another indoor bronzer tanning lotion, this Solid Black lotion from Millennium promises to help you get golden skin in as short as one hour!

Advanced darkening technology that leverages L-tyrosine and silicone helps provide gorgeous and even tanning.

Hydrating ingredients, essential oils, and fruit extracts ensure skin stays hydrated.

Devoted Creations Woke Up Like This Bronzing Lotion

If you're looking for something that smells good enough to eat while offering a perfect tan, this lotion is IT.

Benefits: Tans skin without leaving stains; glides on smoothly

Features:

  • CC cream matte formula infused with DHA and natural bronzers
  • Contains antioxidant and firming properties
  • Alcohol-free

Just lather it onto your skin and leave the tanning bed looking like a golden goddess!

An excellent tanning lotion for indoor beds because of its quick-dry, hydrating formula, Devoted Creations’ Woke Up Like This lotion is infused with natural bronzers and DHA to deliver effective tanning for all skin tones.

It’s also a CC cream and contains skin pigment correctors and antioxidants to ensure a flawless base that doesn’t streak or look unnatural.

The Sicilian 200x Black Bronzer

Tanning bronzer that works and is fragrance-free? The Sicilian fits the bill!

Benefits: Does not leave a post-tanning odor; makes your skin feel soft after use; delivers a tan that lasts for weeks

Features: 

  • Contains high levels of DHA for effective and immediate tanning
  • Infused with nourishing ingredients like walnut, macadamia oil, and silicone
  • Paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan

You'll get the radiant color you want by using this indoor tanning lotion and going to the tanning salon for a few sessions a week.

Formulated with high levels of DHA, The Sicilian’s 200x Black Bronzer lives up to its name and delivers a deep, dark tan that lasts weeks after your tanning session.

It also contains moisturizing ingredients from essential oils and plant extracts to protect your skin as you tan and ensure you leave the salon with soft, nourished, and glowing skin!

Millennium Tanning Paint It Black 50X

Do you need a gentle tanning lotion for beginners? This lotion is an excellent choice.

Benefits: Doesn't feel heavy on the skin; promotes a dark tan that doesn't look orange; has a pleasant vanilla scent 

Features:

  • Less intense tanning formula that still delivers post-application results
  • Features a silicone emulsion to soften and prep skin for tanning
  • Contains tan accelerators to ensure long-lasting results

This indoor tanning lotion also works for outdoor tanning. Just don't forget sunscreen!

This 50x-strength dark indoor tanning lotion from Millennium Tanning is recommended for a noticeable tan after just one application.

Its formula is infused with tan accelerators, which makes it an excellent option for those who are new to tanning but still want results that last for a long time.

And it contains skin-nourishing ingredients such as a silicone emulsion to protect and hydrate the skin during the session.

That's What Sea Said Tanning Lotion Accelerator

Best indoor tanning lotion for face and body? That's What Sea Said is the answer.

Benefits: Provides even, smooth tanning; leaves skin feeling soft; doesn't fade tattoos

Features: 

  • Formulated with tyrosines to help stimulate melanin production
  • Features botanical extracts and anti-aging ingredients to keep skin supple and protected while tanning
  • Non-sticky, non-staining

Get that golden glow without fading your body art with this indoor tanning lotion.

That’s What Sea Said is another bronzer-free tanning lotion that works for both tanning beds and outdoor tanning (with sunscreen!)

It features a tyrosine-rich formulation to help speed up melanin production and ensure a great, long-lasting tan.

The creamy lotion also has moisturizers and anti-aging botanical extracts to prep, protect, and nourish the skin for a healthy-looking tan.

Designer Skin BombShell 100XX Bronzer

Consider Designer Skin Bombshell for a deep, dark tan that lasts.

Benefits: Delivers results with just one use; dries quickly after application; intoxicating fragrance

Features: 

  • Extreme tingling formula that produces intense heat to stimulate faster skin cell oxygenation for tanning
  • Contains DHA for faster color
  • Has antioxidants and moisturizers to protect and prep skin during sessions

This product works to deliver fast results and a sweet-smelling and refreshing tanning experience.

Considered the top indoor bronzing tanning lotion for experienced tanners, This tingle lotion contains tinglers, moisturizers, and DHA to yield immediate, darker results.

Designer Skin’s Bombshell produces an intense tingling sensation through bronzers like DHA, which helps speed up the oxygenation of your skin cells to stimulate faster tanning.

It also contains white tea extract and CoQ-10 to rejuvenate the skin, prep it for better tanning results, and give you a nice, juicy glow.

Supre Snooki Ultra Dark Leg Bronzer

Need the best indoor tanning lotion for legs? This product has everyone raving.

Benefits: Delivers fast results; doesn't leave a greasy after-session feeling

Features: 

  • Formulated with HyperDark Tanning technology to deliver fast, effective tanning
  • Firms and moisturizes skin to improve the way skin looks and glows
  • Paraben-free

An extra perk? It has hair growth inhibitors to ensure even, smooth tanning.

Are you looking for an indoor tanning lotion for a specific body part?

If you need a leg tanning lotion, this dark leg bronzer is the answer. It’s effective at speeding up the tanning effect with tyrosine and its special advanced technology formula.

And it has skin firmers and moisturizers to improve tone and texture, completing that radiant, bronzed glow.

Tanning Paradise Black Coconut Tattoo Tanning Lotion

Want the best indoor tanning lotion for tattoos? Try Tanning Paradise Black Coconut Love!

Benefits: Provides a long-lasting tan; doesn't leave a sticky sensation; tones and tightens skin

Features:

  • Leverages tan intensifiers and melanin stimulators for tanning
  • Formulated with tattoo and color fade protection
  • Free from DHA and bronzing agents

Get a golden glow, protect your tattoos, and nourish your skin with this indoor tanning lotion.

Get sun-kissed skin that doesn’t compromise your tattoos with Black Coconut Tattoo Tanning Lotion from Tanning Paradise’s tattoo and color fade protection properties. 

The lotion features tanning activators that stimulate and speed up melanin production for fast, successful tanning at the salon.

It also helps tighten and moisturize skin while reducing the appearance of cellulite to give you that perfect sculpted base.

Hempz Dark Tan Hypoallergenic Maximizer

Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer is the perfect indoor tanning lotion for sensitive skin.

Benefits: Doesn't have a post-tanning smell; glides on effortlessly; even tanning with no streaks

Features: 

  • Uses natural tan enhancers to help optimize tanning bed results
  • Contains hemp seed oil to strengthen the skin barrier and improve skin appearance
  • Paraben-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan

This hypoallergenic tanning lotion also contains calming extracts like oatmeal to ensure your skin stays soft and soothed post-tanning.

If you need the yop indoor tanning lotion for sensitive skin, try this hypoallergenic maximizer from Hempz. It uses natural tan enhancers to prepare your skin for the best results from your tanning session.

This all-natural indoor tanning lotion features hemp seed oil, which strengthens the skin’s natural barrier so it stays protected during the session. 

It also has oatmeal and mango seed butter for nourishment, hydrating the skin, and locking in that beautiful glow.

Ed Hardy Body Shots Double Shot Lotion

Need a tanning lotion with a really potent blend of ingredients? This product is your best bet!

Benefits: Delivers results in just one session; does not fade tattoo colors; firms and tones skin

Features: 

  • Powerful mix of tan enhancers, bronzers, and tinglers for boosted tanning results
  • Tightens and tones skin to improve appearance 
  • Has silicone to lock in tan 

Apply it to your skin and leave the tanning salon looking and feeling better.

Another fantastic tanning lotion for indoor tanning is this Ed Hardy product, which features a powerful blend of tan enhancers, bronzers, and tinglers. 

These all work together to stimulate melanin production and boost the skin’s darker pigmentation after the tanning session.

Additionally, it helps ensure your tan stays in place with its inclusion of silicone. It’s also formulated to protect tattoos and reduce color fading.

Supre Snooki Get Real Tanning Lotion

Another option from the Supre Snooki line is this product that provides serious tanning results.

Benefits: Yields results after the first use; makes skin supple and soft; fragrance helps cover up the post-tanning smell

Features: 

  • Contains a tan-enhancing blend of tyrosine to help you achieve a successful tan
  • Formulated with vitamins, aloe vera, and nourishing oils for a flawless base
  • Paraben-free and gluten-free

This indoor tanning lotion gives you serious color with a sweet honeysuckle blossom scent!

Among the top budget-friendly tanning lotions for tanning beds, the Snooki Get Real tanning lotion by Supre leverages the brand’s HyperDark Tanning technology. 

Its infusion of tyrosine and other ingredients helps prepare your skin to achieve the best results during your tanning session.

And you don’t need to worry about leaving your skin vulnerable and dry. This lotion also contains moisturizers and firmers to ensure soft skin and an even, glowing tan. 

Tan Asz U Luau 200X Island Black Bronzer

This lotion is a must for veteran tanners who can handle several types of bronzers.

Benefits: Offers an even, brown tan; doesn't streak or smell; doesn't feel sticky on the skin

Features:

  • Uses natural, cosmetic, and DHA bronzers for a deep, beautiful tan
  • Contains black charcoal and a Hawaiian blend for nourishment and moisture
  • 200x-strength formula 

Some users swear this tanning lotion made them three times darker with just one use!

This powerful tanning lotion boasts natural, cosmetic, and DHA bronzers for an intense color. 

This 200x-strength product is guaranteed to make your indoor tanning session truly productive and give you a gorgeous brown color.

Additionally, it contains a skin-loving infusion of black charcoal, Hawaiian butter, botanical extracts, and fruits to give your skin that extra glowy oomph.

Brown Sugar Black Chocolate Coconut Cream 200X Bronzer

Want a bronzing lotion that yields results with just one use? This product does that and more.

Benefits: Results with just one use; doesn't leave stains; no post-tanning smell

Features:

  • 200x-strength bronzer formulation that delivers a deep, dark tan
  • Contains double dark chocolate and argan extracts + silicone to keep skin soft and supple
  • Paraben-free and DHA-free

This product gives you a gorgeous tan and hydrated and healthy skin.

Adding to our list of the top indoor tanning lotions is this 200x-strength bronzer from Brown Sugar. 

This product is a DHA-free formulation that uses artisan-crafted bronzers to help you achieve your darkest tan.

It also features nourishing extracts such as argan, a triple coconut cocktail, and silicone to ensure your skin is hydrated while tanning.

Designer Skin Misbehaved Lotion

Looking for a premium product with premium results? Look no further than this indoor tanning lotion.

Benefits: Works in just one session; delivers a super dark tan

Features:

  • Formulated with both cosmetic and natural bronzers with a high amount of DHAs
  • Microbiome balancer + silicone for a flawless finish
  • 70x color technology for optimal results

Make your time at the tanning salon pleasant with this tanning product that gives good color and smells like strawberry pear daiquiri!

This tanning lotion from Designer Skin leverages a potent mix of cosmetic and natural bronzers to ensure fast and effective tanning. 

Many users of this product have claimed to see results in just one session, which is great if you want a quick tan in a pinch. 

It also ensures that your skin gets that flawless, even finish with its microbiome balancer, silicone, and Real Reflection Complex.

Devoted Creations Somewhere on a Beach Tanning Lotion

If you're looking for a lotion that makes your skin pop, this one helps give you a golden tan with a subtle shimmer.

Benefits: Doesn't leave streaks or stains; dries fast; fragrance-free

Features:

  • Uses DHA-free bronzers for tanning
  • Contains coconut and walnut oils + advanced Matrixyl Synthe 6 for smooth, hydrated skin
  • BB cream-infused matte finish

Lather this lotion on your body, hop in a tanning bed, and walk out looking radiant.

The highly-rated indoor tanning bronzing lotion Somewhere on a Beach by Devoted Creations uses tan enhancers and bronzers (without DHAs) to add a delicious brown color to your skin.

It is formulated with skin-enhancing ingredients such as Matrixyl Synthe 6 (an anti-aging peptide), sea buckthorn berry (for protection from free radicals), and coconut and walnut oils (for hydration). 

The result is a flawless finish that’s made even better with the product’s BB cream infusion.

Australian Gold Rapid Tanning Intensifier Lotion

Want a natural product that works AND won't break the bank? This product should be in your arsenal.

Benefits: Does not feel heavy; does not irritate the skin; does not leave stains

Features:

  • Contains the brand's proprietary Biosine Complex to prep your skin for melanin production
  • Has hydrating ingredients to ensure an even, glowing tan
  • Gluten-free, cruelty-free, and vegan

Fast-drying and quick-acting, this is the wonder product you need to be a glowing golden girl.

Somewhere on the Beach is another good option if you’re looking for the top indoor tanning lotion under $15 that does not contain bronzers or skin-darkening ingredients. 

This tanning intensifier is formulated with their signature Biosine Complex, which helps stimulate the skin for dark color development.

It also ensures optimal hydration and nourishment with tea tree oil, vitamin E, and aloe vera to keep your skin at its best for successful, smooth tanning.

Designer Skin Command Tanning Lotion

Looking for a tanning lotion for the men in your life? This one would make a fantastic gift.

Benefits: Does not have a post-tanning smell; protects against tattoo and color fade; leaves skin feeling soft

Features:

  • Quadruple bronzing blend of DHA with natural bronzers for a fast tan
  • Contains botanical extracts and silicone for hydration
  • Formulated specifically for men

It's an indoor tanning lotion formulated for men, but with its refreshing fragrance and efficient formulation, girls may want to snatch this up, too!

Another tanning lotion for indoor tanning beds from Designer Skin is rounding up our list. This lotion is specially formulated for men. 

It uses DHA and natural bronzers to deliver a fast, lasting, and beautiful tan both off a tanning bed and under the sun (with sunscreen!)

Also, it contains silicone, licorice, and green tea extract to keep the skin moisturized while preserving the color integrity of your tattoos.

Dosing bronzing lotion or tanning cream from a flask with a doser to a pink tan applicator glove.

Safety Considerations When Using Indoor Tanning Lotions

Now that you know some of the best indoor tanning lotions to try, it’s also important to remember that indoor tanning carries potentially serious risks for developing certain types of cancer. 

As such, when doing indoor tanning, make sure to keep some safety considerations in mind:

  • Never use indoor tanning lotions outside the tanning salon, as most do not have SPF and cannot be safely used under the sun. The exception is if the lotion is additionally formulated for outside use.

    But even then, it’s still better to use these lotions in tandem with a good sunscreen.
  • Know your specific skin type. Some lotions are very potent, which might trigger reactions even in people who do not have sensitive skin. Knowing what your skin can and cannot tolerate is vital to safe, successful indoor tanning.

    If you are just starting indoor tanning, you should start with the milder indoor tanning lotions and work your way up just to be sure.
  • Do not tan when using certain medications. Tanning must be avoided if you’re on medications that can lower your body’s ability to handle UV light.

    These include some antibiotics, blood pressure medication, analgesics, antidepressants, antimalarials, and psoralens. It’s best to ask your doctor to be sure if you are unsure.

FAQs

How Often Can You Use an Indoor Tanning Lotion?

It depends on the specific type of lotion that you’re using. Some tanning lotions can be applied every few weeks, while others require a longer time between sessions.

Always read product labels carefully to ensure you get the best results and stay safe.

Can You Shower After Using an Indoor Tanning Lotion?

Experts recommend waiting a few hours before you shower after using a tanning lotion.

Sometimes, you might want to wait longer to ensure the tan doesn’t wear off, especially if you’re using bronzers.

Choosing the Top Indoor Tanning Lotion

If you are a fan of indoor tanning, then indoor tanning lotions are integral to the safety and success of your tanning salon session.

These products, after all, can help speed up and extend tanning while also nourishing and protecting your skin from UV rays.

Some indoor tanning lotions are formulated with bronzers for an instant or gradual pop of dark color, while others are more suited to those looking to build, reinforce, or maximize a base tan.

There are several good choices for indoor tanning lotions, ensuring consumers a broad range of products from organic to cosmetic and in a wide range of prices.

When choosing your tanning lotion, consider your specific tanning experience, as some lotions are unsuitable for beginners or those with sensitive skin. 

Also, consider whether you want a super dark tan or one that gives you a subtle sun-kissed glow, as formulations have varying strengths.

So check out our top picks and see which one safely works for you. With a little research and patience, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you!

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Author

  • Kat

    Kat brings a seasoned voice to our beauty blog with 13 years of dedicated writing experience. Her deep-seated passion isn't just limited to words; she's always on the pulse of emerging makeup trends. Beyond her articles, Kat crafts hand-made crochet swimwear and sundresses, and effortlessly steps in as a muse for beauty photoshoots. Kat holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.

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