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Best Tanning Oil for Glowing Skin: Top 11 Picks [2022]

Written by Lexi Carlson
Medically Reviewed by Denise Christine Bries, MD
Updated
Best Tanning Oil for Glowing Skin Top 11 Picks

Most of us, if not all, have experienced the worst in tanning oils. But ever wonder what went wrong?

The best part about tanning oils is that many options can cater to your needs and conditions!

If you’re worried that your skin will turn out orange or damaged after tanning, read this list to know the best pick for your skin!

BEST BUDGET

Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil

BEST OVERALL

Sun Bum Tanning Oil

BEST VALUE

Dr. Mercola Natural Tanning Oil

11 Best Tanning Oils on the Market

There’s nothing wrong with using the same brand as your friends or family, but your skin has different needs and reactions that are different from other people.

That said, we tested 11 of the BEST TANNING OILS in the market for you to know which one suits your skin best!

1: Sun Bum Tanning Oil [BEST OVERALL]

Sun Bum Tanning Oil

If you’re looking for something SAFE to use, this tanning oil is for you!

This tanning oil is as nourishing as it can get because it has all the best ingredients you need for tanning oil.

It’s got aloe vera, Kona coffee plant extract, and green tea butter that leaves the skin feeling fresh.

It’s also equipped with the best oils, including coconut oil, argan oil, marula oil, and even avocado oils!

This product provides sun protection – all thanks to its SPF 15. But still, use sunblock!

The nourishing tanning oil is safe for all skin types and will give you that dark tan you’ve always wanted!

This product is a solid tanning oil spray; you can get it for less than $20.

Pros:

  • Vegan
  • Environment friendly
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Affordable for its size and features
  • Works great in tanning beds and indoors
  • Natural ingredients like aloe vera and Kona coffee plant extract

Cons:

  • Water-resistant for only 80 minutes

2: Dr. Mercola Natural Tanning Oil [BEST VALUE]

Dr. Mercola Natural Tanning Oil

Suppose you’re worried about breaking out or having skin problems using tanning oils. In that case, Dr. Mercola tanning oil will work wonders on your skin.

It’s everything a sensitive skin needs, from being hypoallergenic, vegan, all-natural, organic, and unscented.

This is honestly the best tanning oil for people with skin problems.

It is also infused with sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and tea leaf extract!

You can also get your money back within 90 days if you’re unhappy with it!

The only thing is it doesn’t protect from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Nevertheless, this product is still worth your $10 because it’s one of the best tanning oils!

Pros:

  • No artificial fragrances
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Waterproof
  • Vegan

Cons:

  • No SPF

3: Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil [BEST BUDGET]

Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil

There are many good reasons why this is one of the best tanning oils!

It’s a dry mist, so the application will be even and smooth. It will leave your skin soft and a little bit moistened.

Another thing is that it’s packed with essential oils like carrot and coconut oil and the fragrance is just BOMB! It smells like coconut and grapeseed oil.

It is lightweight and WATER RESISTANT for 80 minutes. So, remember to reapply.

The best part about this tanning oil is its various SPF protection options, such as SPF 4, 8, 15, and 25!

Let’s take skin cancer seriously!

It is enriched with carrot oil and banana extracts that will surely leave your skin moisturized with a deep tan.

Surprisingly, the banana boat tanning oil is also affordable. For nearly $13, you can now sunbathe all you want!

Pros:

  • Reef safe
  • SPF protection variation
  • Dry mist
  • Great fragrance
  • Water-resistant
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • It can feel greasy on the skin

4: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil [BEST NATURAL LOOKING TAN]

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil

For years, the Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning oil managed to stay on TOP for many great reasons!

It’s a FAN-FAVORITE in the market because of its rich moisturizing ingredients such as cocoa butter and aloe vera!

It’s also formulated with unique scents like coconut oil, passionflower, mango, papaya, and guava for that TROPICAL scent you’re looking for while sunbathing!

For only $20, you’ll get TWO BOTTLES of the Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil!

What’s also great about this product is the tanning time. Once you lather this all over your skin, you’ll have a deep tan in no time!

This also works WONDERS for fair skin!

Just know that the product doesn’t contain SPF protection leaving you unprotected from the sun’s harmful rays.

Pros:

  • Affordable at two bottles for $20
  • Enriched with vitamins
  • Very natural
  • Provides a dark golden tan in a short time
  • Reef safe spray oil

Cons:

  • No sun protection

5: Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil [BEST SUN PROTECTION]

Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil

For starters, the Sol De Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil is a tanning oil spray with shimmer!

This generously coats the skin with moisturizing ingredients like Cupuacu butter, acai oil, and coconut oil; to leave your skin HYDRATED!

Another fantastic thing about this tanning oil SPF is that it contains gold shimmer, so while you’re in the tanning process, leaving your skin with a sun-kissed glow!

Just be careful because this product isn’t the best for pale skin.

Other than that, this product is to die for because it has SPF 30, which most tanning oils DO NOT have!

This product has everything from being a tanning oil SPF to moisturizing, giving you the rich tan you’ve always wanted.

The small bottle costs $38. However, we think spending that much on this tanning oil is WORTH IT!

Pros:

  • Contains high SPF
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight and non-greasy

Cons:

  • Pricey for a small bottle

6: Bali Body Natural Tanning and Body Oil [BEST MOISTURIZING]

Bali Body Natural Tanning and Body Oil

BaliBody is the best for its moisturizing properties while at the same time being a lightweight tanning oil!

It contains exceptional oils like grapeseed oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil.

What we love about this tanning oil is that it’s the best fit for those with oily skin to sensitive skin.

Because of the key ingredients in this product, it also helps in treating dry skin.

What we can’t get enough of is that while absorbing all these nutrients from a single product, it also develops a natural-looking tan!

BaliBody contains SPF protection that can protect you from the sun. This product is honestly a deal breaker at this point!

The small bottle is a bit on the pricey side of tanning oils, costing about $22.95.

Pros:

  • Contains SPF protection
  • Great for indoors and outdoors tanning
  • Penetrates well in fair skin
  • Great for ALL skin types

Cons:

  • Pricey for its size

7: St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse [BEST FOR DARK SKIN TONES]

St. Tropez Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse

What we like about this product is that St Tropez works on all skin colors, unlike most tanning oils, especially darker skin tones!

How could that be possible?

We get it; you’re worried that your skin might turn out orangey or bronzy than expected.

But no worries, this product has a color-changing technology that adapts to any skin.

The Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse works so well for darker skin because it can adjust to the many different shades of dark skin.

That being said, you can use this in the comfort of your home without worrying about the sun’s UV rays.

The mousse applies evenly to the skin, and it’s also streak free.

However, there’s one thing we don’t like about Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse; it fades in less than 24 hours of application and unevenly too.

For its price – $44, we think it’s a little too much.

Pros:

  • Adapts to your skin tone
  • Specially made for dark tones
  • No need for you to soak in the sun
  • Transfer proof

Cons:

  • Pricey for a small bottle
  • No UV protection

8: Carroten Intensive Tanning Oil [BEST WATER RESISTANT]

Carroten Intensive Tanning Oil

The Carroten Intensive Tanning oil is a MUST when it comes to outdoor tanning oil. It’s a lightweight formula that leaves your skin feeling smooth and non-greasy.

Because of its carrot and coconut oils, this tanning oil is excellent for moisturizing and getting a sun-kissed glow.

It’s equipped with vitamins A and E for that instant glowing skin and contains calendula oil to soothe the skin.

The best part about this tanning oil is that it’s SUITABLE FOR ALL SKIN TYPES.

However, there are a couple of downsides to this product.

It doesn’t offer sun protection, so you must apply sunscreen. It also leaves a stain on your clothing, so look out for that!

We think its price of $17 is generous enough for its benefits and the product size.

Pros:

  • Highly water resistant
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Works well for light skin tones

Cons:

  • No SPF protection
  • Not transfer proof

9: Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Dry Oil [BUILDABLE]

Bondi Sands Self-Tanning Dry Oil

The Bondi Sands Dry Oil is one of the best self-tanning oils on the market.

It’s a pump spray nozzle that lets you feel at ease while applying the tanning oil.

The product is infused with coconut and argan oil for that golden glow effect. It has a touch dry effect that also leaves your skin moisturized.

After applying, you don’t have to go to the shower to rinse it, and it is streak-free, so you can just go about your day without any bother!

However, the effect of the product can take some time. It takes about 6 hours before you can actually see color.

But despite the long developing time, this self-tanning oil lasts seven days before fading. We think that’s a steal!

For about $20, you can achieve a dark tan for the rest of the week!

Pros:

  • Long lasting tan
  • Pump spray bottle
  • Non-greasy formula and lightweight

Cons:

  • Long developing time

10: BaliBody Watermelon Tanning Oil [BEST SELF TANNER]

BaliBody Watermelon Tanning Oil

The BaliBody is enriched with, you guessed it, organic watermelon seed oil and infused with ANTIOXIDANTS to replenish and nourish the skin.

Unlike other tanning oils, the BaliBody Watermelon Tanning Oil is quite different because of its fruity scent!

A breath of fresh air among the nuttier tanning oil options!

Because of its non-greasy formula, the product is lightweight and, at the same time, moisturizing. Leaving your skin soft!

The best thing about this tanning oil is that the tan develops shortly after application!

There’s just one major oopsie about the product: it has little to no sun protection. SPF 6!

So, ensure you apply lots of sunscreen before soaking in the sun!

As for its price point – $21.95 we think it has very little product. But, if the fragrance is second on your list, go for it!

Pros:

  • Nourishing to the skin
  • Quick developing time
  • Amazing fruity scent
  • Thin formula and non-greasy

Cons:

  • Little to no SPF
  • Quite expensive for a small bottle

11: Panama Jack Tanning Oil [BEST AMPLIFYING OIL]

Panama Jack Tanning Oil

The Panama Jack Tanning Oil is made of fruit and nut extracts that go well when nourishing the skin.

While at it, Panama Jack is also great for those who have sensitive skin because it’s infused with aloe vera.

Formulated with natural ingredients, Panama Jack is both cruelty-free and reef safe!

Because it’s composed of fruit and nut extracts, the scent is to die for. Once you apply this on your skin, you’ll smell like a tropical babe.

It’s also referred to as an “amplifying oil” because it can boost your tanning ability and give you a deeper tan. This is an excellent product for already tanned skin!

Sadly, this tanning oil offers little to no SPF.

For $12 a piece, we think this product is a STEAL!

Pros:

  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Eco-friendly
  • Great nutty scent

Cons:

  • Only available in SPF 6

How to Apply Tanning Oil Correctly

How to Apply Tanning Oil Correctly

Knowing how to apply tanning oils will make or break your tanning process. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by washing your body extensively and exfoliating to rub off dead skin. This way, the skin can easily absorb the tan.
  • Pat your skin dry and take a couple of pumps or sprays in your palm and gently rub it in your skin.
  • Apply a couple more times until your skin is coated evenly
  • Don’t forget to add a layer of sunscreen if your tanning oil has very little to no SPF
  • Soak in the sun for some time

How Do Tanning Oils Work?

Tanning oils absorb UV rays and intensify them for a faster tanning process. The skin attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat using oils. 

In other words, tanning oils are used for tanning FASTER rather than soaking without any tanning oil or lotion.

Factors to Consider When Buying Tanning Oils

Factors to Consider When Buying Tanning Oils

When getting a tanning oil, consider your skin’s needs and reactions.

Check for Skin Conditions

If you have sensitive skin that easily reacts to artificial ingredients, look for a hypoallergenic product.

If you’re worried about skin cancer, try to avoid products with no SPF, or you will have to bring sunscreen all the time.

Check for Skin Type/Tone

If you want something made for your skin type or tone, some products can work all-around or specifically for your needs.

You can usually find the things you’re looking for if you read more into the product you’re eyeing.

Ingredients to Look For

  • Coconut Oil – Coconut oils are usually a go-to for many products because they can easily tan your skin, and it just reminds you of summer and beaches
  • Avocado Oil – If you have dry skin, avocado oils are rich in fatty acids that will easily replenish flaky, dry skin
  • Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is great for skin and hair. Some people also love the scent of it. It’s just optional.
  • Sunflower Seed Oil – It works as a great moisturizer and also attracts UV rays strongly
  • Olive Oil – Since olive oil is easily accessible, some people just use this alone. It doesn’t offer much moisturizing or protection, but it can easily develop a dark tan.
  • Hemp Seed Oil – This oil is the best for nourishment and hydration. Just note that it can leave an unpleasant scent, so it usually comes with artificial fragrances.
  • Cocoa Butter – Cocoa butter improves complexion while tanning. It helps in nourishing and moisturizing the skin.

Ingredients to Avoid

  • Mineral Oil – because it’s cheap, many manufacturers use mineral oil. But be aware that it’s carcinogenic and comedogenic, meaning that it can block your skin’s pores.
  • Parabens – parabens are used to extend the shelf life of a product. And while there are many alternatives to parabens, some still use this ingredient. It’s been proven that it causes hormonal imbalance.
  • Ethanol (Alcohol) – it’s been proven that alcohol dries the skin. Make sure to avoid this ingredient.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may still have a couple of concerns about the usage of tanning oils, so here are a couple of answers for your comfort:

What Are the Risks Involved with Using Tanning Oils?

Because you’re exposing yourself to the sun’s rays and intensifying it with tanning oils, the risk of damaging your skin can be expected.

But, there can always be a solution to that.

Make sure to find a product with SPF or add a layer of SPF on your skin before soaking. That way, you’ll still get a dark golden tan while protected.

How Much Time Can I Spend in the Sun After Using Tanning Oil?

You can soak in the sun for about 1-2 hours and not more. Take a couple of breaks in between too. Allow your skin to rest!

What Happens to Your Skin When It Tans?

Once exposed to UV rays, your skin starts to produce melanin to protect the skin from the intense rays.

What SPF Should I Look for in a Tanning Oil?

Look for something with at least 15 to 30 SPF; otherwise, you will have to apply sunscreen.

Sunscreen works not to prolong sunbathing but to protect your skin.

Are Tanning Oils Safe to Use?

Tanning oils are totally safe to use!

Always remember to find the best and safest for your skin. Some products just work differently for different people.

Recap of Winner Picks

After reviewing the best tanning oils, we’re proud to say that the winner picks are all worth it!

Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil: Best Budget

Banana Boat Deep Tanning Dry Oil gets the spot because of its affordability and many benefits, including SPF protection, water resistance, and being environment friendly!

Dr. Mercola Natural Tanning Oil: Best Value

We think Dr. Mercola’s Natural Tanning Oil is the most valuable tanning oil for all its benefits.

It’s got everything from being vegan-friendly, hypoallergenic, safe for the environment, and many more.

The product yells VALUE because you can just return it within 90 days if you’re not happy with it!

Sun Bum Tanning Oil: Best Overall

Sun Bum Tanning Oil gets the spot as the best tanning oil because of its many great wonders!

You have everything from being vegan, affordable, water resistant, sun protection, instant tan indoors or outdoors, and many more.

The product is really PROMISING and works on all skin types!

Conclusion

Overall, we highly think that the products mentioned work well if used well.

We all have different skin conditions and needs, so we must work on those demands!

You can maximize the power of sun tanning oils if you make sure you listen to your skin, know what it needs, and know when to stop!