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  • Writer's pictureAnjana Rajbhandary

The best tanning bed lotion of 2021

Tanning bed lotions

Many people want a healthy glow in the summer months, but it isn’t always possible to get the perfect tan laying out in the sun. You can use a tanning bed lotion to give you bronzed skin as you live near a beach, regardless of the weather. The perfect tanning bed lotion can help you whether you’re a newbie or an experienced tanner.

Finding a suitable tanning bed lotion for your indoor tanning session can help you get a long-lasting tan. Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator Plus Bronzer is a top pick because it's moisturizing, affordable and gives you an even, streak-free tan.

What to know before you buy a tanning bed lotion

Skin tone

The natural color of your skin is your skin tone. The Fitzpatrick scale divides skin tones into six categories, based on how easily you tan or burn:

  • Type I: palest skin, has freckles, always burns and never tans

  • Type II: pale skin, often burns and rarely tans

  • Type III: fair to beige skin, burns on occasion and sometimes tans

  • Type IV: olive or brown skin, burns rarely and often tans

  • Type V: dark brown skin, seldom burns and always tans

  • Type VI: darkest skin, never burns and always tans

Type of tanning bed lotion

  • Bronzer tanning bed lotion helps you get an instant or intense tan.

  • Tingle tanning bed lotion increases blood circulation to increase melanin levels on your skin to give you a darker skin tone.

  • Coolant tanning bed lotion provides a soothing cooling sensation after using it if you tend to get hot and sweaty in a tanning bed.

  • Accelerator tanning bed lotion provides you with a moisturizing base tan if you're a first-timer.

  • Maximizer tanning lotion helps you achieve a deeper tan when you already have a base tan.

Tanning bed lotion features


A tanning bed’s UV rays can also burn you like the sun. Choose a tanning bed lotion with SPF so you can safely tan while keeping your skin protected.


It’s best to choose a lighter, oil-free tanning bed lotion for your face, so it doesn’t clog your pores or cause acne or irritation. It’s even easier to choose one formulated for both the face and the body.


A tanning bed lotion with thicker consistency is more likely to last longer and apply easily without running. A thinner consistency may be runny, get messy and won’t apply as evenly.

Developing time

Some tanning bed lotions provide a more instant tan, whereas others can take up to 6 hours to achieve the desired color.


Tanning bed lotions come in a range of fruity and flowery scents. Many smell like coconuts to remind you of tropical islands.

Tanning bed lotion cost

Based on the type of lotion and the bottle size, a tanning bed lotion can cost $10-$70. Most of them fall in the $30-$40 range.

Tanning bed lotion FAQ

How long before tanning should I use tanning bed lotion?

A. Apply tanning bed lotion 15-30 minutes before you get in the tanning bed.

Do I have to use a tanning bed lotion in a tanning bed?

A. No, but dry skin can reflect some UV rays, and a lotion can help you develop a tan more quickly.

How often can I use a tanning bed?

A. Most people use a tanning bed once a week, but experienced users can use it up to three times a week.

Which tanning bed lotion should I get?

Best of the best tanning bed lotion

Australian Gold Cheeky Brown Accelerator Plus Bronzer: available at Amazon

Our take: This affordable lotion can give you an even, long-lasting tan while leaving your skin moisturized with a pleasant scent.

What we like: This is a bronzer and accelerator in one, enriched with vitamins A and E to give you soft skin. It can be used for both indoor and outdoor tanning.

What we dislike: It has a thin consistency and can be runny.

Best bang for your buck tanning bed lotion

Millenium Tanning Solid Black Ultra Advanced Silicone Bronzer: available at Amazon

Our take: With its auto-darkening tan technology, it gives you a quick and natural-looking tan with the smell of fresh orchids.

What we like: Suitable for almost all skin types, this ultra-advanced 100X silicone bronzer delivers a deep tan that develops quickly. It has an ultra-moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

What we dislike: It can streak or leave orange spots if not applied properly.

Honorable mention tanning bed lotion

Maui Babe Browning Lotion: available at Amazon

Our take: A family-owned brand makes this water-based lotion with natural ingredients and antioxidants to give you a tan.

What we like: It has Kona coffee extract to stimulate blood flow and kukui nut oil to help with sunburn. It's safe for all skin types.

What we dislike: The smell can be overwhelming for some people.


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