Some links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to learn more.
If you’re looking for the best tanning oil for the beach, you’ve come to the right place! Building a beautiful tan requires the right products to protect your skin from sunburn, while also aiding your tanning ability. Stunning sun-kissed skin can be achieved by using the best oil for tanning, and to help get you lounging seaside as soon as possible, here we’ve gathered 5 of the best products available on the market today. Additionally, here you’ll find a simple buyer’s guide to break down the important features to look for in the tanning oil you choose, and how to decide which is best for you for a leisurely beach day.
Our Reviews of the Best Tanning Oil for the Beach
1. Somewhere On A Beach Tanning Lotion
Review - Spoiler: It's the best tanning oil!
Unlike some other bronzers on the market that can easily turn skin orange, this product is designed to produce a natural and attractive glow. It’s perfect for use in a tanning bed, where it will work quickly to allow skin to tan and become attractive, but also can be worn outside at the beach or at the pool for the same results.
While there are other products on the market that smell fake and will leave an unpleasant odor behind when worn, this product is designed to be light and to have a refreshing scent. This gives users confidence when wearing the product that they won’t attract unwanted attention due to the way that they smell. This smell does dissipate after a while, and doesn’t tend to linger in clothing or on a towel.
Any exposure to the sun or a tanning bed can be harmful to skin, which is why using a product that hydrates at the same time is so important. This lotion does just that and is helpful in adding moisture and hydration back to the skin in a healthy and reliable way. Not only does this mean that the lotion feels great when applied, but that it will improve overall skin health in the future, as well.
Depending on use, this lotion only takes a few weeks to provide the full effects, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to tan in a hurry. It provides a deep and dark tan that looks surprisingly natural and much darker than what most people can easily get with just the sun alone.
2. Ed Hardy #BEACHTIME Tanning Lotion
Designed to help easily tan, tone, and tighten a body when exposed to the sun or in a tanning bed, this great lotion feels great once applied and helps soothe tired and sore skin. It’s packed with high-quality ingredients that are designed to offer a comfortable tanning experience and to help prevent long-lasting damage from the sun.
Once applied, this product absorbs quickly into the skin, which means that users don’t have to worry about an unpleasant residue on clothing, sheets, or towels. It starts to work right away, helping users build up to a deep and dark tan that looks natural, but takes very little time to achieve.
Spending time in the sun can be dangerous, but this product helps to keep a tan looking its best for longer without using any bronzing agents. These agents can result in a tan that looks fake and unhealthy, but using this product protects a tan naturally. It is loaded with skin hydrators and skin softeners to soothe painful and tired skin.
The included seaweed extract does an amazing job drawing any unwanted toxins from the body, helping users feel and look their best. Because this product protects tattoos and prevents fading, it can be used all over the body to keep tattoos as bright and colorful as they were on the first day. The included hibiscus extract improves skin elasticity and makes users look like they have younger and healthier skin with regular use.
3. Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR
Accelerating a tan is a great way for any person to get the deep and natural tan that they want in a fraction of the time, boosting confidence at the beach. This tanning accelerator is one of the most popular options on the market, and for good reason. It has a great reputation for working incredibly well and providing a deep and natural tan that is healthy.
This product can be used both out on the beach or at the pool, as well as in a tanning bed, giving users a lot of control over where and when they use the product. Since it doesn’t have any protection in it, it can be used in conjunction with a suntan lotion to add some protection to the skin.
Unlike some other products that can be thick and difficult to evenly spread on the body, this accelerator goes on smooth. It’s easy to spread it all over the body without ending up with streaks or patchy places, which would result in an uneven and unattractive tan. Because it is smooth and soaks into the skin, it offers an acceleration from the moment it is applied.
Designed for both regular and irregular use, this product will produce the darkest and most natural tan when used on a regular basis. However, even people who visit the beach or tanning bed infrequently will quickly notice an improvement with their skin and that they have a darker and healthier color.
4. Maui Babe Variety Pack
This set is great for helping yourself to achieve a great tan and take care of your skin. This set includes the tanning lotion, sunblock and after-browning lotion you need to keep your skin healthy while allowing it to tan. You won't need to worry about burns during the process and your skin will be well moisturized. In addition, the after-tanning lotion allows you to keep your tan longer.
What many customers love about this set is that it protects them from burning as well as helping them get a deeper tan. On top of that, it does a great job of moisturizing your skin and providing a wonderful smell. Keep in mind that some customer can receive expired products or may find that their sets are incomplete. In other cases, customers may find that the smell isn't as pleasant as they had hoped.
5. Banana Boat Tanning Oil
For those who prefer a simple option, this Banana Boat oil is ideal. This simple spray is perfect for those who like something simple and easy. It offers vitamins E and A as well as Aloe to help keep your skin in good shape on top of helping you get a tan. In addition, it offers SPF 8 to help with protecting you from sunburn while you achieve your tan.
Most users find this oil to be very effective, making it an appealing choice. They also appreciate that it protects from sunburn as it adds to the tanning ability. In most cases, they also enjoy the smell of the product. However, some customers can find that this can be a pretty greasy product. On top of that, it can take a lot to get full coverage, depending on how much you want to tan.
Tanning Oil Buying Guide
Tanning oil promotes your body's production of melanin. This helps your skin tan better and faster. That means that instead of letting direct sun and UV rays reach your skin for a long period of time, you achieve deep color without jeopardizing your skin health. The active ingredients, UV protection and waterproof qualities of the tanning oil you choose directly impact the results you see at the beach, pool or backyard, and also determine whether your skin is properly protected. There are also ingredients that should be avoided, so we've included a list of those as well.
What a Great Tanning Oil Should Do
The very best tanning oil gives you sun-kissed bronze skin without burning and peeling. As a bonus, the brand you choose will moisturize the skin so it doesn't feel itchy or tight after sunbathing. This keeps tan looking fresh and helps prevent permanent damage to deeper layers of skin. The ultimate tanning oil for your beach trip should:
- Protect skin from sun damage
- Aid skin tanning ability
- Moisturize and improve skin’s health
- Keep skin tan looking fresh
- Have a refreshing and pleasant fragrance
Keep Skin Moisturized
Moisturized skin holds a tan longer and better. That's particularly true when you tan in spring or summer — winter weather dries out your skin. Moisturizing tanning oil keeps the skin pliable to produce more even color. Tanning oil is a godsend for those with dry skin since it adds an extra layer of protection that improves skin's look and feel. Good tanning oil has moisturizing agents like glycerine, panthenol, sodium PCA or sodium isethionate. Sodium PCA, a natural element, binds with water to help the skin retain moisture.
Speed Up Tanning
Most tanning oils don't have UV protection. This means users need to put on SPF protectant oil prior to applying them. Tanning oils reflect light, which speeds up the process. Some ingredients make the process even more efficient. Check the ingredients for melanin, the natural compound responsible for your skin color. Other oils include ingredients that produce a tingling sensation. These elements accelerate your skin's production of melanin for fast results.
A number of natural ingredients are found in the essential oils used in tanning oils. These ingredients improve your skin health when used over time. These ingredients go beyond mere moisturizing. Your skin receives an extra helping of essential nutrients. Look for natural botanical extracts, hemp or coconut oils, riboflavin or L-tyrosine — these nutrients are food for your skin. Vitamin E, another common tanning oil ingredient, even protects your skin from aging too quickly.
Stay Effective in Water
If you are a swimmer, choose a waterproof or water-resistant tanning oil that remains effective if you sweat, swim or get caught in the rain.
Here are some common questions sun-worshippers ask about tanning oils.
How Do I Select the Right Ingredients?
The best tanning lotions have natural ingredients like exotic oils, botanicals and healing agents like aloe that nourish your skin. The amino acid L-Tyrosine stimulates melanin production. It has many other benefits. Taken in vitamin form and available in skin lotions, L-Tyrosine is an active ingredient in high-end tanning lotions. It's sometimes listed as another ingredient like Unipertan,is a premix of L-Tyrosine and tanning accelerators.
Why Should My Tanning Oil Contain Moisturizers?
The moisturizers in tanning lotions counteract the drying impact of UVB rays on your skin. Rich, natural moisturizers are the most beneficial. Look for shea butter, aloe vera and hemp seed oils to keep you looking and feeling your best at the beach.
What Are the Benefits of Antioxidants When Tanning?
Antioxidants battle free radicals that cause wrinkles as we age. Free radicals can also cause fine lines due to environmental stress and UV exposure. Pomegranate and vitamin E are great antioxidants found in effective tanning oils.
How Can I Pick The Right Tanning Oil?
You no doubt have your own wish list of things your ideal tanning oil should do. Here are some of the qualities of the best tanning oils:
- Ingredients are hypoallergenic, which is especially important for those with allergies.
- The most effective tanning oils contain moisturizers and don't dry out your skin.
- If you spend long hours outdoors, your tanning oil should have some sunscreen in it.
What Ingredients Should I Avoid in Tanning Oils?
When choosing a tanning oil, it's just as important to know what ingredients can have an adverse impact on your tan and your overall skin health. The following ingredients can be counterproductive and may even endanger your health:
- Mineral oil is a derivative of petroleum. This ingredient is sometimes carcinogenic — it causes cancer. It's also comedogenic — it blocks your pores which promotes acne and other disorders. Lesser quality brands use it as a carrier because it's slippery and holds other ingredients well.
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate sometimes is promoted as a natural preservative. It's not. It irritates your eyes and skin and sometimes contains formaldehyde or breaks down as formaldehyde once it enters the upper layer of skin.
- Amyl acetate is used in many dry cleaning stores — enough said.
- Octyl stearate is an irritant and comedogenic that blocks pores and degrades skin health.
- Isopropyl myristate also blocks pores and has been known to carcinogenic nitrates in your body.
- Artificial fragrances and colors. If natural ingredients promote skin health and give you a glowing tan, think of artificial ingredients in just the opposite way. Artificial fragrances are frequently used to give tanning oil a pleasant smell. Save the scents for aromatherapy. The artificial fragrances and dyes used in some tanning products are usually made from harmful petrochemicals.
The Somewhere On A Beach Tanning Lotion has proven its worth when it comes to getting a great tan. It's an option that comes at a decent price, allows for a deep tan and includes a fantastic scent. For those reasons it gets our recommendation for best product on this list. However, the other options can provide different benefits such as SPF or moisturizers on top of getting a great tan. Choosing the best oil for tanning at the beach depends upon your needs at the shore, and your preferences in product. Use this guide to decide which of these products is best for you, and get one step closer to sun-kissed skin as soon as possible!
If you’re looking for more beach guides and gear reviews, check out other articles in the Seaside Planet blog like:
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.