OUR TOP PICK

Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion, 13.5 oz

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Tan Quality

4.8

Tan Speed

4.8

Texture & Fragrance

4.8

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General Impression

Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion is our top pick for the best outdoor tanning lotion. This indoor or outdoor tan accelerator offers both ant-aging and tattoo protection, making it an excellent choice for sunbathers who have tattoos or want to protect their skin from aging due to the tanning process. Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning lotion is made with coconut milk and coconut oil giving it a tropical scent. It is made from quality ingredients that deliver a deep tan that lasts. It also leaves a shimmer on your skin and reduces the appearance of cellulite.

Specifications

BRAND : ED HARDY
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 17.6 fluid ounces
ANTI-AGING : Yes
TATTOO PROTECTION : Yes
FRAGRANCE: Coconut milk, coconut oil

PROS

  • Anti-aging
  • Tattoo protection
  • Cellulite reduction
  • Shimmer effect
  • Deep, long-lasting tan

CONS

  • After tanning smell is not pleasant
  • May cause rash
BEST VALUE

best drugstore outdoor tanning lotion

Overall Rating

4.8 /5

Tan Quality

4.8

Tan Speed

4.8

Texture & Fragrance

4.8

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General Impression

Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Continuous Spray Bronzer is our choice for the best value and could be considered the best tanning spray for outside. This tanning accelerator is reasonably priced and is known for its signature tropical scent, Cocoa Dreams, combined with coconut, orange, and vanilla. Australian Gold has some of the best outdoor drugstore tanning lotions that use natural ingredients like tea tree oil and aloe vera to keep your skin feeling nourished, smooth, and moisturized during the tanning process. Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Continuous Spray Bronzer incorporates melanin, walnut shell, and carrot oil for an instant bronzing effect.

Specifications

BRAND : AUSTRALIAN GOLD
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 5.6 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coconut, orange, & vanilla

PROS

  • Quick-spray application
  • Aloe vera infused
  • No animal testing
  • Coconut, orange, vanilla fragrance
  • Deep tanning for all skin types

CONS

  • Built-in bronzer can be streaky
  • May stain clothing

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil Original 8 oz

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Tan Quality

4.8

Tan Speed

4.7

Texture & Fragrance

4.8

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General Impression

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil is a longtime favorite for sunbathers who want the best outdoor tanning oil. This product does not have any SPF protection from the sun but is made with natural ingredients that help keep your skin nourished and moisturized during the tanning process. The best tanning oil features a pleasant tropical scent that goes on smooth, like this Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil that smells like coconuts. Hawaiian Tropic Dark sun tanning oil is also reef safe and contains antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E.

Specifications

BRAND : HAWAIIAN TROPIC
TYPE : Maximizer
WEIGHT : 7.2 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coconut

PROS

  • Reef Safe
  • Antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E
  • Classic coconut fragrance
  • Sheer coverage

CONS

  • May stain clothing
  • Overwhelming scent

Maui Island Secret Browning Formula 8 Oz.

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Tan Quality

4.8

Tan Speed

4.8

Texture & Fragrance

4.7

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General Impression

Maui Island Secret Browning Formula is one of the best tanning oils for outside, that is also reasonably priced. This outdoor suntan oil contains natural vitamins and mineral extracts that promote a dark tan quickly so that you can minimize your time in the sun. Coffee Bean Extract, Passionflower Oil, Green Tea Extract, Macadamia Nut Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Extract give this outdoor tanning oil a scent that takes you to Hawaii while you are sunbathing. Maui Island Secret Browning Formula is long-lasting and does not leave a sticky residue on the skin.

Specifications

BRAND : MAUI ISLAND
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 8 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coffee Bean Extract, Passion Flower Oil, Green Tea Extract, Macadamia Nut Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Extract

PROS

  • Natural browning formula
  • Natural vitamins and mineral extracts
  • No sticky residue
  • Deep tanning

CONS

  • May clog pores
  • May stain clothing

Sun Bum Browning Lotion | Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Sun Tanning Cream with Aloe Vera | 8.5 oz

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Tan Quality

4.6

Tan Speed

4.6

Texture & Fragrance

4.7

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General Impression

Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion is a fast-acting, deep-tanning outdoor tanning lotion with bronzer. This tanning lotion is water-resistant and reef-friendly, made of natural ingredients like ale vera, coffee plant extract, argan oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil that protect and moisturize your skin while tanning. Sun Bum Natural Browning Lotion also has a pleasant coffee scent and can be applied on top of a sunscreen with SPF to protect and tan your skin at the same time. Sun Bum is known for the best sunscreen for tanning, and their products are Vegan, Gluten-free, hypoallergenic, and made without animal testing.

Specifications

BRAND : SUN BUM
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 8.5 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coconut Oil, Kona Coffee Extract and Aloe Vera

PROS

  • Gluten-free, Vegan
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Moisturizing tan accelerator
  • Reef safe

CONS

  • Washes off easily
  • May stain clothing

Bain De Soleil Mega Tanning Lotion SPF 4, 4 oz

Overall Rating

4.5 /5

Tan Quality

4.6

Tan Speed

4.6

Texture & Fragrance

4.5

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General Impression

Bain de Soleil is a top sunscreen for tanning. This product contains SPF 4, which blocks 75% of harmful rays from the sun. The coconut and floral smell will make you feel like you are in paradise. Bain de Soleil Mega Tanning Lotion is made with natural self-tanning ingredients that help to enhance your natural tan. This outdoor tanning lotion also contains moisturizers that help keep your skin smooth and soft before and after tanning.

Specifications

BRAND : BAIN DE SOLEIL
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 5.8 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coconut, botanical extract

PROS

  • SPF 4
  • Self-tanner
  • Moisturizers and botanicals
  • PABA free
  • Dermatologist tested

CONS

  • Beads up in saltwater
  • Causes streaking

Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil, SPF 15, 8.5 oz Bottle, 1 Count, Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera, Hypoallergenic, Paraben Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Tan Quality

4.6

Tan Speed

4.6

Texture & Fragrance

4.7

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General Impression

Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil is often reviewed as the best tanning spray for outside. Sun Bum products are hypoallergenic, Vegan, Gluten-free, and Paraben-free. They also are considered to be the best outdoor tanning lotion for fair skin. The Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil not only helps build a dark tan, but it also has SPF 15 to help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This is a reef-friendly sunscreen with a pleasant tropical scent that moisturizes and helps build a deep golden glow.

Specifications

BRAND : SUN BUM
TYPE : Maximizer
WEIGHT : 8.5 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Aloe Vera, Green Tea Butter, Marula, Argan, Coconut and Avocado Oil

PROS

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Vegan, Gluten-free
  • Paraben free
  • SPF 15

CONS

  • Pump lid breaks easily
  • Very greasy

Carroten Tan Express Intensive Tanning Gel

Overall Rating

4.6 /5

Tan Quality

4.6

Tan Speed

4.7

Texture & Fragrance

4.6

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General Impression

Carroten Tan Express Intensive Tanning Gel is a blend of oil and gel tanning lotion. This product goes on smooth, and its fast-tanning ingredients help accelerate a deep, long-lasting tan. Carroten Tan Express Intensive Tanning Gel does not contain SPF, so it is recommended to apply a sunscreen with SPF before applying this tanning gel. Sunbathers approve of the nutty, carrot, and coconut scent and the non-greasy feeling on the skin. This is a highly rated choice for the best tanning oil for outside.

Specifications

BRAND : CARROTEN
TYPE : Maximizer
WEIGHT : 8 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Carrot, Coconut

PROS

  • Nutty carrot coconut scent
  • Fast-tanning ingredients
  • Not greasy
  • Cosmetic technology

CONS

  • May stain clothing
  • No self-tanner

Somewhere on a Beach, Indoor Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion 12.25 Ounce

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Tan Quality

4.7

Tan Speed

4.7

Texture & Fragrance

4.7

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General Impression

Somewhere on a Beach Indoor Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning lotion is an excellent outdoor tanning lotion that can also be used for tanning indoors. This outdoor tanning lotion with bronzer is DHA free and uses Matrixyl Synthe 6, which is one of the most reliable anti-aging agents on the market. Somewhere on a Beach Instant Dark Tanning Lotion has a pleasant coconut scent and includes oils that soften and hydrate your skin during the tanning process. The DHA free bronzers in this product also help to prevent streaking on your skin.

Specifications

BRAND : SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH
TYPE : Maximizer
WEIGHT : 12.3 ounces
ANTI-AGING : Yes
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Coconut Oil, Sea Buckthorn Berry

PROS

  • Anti-aging
  • DHA free bronzers
  • Coconut scent
  • Skin hydration properties

CONS

  • Unpleasant after-tanning smell
  • Does not provide skin moisture

BRONZE TANNING LOTION for the Ultimate Bronzed Body Natural Caramel Base Tinted Moisturizer Use everyday for Instant Goddess Glow while Nourishing Your Skin (1 Pack)

Overall Rating

4.7 /5

Tan Quality

4.7

Tan Speed

4.7

Texture & Fragrance

4.7

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General Impression

Baja Bae Bronze Tanning Lotion is a popular outdoor tanning lotion that is Vegan and cruelty-free. Baja Bae Bronze Tanning Lotion is a 3-in-1 lotion that can be used as a tan enhancer, a daily tinted moisturizer, and an instant bronzer for your face. The outdoor tanning lotion with bronzer is also streak-free so that you will have a deep and even tan. The Mexican vanilla essence, real caramel extract, and coconut oil give this product a pleasant summer scent.

Specifications

BRAND : BAJA BAE
TYPE : Accelerator
WEIGHT : 7.2 ounces
ANTI-AGING : No
TATTOO PROTECTION : No
FRAGRANCE: Mexican vanilla essence, real caramel extract and coconut oi

PROS

  • 3-in-1 lotion
  • Vegan
  • Pleasant summer fragrance
  • Cruelty-free
  • Streak-free

CONS

  • Washes off too easily
  • May stain clothing

Heading on a beach trip, or to a weekend pool party to work on your tan? Choosing the best outdoor tanning lotion can be tricky since there are so many great products on the market. There are different types of sun tanning lotions that work best outdoors and various reasons to choose a specific brand that is the best for you.

Types of Outdoor Tanning Lotion

When it comes to outdoor tanning lotions, there are quite a few options to choose from. Tanning maximizers, bronzers, accelerators, and those with tattoo protection or anti-aging properties are the top picks when it comes to the best outdoor tanning lotion.

Tanning maximizers are an excellent choice for sunbathers who may already have a base tan and want help make their tan deeper. Bronzers, commonly-known as self-tanners, are mixed into many different outdoor tanning lotions to help give the user an instant darker color. Bronzers that are the most popular are made from natural ingredients like coffee or carrots. Certain bronzers can stain clothing or cause streaking, so many sunbathers use a tanning mitt or applicator to make sure their bronzer is put on evenly.

Accelerators can be used indoors or outdoors by new tanners to develop a base tan. They can also be used for tanners who already have a base but want to maintain or increase their tan. Ed Hardy’s Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion is a popular choice that also has tattoo protection. The best outdoor sun tanning lotion, like Coconut Kisses, protects your tattoos from fading and keeps them vibrant longer when tanning.

Another type of outdoor tanning lotion is one with anti-aging properties like Somewhere on a Beach’s Indoor-Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion. These outdoor tanning lotions contain vitamins that are designed to fight the signs of aging from sun damage.

Many manufacturers have started to make their products, gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty-free due to the changes in people’s diets and for animal rights. Sun Bum’s suncare line is one of the newest and most highly-rated in this realm.

How to Use

To achieve the best results when tanning outdoors, there are a few things you can do. Exfoliating your skin before tanning will help get rid of any dead skin cells and create a blank canvas for your tan. Also, refraining from using makeup before tanning will also keep you from having an uneven tan difference from your face to the rest of your skin.

To get the best results when using outdoor tanning lotions, you should also use pre-tanning creams to prepare your skin before tanning. The pre-tanning lotion moisturizes your skin, keeping it smooth after exfoliation. Pre-tanning lotions are excellent for prepping your skin for an even tan; these usually take about an hour to absorb into your skin.

When you reach your tanning destination, whether it be the beach or the pool, then you can apply your outdoor tanning lotion. If you want to have some protection from the sun’s UV rays, you can also choose to apply an SPF sunscreen before this step, or just mix it in with your tanning oil.

When you are done with your day in the sun, using after-tanning lotion hydrates your skin to prevent peeling or damage, using an after-sun lotion with aloe is cooling and calming for your skin.

Before using any type of sun tanning lotion, be sure you do not have any allergies to the ingredients that could cause a rash or allergic reaction.

Skin Types in Tanning

People around the world have different types of skin based on your genetics and your origin. Knowing your skin type is essential when it comes to protecting yourself from the sun and when it comes to choosing the best tanning oil for outside.

  • Type 1 skin is exceptionally white, fair, always burns, and never tans.
  • Type 2 skin ranges from white to light beige and can quickly burn but achieve a light tan.
  • Type 3 skin is beige skin, which burns moderately but gradually tans to light brown.
  • Type 4 skin is light brown, burns minimally, and tans moderately well.
  • Type 5 skin is a moderate brown that tans exceptionally well and rarely burns.
  • Type 6 skin tans exceptionally well and never burns.

Knowing your skin type will help you decide if you should choose an outdoor tanning lotion that has SPF, or if it would be acceptable to use a tanning accelerator. People with Type 1 skin should stick to bronzers, self-tanners, or a sunblock with more than 30SPF if they do not want their skin to burn in the sun.

Potential Dangers

Extended exposure to the sun does have its potential dangers. These potential dangers are listed below:

  • Sunburn, also known as erythema, which causes the skin to get red, dry, and peel.
  • Premature aging which includes leathery, wrinkled skin, and sunspots.
  • Skin cancer – either melanoma or non-melanoma that develops in the epidermis or epidermal cells.
  • Solar keratosis which causes raised, rough-textured bumps that can turn into skin cancer

Limiting sun exposure to short periods, especially during the hours of 10 am-3 pm, will help prevent these potential dangers. Also, using an outdoor tanning lotion that has protection from the sun’s UVA and VUB rays.

Benefits of Tanning

Although overexposure to the sun can be damaging to your skin, there are some benefits to outdoor tanning. The sun rays increase the production of Vitamin D, which is needed to help regulate the amount of calcium in our bodies. UV rays also have a positive effect on mental health. Have you ever heard of seasonal depression? It is a real thing.

Being tan after sunbathing outdoors gives some people confidence because they feel they are more attractive with a tan. Sun tanning can also dry out acne on the skin. And once you have a base tan, you are less likely to burn to cause your skin to become dry and peel.

If you are planning to spend time outdoors, be sure to choose the best outdoor tanning lotion for you.

1. How to use outdoor tanning lotions?

To get the best results when using outdoor tanning lotions, you should also use other lotions to prepare your skin before tanning and after-sun lotion. Pre-tanning lotion can be used before outdoor tanning lotion, which exfoliates, smooths, and moisturizes your skin. Pre-tanning lotions prep the skin for an even tan, and they usually take about an hour to absorb. When you reach the beach or pool, you can then apply your outdoor tanning lotion. Be sure to apply it evenly, and you can mix it with an SPF sunscreen if you would also like protection from the sun’s UV rays. After using outside tanning lotion, you can use an after-tanning lotion with aloe to hydrate your skin to prevent peeling or damage.

2. What is the difference between sunscreen and tanning lotion?

Sunscreen and tanning lotion are sometimes used as interchangeable terms, but they are very different. Sunscreen is a lotion with more than SPF 15 that offers protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens can have various SPF protection levels and essentially filter the sun’s rays. At an even higher level, there are products called sunblock that actually block the sun’s rays from your skin. These products are usually thick and opaque and visible on the skin. Sunscreens can come in a spray or lotion and should be rubbed in evenly multiple times a day when being exposed to the sun. Tanning lotion is used for the purpose of tanning the skin to get a deep, dark color when in the sun. Tanning lotions can come with or without SPF protection from the sun. The most popular tanning lotions have SPF 4-15 and include bronzing properties or accelerators to enhance your tan.

3. Types of outdoor tanning lotions?

There are various types of outdoor tanning lotions. Tanning maximizers are used for sunbathers who already have a base tan to help make their tan deeper. Bronzers are mixed into many different outdoor tanning lotions to help give the user an instant darker color; these are commonly known as self-tanners. Bronzers are often made from natural ingredients like carrot or coffee. Accelerators can be used by new tanners to develop a base tan or tanners who already have a base but want to maintain or increase their tan. For sunbathers with tattoos, a popular choice for outdoor tanning lotion is one with tattoo protection. The sun’s rays can cause tattoos to fade, so finding a suntan lotion with tattoo protection can help keep them vibrant longer even after tanning. Another type of outdoor tanning lotion is one with anti-aging properties. Some outdoor tanning lotions contain vitamins that are designed to fight the signs of aging from sun damage.

4. What is the best outdoor tanning lotion?

There is a wide variety of outdoor tanning lotions on the market. Choosing the best outdoor tanning lotion can be overwhelming but should be based on your skin type and what your goals are for your tan. If you have fair skin and have not been in the sun recently, the best outdoor tanning lotion for you may be one with SPF or a bronzer. The SPF will protect your skin until you have a base tan and also give you instant color from the bronzer. If you already have a base tan and you are looking to get a darker or more prolonged tan, you may want to use an outdoor tanning lotion with an accelerator. If you are concerned about the effects of outdoor tanning on your skin, you can choose a good outdoor tanning lotion with anti-aging properties. The best outdoor tanning lotion for people with tattoos is made with ingredients to help keep your tattoos from fading.

5. Can you use indoor tanning lotion outside?

Indoor tanning lotions are designed to enhance UV rays for short sessions to build a fast, dark tan. Outdoor tanning lotions are designed to build a tan, but for more extended periods in the sun. Some outdoor tanning lotions also come with SPF or can be mixed with sunscreen for protection. Some indoor tanning lotions can be used outside, but it is important to research the ingredients to be sure they are not harmful to your skin, or they could cause damage. Indoor tanning lotions with a tingling effect or with alcohol in them should not be used outside. On the flip side, outdoor tanning lotions with oils in them can damage the acrylic in sunbeds and should not be used inside.

6. What are the best new 2020 tanning lotions?

The most popular best new 2020 tanning lotions are for use for indoor tanning. But also, many tanning lotion manufacturers are releasing new and improved versions of their most popular products. As people become more aware of the dangers associated with tanning, manufacturers have produced the best tanning lotions that include ingredients that help with anti-again, tattoo protection, and protection from UV rays. With the push for more vegan, gluten-free, and animal-friendly products within the past few years, lotions for outdoor tanning have improved and changed dramatically. Most sunbathers also believe the best tanning lotions have natural ingredients that provide a pleasant tropical scent while also moisturizing their skin. Tanning lotions with non-streaking bronzers, or self-tanners, are also among the best choices for new 2020 tanning lotions.

7. What are the dangers associated with tanning?

According to the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), there are a few dangers associated with tanning, whether it be indoors or outdoors. If you are heading outside for a day at the beach, kayaking, or fishing, you will be exposed to the sun, so it is essential to take precautions. Sunburn, also called erythema, is a form of short -term damage that causes the skin to get red, dry, and peel after sun exposure. Premature aging is also a danger associated with tanning — premature aging consists of leathery, wrinkled skin, and dark spots. Skin cancer is one of the main risks associated with tanning. Two types of skin cancer can be caused by sun exposure. Melanoma, which is less common but more dangerous, is a skin cancer that begins in the epidermal cells that produce melanin. Non-melanomas occur in the basal or squamous cells located at the base of the epidermis, both inside and outside the body. Solar keratosis is also a danger that causes raised, rough-textured, or scaly bumps that occur in areas that have been sunburned or tanned.

best outdoor tanning oil

REACH OUT

As always, we create our content with you, fellow adventurers, in mind. So, how’d we do? Did you find this informative? Did it help you make a decision? Did we miss anything? We’d love to hear from you below. Thanks for reading and we hope your next adventure is a great one!

Heather Wyatt

Heather is a product expert, a degreed communications and business professional, and an adventurous, entrepreneurial travel writing enthusiast originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Heather is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and holds a Silver Advanced Open Water Instructor certification from SSI, having logged more than 300 training classes over the last four years. Heather is a certified Travel Specialist and also holds a Day Captain's license qualifying her to skipper a boat up to 72 feet. She has extensive experience in specialty dive training, navigation, and booking travel accommodations. Her interests include writing, social media marketing, and serving her Virtual Assistant and Travel Clients from around the globe.

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