Trying to achieve a natural summer glow when you’ve got fair skin can be very hard and also disheartening when you’re surrounded by bronzed friends who tan very easily.
Spending hours and hours in the sun is not always an option so people opt for indoor tanning beds where you’ll only have to spend minutes on there to achieve some color.
There are tanning lotions out there to help achieve good tanning results even for those with fair skin who struggle to tan.
We’ve created this article to show you a collection of the best indoor tanning lotions for fair skin on the market right now.
We’ve also produced a buyer’s guide to help feel confident in knowing what you need from your tanning lotion and also a frequently asked questions segment to cover anything we might have missed.
Ready to get that summer glow?
Best Tanning Lotions for Fair Skin: Our Top 5 Picks
In a hurry? If you’re ready to jump ahead and find out our top choice right now then we’ve got you covered – our top recommendation for the best indoor tanning lotion for fair skin is the Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion.
1. Best Overall: Ed Hardy Coconut Kisses Golden Tanning Lotion
A very popular product that is used in many tanning salons and is known for its suitability for paler skin. It’s more than just a lotion and has properties that can reduce the appearance of cellulite and firm the skin. It also acts as a tattoo fade protector that’ll stop the UV rays from fading them.
We love the smell of the coconut kisses golden tanning lotion and is one of our favorite smelling lotions out there. It smells like delicious coconut with a slight hint of vanilla and it lasts on the skin nicely throughout the day after tanning.
You won’t need to shower after your sessions with this lotion as the smell doesn’t go musty as some others do.
The lotion is not too thick or greasy on the skin and absorbs very quickly, so you won’t feel sticky when putting your clothes back on afterward.
It’s packed with ultra-hydrating ingredients like coconut oil, coconut milk, aloe vera, and vitamin C and E so your skin is left feeling super soft and silky after using the tanning bed.
The lotion won’t make you super dark as it doesn’t contain any bronzing agents but it will give you a natural bronzed glow that is sometimes hard to achieve when you’ve got such fair skin.
As the lotion has no bronzing agents, you won’t have to take too much care when applying it as you won’t have to worry about getting orange palms or feet.
The lotion will help you achieve a golden tan within 3 sessions on the bed and due to its moisturizing ingredients, it lasts for 2 weeks.
You can build up a good color with this lotion but you won’t be able to achieve a super deep dark tan, however, if you’ve got fair skin you won’t want to go too dark as it may damage your skin.
- Smells delicious
- Has tattoo and color fade protector
- Firms the skin
- Reduces cellulite
- Skin stays darker for longer
- Makes you tan quickly
- Very moisturizing
- Doesn’t streak
- Scent may be too strong for some people
If you’ve got fair skin but have already managed to attain a solid base color but can’t seem to get a deeper tan then the Dark Tanning Lotion by Millennium might be able to sort you out.
The lotion contains bronzing agents so will add instant color to the skin as soon as you apply it, this is handy as you’ll be able to rub it in properly and make sure you don’t miss anywhere or cause streaks.
You’ll only need to visit the tanning salon about twice a week when using this lotion as you’ll achieve a deep tan in a short space of time and it should last for just under two weeks. This will vary depending on the level and strength of the tanning beds your salon provides.
As the lotion does have a significant amount of bronzer, you’ll want to make sure you wipe away the excess from around your fingers and your palms otherwise they will come out a bit orange. However, this is easy to cover up and blend on your next visit to the salon using this product.
After each tanning session, you’ll want to wait 2-3 hours for everything to absorb before showering. You’ll also want to make sure you’re wearing dark and loose clothing.
The consistency is very milky and it feels very silky on the skin when applied and the skin feels very hydrated after using it.
It comes with a subtle floral scent, which is very different from the generic cocoa smell that most tanning brands use for their products. It is not offensive and does manage to withstand the heat of the tanning bed.
- Very moisturizing
- Makes you a nice dark color
- Nice fragrance
- Instant results
- Leaves skin with a sheen
- Prolongs tan
- Prone to streaking if care isn’t taken when applying
The Australian Gold brand has been around for years and is very trusted for not only their tanning products but also their suncare and skin protection products.
The lotion gives a good, dark golden tan within a few sessions and because it doesn’t have a bronzing agent it doesn’t leave any orange patches on your hands. You can build a good color with this and it looks beautiful on fair skin.
The cap is really easy to click open and shut, which is great when you’ve only got a short time to apply it quickly before the tanning bed starts up. It also means you don’t have any difficulty trying to screw a lid back on with slick hands like you have to do with other tanning lotions.
The consistency is not too thick and it absorbs fairly quickly into the skin. It doesn’t feel a greasy feeling on the skin when you’ve finished tanning but does leave you feeling very soft and hydrated.
The scent is great and reminds me of being on a tropical island. If you don’t like rich cocoa scented lotions then this one may be a bitter option for you. Despite the scent, the lotion is very gentle on my sensitive skin and hasn’t caused any reactions.
The bottle is a bit smaller than others on the list, but if you only use the tanning beds once or twice a week then the lotion should last you a solid two months or more.
- You can wear SPF underneath
- Gentle on sensitive skin
- Applies nice
- Moisturizing for the skin
- Not tested on animals
- Nice fragrance
- Can achieve a good color
- Contains parabens
If it wasn’t from my own research and people telling me about this product, I might’ve walked straight past it and not realized that it was a tanning lotion.
The product is made in Hawaii and is made from Hawaiin ingredients and when it was first created it was insanely popular with tourists for the deep color it gave them.
The browning lotion helped me achieve a solid dark tan and didn’t cause any issues with my sensitive skin. The consistency is quite greasy and will need a lot of rubbing in to make the brown streaks disappear into your skin. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got dark clothing to put on after your session.
The bottle is a lot smaller than the rest on the list so will run out pretty quickly if you are a regular tanner.
Due to the color and bronzing agents within the lotion, if you’re been wearing light-colored underwear or bikini on the beds, it will stain them and if left without washing for too long, you’ll struggle to get them out.
That being said, you can use this lotion outside if you wish, but you should only lay out for 15 minutes or apply SPF underneath first to protect your skin.
The lotion offers quite a strong smell which might not be for everyone, but once rubbed into the skin it does fade and is barely noticeable once you’re done with your tanning session.
It makes your skin feel super soft and also helps soothe it, which is nice when you consider that you are quite literally burning your skin by the UV rays.
- Gives you a hint of instant color when applied
- Soothes skin
- Heels sunburn
- Leaves you with a sunkissed tan
- Scent is subtle once rubbed in
- Greasy consistency
- Small bottle
The bronzer is great for giving you a guide color to see where you’ve missed when rubbing it in. It also gives a lovely color to your skin, so you look darker prior to tanning. When the color has developed, it looks natural and not like a fake tan.
The bronzing agent is such a savior at the start of summer when you’re looking a bit pale, it gives you color straight away and then develops throughout the day.
It has a lovely fresh tropical smell when applying it but it does change in odor as you’re tanning and you can smell a little musty, which is a shame as you’ll need to shower straight away when you’ve used it which completely overrides the bronzing properties.
The lotion can be used inside and outside, so great if you do want to take it to the pool or beach with you, however, you shouldn’t stay out for too long without applying an SPF with it otherwise you’ll burn.
The lotion contains vitamins A and E which help leave you with silky soft skin after applying. It absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the surface of your skin whilst you’re tanning in the bed.
- Will give you instant bronzed skin
- Smells tropical
- Can use indoors and outdoors
- Contains vitamin A and E
- Leaves skin silky smooth
- Weird smell after tanning
- Easy to go through the bottle quickly
Tanning Lotion for Fair Skin: Buyer’s Guide
Accelerating Tanning Lotion
Accelerating tanning lotions are used to speed up the process of tanning. It increases the production of melanin in your skin to eventually darken your natural skin tone.
Accelerators tend to be very moisturizing. If you’ve only got time to go on the bed for a couple of minutes every session then you can use accelerating tanning lotion to achieve your results quicker.
Maximizing Tanning Lotion
Maximizing tanning lotion is generally used by people who have already got a solid base tan.
They enhance your color and produce a deeper tan. People starting on the sunbeds should not think about using a maximizer until they’ve already achieved a base tan.
Tingling Tanning Lotion
Tingling tanning lotions cause blood to come to the surface of the skin, which makes it easier for the UV light to reach so eventually you’ll achieve a deeper tan than you could before. Tingling tanning lotion can feel slightly hot on the skin and you may find that you go a bit red.
You should never apply a tingling tanning lotion to your face. The skin of your face is too thin and putting the lotion on may cause serious damage. If you’re prone to burning, you may want to wait until you’ve achieved a good base tan before starting to use tingling tanning lotion.
Bronzing Tanning Lotion
Bronzers are added to tanning lotions to blend unevenly tanned areas and also deepen the color of your tan. Bronzing tanning lotion is often temporary and will fade if not maintained but using them regularly will help you achieve that healthy glow with less UV exposure.
Fair-skinned people who are prone to burning should be careful when using a bronzing tanning lotion on the beds as they may not notice when they are starting to burn as the color of the lotion is hiding it.
Cooling tanning lotion will have the opposite feeling effect that tingling does.
Applying cooling tanning lotion will be soothing and refreshing on the skin and is often used by people who end up being hot and sticky by the end of their session on a tanning bed.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid all tanning lotions that have a strong fragrance or any chemicals that your skin would not like.
If your skin is super sensitive and is prone to having allergic reactions to heat, fragrance, or products, you may want to avoid tanning beds altogether.
If you are going to use the tanning beds you should keep your sessions short and infrequent. If you are starting on them, you should start with 1-3 minutes and then once you have achieved a bit of color, you can start to increase your time.
If you’re fair, you should not go on for any longer than 5 minutes for your first session. If you’re unsure about how long you should go on for, the tanning assistant in the shop will be able to help you.
Make sure you wear eye protection every time you use a tanning bed. The skin under the eyes is very thin and will be prone to damage. The UV light will damage your eyes as well.
You can bring your own tanning goggles every time you use the bed or some salons will supply disposable ones free of charge at the counter. You should make sure your tanning goggles are near to you so you can quickly put them on when the tanning bed starts.
3. Covering sensitive areas
Your skin on your face and chest is a lot thinner than the rest of your body and will be more prone to burning.
You can put SPF on these areas before your sessions starts to ensure you’re protected or you could always leave them exposed for a couple of minutes and then use a UV light blocking towel to cover them up. You should make sure your lips are nice and moisturized with an SPF lip balm before going on the bed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will lotion make you tan faster?
Indoor tanning lotions are designed to hydrate your skin, which makes it easier to absorb UV light, so you will tan faster.
Can you tan in a tanning bed without using lotion?
The short answer is yes, however you will take longer to achieve a darker color. Dry skin will deflect the UV light so will alter the effectiveness of the tanning bed session. It will take you longer or more sessions to achieve your desired tan if you don’t use tanning lotion.
Are you supposed to shower after tanning?
If you’re using a tanning lotion whilst on the bed, you’ll want to wait a few hours afterward before showering otherwise the properties that help boost the melatonin production (what makes you tan) may not be as effective.
If you’re not using any tanning lotion when going on the beds, then you can shower as quickly as you like afterward. Use cooler water on your skin as hot water as your skin may be a bit sensitive.
Use a moisturizing shower lotion and don’t scrub too harshly. Once out of the shower, you should apply a generous layer of a rich moisturizer.
How many minutes in a tanning bed is equal to the sun?
Tanning beds have artificial UV lights that are nearly 3-6 times stronger than the actual sun.
Spending 20 mins on a tanning bed is equivalent to spending 2-3 lying in the midday sun without protection. This is why most tanning shops only offer a maximum of 20 minutes on their beds.
Can I tan 3 days in a row?
Yes, you can but you shouldn’t. You should try to leave 1-2 days in between each tanning session to give your skin time to recover.
If you’re going to be out and about in strong sunlight after your tanning session, you should wear a high SPF to keep your skin protected otherwise it’ll burn and you won’t be able to use the beds.
We hope after reading this that you’ve been able to find the perfect indoor tanning lotion for your fair skin.
Please be aware that the UV rays emitted from tanning beds increase your chances of developing skin cancer and persistent use can damage your skin and lead to further health implications in the future.
If you are going to use tanning beds, please do so safely and responsibly and make sure you wear SPF when you can.