Looking to get your bronze on this summer? Then you’d better be thinking about stocking up on that bronzer lotion before summer hits and every place is sold out of the good stuff!
Who on Earth wants to be strutting their stuff on the beach with pasty skin? Not me, and not you! If it’s summertime, you should look like it’s summertime, so let’s shake this winter white and do what we love best: Get out in that sun and catch a tan!
What Bronzer Tanning Lotion is Best for You?
Before you start adding items to your cart on Amazon, it’s important that you take a minute and evaluate what type of lotion will suit your bronzing needs. Not all ‘bronzers’ are the same, nor do they all have the same purpose.
If you’ve never shopped for a bronzer tanning lotion before, it can get pretty confusing! There are so many different types of products out there, and they all use the term “bronzer”. Read through this guide for some helpful differentiations between each type of bronzing product out there.
Tinted Lotions vs Tanning Lotions
Are you looking for an immediate bronzed glow that’ll wash off later, or are you looking for more permanent color that’ll stick around?
There are many tinted body lotions and creams that offer a subtle bronze tint across your skin. This is great if you’re interested in immediate color and skin hydration. These lotions are not designed to help you develop a lasting tan. Their results are only temporary and will only remain until you rub it or wash it off.
With that said, it is important to note one distinction between these two types of lotions. Bronzer tanning lotions require spending time either outside in the sun or inside a tanning bed to achieve the bronze color you’re looking for. Bronze tinted moisturizers will offer you a little bit of color instantly, no UV rays required.
In this guide, we’re focusing on lotions that are intended for indoor tanning. They will help your skin tan evenly, producing a golden tan that’ll last.
Self-Tanning vs UV Tanning
Another type of lotion that can offer bronzers are self-tanning lotions. Self-tanners are very different from tinted moisturizers. They can produce significant color change, results usually show up hours after application, and your bronze tan will last several days, even after showering.
Self-tanners typically use an ingredient called dihydroxyacetone, more commonly referred to as DHA, which interacts with the amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change. Okay, sounds totally gross when you put it like that, but hey, it’s a safe alternative to UV tanning.
Lotions that are designed for use under UV rays can sometimes include DHA for extra bronzing color, but these lotions won’t develop that coveted dark tan all by themselves. For best results, you have to head to the tanning salon or spend time in the sun.
Indoor vs Outdoor Use
The bronzer lotions on this list are designed to be used indoors, however many tanners choose to bring them outside to the beach or pool.
While you can use these lotions outdoors, an important feature these lotions lack is sun protection. Most tanners are fully aware there is no SPF in these tanning lotions. It’s important to be aware because if you use apply these tanning lotions for prolonged use outdoors, you could easily get a sunburn. We want tan, not red.
If you plan on tanning outside, it would be suggested that you look for tanning lotions that contain SPF, even if it’s a minimal amount, to help protect against skin damage.
Make sure you read labels and descriptions to know exactly what you’re buying. If you’re still not sure what the purpose of a product is, check out customer reviews and product Q&A’s for more details.
Our Favorite Bronzer Tanning Lotions
As I said before, this guide is focusing on bronzer tanning lotions, the kind you pack away in your bag, along with your tanning goggles, and take to the tanning salon.
Whether this is your first time indoor tanning, or you’ve been tanning for years, you’ll love the results you get from using these bronzers.
Here, we’ve made a list of some of the best bronzer tanning lotions for you to try out and find the one that works best for you! I will lead off with the best selling bronzer, and a go-to for many tanners – Solid Black from Millenium Tanning.
Solid Black 100x Bronzer by Millennium Tanning
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a best-selling bronzer that will give you great results.
What’s it smell like: Orchid Blush.
With nearly 5,000 reviews, the Millennium Tanning Solid Black Bronzer Lotion is definitely a best-seller. It’s a favorite among both beginner and experienced tanners because it delivers a natural-looking tan in only a few visits to the tanning salon!
This silicone bronzer goes on like a dream, blending easily into your skin and leaving it soft and smooth. It has instant bronzers that give you immediate color, as well as delayed bronzers (DHA), for a gradually darker tan hours after you’ve left the salon.
And it’s light scent is just subtle enough to be appreciated by both men and women. In fact, many men have reviewed this lotion, raving about Solid Black. Several reviewers even commented that it’s their favorite bronzer they’ve ever used. And with all of its awesome built-in bronzers, it’s no wonder why this is such a popular lotion among tanners!
It is recommended that you wipe your hands off after you application if you want to avoid discolored hands. Just follow the directions on the bottle and you’ll get a beautiful, natural-looking, streak-free glow!
Natural Black Bronzer with Ink Guard by JWOWW
Who’s it for: Someone who has tattoos and wants to protect them while tanning.
What’s it smell like: Coastal Coconut.
Whether you love her or hate her, there’s no question that Jenni Farley, a.k.a. JWOWW, knows a thing or two about getting a great tan! And if you’re unfamiliar with JWOWW, I’m sure you’ll recognize the manufacturer, Australian Gold, who has been making skincare products for over 30 years!
JWOWW tanning lotions are so loved, they’ve developed their own cult following! And one of our all-time favorite JWOWW lotions is the Natural Black Bronzer with Ink Guard.
If you’re a lady who loves to show off her ink, you want to make sure that you keep that area of your skin well-hydrated while you tan. This rich, yogurt base, combined with Shea butter and vitamins A & E, provides the perfect moisturize and color fade protection.
I also love that this lotion uses Kendi oil, a natural extract which softens and radiates your skin without that greasy feeling you get from some other lotions. It also features other natural ingredients like pear extract and black currant oils to leave skin feeling silky smooth and touchable!
Adore Black Label Bronzer Lotion by Designer Skin
Who’s it for: Someone who wants to very best, no matter the cost.
What’s it smell like: Sweet Vanilla Musk.
Designer Skin is definitely the ‘designer’ label of indoor tanning lotions. When I worked at a tanning salon, these were always the most sought-after lotions, not only because each one smelled amazing and the bottles’ designs were super pretty, but because they really could deliver results!
Adore is one of those lotions that you splurge a bit on, and are so glad you did! It’s unique tanning blend of melanin producing ingredients mixed with trademarked natural bronzers are a combination which produces a perfectly even, matte tan you’re going to Adore, (wink, wink)!
You also are going to love the scent, sweet vanilla musk. It’s not overwhelming, and despite the feminine packaging, it smells great to both men and women. One reviewer even commented how clean and refreshing the scent was, and that wouldn’t have you leaving the salon smelling gross.
If you’re looking to invest in your tan, Designer Skin’s Adore Black label Bronzer should absolutely be on your list!
Aloha Black Advanced 200X Black Bronzer by Tan Asz U
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a rich lotion that will offer maximum moisture for dry skin.
What’s it smell like: Coconut Lime with Vanilla Musk.
Transport yourself to Hawaii when you use this tropical scented bronzer tanning lotion from Tan Asz U. If you enjoy the fruit aroma of coconuts combined with a subtle vanilla musk, then you’re sure to love how this lotion smells.
But smelling like the beach won’t be the only thing you love about this bronzer tanning lotion! Tan Asz formulated this lotion with their unique blend of advanced bronzing and anti-fading ingredients, to not only give you a beach-worthy tan, but to help you maintain your tan’s color for longer.
There’s extra good news if you are one of the many tanners who deal with dry skin. Monoi de Tahiti & coconut butters condition and hydrate your skin, and its silicone base smoothes rough skin, leaving you the perfect base to build your tan on.
Somewhere on a Beach Instant Dark Tanning Lotion by Devoted Creations
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a DHA-free bronzer tanning lotion that’ll give you a natural glow.
What’s it smell like: Tropical Tantini.
There are several bronzer tanning lotions that contain DHA, because it is such a strong bronzing ingredient. There are, however, some reasons why a tanner may prefer skipping the DHA in their lotion: it has a little bit of a funky smell, it can discolor your hands if you don’t wipe them before tanning, and for best results, you’re not able to shower for up to 4 hours after tanning.
Devoted Creations created Somewhere on a Beach to be an instant bronzer that’s completely DHA free. It provides instant color that will give you an immediate dark tan that won’t streak or stain. It also has a subtle shimmer to give you an extra golden glow.
This tanning lotion can be used indoors or outdoors, but it should be noted that it does not contain SPF, so be careful when spending hours in the sun. One reviewer who did take it outdoors paired it with an SPF sunscreen and still was able to achieve a beautiful, natural-looking tan with no burn!
Bronze Tanning Lotion by Baja Bae
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a versatile bronzer lotion that doubles as a tinted moisturizer and face bronzer.
What’s it smell like: Caramel.
In the buyer’s guide, we discussed the different types of bronzer lotions you’ll come across and their different purposes. Well usually a lotion is designed with one primary use in mind – whether it be for daily moisture, self-tanning, or tanning with UV rays. However, that’s not the case with this special lotion!
Baja Bae works as both a tinted moisturizer, which you can apply for instant color and alleviating dry skin, but also as an indoor tanner for use at the tanning salon!
There is even a third use for this versatile lotion – as a cosmetic bronzer for your face! Have you ever applied self tanner and purposely avoided your face? All it takes is one bad application at an inconvenient time and you’ll never want to put tanner on your face again! Well now you can control the exact level of bronzing on your face, all with the same lotion!
Oh, and did I mention men love this lotion too? Its dark results, minimalist design, and subtle scent make it a great choice for you guys looking for a great tanning bronzer! Talk about being a versatile lotion!
Snooki Ultra Dark Black Bronzer by Supre
Who’s it for: Someone looking to get dark, fast!
What’s it smell like: Light & Sweet.
Snooki and tanning go together like Mariah Carrey and singing! I love my girl Snooki and all of her rich tanning lotions. But the absolute favorite lotion among fans of her collection, is the Ultra Dark Black Bronzer!
This sassy leopard-print bottle contains a super luxurious tanning formula that makes skin silky soft and turns your tan super dark.
Let’s talk about moisturizing first, since it’s the most critical step in achieving an amazing tan! This creamy tanning lotion is made with coconut and sweet almond oils to eliminate your dry skin blues! Added vitamins enrich your skin and give it a gorgeous glow, before you’ve even spent a second in the sun or tanning bed.
And if that didn’t already sounding amazing, this fabulous lotion designed a black bronzing blend to get you dark, fast! Black walnut, henna, and DHA help your skin gradually darken even more long after you’ve left the salon! If you want to be ultra dark, you want the Ultra Dark Black Bronzer!
Ed Hardy Black Reserve Bronzer Tanning Lotion By Tanovations
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a great bronzer that works well on sensitive skin.
What’s it smell like: Iced Black Cranberry.
If you’re looking for an awesome bronzer that can still be easy enough to use on sensitive skin, then give this thick and luxurious lotion from the tanning pros at Ed Hardy a try!
And because of it’s clean, Iced Black Cranberry scent, Black Reserve is a great bronzer option for both men and women. A lot of couples actually like tanning together, so why not have a lotion that smells great for both of you?
Not only does this lotion smell good, it tans good too! Its melanin stimulators help produce a longer lasting tan, and its hemp seed oil helps fight the signs of aging and hydrates your skin. That’s a whole lot of wins!
Black Chocolate 200X Black Bronzer by Brown Sugar
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a great unisex scented bronzer tanning lotion.
What’s it smell like: Sensual Amber & Berries.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, the Black Chocolate 200x Black Bronzer is a great lotion with a scent that works for either men or women. Most of those who have used this lotion love the smell, one reviewer said it smelled like men’s cologne mixed with berries. Whether it sounds good to you or not, it does the job!
It features a blend of silicone and organic butters which melts by the warmth of your skin, hydrating it and leaving a smooth and supple surface, ready for time in the tanning bed!
Double dark chocolate extract also helps nourish your skin with antioxidants and helps to prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. So whether you’re concerned with the signs of aging, or just looking beach ready this summer, Black Chocolate will be a great bronzer for you!
Dark Tanning Intensifier Lotion by Ocean Potion
Who’s it for: Someone looking for a bronzer tanning lotion that can be used at the beach or at the salon.
What’s it smell like: Scent of Sunshine, which smells like orange creamsicle, Mmmm!
This lotion’s design might fool you into thinking this is an SPF sunscreen lotion, but that’s not the case. The Ocean Potion Dark Tanning Intensifier Lotion has been a fan-favorite for years, helping tanners achieve the perfect sun-kissed tan they’re aiming for.
One of the big concerns about tanning is it’s long-term effects on the skin. Well if you’re looking for a quality product that skips the harsher chemicals and opts for a more natural formula, then Ocean Potion is your perfect match! It’s free of parabens, propylene glycol, retinyl palmitate, gluten, BPA, and BHT!
Instead, you’ll find ingredients like seaweed, algae extracts, deep sea minerals, Vitamin B, C, and E, and tea tree oil, which work together to nourish your skin and extend your tan.
Bronze That Booty
If you’re gearing up for a sexy, tanned summer, then definitely check out these bronzer tanning lotions before you head to the beach or tanning salon empty-handed.
There are so many awesome bronzer tanning lotions out there, that picking our favorite ten was actually quite difficult! If you have a favorite bronzer lotion that you want to share, leave a comment and let us know which bronzer is your favorite and why!