DIY Tanning Oil: Natural and Homemade Substitutes to get a Perfect Glowing Tan | Tanning Girl (2023)

Can a DIY and homemade tanning oil give you the same deep glowing tan as a standard tanning oil? I know what you might be thinking, there is no way a homemade tanning oil will work as well as the original ones when it comes to having vibrant and healthy skin.

But using the right substitutes, you can create a well made and natural tanning oil that will not only protect your skin but also help you tan. These homemade tanning oils work so well that they are often compared to some of the best tanning oils on the market, that is if they are prepared correctly (this will be covered in the article later).

Homemade tanning oils don’t take much time to prepare and the results you get are impressive. Furthermore, they do not contain any harmful chemicals and won’t cost you $25 per bottle.

Tip: A good tanning oil will only cost you a couple of dollars like the Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil (sold on Amazon). It is used by thousands of people all around the world and is a very affordable tanning oil with a high rating on Amazon.

Table of Contents

What is a Good Substitute for Tanning Oil?

We know what a tanning oil is: it is a skin product that helps speed up the tanning process. It does this by increasing your melanin production (a natural pigment in your body that gives your skin its color) which results in your skin tone becoming darker.

The components of a regular tanning oil consist of many natural products. The problem is, some of them (usually bad quality products and bad brands) contain chemicals too.

It is very likely that these chemicals are harming your skin and causing many unwanted complications. Some bad quality tanning oils use chemicals like Parabens that may cause problems such as: cancer, DHA, DNA damage, Isopropyl Myristate and more.

A good substitute for tanning oil should not have any of these chemicals in it. It must be free of components that could have a damaging effect on your skin and, of course, health. Just like regular tanning oils, a good substitute oil will keep your skin moisturized and protected against the sun.

The tanning oil forms a shiny layer on top of the skin, which attracts sunshine but also controls the amount of UV rays your body is absorbing.

There are two types of substitutes for tanning oil you should try:

  1. Natural oils
  2. Homemade oils (DIY)

Natural oils can usually be found in your home. Some examples of natural oils are: coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil and Aloe Vera.

On the other hand, if you are in the mood to try something new, you should have a go at making a homemade tanning oil. Don’t worry! We have a step by step guide to help you make the perfect oil.

DIY Tanning Oil: Natural and Homemade Substitutes to get a Perfect Glowing Tan | Tanning Girl (1)

Benefits of Homemade and Natural Tanning Oils

I don’t think I will have to explain everything as I’m sure most of you already know the advantages of using homemade, natural tanning oils. By using different ingredients (and no dangerous chemicals!), natural tanning oils can give you a healthy glowing tan.

Here are a few advantages of using homemade tanning oils:

  • Safe to use and no side effects
  • You can control the ingredients you put in and reduce the risk of an allergic reaction
  • Very cheap compared to branded oils

If you’re ready, let’s dive in and find some of the best substitutes for tanning oils.

9 Best Natural Tanning Oils for Skin

Tanning oils are a beneficial product for your tanning process but you don’t need to look far to find one (or a substitute). Yes, tanning oils have substitutes too. Luckily, these substitutes can be found in your average kitchen cupboard or a superstore.

Let’s take a look at some of them and see why they work as well as tanning oil.

1. Sunflower oil

How can sunflowers face the sun all day and not get a sunburn? Well, because of sunflower oil. Jokes aside, sunflower oil has been proven to help with the tanning process.

It is the best natural moisturizer and prevents your skin from drying out or cracking under the heat of the sun. Sunflower oil is also known for maintaining the elasticity of the skin. That’s why it sits at the top of this list of tanning oil alternatives.

2. Wheat-germ oil

Wheat-germ oil is extracted from the kernel of wheat grains. This oil is rich in vitamin B, E, magnesium, potassium and all kinds of nutrients your skin requires to protect itself.

Moreover, it contains antioxidant and anti-aging properties, which are great for the skin when undergoing long periods of time under the sun.

3. Olive oil:

Olive oil has been proven to help you maintain good health, including your skin. This oil is naturally a winner. It is a rich source of Vitamin E and with its antioxidant properties, it also moisturizes the skin well enough for you to tan without getting sunburnt.

Furthermore, olive oil also gives your skin a darker tone. So, if you’re looking for a dark tan, a mixture of olive oil and a little carrot juice will do it for you.

There are many types of olive oil that can be used for tanning. Extra virgin olive oil is the best as it can naturally help you tan and protect your skin. This type of olive oil is not as processed as others and will give you the ultimate results.

4. Hazelnut oil:

Like most oils, hazelnut oil is also rich in vitamin E. Hazelnut oil can even be found in regular tanning oils. As it is rich in fatty acid content, hazelnut oil gets quickly and easily absorbed by the skin.

When the skin is exposed to UV rays, it is put under a lot of stress and can easily become dried out. Hazelnut oil keeps the skin moisturized, healthy and also retains the natural elasticity.

5. Green tea extracts:

Green tea extracts are not only rich in vitamin E but also in Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG); an antioxidant 20 times more efficient than vitamin E. The antioxidants present in the green tea extracts will shield your skin from any effects of the sun’s UV rays.

If used correctly on the skin while tanning, the green tea extracts can prevent any skin cell damage caused by the sun.

6. Aloe vera:

Aloe vera is very well known in the health and beauty world. What’s even more impressive is that it is a fantastic substitute for tanning oil too. Due to its mixture of minerals and vitamins, aloe vera is usually used for treating sunburns.

However, preventing is better than curing, and the best way to prevent a burn is by using aloe vera beforehand. The natural gel can be converted into an oil and used on the skin before your tanning sessions.

7. Coconut oil:

Coconut oil has many health benefits and works very well with the skin when tanning. Using coconut oil for tanning is a fantastic idea. As it is rich in fatty acid content, the oil gets quickly and easily absorbed by the skin. Moreover, this may be the best substitute for tanning oil because coconut oil can be used on all skin types. It doesn’t irritate the skin regardless of your medical history and it also contain some SPF content, which can protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Just like olive oil, you should use virgin coconut oil for the best result.

What’s the best thing about coconut oil? You can use it for both indoor and outdoor tanning. The fact that it’s easy to find makes it the most popular natural tanning oil in the United States.

8. Avocado oil:

Avocado oil is rich with vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, C, D, E and K. It also contains natural sunscreen properties as well as lecithin and fatty acids that can be useful to repair damaged skin.

When exposed to ultraviolet light for too long, your skin can become dehydrated. Thankfully, avocado oil also moisturizes your skin with oleic acid and can prevent it from cracking under pressure. The oil can also delay the effects of aging. This is a very good substitute for tanning oil.

9. Sesame oil:

The oil is extracted from sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are very and common and are also rich with vitamin E. Sesame oil has a high SPF level and will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. If used in the proper measurements, you will not have to worry about getting sunburnt while sunbathing.

Moreover, sesame oil will also help you achieve a natural, dark looking tan. It also has anti-aging properties, much like avocado oil.

DIY Tanning Oil: Natural and Homemade Substitutes to get a Perfect Glowing Tan | Tanning Girl (2)

Although we have listed nine alternatives to the standard tanning oil, there are many more options you could try. Natural oils like baby oil and carrot oil are used by many people for tanning. You can test them out and see what you think about them but the nine oils I have listed are definitely going to give you excellent results.

DIY Tanning Oil for Various Skin Types

While all of these substitutes can help you get a good tan, they won’t work for everybody. If you’ve ever thought about making your own tanning oil, here’s your recipe. By combining these ingredients and some of your DIY skills, you create the best natural tanning oil for yourself.

1. Tropical tanning oil

If you’re looking for a scented tanning oil that will give you a darker tan, you should make a tropical tanning oil. This homemade tanning oil is very easy to make and works very well.

You might need to hit the supermarket for the some of the ingredients. Here is the list of ingredients you will need to buy:

  • Coconut oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Essential oils


This DIY oil is very easy to make.

Take one cup (16 tablespoons) of coconut oil and pour it into a bowl. If the coconut oil is not liquid enough, you may need to heat it beforehand. Add 8 teaspoons of walnut oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil. Then, add a couple drops of coconut and vanilla essential oils. Stir the mixture thoroughly. Once done, pour it into an airtight glass container and keep it sealed until your next tanning session.

2. Tanning oil for dry skin

The perfect tanning oil should be able to help you tan and hydrate your skin. Thankfully, this tanning oil recipe can do both! This oil will not only protect your skin from the sun during tanning but it will also moisturize it and prevent it from becoming dry.

You will need:

  • Avocado oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Calendula oil
  • Patchouli essential oil


Pour 8 tablespoons of avocado oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil, and sesame oil into a container (preferably, a container with an airtight lid).

Once you have poured the oils into the container, close the lid and gently shake. For better results, stir the mixture instead. Lastly, add patchouli essential oil and mix. Patchouli oil will give your tanning oil a good scent. However, adding patchouli oil is optional. You should not add it if you don’t want a scented tanning oil. Store the tanning oil in an airtight container.

3. Tanning oil for fair skin

Sometimes, fair skin can turn red instead of becoming tanned. This skin type can respond adversely to excess sunlight and UV rays. Staying under the sun for too long could cause redness and, in many cases, sunburns. It is important for people with this skin type to protect their skin, especially when tanning.

For this recipe, you will use rich and natural ingredients. They are:

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Raspberry seed oil
  • Carrot seed oil
  • Sandalwood essential oil.


Pour one cup (16 tablespoons) of olive oil into a container. Then, pour 8 teaspoons of avocado oil. When the mixture has settled, add 2 teaspoons of raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil. Stir well. Finally, add a few drops of sandalwood oil or choose one of your own essential oils to add to the mixture. Always store your tanning oil in an airtight container.

This oil can be regularly used even if you are on your way to work or heading to the beach. The ingredients used in this oil have a high SPF level, which will act like sunscreen and protect you from harmful UV rays. This tanning oil can give you a gradual but great tan without irritating your skin.

Did You Find a Homemade Tanning Oil that works for You?

Busy routines, daily hustle bustle, and lots of distractions can make it hard to find some time to tan. As easy as getting a tan seems, it is still a challenge to get a perfect one. Stores and tanning salons are full of promising products but it can be very difficult find the right one for you.

Tanning oils are the most popular product for tanning nowadays. You might be doubting whether it is possible to manufacture one in your own home.

I’m sure that I have given you a lot of great recipes on how to make quality tanning oils at home. Natural oils are very easy to find and are great ingredients for your own homemade tanning oil. But most of us are not aware of this. I really hope that this article has raised awareness about DIY tanning oils and has helped you create one for yourself.

Remember, tanning oils work better if you already have a base tan. I hope to hear from you guys about the alternatives for tanning oils that I have mentioned throughout this article.


What oil makes you tan the fastest? ›

Italian food, anyone? Still, putting olive oil on your skin will cause your skin to tan more quickly than if you simply applied sunscreen or no oil at all. How does it work? Moore says olive oil, like other oils, attracts UV rays to the skin quickly.

What oil makes you tan darker? ›

Watermelon Tanning Oil

It's enriched with watermelon seed oil, which stimulates the production of melanin in the skin to provide a deep tan.

What to use to tan the fastest? ›

How to get a tan faster
  1. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. ...
  2. Change positions frequently. ...
  3. Eat foods that contain beta carotene. ...
  4. Try using oils with naturally occurring SPF. ...
  5. Don't stay outside for longer than your skin can create melanin. ...
  6. Eat lycopene-rich foods. ...
  7. Choose your tanning time wisely.

What can I use at home to tan faster? ›

To get tan quickly, you'll need to apply a lotion or oil with a low SPF, but you still want to make sure you have some protection from the sun's powerful rays. Choose between rub-on lotions, aerosol sprays, and oil rubs that all contain some SPF.

Can I use olive oil for tanning? ›

Nope, olive oil isn't safe for tanning—and neither are other oils—because there's really no safe way to tan. Tanned, darkened skin is simply sun damage in disguise.

How do you get a deep dark tan? ›

The best way to develop the darkest of tans is to use a tan accelerator. Carrot Sun's Original Carrot and Tropical Fruits give the best results for developing a deeper and darker tan, making tanning easier, less timely, and creating better and longer-lasting results.

How can I tan faster with tanning oil? ›

Those of you who really want to speed things up should re-apply the tanning oil every 2 hours, especially if you are active (you sweat a lot), and/or you swim and go into the water frequently. If, however, you don't want to risk over-tanning too quickly, we recommend applying tanning oil every 3 to 5 hours.

Can you tan without tanning oil? ›

Without the use of tanning lotions, skin is dry and deflects UV rays while using a sunbed, which can make you waste up to 50% of your sunbed tanning session effectiveness. This then results in you having to tan more times to achieve your desired tanning results, which in turn costs you more money.

How can I look more tanned naturally? ›

"Add a couple of drops of darker foundation into your regular base and blend it around the outside of the face to frame your features," she suggests. "Work it in under the cheekbones and natural contours of the face to create the illusion of a sunny, tanned glow."

What is the key ingredient for self tanning products? ›

The active ingredient in most sunless tanners is the coloring agent DHA (dihydroxyacetone), which combines with amino acids in the skin. The resulting reaction causes browning, but unlike the reaction caused by UV rays, it involves only the outermost, dead cell layer of the skin.

What home remedy can I use for self tanner? ›

Luckily, some of the best DIY self-tanner removal methods only require a handful of household staples.
  1. Exfoliate with baby oil. ...
  2. Apply a sugar scrub. ...
  3. Try hair removal cream. ...
  4. Try lemon juice and baking soda. ...
  5. Use self-tan removal products. ...
  6. Use vinegar sparingly. ...
  7. Use whitening toothpaste for small areas.
Jan 19, 2022

Is coconut oil better than tanning oil? ›

Although coconut oil can benefit your skin in many ways, it isn't advisable to use it for tanning. While it offers some protection from the sun's damaging UV rays, it doesn't offer a high enough level of protection to prevent you from getting sunburned or suffering other types of long-lasting skin damage.

Is baby oil good for tanning? ›

Dermatologists strongly agree that it is not safe to use baby oil for tanning. In fact, they say that there actually is no safe way to tan. Tanning simply isn't healthy. “[Baby oil] can make you tan more quickly because it absorbs the sun better,” says Sperling.

How can I tan darker naturally? ›

How to Achieve a Darker Tan using Sunbeds and Tanning Beds.
  1. Exfoliate your Skin prior to Tanning. ...
  2. Keep your Skin Hydrated and Moisturised. ...
  3. Apply a sunbed cream or tanning accelerator prior tanning.
  4. Remove any kind of makeup and other cosmetic products. ...
  5. Choose foods that accelerate tanning.
Aug 1, 2022

How can I naturally darken my tan? ›

Use sea water to get a darker tan.

Some say that sea salt can help boost your color because it draws the sunlight. So, if you're at the beach, you might want to take advantage of it. Go into the ocean, immerse yourself in the salt water, and then get back out to tan.

Why does coconut oil make you tan? ›

Does Coconut Oil Help You Tan? Tanning with oils helps attract and focus the UV rays on the skin. It may also help increase the rate of tanning. While coconut oil does not provide sufficient SPF protection, it can certainly be used as an alternative to synthetic tanning lotions and oils.

What foods help you tan? ›

In addition to cherries, watermelon and other red fruits, peaches, apricots and melons are also ideal tanning foods. They are seasonal fruits and, as you might guess from their orange color, they are rich in beta-carotene.

How can I look more tan overnight? ›

How to Get a Tan Overnight
  1. Remove Old Self-Tanner and Prime Skin for New Tan. ...
  2. Avoid Shaving Immediately before You Self-Tan. ...
  3. Stay Cool, Baby. ...
  4. Take Special Care of Your Hands. ...
  5. Use a Light Hand on Your Face. ...
  6. Don't Rush the Drying Process. ...
  7. Get Up and Glow. ...
  8. Take Care of Your Tan.
Apr 17, 2018

Do you tan faster in water or laying out? ›

Do you tan faster in the pool or laying out? Floating on top of the pool can help you tan faster. The sun's rays reflect off of water and onto your skin. This means that when you're floating on top of the water, you're getting a more intense exposure to the sun.

What household items make you tan faster? ›

To get tan quickly, you'll need to apply a lotion or oil with a low SPF, but you still want to make sure you have some protection from the sun's powerful rays.
Before you have fun in the sun, try eating foods with these naturally-occurring chemicals, like:
  • Carrots.
  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Kale.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Guava.
  • Watermelon.

What is the best way to get a tan without tanning oil? ›

How to get a tan faster
  1. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. ...
  2. Change positions frequently. ...
  3. Eat foods that contain beta carotene. ...
  4. Try using oils with naturally occurring SPF. ...
  5. Don't stay outside for longer than your skin can create melanin. ...
  6. Eat lycopene-rich foods. ...
  7. Choose your tanning time wisely.
Jul 12, 2019

What can I use instead of tanning lotion? ›

The Chemistry Brand.
  • The Chemistry Brand Glow Oil. This DHA-free alternative leaves the body with a natural-looking glow after a couple days of use. ...
  • Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. ...
  • James Read H2O Tan Drops. ...
  • Loving Tan Bronze Shimmer Luxurious Cream.
Aug 31, 2019

How can I tan with household items? ›

Getting the Perfect Home Tan
  1. Pick out some tanning spray or lotion. Drugstores have tons of different options for home tanning, and most of them won't break the bank. ...
  2. Exfoliate your skin. ...
  3. Moisturize your body. ...
  4. Put on tanning gloves. ...
  5. Apply the tanning solution. ...
  6. Buff your body. ...
  7. Let it soak in.


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