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When it’s time to head to the beach or sunbathe by the pool, a little tanning oil can go a long way to help enhance a golden glow. But there are a variety of products on the market ranging from spray oils and organic formulas to hypoallergenic or oils with built-in sun protection, so it's often hard to make a decision. We've done all the research for you, so the next time it's time to soak up the sun, you can count on getting perfectly bronzed. Here are the best tanning oils to buy today.
Best Budget: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Sun Care
While some tanning oils can get fairly expensive (particularly organic oils), the Hawaiian Tropic oil provides a golden tan at an affordable price. The eight-ounce bottle of oil contains a variety of natural scents such as coconut oil, passion flower, papaya, mango and guava fragrances for a pleasant odor, as well as cocoa butter and aloe to soften the skin. The Hawaiian Tropic oil is ideal for enhancing existing tans, however, it does not contain sunblock, so be cautious with staying in the sun for longer periods of time. Buyers appreciated that the oil left skin soft without remaining greasy, and the fact that it was a budget-friendly purchase.
Best Shimmer: Caribbean Cool Natural Bronzer
If you’re seeking a tan that leaves you shining, the Caribbean Cool Natural Bronzer is an excellent choice. The oil is infused with a small amount of “glitter,” leaving a subtle shimmery glow on the skin. Made with Jamaican black castor oil, it can also help to unblock clogged pores while detoxifying and removing excess oil from the skin. Other ingredients include coconut milk, argan oil to soften the skin, as well as hemp seed oil to prevent dryness. The tanning oil creates a dark golden tan and won’t stain clothing. Be aware that it does not contain any type of sunscreen (SPF), so you may want to consider applying sunblock for longer exposure to the sun.
Best with High SPF: Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil
For an oil that yields a golden tan while still keeping harmful rays from your skin, opt for the Sun Bum Moisturizing Tanning Oil. The nine-ounce bottle has an SPF of 15 – a high number for a tanning oil (although it is a relatively low amount when compared to sunblock). The tanning oil is made of organic coconut, argan, marula and avocado, as well as moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera, green tea butter and Kona coffee plant extract – creating a pleasant scent. The oil is sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes and does not contain paraben, however, it does contain mineral oil and other chemicals.
Best Sunless: Botanic Tree Self Tanner
If you’re seeking the results of the sun, but don’t have the time to hit the beach, the Botanic Tree Self Tanner is a great choice. Unlike other sunless products, the Botanic Tree Self Tanner does not leave an “orange” hue to skin or an oily feel, and is made of 100 percent organic products. The quick-dry formula will not stain clothing or leave streaks. The product contains shea butter (for leaving skin smooth), jojoba, apricot, avocado and rosemary, plus passionfruit, coconut and vanilla for a fantastic-smelling lotion. The temporary tan lasts around seven days, so you’ll need a second bottle for to keep that glow going longer.
Best Chemical-Free: Isabella’s Clearly Gold Best Natural Bronzing Tanning Oil
Those who prefer a chemical-free tanning oil for a healthy glow to their skin should consider Isabella’s Clearly Gold Best Natural Bronzing Tanning Oil. The higher-priced oil comes in a two-ounce bottle and is manufactured in the United States. It contains a mixture of natural oils and ingredients such as olive oil, carrots, grape seed oil and coconut oil (for UV protection) that can help soften the skin. The chemical-free oil is not tested on animals, and won’t leave any residue on your clothing. Buyers said that although they loved the product, they wish it came in a larger bottle. Consider buying a second if you plan on spending a significant amount of time soaking in the rays.
Best Spray: Banana Boat Ultra Mist Deep Tanning Dry Oil
Tanning oil is also available in spray bottles, allowing for a quick dry instead of a lasting oil. The Banana Boat Ultra Mist Deep Tanning Dry Oil is a clear-dry spray with an SPF of 4 (but is also available in SPF 8) and is extremely water-resistant for that quick dip in the ocean. However, after several trips, it should be re-applied. The six-ounce spray has a pleasant fragrance of coconut and grape seed oil, is lightweight and can be applied at any angle – making it easy to cover all areas. Unlike other sprays, it leaves your skin soft but moist - instead of a dry, crisp feeling - and doesn’t discolor clothing or fabrics.
Best Non-Greasy: Australian Gold Tanning
Made from sunflower seed oil, olive oil, tea tree oil and other ingredients, the Australian Gold Tanning Oil is easily absorbed, leaving behind a non-greasy formula. The reasonably-priced tanning oil comes in an eight-ounce spray bottle and features a color-enhancing formula to add a touch of instant bronzer for even more glow. There is no mineral oil in this tanning oil to clog pores, however, it is not entirely chemical-free. Additional sunscreen is recommended since it does not contain any SPF protection. Buyers loved the glow they received from the oil, as well as the scent and the fact that it left behind no sticky residue.
Best Hypoallergenic: Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer
Those with sensitive skin should consider a hypoallergenic tanning cream such as Hempz Hypoallergenic Dark Tan Maximizer. The colorful, nine-ounce bottle contains all-natural hemp seed oil to soften skin, but also includes natural calming extracts from oatmeal and mango seed butter to hydrate. The formula quickly absorbs into the skin and is 100 percent vegan. More lotion than oil, the tan maximizer has no scent – ideal for those who are sensitive to strong odors. Buyers stated that while most scented lotions and oils cause rashes, the Hempz Tan Maximizer did not, but it did leave a golden, bronze glow and moist skin. Keep in mind that this the tanning lotion does not contain SPF.