Ahh, Summer…Summer means lots of sunshine and time spent outdoors. And with all that time spent outside, most of us can achieve a gorgeous, glimmering tan.
Though that golden, bronze-y skin is what we desire during the summer months, it is so incredibly important we still protect our skin. That means we need a sunblock that’ll both protect and allow us to develop a tan.
The key here is to find either some suntan lotion with SPF or find a normal sunscreen with a low SPF level, so you can achieve that summer glow and keep your skin healthy and lovely. But finding such products is never easy.
Lucky for you, we’ve collated a list of the best sunscreens for tanning that’ll give you lovely, golden skin as the summer goes on. Read on to learn more!
Best Sunscreens for Tanning Reviewed
1. Panama Jack Tanning Lotion
Panama Jack has a great line of tanning lotions. The one in question is available in different SPF levels, ranging from 4 to 30, depending on whether your skin burns or tans easily or not.
If it has a lower SPF rating, it’s meant for skin that doesn’t burn easily and doesn’t have any issues developing a tan. The higher SPF rating is meant for those with skin that tends to burn quickly rather than tan. So keep that in mind when shopping for sunblock or tanning lotion.
This reef-friendly formula is also safe for marine life, so you can feel good that when you dip your toes in the ocean, you won’t be hurting any of those turtles (or any other sea animals!). So go ahead and dive into the sea – this lotion is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
2. Hawaiian Tropic Island Tanning Lotion
This lotion, like Panama Jack, has various SPF levels, so you can choose the one that works best for your skin and your needs. It’s an incredibly affordable brand and also comes in a spray formula if you prefer that.
Just remember to apply before going out in the sun and reapply after swimming or every few hours or so.
Hawaiian Tropic has that classic coconut scent that most sunblocks have, which is one of the best parts of wearing sunscreen, TBH! It has some classic skin-loving ingredients, such as aloe and cocoa butter to help keep your skin moisturized.
So let’s do a quick review: this has skin-loving ingredients, SPF that varies based on your skin needs, a classic coconut smell, and it’s super affordable? What could possibly be better?
3. Bronzo Sensuale Suntan Lotion
This is one of my favorite suntan lotions on the market. This is made with organic ingredients, such as carrot extract, jojoba, hemp, aloe vera, and shea butter. So many skin-loving ingredients all packed into this bottle. Amazing!
Now, this doesn’t have that classic, coconut scent that most sunscreens have, but it is made with oranges, mint, geranium flowers, and lavender for a lovely fragrance that won’t make you miss the coconut smell at all. Summer has a whole new scent and we are here for it.
This is also vegan, cruelty-free, and made with no unnatural or unhealthy ingredients, so you know this one is going to take care of you, all while you get a gorgeous tan. Now you better believe that this is a sunscreen worth investing in.
4. Sun Bum Browning Lotion
We all want a tan without having to spend long hours in the sun. Do you want some seemingly instant results? Well, Sun Bum Browning is the lotion that has a little bit of a brown tint to it to help accelerate the tanning process.
It’s made with coffee extract (which just might give you a little boost of energy just by smelling the coffee flavor!), aloe, marula, argan, coconut, and avocado oil.
This is not exactly a sunblock, but thanks to its skin-loving ingredients, it does protect your skin from the sun and keep it moisturized. And you don’t have to spend hours basking in the sun to get a golden hue.
That said, you’ll still need to wear sunscreen. The brand recommends applying sunblock about 10 minutes before applying the browning lotion to ensure you have the layer of protection from the sun.
Just be careful — this lotion can stain your clothing, so wait about 15 minutes before sitting down on your towel or anything like that.
5. Sun Bum Original Sunscreen
Okay, so let’s talk a bit more about Sun Bum. As we mentioned in the previous section, Sun Bum recommends applying a layer of sunblock before using their tanning lotion. Well, thankfully they have one of the best sunblocks available.
If your goal is to tan, then you want a sunblock with a relatively-low SPF. This one has an SPF of 15, which is just enough to protect your skin while still allowing you to achieve your sun-kissed goddess look.
This brand was created for those who spend the majority of their time outside, especially during those warm summer months. They also say that this sunscreen, “Smells like summer.” Everyone loves the smell of summer. Plus, it’s cruelty-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic, so it’s perfect for anyone who has sensitive skin.
6. Coppertone Tanning Sunscreen Lotion
Admittedly, these first few brands can be a bit pricey. But we are mindful of all budgets, so, it’s only right that we include a few brands that are perfect for anyone, on any budget. Coppertone is a brand that I always see whenever I go to the store, and it’s popular for a reason.
Its lightweight formula leaves your skin feeling moisturized, rather than greasy or oily like other sunscreens. It contains Vitamin E oil, which is a top-tier skin-loving ingredient, since it helps protect against premature aging, moisturizes the skin, and keeps your skin tone beautifully balanced.
Apply the sunblock whether you’re at the beach, wading in the ocean water, or if you’re laying in the backyard by the pool. It is the perfect every day, summer sunscreen.
7. Australian Gold Spray Sunscreen
Australian Gold is another popular and affordable brand that you can find just about anywhere. All of Australian Gold’s products are made with real and nutrient-rich Australian ingredients, bringing a bit of Australia to you in a bottle of sunblock.
This spray sunscreen has a bit of bronzer in it to help you have a bit of a golden glow while you soak up the sunshine. Because this is a sunscreen with bronzer in it, you can easily see where you’ve applied the product so you know where you need a little more to ensure you have a nice even application.
It also dries quickly and gives you that immediate glow. It does wash off after taking a shower, so just be a bit mindful of that when getting into the water.
8. Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil
How excited would you be if we told you that you can have your skin protected AND have a little instant glow from a sunblock? Think a body shimmer with SPF in it. Well, then you’re in luck because this is the product for you. This is a sunscreen that screams luxury.
This protects just as well as any sunblock on the market, as long as it’s applied and reapplied properly. It has an SPF of 30, which is relatively low, meaning that you can still work on your tan and look like a beach beauty.
Though it does leave your skin shimmering, it won’t leave you feeling greasy. It also has a caramel and pistachio scent, which might seem like an odd combination, but it smells AMAZING!
Trust us when we say that you’ll look and feel like the ultimate sun-kissed goddess. Need we say more?
9. Lancaster Sun Beauty Melting Tanning Milk
Okay, so we all know that a healthy tan takes time, right? Well, of course, because we don’t want our skin to burn or become damaged by trying to accelerate the process.
Well, this product was specifically designed and formulated to help accelerate the tanning process safely. You’ll achieve that golden glow you desire in no time. It also has an SPF 15 rating and is dermatologically-tested, so you know your skin will be safe from the UV rays.
This has a high rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon. And it’s one of the best SPFs for tanning. Many reviews on Amazon say that this lotion leaves their skin feeling incredibly smooth and silky – who doesn’t want that?
Many people already fell in love with this product, now it’s your turn to fall in love with it too.
10. Hempz Yuzu & Starfruit Self-Tanning Creme
This Hempz self-tanning creme is not easy to find in-person at your local store. Fortunately, it’s available on Amazon, and it’ll arrive in just a couple of days if you have a Prime membership.
Now this one is not as water-resistant – it lasts for 40 minutes in the water, which is half the time of many other products. But because of the self-tanner in this formula, this will give you a nice color instantly and build up after each application.
Most users recommend using this product every few days, rather than every single day, in order to slowly build up the color. The great thing about this product is that it comes in two formulas: one meant for fair and lighter skin and the other for darker skin, so you can choose the one that suits you best!
Notes on Tanning
I know we all want a tan quickly and without much effort. It’s no wonder why tanning salons are so popular. However, tanning in a salon can be a bit pricey. And even though you can tan outside without the use of sunscreen, you’ll be damaging your skin by doing so.
The sun’s UV rays are powerful and can damage your skin in both the short term and long term. Remember that getting your desired tan will take time, and should be done gradually. You don’t want quick, fast, and easy results. Doing so is damaging your skin and will cause you a host of problems later down the road, particularly, increasing your risk of skin cancer and early signs of aging.
Wearing that protective layer of sunblock, as well as taking other skin-protecting measures, such as wearing a hat or staying out of the sunlight during peak sunshine hour (typically that’s between 10 AM and 2 PM) is 100 percent for your benefit. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself later.
So, as a reminder, please always wear sunscreen. Yes, even when it’s cloudy outside and even apply sunscreen if you’re not spending a lot of time outside or you’re not really planning to tan – the UV rays can still penetrate your skin.
Many people with healthy skin incorporate this as a part of their daily skincare routine, applying a layer of sunscreen after their moisturizer. Apply a golf-ball-size amount to your entire body every morning before you go outside and you’ll have a little layer of protection.
Reapply every few hours to ensure your skin is safe. Though most sunblocks are water-resistant for 80 minutes, be sure to reapply after those 80 minutes or when you get out of the water and dry off.
Also, be mindful if you have sensitive skin – just like any other face or skin product, some products can irritate your skin. Look for natural ingredients and gradually try a new product, applying small amounts to get your skin acclimated to it.
One last note: take breaks in between your tanning sessions. Giving your skin time to relax will help prevent it from drying out or stressing out, which can cause a host of other problems, such as acne or wrinkles. Just give yourself a day or two after a long day in the sun and you’ll be good to go.
So, while you may want that gorgeous, sun-kissed tan, remember that wearing sunblock is going to help you achieve it naturally, and healthily, over time. But these products do give your skin a little nudge to get your skin that golden glow just a bit quicker.
What do you think of the best sunscreens for tanning we’ve reviewed above? Have any other favorites that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!