11 Best Indoor Tanning Lotions for Darkest Tan Possible

Indoor tanning with a tanning bed can be quick and easy, but sometimes you want a little extra “oomph”! Indoor tanning lotions are specially formulated to work with tanning beds and to help your skin get darker, faster. If you haven’t been seeing results after sessions lately or want to jump shades quickly, try it out!

We’ve researched the best indoor tanning lotions to help you choose between the many options out there. From basic lotions for beginners to sizzling intense tingle lotions, we have covered them all! To get the darkest tan possible, you just have to pick the right one for you.

Best Tanning Bed Lotion for Darkest Tan Possible: Quick Comparison

Product Rating Type Smell Type Number of Reviews
Millenium Solid Black Tan Enhancer, Silicone Bronzer Orchid Blush 3484+
Millenium Paint It Black Accelerator, Bronzer Cotton Blossom 1850+
Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer Sweet Champagne Fizz 950+
Australian Gold JWOWW Black Tan Enhancer, Bronzer Black Currant 950+
Millenium Insanely Black Beyond Blaque Tan Enhancer, Tingle, Bronzer, Skin Firming Blackberry Citrus 836+
Australian Gold CHEEKY BROWN Bronzer Cocoadreams 800+
Designer Skin BombShell Bronzer Kiwi Watermelon 500+
Australian Gold Sinfully Black Bronzer Temptuous Berry 500+
Designer Skin Black Bronzer Citrus 550+
Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Without Bronzer - 750+
Sun Laboratories Dark Sunsation Self Tanner Chocolate Cherry 350+
=> Scroll down to read detailed review of each product.

What to look for before buying an indoor tanning bed lotion?

Tanning bed lotions, also called tan accelerators, work by enhancing your skin’s ability to produce melanin, a natural enzyme that is responsible for deepening your skin color. A good tan accelerator maximizes the depth of your tan while minimizing the time you need to use a tanning bed.

As with any beauty product, there are certain characteristics you should look for before you buy the best tanning bed lotion for darkest tan possible.

  • Tingle or No Tingle: Most tanning bed lotions contain ingredients that increase oxygen levels in your skin to enhance tanning. The process produces a tingling sensation. Tingle tanning lotions are incredibly useful but can take some getting used to. The sensation is more like burning than tingling! Tread carefully if you’re a beginner.
  • Bronzer or No Bronzer: Bronzer can be an excellent way to get a touch of color early while you’re still developing your tan. But it can be hard to apply bronzer products evenly to avoid streaking.
  • Fragrance: These can have a distinct smell, especially ones with DHA. Some lotions conceal this with fragrance.
  • Skin Type: Read product labels carefully to make sure that any lotion you use is suitable for your skin type.
  • Brand: Look for a brand that doesn’t strain your budget. With so many products available, it can be difficult to choose one.

Indoor Tanning Lotion Reviews – Best Tanning Bed Lotions of 2018

To help you save some time and research, here are the reviews of proven tanning bed lotions that can help you get a deep, exotic tan that goes far beyond everyday bronze.

Millenium Tanning Solid Black Bronzer

The Solid Black Bronzer from Millennium Tanning comes in a 13.5 fl oz bottle. A mix of silicone-based 100X DHA bronzer and tons of moisturizers make this a perfect companion for a tanning bed session. It features an orchid blush scent and includes ingredients like walnut seed oil and hemp oil.

The combination of bronzer and moisturizers make this a great sidekick to bring with you to the tanning bed. It’s easy to apply smoothly due to the silicone base, which is also moisturizing. Get a boost of sunless tanning color while making your tanning sessions more efficient!

The bronzer content can stain your fingers if you don’t clean them off after applying!

Overall, this lotion provides a glowing bronze tint while helping you tan more quickly thus this is voted as the best tanning lotion for tanning beds.


Millenium Tanning Paint it Black 50X Lotion

The Paint it Black bronzer contains a clean cotton blossom fragrance that will make you feel refreshed after a tanning session. 50X DHA, Erythrulose, and black walnut leaf extract help to make your skin look bronzed and golden while you’re building up your natural tan. The silicone formula will make your skin feel ultra-soft, too!

This tan lotion with bronzer is easy to apply evenly, thanks to the silicone formula. The fragrance is more clean and fresh than some other lotions with sweeter scents, too. Tons of plant extracts and oils nourish and protect your skin!

Combining DHA and Erythrulose bronzers helps your tan last longer, but can make you more sensitive to the sun.

The fresh scent of this product won us over, as well as the combination of bronzers designed to prevent an orange tint.

Designer Skin Luminary Bronzer

Designer Skin’s Luminary Bronzer features a silicone formula and is often offered at tanning salons. A touch of shimmer combined with powerful bronzers can help you get a darker tan more quickly. The fizzy champagne scent is fun and refreshing, and your skin will feel super soft after applying it!

We love the smell and the 25X bronzers that can give your skin gorgeous color. Plus, the glittering bottle looks great on a shelf! Antioxidants and moisturizers help to restore your skin while bronzers give you a golden look you want.

The lotion claims to fight or reverse sun damage, but there’s no scientific evidence behind them. This is certainly one of the best indoor tanning lotions that we have seen.

The incredible moisture and soft touch of bronzer and silicone make this a great product in our book!

JWOWW Black Bronzer Australian Gold

Looking for a tan accelerator with all-natural bronzers? The JWOWW Black Bronzer provides dark color to your skin with walnut shell extract, Carmel, Monoi de Tahiti, and erythrulose. The oils in the lotion include hemp seed, black currant and kukui nut oil that nourish and soften the skin. Vitamins and antioxidants give you an extra boost!

This tan accelerator and bronzer applies easily and smoothly to help you to avoid streaking while giving you great color. Use this lotion if you want to get dark fast with a little help from some powerful bronzing ingredients!

Prefer the effects of DHA as a bronzer? This lotion is DHA-free… but some people prefer that.

The scent and easy application make this a great bronzing lotion that we love to recommend!

Millennium Tanning Insanely Black

With a blackberry citrus scent, tons of bronzers, and a tingle lotion formula, this lotion is perfect for serious tanners! The intense tingling effect can help you tan more quickly, while deep 60X bronzers in a silicone emulsion formula provide beautiful color at the same time. A variety of plant oils and extracts provide moisture and antioxidants to your skin, too.

For tingle lotion lovers, this lotion will not disappoint. Far from a beginner tan lotion, the formula is efficient and intense at the same time. The increased blood flow to the skin helps you get a tan more quickly if you can handle the tingle sensation!

Never tried tingle lotions before? Start small, and always patch test to see how you react!

We have to respect this pick for providing a hardcore, noticeable tan very quickly.

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Lotion

A fan favorite, this lotion from Australian Gold now comes with integrated bronzer. A sweet fragrance and natural Australian oils combine with natural bronzers to give you the color you’re looking for. Henna extract and tea tree leaf oil are just a few of the skin-loving ingredients in this lotion. You can use it indoors or outdoors, too, making it a great multi-tasker!

This tanning bed lotion keeps its ingredients list short while still being super efficient. It’s especially useful for fair-skinned people thanks to the subtle tint of the bronzer. The natural bronzers also mean less of a lotion smell!

If you already have a deep tan, you may not get the results you’re looking for with this relatively mild lotion.

This product is a great option for fair-skinned people looking to get some color!

Designer Skin Bombshell 100XX Bronzer

Don’t let the kiwi watermelon scent fool you: this tingle tanning lotion is made for experienced tanners! It has a smooth lotion consistency, soaks in quickly, and can take your tan to the next level. Walnut extract, amino acids, and DHA form the bronzer base for this hot sizzle lotion. Moisturizers and antioxidants perk up your skin even while it’s blushing red!

Tingle lotions are not for the faint of heart, but the Bombshell lotion will definitely knock your socks off. A little goes a long way, and soon you’ll be sizzling hot. Whether you’re building a base tan or trying to reach a deeper color than ever before, this lotion can help you get there.

New to tingle lotions or tanning in general? You may want to try out a milder tingle lotion first!

The Bombshell with bronzer is the perfect sidekick for serious tanners.

Designer Skin Black

Another favorite from Designer Skin, Black features a smooth, luxurious silicone-based formula that delivers rich, deep bronze color. It’s a top seller in tanning salons because it offers reliable results, a great user experience and attractive packaging.

The deep color this lotion imparts looks natural and even. Results develop quickly but predictably. The citrus fragrance is fresh and pleasant.

It may not work well for some skin types. The lotion may roll into pills after drying on the skin. The product may be expensive if you purchase it at a tanning salon.

If you have experience in tanning, this product may give you some serious results.

Australian Gold Sinfully Black

Sinfully Black’s popularity can be explained by its great price despite its list of premium ingredients. With 15x deep bronzing capability and an impressive list of natural skincare oils, it’s a low-risk bronzer that’s well worth a try.

It contains great moisturizers like kukui nut oil, hemp seed oil and sunflower oil. Despite the multiple oils, it’s not greasy or sticky. It’s an affordable option. You get results without a huge investment.

However, the strong berry fragrance may not be everyone’s favorite and the consistency of the lotion is somewhat thin.

Overall, it’s a great product for someone who has a bit of experience in tanning.

Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden

This 13.5 fluid ounce lotion gives your skin a hefty dose of coconut milk and coconut oil, along with compounds designed to promote melanin production, protect your tattoos, and reduce the appearance of cellulite. It’s bronzer-free so you get an all-natural tan without worrying about streaks or orange tints.

Plenty of plant oils and extracts give your skin a boost of antioxidants and moisture. Combined with a silicone base, it feels silky-smooth and pampers your skin. If you have tattoos, they can always use the extra moisture!

There isn’t a lot of science behind the tyrosine and other compounds, but the moisturizing properties do help the skin take on a tan. Many people also say that it is the best indoor tanning salon ever.

Rich coconut oil and a bronzer-free formula make this one of our favorite moisturizing indoor tanner!

Sun Laboratories Dark Sunsation Self-Tanning Lotion

The only self-tanner on the list, this sugar-based formula creates dark tones without any sun exposure or tanning bed use whatsoever. It’s affordable, effective and made for people who want more depth than self-tanners can usually provide.

The lotion’s dark tint serves as an application guide to help you achieve even coverage and you get results at home in three hours. Unlike some self-tanners, it doesn’t produce orange tones. No UV exposure is necessary to get intense results.

It can be messy and leave a pasty feeling on your skin. It has a strong fragrance that may irritate sensitive skin.

If you need quick results with hitting tanning bed, this lotion is for you.

Tanning Bed Lotions for Different Purposes

Best Tanning Lotion for Tattoos

Tanning Lotions for Tattoos

At least one out of every 5 adults have a tattoo these days. This number increases for people between 18 and 30 years of age. This is the main reason why it becomes imperative to take care of your tattooed skin by keeping it moisturized and protecting the tattoo from fading in a short period.

Find the best tanning lotion for tattoos

Best Indoor Tanning Lotion With Bronzer

Indoor Tanning Lotion with Bronzer

Higher bronzer level tan lotions are the perfect solution for skin types that either take so long in getting tanned or have difficulty in maintaining their tan afterward. In both the scenarios, lotions with bronzers can boost your tan level in a very short period.

Find the best indoor tanning lotion with bronzer

Best Tanning Lotion without Bronzer

Indoor Tanning Lotion without Bronzer

Some people don’t prefer the bronzer element in a tanning lotion at all. There, actually, is a solution of the tanning problem without having to deal with the bronzing agents at all and still getting that natural tan look on your skin. We have reviewed these products and present you the best indoor tanning lotions available in the market.

Find the best indoor tanning lotion without bronzer

Best Tanning Bed Lotion for Fair Skin

Tanning Bed Lotion for Fair Skin

A fair skin has a higher probability of getting damaged in the sun that any other skin. Over exposure to sun rays may burn your skin, turn it red or leave it completely dry if you are not using a proper sun protection. Wondering how to get a good tan then? We have the perfect products for you that will solve your problem and make sure that you get that sun goddess look in no time.

Find the best tanning bed lotion for fair skin

Best Tanning Lotion for Pale Skin

Tanning Lotion for Pale Skin

Ever wondered how people with pale skin get that perfect tanned look in a matter of few days? If you are the one looking for getting just the right amount of tan on your skin without having to burn yourself in the sun every day, we have got some secrets for you that you would definitely want to uncover now.

Find the best tanning lotion for pale skin

Tanning Bed Lotions Explained

How do tan lotions work? How do you choose the right one? How do you get a darker tan faster with indoor tanning? What is the best tanning bed lotion? We’ll break it down for you step by step!

How does an indoor tanning lotion work?

An indoor tanning lotion is designed to work with the power of a tanning bed or tanning booth to help you tan more quickly. Melanin is the pigment that develops during sun exposure that makes your skin tan and these lotions contain ingredients to help melanin form faster.

Some lotions also contain bronzers, which are similar to dyes or makeup. They make your skin appear darker temporarily, for days or weeks. Bronzers can also be found in outdoor tanning lotions and sunless tanners as well!

Most of these types of lotions also contain moisturizers that condition and improve your skin. Moisturized skin is “better” at tanning than dry skin! These moisturizers also help fight the drying effects of UV light, too, so you can walk out of the tanning bed looking better than before.

These lotions are very different from outdoor tanning lotions or sunless tanners! They don’t contain SPF and are designed to handle the intense UV light that you receive in short doses while in a tanning bed. They moisturize your skin and may use oils to help increase your light exposure by refracting the UV light.

What are the different types of indoor tanning lotions?

First of all, there’s the basic tan accelerator designed to speed up the tanning process. These lotions are a good choice for pale skin and first-time tanners who aren’t sure how they’ll react to an accelerator.

Another type of indoor tanning lotion uses bronzers. Some have immediate darkening effects on your skin, while others are delayed and take a while to show up. Bronzers have a bad reputation for turning pale skin orange, but starting with a small concentration in the lotion and building up can help you avoid that.

Some lotions are designed specifically for use on the face. Since your facial skin tends to be more delicate and sensitive than the rest of your body, it’s worth the extra investment!

A tingle lotion increases blood flow to the surface of the skin, which helps accelerate the tanning process. Sounds innocent, right? But this type of lotion can produce a burning, itching feeling while it works!

Plus, there can be different formulas for applying these ingredients! Lotions are long-lasting but hard to apply evenly. Spray formulas are easier to apply in a smooth layer and dry more quickly, but may not last as long. Mousse and gel formulas are a balance between sprays and lotions: long-lasting, easy to apply without streaking, and quick-drying.

What are the different ingredients used in indoor tanning lotions?

You’ll see a couple of common terms used to describe different lotions.

  • Tan Accelerator or Optimizer: Tanning accelerators help to increase melanin production with ingredients like tyrosine. They are supposed to help you build a base tan as you start tanning. However, there is not a lot of evidence that putting tyrosine on your skin helps you tan.
  • Tan Intensifier or Maximizer: If you already have a solid base tan, a tan intensifier may help you see greater results than an accelerator. Some people find they don’t notice a difference between accelerators and maximizers.
  • Tan Extender: These lotions provide moisture and nutrients to help maintain your skin. Use a tan extender after each tanning session and after a shower! Alternatively, a regular skin lotion can work just as well.

Next, there are two main types of bronzer ingredients:

  • DHA: DHA is a colorless sugar that reacts with your dead skin cells to produce pigment. This reaction starts 2-4 hours after it is applied, and lasts 24-72 hours. As you naturally shed your dead skin cells, the tan fades over the course of a week.
  • Natural Bronzers: Plant extracts like fig extract and black walnut oil are other types of “dyes” that tint your skin a deeper shade. These bronzers don’t last as long as DHA, but they also moisturize your skin.
  • Erythrulose: Extracted from red raspberries, this compound has similar but weaker effects to DHA. Combining DHA and Erythrulose results in a longer-lasting tan, but can increase sun sensitivity.

In a tingle lotion, the ingredient causing the tingling sensation is usually benzyl nicotinate. The sensation can be very uncomfortable for some users, so it’s important to try it out on a small spot before going crazy!

Indoor Tanning Tips

Not sure where to start? You’re not alone. Choosing the right tan lotion and tanning regimen really depends on your skin type. Take this quick seven-question quiz to find out your skin type!

Are you using a tanning bed for the first time? Your tanning technician can help you work out the specifics of the best way for you to tan and help you adjust to the more intense UV light provided by a tanning bed. But you can walk in with confidence with our tips to get you started!

  • Avoid doing a full-length tanning session your first time: Tanning beds provide more intense UV light at once than you get from the sun, so it’s important to let your skin adjust and see how it reacts.
  • Bring lip balm with SPF: Your lips can’t tan, so avoid peeling by applying an SPF lip balm before the session!
  • Choose your tan lotion wisely: A tanning technician can help you choose the right combination of accelerators and bronzers to give you the best results.
  • Check for discounts: Tanning salons run promotions all the time! Call and ask, or check out your local radio station or newspaper for great deals.
  • Protect your acrylic nails: Acrylic nails can turn yellow under UV light! Get some coverings to protect them.
  • Check your medications and supplements: Some prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements can cause photosensitivity. That means sunburn! Some prescriptions may not be as effective after heat or sun exposure.
  • Nude or clothed: Choose between bringing your favorite bikini or underwear set, or plan to get nude! Make sure to cover your nipples and genitals, because they’re more sensitive than the rest of your body.
  • Avoid DHA sprays: DHA is excellent when applied to your skin, but the FDA states it should not be inhaled or applied to mucous membranes. Be careful if using a DHA bronzer in spray form, and don’t apply it to your face. Any tanning salon that offers a sunless spray tan should also provide protection for your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

Precautions before using a lotion for tanning bed

Here’s how to prepare for your upcoming indoor tanning session!

  • If your lotion contains DHA: Prep by taking care of any necessary hair removal and exfoliate your skin to help the product apply evenly.
  • Avoid using a heavy moisturizer right before tanning: Although it’s important to keep your skin moisturized leading up to the tanning session, avoid applying these products on the day of your appointment.
  • No makeup: Go into your appointment fresh as a baby!
  • Choose your coverage wisely: Take your favorite bikini or bring on the pasties and hand towels to get the tan lines–or lack of tan lines–that you want.
  • Apply lotions with bronzer smoothly: Avoid blotchiness or streaking by carefully applying the product.

Precautions after using a tanning bed

So you made it through your first tanning bed session. What next? Here’s how to preserve your tan.

  • Don’t shower: At least not within two hours of tanning. Let the tanning lotion do its work and avoid washing off any bronzer.
  • Use sunscreen: DHA and erythrulose are bronzers that can make you more sensitive to the sun than you usually would be. Plus, you may be more sensitive than usual after the bed, too.
  • Use a tan extender or moisturizer: Keeping your skin nourished and healthy can make your tan last longer and look better! Use a tan extender or moisturizer after each tanning session.
  • Wait 24-48 hours between tanning sessions: You need to wait for your skin to recover, especially when you’re just starting out.

Do Tanning Pills Work?

It’s complicated. Technically, they can give you a dose of compounds that can cause the skin to take on an orange or brown tint. But tanning pills are not approved by the FDA and can contain harmful ingredients. For example, canthaxanthin is one common ingredient in tanning pills that can cause liver damage and yellowing of the eyes. Other unapproved pills contain Psoralen is another ingredient that is only approved for use with certain skin conditions. Patients who use it need careful supervision, and you can risk severe burns in a tanning bed if you use it unsupervised. Plus, it may be carcinogenic. It’s not worth it!

Another type of tanning pill contains tyrosine. Tyrosine is involved when your body makes melanin, but there is not enough evidence to say that taking it internally will help you tan and is safe.

Time to go to bed!

…The tanning bed that is. Catch some rays the easy way with the power of an in house tanning lotion and a tanning bed! As always, stay safe and always patch test a lotion you haven’t tried before.

If you’re new to tanning, start slow! Don’t jump right for the hottest tingle lotion you can find. You just need to find the best tanning bed lotion for darkest tan possible and you’ll be golden in no time.


  1. Review of common tanning methods: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4345932/
  2. Is sunless tanning safe?: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/art-20046803?pg=2
  3. Benefits and risks of UV tanning: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2692214/
  4. Tanning Pills: https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productsingredients/products/ucm134217.htm

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