Tanning Oil

Best Tanning Oil

Last Updated: August 14, 2023

Another year has rolled around and there is a new collection of spray tanning machines out there with some pretty great upgrades. These features can provide some helpful benefits during tanning to not only make your spray tan look impeccable but also make the job easy breezy. So take note as we discuss and round up the best spray tan machines you can find on the market today.

If you’re in a hurry, check out our top pick:

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil

Great results, affordable and leaves your skin well nourished

If you don’t want to read through the whole article and just want our recommendations, here they are:

Best Tanning Oils to give you a shimmering tan

  1. Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil – Editor’s Choice
  2. b.tan Deep Tanning Tanned Intensifier Tanning Oil – Top Pick for Tanning Intensifier
  3. Australian Gold Dark Intensifier Tanning Oil– Best Budget Buy
  4. Banana Boat Dark Tanning Oil Spray SPF 4
  5. Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil 15​

Our top picks for the best tanning oils to help you achieve your tanning goals


Editor’s Choice

Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil


$9.97

at Amazon

Price when originally reviewed: $8.52

Gives a rich dark tan

Tans quickly

Conditions skin

Here is a terrific tanning oil that enables the right skin care regime. It has an effective fusion of skin conditioners, vitamins, and antioxidants to offer elevated caring and nourishing effects during its use.

The Hawaiian Tropic Dark has a healthy blend of natural additives such as papaya fruit, mango fruit, guava fruit, passion flower fruit, aloe leaf extracts plus coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, eucalyptus leaf oil and vitamins A, C and E that all work together to completely drench your skin with moisture.

The oil goes on smoothly, giving very good coverage and leaves your skin feeling conditioned and supple. It’s a great skin primer for tanning, allowing elevated absorption of sunlight to not only give dark tanning results but also quick color deepening.

The texture is not overly thick yet has the right consistency to feel light on your skin especially after it has been absorbed. It washes off quite easily, so if you happen to go swimming before you’re done tanning, you will need to reapply more oil. However, after tanning, will wash off easy enough.

The Cons: Even though I have never had any bad experiences using this tanning oil, I did read some pretty disturbing reviews online. Users complained about the solution having a chemical type of scent and being gel like in texture. This is the risk you take when buying cosmetics and skin care products online. Always check the expiration dates, buy from a reputable source/seller and fingers crossed your purchase comes from a good batch of products.


Top Pick for Tanning Intensifier

b.tan Deep Tanning Tanned Intensifier Tanning Oil


Top Pick 200x56

$9.97

at Amazon

Price when originally reviewed: $14.99

Fast-absorbing formula

Deep, bronzed glow

Non-greasy finish

b.tan Deep Tanning Dry Spray stands out in the tanning world as a cutting-edge intensifier that promises a more profound and luxurious tanning experience. This innovative product is formulated with a unique blend of ingredients designed to maximize your tan and give your skin a sun-kissed radiance.

Unlike conventional tanning oils, this dry spray offers a lightweight, non-greasy formula that is quickly absorbed by the skin. It leaves a comfortable, dry-touch finish that won’t leave your skin feeling oily or sticky. The application is a breeze, and the spray nozzle ensures an even and controlled distribution.

Enriched with nourishing elements such as coconut oil and vitamin E, b.tan Deep Tanning Dry Spray also doubles as a skin conditioner. It hydrates and softens the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and supple even after hours in the sun.

The tanning intensifier in the formula works in harmony with your skin’s natural melanin production to help you achieve a deeper, more bronzed glow. Whether you’re just beginning your tanning journey or seeking to enhance an existing tan, this spray offers a tailored experience.

The scent is subtle and refreshing, adding to the overall pleasant application experience. It’s free from artificial fragrances that can sometimes be overpowering.

The Cons: While b.tan Deep Tanning Dry Spray provides remarkable tanning results, it lacks SPF protection. Therefore, those who are concerned about UV exposure will need to use a separate sunscreen product. Some users may find that the spray requires frequent reapplication during extended sunbathing sessions to maintain its effectiveness.


Best Budget Buy

Australian Gold Dark Tanning Exotic Intensifier Oil


Budget Buy 200x56

$10.08

at Amazon

Price when originally reviewed: $9.68

Luxurious exotic oils

Deep, bronze tan

Non-greasy texture

Australian Gold Dark Tanning Exotic Oil makes its mark as one of the top tanning oils with its unique blend of rich ingredients that offer a sensational tanning experience. It’s designed with a combination of exotic oils, antioxidants, and a proprietary mix that not only encourages deep, dark color but also nourishes and moisturizes the skin.

The inclusion of premium oils like tea tree, sunflower seed, and olive oil ensures that your skin is left feeling luxuriously soft and conditioned. A healthy dose of vitamin E works as a powerful antioxidant to combat free radicals, providing an added layer of skin protection.

This tanning oil offers a texture that’s smooth without being greasy, allowing for easy application. It spreads evenly on the skin, leaving a non-sticky finish that’s comfortable for extended tanning sessions. The scent is a pleasing blend of natural aromas that’s far from the artificial fragrances found in some competing products.

The tan achieved with Australian Gold is a beautiful bronze that develops gradually, enhancing the skin’s natural color. It’s ideal for those who want to build a tan over time rather than an instant, dramatic change.

The Cons: While most users rave about the moisturizing effects and beautiful color, some may find that they need to reapply more frequently during long sunbathing sessions. Additionally, those with extremely sensitive skin should always perform a patch test before full application, as with any tanning product. There is no SPF protection in this tanning oil, so users seeking UV protection will need to use it in conjunction with a sunscreen.


Top Pick with SPF

Banana Boat Sunscreen Dark Tanning Oil SPF 4


Top Pick 200x56

$25.55

at Amazon

Price when originally reviewed: $23.42

Gives a golden tan

Contains SPF

Smells great

This is a spray oil compared to the previously mentioned tanning oil spray. It has very similar features, I would say the differences are that this spray oil has better moisturizing effects and the tanning oil spray gives darker results.

Included in its mixture is a collection of conditioning ingredients such as mineral oil, coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, sunflower seed oil, aloe leaf extract, corn oil, banana fruit extract, and carrot root extract. These elements create a rich formula that effortlessly glides onto your skin during application and completely absorbs to leave it feeling soft and silky all day long.

The tan it gives is a subtle sun kissed golden hue but of course, if you tan for longer periods, you will experience darker results. Even though it has sunscreen protection, i.e. SPF 4 that will give you 75% protection from UVB rays, we still do not recommend spending a long time tanning.

The Cons: This tanning oil doesn’t allow for long durations of safe tanning. If you burn easily then don’t exceed 20 minutes or so, because your skin may begin to redden. It has been reported by some users that this tanner may cause an allergic reaction to sensitive skin users (not in our experience), so take caution.


Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil 15


Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil 15

$14.34

at Amazon

Price when originally reviewed: $17.99

Give a terrific shimmery bronze glow

Good moisturizing ingredients

Sun Bum has always been an all time favorite brand of mine over the years; this list wouldn’t have been complete without mention of their moisturizing tanning oil with broad-spectrum SPF 15. It is the perfect tanning cocktail, blending skin modifiers and rich conditioning oils with UVA/UVB protection so that users achieve a lovely bronze tan and luminous glow safely.

I love the tan this oil produces, usually, after about 3 hours on the beach, my skin will develop a deep bronze shimmery look every time.

This Beach Bun moisturizing tanning oil formula is enriched with marula oil, argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, green tea butter, and aloe Vera to indulge and protect your skin during tanning but also makes it super absorbent and reactive to the UV rays.

This is a trusted tanning product with a good a track record; it is hypoallergenic and Dermatologist tested, so it’s quite unlikely to cause irritation or harm to your skin. Also, and if you read their labels, you will see that this tanning oil is paraben free, cruelty free, gluten free, paba free, phthalate free & oxybenzone free.

Additionally, you can look forward to a great smelling tanning oil with a tropical and fruity scent. It is rich in texture so it applies and covers seamlessly plus leaves your skin feeling nourished and soft.

The Cons: May be too oily for some users however this is not really a problem for me, I love when my skin feels drenched in my tanning oil. FYI: It does contain mineral oil, which is often a big deterrent for many people for the bad reaction it produces. There is a tireless list of complaints about the bottle dispenser of this Sun Bum tanning oil. People whined that it was either broken upon delivery or leaked and even got damaged while they were using it, not sure why this is happening to everyone, my bottle and the previous ones before were fine.

Do Tanning Oils Really Work?

Yes, they do, this all goes back to using them appropriately. If you use tanning oils incorrectly then you will not experience the true benefits they have to offer or get the best results.

Tanning oil is actually preferred by many tanning enthusiasts for the effectual properties it has to offer. It was first used for tanning before creams and lotions even came into the mix. Using oils for tanning became popular back in the 1920s as people became fond of the idea of tanning. It became such the craze that in the 1950’s women even tried making their own versions of tanning oil with combining mineral and baby oil with a bit of iodine. This of course eventually became problematic because, without other ingredients to balance the mineral oil, users were essentially baking their skin in the sun.

It was later improved with protective ingredients to prevent burning and allow safer gentler tanning. That’s when proportionate quantities of SPF and moisturizing ingredients were infused to make for a more wholesome formula.

Top of the line tanning oils now usually have better quality ingredients such as rare fruit extracts with powerful antioxidants and nourishing effects, as well as the additions of select vitamins, active tanning intensifiers, and broad spectrum SPF, give and take. There are a few products offering most if not all these properties, which we will round up further along. They have been demonstrated to give you terrific tanning results especially if used under the right conditions. So in order for tanning oils to really work, not only do you have to identify the good ones but also make sure you use them correctly.

Why does oil make you tan faster?

Oil in its natural state is a viscous liquid derived from plants and animals and other organisms and are produced in remarkable diversities through natural metabolic processes. One of which is its formulation and use for the purposes of tanning.

Tanning oils have been tested and proven to provide maximum levels of moisturization and will effectively lock in moisture during tanning which is essential to protect, hydrate and replenish your skin especially as it’s being branded by the sun. When your skin is successfully conditioned this way, it absorbs higher concentrations of UV rays, which ultimately gives you a better-looking tan.

As UV rays penetrate the skin, they stimulate mature melanin-forming cells known as melanocytes, consequently accelerating their ability to produce melanin. Melanin is a dark brown pigment that is responsible for producing these shades of color in your skin tone. The greater the presence of melanin in the skin, the darker your skin will appear. This is why some people get darker than others during tanning even under the same exact conditions.

Nonetheless, by using oil, you optimize the chemical process the UV light produces during tanning to reveal significant color changes in your skin tone and with the added perks of exhibiting a brilliant glowing shine.

So how do I pick the right tanning oil?

With all that said, you should be a little bit more confident in knowing how to identify not only a good tanning oil but also one that will suit your particular skin’s needs. There is no one specific oil that is perfect for everyone since not all skin types are the same and not everybody’s skin responds the same way to topical or cosmetic treatments. However, for the most part, there is a model list of qualities tanning oils should provide, these are:

  • Moisturize and hydrate your skin
  • Produce deep dark tanning results
  • Allow you to tan quickly
  • Protect your skin from sun damage
  • Smells great

So in picking a tanning oil, make sure it has a handful of absorbent moisturizing ingredients to condition your skin, tanning intensifiers that work with the melanin in your skin to produce a deep dark skin shade in shorter time periods as well as SPF to protect your skin by blocking the UV rays of the sun.

Hello! I'm Mandi Colburn, the lead writer of TanningReview.com. Inspired by a California upbringing and a passion for health and fitness, I turned my fascination with sun exposure into a blog that offers credible, research-driven advice on tanning and skin protection. Welcome to TanningReview.com, where my goal is to guide you toward a healthier, sun-kissed glow.