Best Indoor Tanning Lotions

If you are new to indoor tanning or currently going to an indoor tanning salon I would definitely invest in a good indoor tanning lotion. These greatly enhance your tanning efforts as well as moisturize your skin. Here is a review of the best lotions out there. This guide is based on lotions with the best reviews of at least 4.0 and up with plenty of reviews to read (at least 100 and up). I only included lotions that met this guideline since I wouldn’t want to drop money on a product unless I know it works!

Reviews of the Top 5 Indoor Tanning Lotions

Designer Skin New Adore Black Label Bronzer Lotion, 13.5 Fluid Ounce

The Designer Skin New Adore Black Label Bronzer Lotion aims at breaking through the maximum tanning potential barrier. Holding a 4.6 out of 5 star rating, this lotion is on top when it comes to indoor tanning. It is infused with dopa, a melanin precursor, which triggers the natural tanning process in skin while keeping the skin hydrated with a silicone cream. This tanning lotion also has a powerful bronzing agent called melanin bronzer which is a natural form to give you an instant tan while also promoting a dark, rich color. It smells of sweet vanilla musk and leaves your skin feeling very soft and luxurious.

Additionally, this product does not include DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which is mainly found in sunless tanners. So if you are having problems tanning, feel like you’ve reached a color barrier, or are just looking for a deep rich tan, you should check this lotion out.

Australian Gold Accelerator Lotion 8.5 Oz

Australian Gold Accelerator Lotion is one of the most popular tanning lotions on the market. This product currently holds a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating. If you are looking to quickly reach a base tan then this is the perfect lotion for you. This tanning lotion is a good blend of Vitamins E and A which aids in protecting cellular damage caused by ultraviolet exposure. Infused with natural oils from plants native to Australia, this lotion is great for all skin types looking for a golden tan. You can also use this product indoors and outdoors.

Another attractive thing about this tanning lotion is the price. Let’s be honest, the tanning market is not always known for the most cost effective products. This one stands out however because it is affordable and more importantly, it works!

Designer Skin Phoenician, 13.5-Ounce Bottle

Designer Skin Phoenician is known for being one of the most moisturizing, skin friendly tanning lotions out there. This product currently holds a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating. The silicone emulsion leaves your skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and soft. Another thing that makes this lotion stand out is that there is no bronzing agents or DHA included yet it produces a deep, natural looking color with mega melamax optimizing complex. Also included is immortelle extract which helps to renew your skin cells while fighting off free radicals and and stimulating collagen. This tanning lotion can be for indoor and outdoor use.

This tanning lotion does not leave your skin feeling oily or greasy like most products do and smells like exotic fresh fig. Additionally, this product works great for fairer skinned people as well! Check it out! :)

Designer Skin Obsidian 30x Bronzing Matrix Tanning Lotion, 13.5-Ounce

Designer Skin Obsidian 30x Bronzing Matrix Tanning Lotion is fantastic for creating a long lasting golden color. It currently holds a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating. This indoor tanning product is unique in that it not a tingle lotion but is it thermogenic. It creates a warming sensation throughout your body with just enough heat to keep you comfortable and relaxed. It is also great for breaking through tanning plateau’s with the enriched 30x long wear bronzing matrix while keeping your skin hydrated at the same time. You can use this product indoors and outdoors.

One of my favorite things about this lotion is that it helps to revitalize your skin with volcanic minerals. This product also has anti-aging properties that rejuvenate and keep your skin smooth. All in all, I’d say it’s a keeper!

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Tanning Lotion Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Plus Bronze 8.5 oz

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Tanning Lotion/ Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Plus Bronze (what a name!) is amazing and also one of my personal favorites! This is another that is known for being one of the best tanning products on the market. It currently holds a 4.3 out of 5 stars rating and is also the most affordable at under $10! This lotion is infused with native Australian oils along with vitamins A and E. The best thing about this product is that it’s great for all skin types, especially fair skinned people like myself. The bronzing agent creates a beautiful, natural color with no uneven tanning.

I loved this tanning lotion and highly recommend it. If you have fair skin like I do then this lotion would be a perfect fit. With the help of Australian Gold, you will have a base tan in no time! :)

Types of Indoor Tanning Lotions

There are 3 basic types of indoor tanning lotions: Bronzer, Tingle, and Accelerator. It’s hard to say which is the best because it really depends on your preference. These lotions can also be combined to include 2 types in a single bottle. There are also differing ingredients per bottle such as anti-aging, hemp, caffeine, etc. which also depends on what you’re looking for.  So let’s define the 3 basic types.

Accelerator aka Maximizer

Accelerator lotions are great for adding that extra boost to quickly achieve a base tan. Most people begin with accelerators and gradually move up. They also help to create deep, long lasting tans while keeping your skin fresh and moisturized. Essentially every tanning lotion is an accelerator except beginner accelerator lotions normally do not contain tinglers though some do contain bronzers. If you are new to indoor tanning or have fair skin, I would recommend starting off with an accelerator. Australian Gold Accelerator Lotion 8.5 Oz is a great example of an accelerator lotion to start off with.


Bronzers can be included in any type of tanning lotion and are currently the most popular type on the market. As soon as you put on an indoor tanning lotion that contains a bronzer, you will immediately notice a difference. These are meant to give you an instant glow that can last a few days up to a week or so after your tanning session. Some tanning salons recommend waiting a couple of hours after your tanning session to shower in order for the bronzer to reach it’s full potential. Be advised that it can stain materials very easily and be sure to wash your hands immediately after application. Also be sure to apply it as evenly as possible to avoid uneven tanning. Millenium Tanning New Solid Black Bronzer Tanning Bed Lotion, 100x, 13.5-Ounce is a great example of a bronzer lotion.


Tingle lotions are considered to be the advanced tanning lotions and only recommended once you have acquired a decent tan. If you have never tried a tingle lotion before then I would advise testing it out a small portion of skin first. These bad boys can cause quite a disturbance especially if you have fair or sensitive skin. It gives you a tingling feeling on your skin, hence the name, and causes reddening. Tingle lotions cause blood flow and oxygenation in the skin which improves tanning results. These lotions definitely work the best at giving you a deep and long lasting tan but are not for the faint of heart. The good news is that there are different tingle levels to chose from so you can decide the intensity. New Jwoww (MAD HOT TINGLE BRONZER) Tanning Lotion 2013 release – 13.5 Fl Oz is a great example of a tingle lotion.

Tips For Indoor Tanning

To be honest, I haven’t done much indoor tanning lately. It’s been a few years since I’ve even stepped into a tanning salon. However, with that being said, I used to do indoor tanning all the time. There are a lot of perks to it such as being able to go at anytime – rain or shine, quicker results, no tan lines (if you go nude), etc. So why did I stop going? Well there are a few reasons and a major one is because of the price. Let’s face it, the sun is free and I’m all about saving money! Another major reason was because tanning beds did not do much for me color wise. For some reason my skin tends to tan much better with the sun. I know this is not the case for some people though. I had a friend in high school who had the hardest time tanning outdoors yet just a few times in a tanning bed and BAM – tanned as a mofo. I don’t get it!

Now I know I do not use tanning beds but a lot of people out there do so here is some useful tanning tips that will hopefully help you to achieve your tanning goals.

tips for indoor tanning

Tips For Indoor Tanning – Safety First Please!

  • Always wear eye goggles! This is extremely important and I can’t stress this enough. The exposure can cause severe damage to your eyes! Don’t worry, you won’t end up with raccoon eyes. Most tanning salons offer them for free but if not you can pick up a pair of indoor tanning goggle here.
  • Start off slowly and gradually build your tan. Burning won’t do you any good and will just damage your skin, increasing your chances of Cancer. It’s difficult to say where you should start off time wise considering there are many different skin types. I usually started off at no more than 5-6 minutes and slowly build on that. I would recommend asking a staff member if you are unsure.
  • Be aware that certain medications cause sensitivity to the sun. Always check the labels on medications before tanning and if you are unsure, consult your physician.
  • If you are pregnant I would advise against tanning. There is no conclusive evidence that proves tanning is dangerous for your pregnancy but overheating is can be. You can find out more information here.
  • Make sure the tanning bed is sterilized before you use it. If you go to a tanning salon then the employees should have done this for you. However, one time I used a tanning bed and the employee did not do a good job of cleaning it. The person before me had apparently used a strong tingling accelerator and I burned the crap out of my back and behind my legs. Some tanning salons will leave a bottle of disinfectant in the room for you and if I were you, I would take advantage of that. If not, I would ask an employee to use some. I wouldn’t worry about offending anyone. It is your health at risk and you don’t know for sure if the bed was cleaned, how well it was cleaned, or anything about the person who used the bed before you.
  • You might want to put on some lip balm with SPF before tanning. Lips are unable to tan but they can sure burn!

tips for indoor tanning

Tips For Indoor Tanning – Get Your Tan On!

  • Before going tanning it is recommended that you prepare your skin by exfoliating. This helps to get rid of dead cells and build-up on your skin.
  • To maximize your tanning efforts you should invest in a good indoor tanning lotion. This helps to enhance the tanning process as well as hydrate your skin. One thing you should know is indoor tanning lotion is only meant to be used in tanning beds and not outside unless it specifies otherwise. The same principle applies to outdoor tanning lotions. These are two different lotions and you can read more about them here. There are however some lotions that you can use for both indoor and outdoor tanning.
  • Know which bed you’d like to use as different beds offer different things. Most tanning salons offer tanning beds in levels 1-4. Lower levels like 1-2 allow you to tan for a longer period of time (usually 20 minutes) and they are the cheapest options. These beds have lower pressure bulbs that emit higher amounts of UVB rays (short wave) vs. UVA rays (long wave). The UVB rays are responsible for reddening and burning our skin while the UVA rays are the dominant rays responsible for a deeper, long lasting tan. The opposite applies for levels 3-4 beds and up. These beds allow you to tan much faster in a shorter amount of time and are more expensive. There are also standing beds as opposed to regular beds in which you lay down in. I usually started off in a lower level bed until I reached a base tan before switching over to the higher level beds. It’s really up to you and your preference but if you are unsure, ask a an employee.
  • Give your skin a little bit of a break in between tanning sessions. The minimum time is 24 hours but tanning professionals recommend 48 hours. This gives your skin some type to recover, reduces burning, and yields better, long lasting results.
  • Always remember to moisturize before and after you’ve finished tanning. Hydrated skin tans much better than flaky, dry skin. This is important in keeping and maintaining a long lasting tan!
  • If you have any tattoos make sure you cover them up as tanning can cause colors to fade.
  • If you want to see just how well your tan is developing, you can use a tanning sticker. Most tanning salons offer these for free! Just place it anywhere on your body before tanning and peel it off afterwards to see results.

If you have anymore useful tanning bed tips just leave a comment below! New information is always appreciated! :)