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18 Best Tanning Lotions for Fair Skin (How to Tan and Not Burn)

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 30th December 2020
Best Tanning Lotions for Fair Skin

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Genetics may make you prone to burn instead of tan. But today, we’re going to show you the best tanning lotions for fair skin.

We’ll discuss how to tan faster with tanning accelerators for light skin tones. And we’ll even point out the best tingle tanning lotion for pale skin.

If you’re anxious to catch some rays, dive into the reviews now. They’ll help you find your new favorite tanning lotion.

How to Tan Without Burning Fair Skin

The most important tip we can give you about tanning is to take it slow.

The 15/3 Rule

For instance, don’t spend more than fifteen minutes outdoors in the hot sun the first time you tan. Or if you’re in a salon, don’t stay in the sunbed longer than three minutes.

Then skip a day before you tan again. This gives your skin time to recover and deepen the color naturally.

The next time, increase your time outdoors by five or ten minutes at the most. Or indoors, stay only a minute or two longer in the tanning booth.

If this sounds very cautious, it’s to prevent you from burning your skin. A sunburn doesn’t lead to a tan– it’s just damage. Plus, it’s uncomfortable.

The next most important tip is to use a tanning lotion plus sunscreen if you’re especially pale.

Lotion to Protect the Skin

Most tanning lotions don’t have any protection against UV radiation. But if you apply sunscreen underneath, you may find that you can spend more time soaking up the sun.

But why use any lotion at all?

Because it keeps your skin moisturized and minimizes harm from UV radiation, most tanning lotions include antioxidants and other ingredients that protect against photoaging.

What Is a Tanning Accelerator?

An accelerator stimulates the skin to produce pigment. Some examples include melanin, L-tyrosine, and carrot oil (1).

What Is a Bronzer?

A natural bronzer like henna instantly darkens the skin like a dye. But a cosmetic bronzer like dihydroxyacetone (DHA) interacts with skin cells to deepen skin color (2). It may take a few hours to develop.

How Much Lotion Should You Use?

Put a nice thick layer of tanning lotion or sunscreen on your skin.

Don’t worry if it doesn’t absorb immediately. The idea is to give yourself enough protection to prevent sunburn (3).

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

Now let’s look at the top tanning lotions for pale skin.

18 Best Tanning Lotions for Fair Skin (2021 Update)

1. New Sunshine Swedish Beauty Bronzer, Shea You Want Me

When you think about people in Sweden, you probably imagine someone with light-colored skin. That’s why it’s no surprise that the Swedish Beauty lotion is perfect for beginning tanners. It’s also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free to protect sensitive skin.

The benefits of Shea You Want Me include deep moisturization and an instant bronze.

It makes you look tan right out of the bottle because it contains black walnut and henna. At the same time, cocoa and shea butters keep your skin soft.

2. TANOVATIONS Oh Pale No Skin Perfecting Dark Intensifier

If you prefer to tan naturally without bronzers, try this intensifier. It’s made by one of the top indoor tanning lotion companies.

The silicone-based formula seals in moisture and protects tattoos from fading. Plus, the proprietary blends called MelanoBronze, and Quad Tyrosine increases melanin production to darken your skin as you sunbathe.

There are also interesting ingredients like white birch, dragon fruit, and charcoal that cut down on acne and perfect the skin.

3. Swedish Beauty Pink Diamond Tanning Lotion

If you’re curious about tingle lotions, here’s a mild one that won’t set your skin on fire. The purpose of the tingle is to increase blood flow to the surface. It helps accelerate tanning.

This product also contains bronzers so that you won’t look ghostly white in your swimsuit.

4. New Sunshine Swedish Beauty Bronzer, Pink Cabana

If you love the classic tropical sunscreen scent, you might fall in love with the Pink Cabana lotion. It’s an indoor tanning lotion for people with pale skin.

The cosmetic bronzers will make you look ready for the beach but shouldn’t leave streaks or make your skin orange.

Moreover, antioxidants, moisturizers, and other exotic ingredients pamper your body, so you look and feel your best.


If you have sensitive skin but still want to try a tanning lotion with bronzers, this one might be the answer.

Once you apply it, it gives you a golden bronze. Then, over the next few hours after your tan, DHA deepens your color. For best results, don’t shower immediately after your session.

Some of the featured ingredients include soothing chamomile and oatmeal and rich moisturizers like hemp seed oil and mango seed butter.


On the other hand, get a natural bronze all by yourself. This indoor tanning lotion is made for sensitive skin. It’s similar to the one above, except it doesn’t have cosmetic bronzers in it.

You may notice that hemp seed oil is a popular moisturizer for tanning lotions. It’s not greasy, and it absorbs quickly.

7. Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion

Ed Hardy’s Coconut Kisses lotion is one of the most popular products used by tanners. There are three main reasons for this.

First, MelanoBronze, and Melactiva, and the QuadTyrosine Blend encourage your skin to produce pigment to tan rapidly. (But there are no cosmetic bronzers in this bottle.)

Next, the tattoo and color fade protector keep your ink bright.

Finally, the BodyFit blend makes cellulite less noticeable and firms the skin.

It probably doesn’t hurt that the lotion has a delicious coconut scent, too.

8. Ed Hardy Hollywood Bronze Bronzer Tanning Lotion

Users who tend to tan slowly say they have success with the Hollywood Bronze tanning lotion.

It will give you an instant glow that darkens after you tan. In the interim, it has amino acids and peptides to make your skin look younger. It minimizes fine lines and moisturizes.

9. Ed Hardy Peace & Harmony Tanning Intensifier Bronzing Moisturizer Lotion

Fans of Peace & Harmony say this lotion helps them darken after only one session. It has the MelanoBronze complex that increases pigment production.

Moreover, although it has wheat proteins to tighten the skin, it’s gluten-free. Then, green tea and cotton extract fight signs of aging. Also, the formula is free of parabens.

10. Australian Gold, CHEEKY BROWN Accelerator Dark Natural Bronzers

The Cheeky Brown Accelerator lotion is another top seller worldwide. It has its delicious Cocoa Dreams fragrance plus bronzers like henna.

You can enjoy this lotion for tanning indoors or outside. It’s packed with aloe, vitamins A and E, and native Australian oils. One of the oils is tea tree, also known as melaleuca.

11. Australian Gold DARK TANNING ACCELERATOR Lotion 

What’s the difference between this tanning accelerator and the lotion above? This one lacks instant bronzers.

Besides that, you can wear sunscreen underneath to protect yourself from burning while you tan.

In fact, UV protection is smart since this lotion has retinyl palmitate, which makes the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Unfortunately, it also has parabens.

12. Australian Gold Sinfully Black 15x Deep Dark Bronzing Tanning Lotion

See the 15x in the product’s name? That’s an indicator of how dark it can help you get. For people with pale skin, a lower number is better. That’s because the bronzers in the lotion won’t make you look unnaturally dark.

The tasty berry fragrance and creamy texture will please your senses. Next, walnut shell extract, caramel, and Monoi oil from Tahiti will deepen your color instantly. Finally, Kukui nut oil and sunflower will make your skin feel silken.

13. New Sunshine Australian Gold Eye Candy

The Eye Candy lotion also features 15x bronzers plus caffeine to tone your skin. Then, DHA will go to work deepening your bronze.

Users say this one has a strawberry fragrance and doesn’t streak.

14. Somewhere on a Beach, Indoor-Outdoor, Instant Dark Tanning Lotion

No matter where you tan, you can use the Somewhere on a Beach lotion. Instead of DHA, it has tyrosine to help you go darker.

If you’ve noticed that some lotions are labeled for indoor or outdoor use only, there’s a reason for that. Indoor tanning lotions won’t harm the acrylic of a tanning bed. But they have absolutely no protection against ultraviolet radiation. That’s why, if you tan outdoors, you may want to apply sunscreen first, then the lotion on top.

15. Maui Babe Browning Lotion

Lots of vacationers in Hawaii have tried the Maui Babe Browning Lotion and had success. They arrive with pale winter skin and leave with a sun-kissed bronze.

This formula was invented by a desperate man. He needed a business idea to feed his family. He came up with this basic but effective formula.

A native of the islands, he knew about the benefits of aloe and Kukui nut oil for soothing and healing sunburn. He added other components like antioxidants and Kona coffee to create a simple tanning lotion that instantly darkens skin tone.

The result is a popular product used by tourists and residents alike. The only complaint is that it tends to be a bit greasy.

Sunscreens for Tanning Fair Skin

Let’s switch gears now to show you the best sunscreens for tanning fair skin. Believe it or not, you can get a tan while wearing sunblock. Most importantly, you reduce your risk of sunburn.

16. Australian Gold SPF 15 Sunscreen Spray Gel with Instant Bronzer

If you’re not a fan of oils and lotions, try this lightweight spray gel. It provides a little color, so you look like you have a base tan already.

After that, it protects you from UV radiation for up to eighty minutes in the water. After that, you’ll need to reapply because it will wear off.

Just keep in mind that the SPF15 only gives you fifteen times the protection you’d have without any lotion at all. If you would normally burn in ten minutes of bright sunshine, it will only protect you for a little over two hours outdoors.

In case you’re curious, this is not a reef-safe formula. It contains chemical sunscreens like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and octisalate.

17. Hawaiian Tropic Sunscreen Protective Tanning Dry Oil

What is a dry oil? It’s a sunscreen that sinks in so fast you won’t feel greasy.

Hawaiian Tropic’s sunscreen blends aloe with cocoa butter and exotic oils to protect your skin and enhance its natural beauty. It won’t add any color – you have to do the work yourself in the sunshine.

18. Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 

Coppertone’s suntan lotion is water-resistant for eighty minutes. But even if you get out of the pool before time’s up, reapply after you towel off.

It has Vitamin E to keep your skin from aging. This antioxidant neutralizes free radicals activated by UV radiation.

The inclusion of aloe and dimethicone keeps your skin moisturized and smooth.

19. Australian Gold SPF 30 Lotion Sunscreen with Kona Bronzers

If you’re especially pale and have trouble tanning at all, use a stronger sunscreen until you have a base tan. This one has instant bronzers like Kona coffee and caramel to give you a little color right at the start.

Another advantage is that it has no oil, so it feels very lightweight. You may forget you’re wearing sunscreen at all.

How to Tan Faster When You Have Fair Skin (and Freckles!)

You probably think you can’t tan. But most of us, even redheads with freckles, can get a tan. It just takes a little preparation and patience.

Here’s the truth: don’t risk it if you have an allergic reaction or skin conditions that worsen with sunlight exposure. Also, double-check your medications to make sure that they don’t conflict with sun exposure. It’s not worth it to suffer unnecessary consequences when you can spray tan or use sunless tanning lotion.

Here are the steps the experts recommend for tanning.

  • Exfoliate before you sunbathe. Removing the dead skin makes it easier to tan (4).
  • Skip going outdoors when the sun is strongest—Tan in the morning or late afternoon (5).
  • Set a timer to remind you when it’s time to flip over, and when your session is done.
  • As your skin darkens, you can enjoy tanning for longer periods. But still, skip a day or two between sessions.
  • If you want to bronze yourself before an event like a wedding, start a few weeks ahead of time.
  • Especially if you have freckles, you may prevent age spots down the road if you wear sunscreen to tan.

Just like that story of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady wins the race. Suppose you’re impatient to go dark, fudge a little by using instant bronzers or a self-tanning lotion for fair skin.


We hope we helped you discover the best tanning lotion for your needs today. Whether you have sensitive skin or want to try a tingle lotion, we made an effort to cover all the bases.

Let us know in the comments below what you’re using and how well it works for you.


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_tanning_lotion accessed 13 May 2020
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_tanning_lotion accessed 13 May 2020
  3. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Tan-With-Fair-Skin accessed 13 May 2020
  4. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Tan-With-Fair-Skin accessed 13 May 2020
  5. https://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Good-Tan-when-You-Are-Light-Skinned accessed 13 May 2020

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