Last Updated: 12th October 2016
The secret to sexy summer skin is to have some colour. Tanning oil is one way to improve the chances of getting a tan, as long as you use it safely. The problem is those store bought options are full of chemicals. You just have no idea what they’re really doing to your skin, and they’re not exactly healthy for your wallet.
It’s time to make your own tanning oil from home. You can do this with a few simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your cupboard. Here’s your guide to creating the perfect tanning oil for your needs.
The Toxins Hiding in Your Tanning Oil
If you currently use a tanning oil from a shop, take a look at the ingredients. Like sunscreens, you’ll probably find that most of the ingredients are ones that you can’t even produce. They don’t even look like words! If you can’t produce them, how do you know they’re any good for your skin?
Chances are they really aren’t that good. Many of the traditional tanning oils are full of toxins that will cause harm to your skin, especially when in contact with UV rays from the sun. Some of the toxins will even sound beneficial until you find out how they’re made.
One of those toxins that sound good is mineral oil. Rather than being full of good minerals that will help to boost your skin’s health, it’s full of petroleum. You know based on what petrol does to the environment that it isn’t exactly a good ingredient. It’s also a carcinogen, increasing your risk of cancer. Do you really want to use that when you’re sitting out to get a tan?
The oil is also a pain for pore clogging and leads to bacteria growing within the pores. You’ll end up with more blackheads and pimples because of the use of the product.
But aren’t their benefits to using mineral oil? Doesn’t the oil create a barrier? While that’s true, it’s not completely a good thing. The mineral oil can create a barrier to reduce the dryness in the skin, but you’re sacrificing the ability for your pores to breathe. You’re making it easier for bacteria to grow in your pores.
By making your own, you can get away from this particular toxin, but there are others, too.
Most shop-bought tanning oils will use preservatives in the ingredients. You want to avoid food without preservatives, right? Well, the stuff you put on your skin should be artificial preservative-free, too! In fact, the tanning oil can be worse. Your skin will absorb the likes of parabens and BHT.
The preservatives are used to—as the word suggests—preserve your oils. The BHT slows down the spoiling process. That sounds great until you find out that it can also slow cancer and build within your body tissue. You’re opening yourself up to various problems in the future, all because of this one ingredient.
Another preservative used is one that contains formaldehyde. You know from hearing that word that it isn’t going to be good for you. Are you starting to ask yourself why you’ve used these oils before without quite checking up on them?
Finally, the oils are full of colours and fragrances; these are all going to be artificial. That tropical smell is definitely not created by adding coconut and pineapple juices to your oil. We don’t fully know what artificial colours and fragrances do to the body, and definitely not what they can do to the skin in the long term.
Just take this time to look at the labels on your traditional tanning oil. What words don’t you understand? Which ones sound like they could be dangerous to the health? Do a quick search to find out the truths and then follow this guide to making your own natural tanning oil.
Oil as the Basic Ingredient
It may sound obvious, but oil is the basic ingredient of tanning oil. The clue really is in the name. The good news is that there are plenty of natural oils out there that will help, and many of them contain an SPF factor naturally. That means you’ll help your skin get a golden look while protecting it from some damage to the skin.
To add the basis to your oil, think about the type of skin you have. Those with fair, easy to burn skin will need an oil with a strong SPF factor, such as raspberry seed or carrot seed oil. These have SPF 25 and 35 respectively. If your skin is very easy to burn, you want at least SPF 30. You don’t just need to get this from your oils, though!
Avocado oil has an SPF of 15in it, with olive oil and coconut oil on the lower end of the scale of 8 and 4 respectively. Sesame seed oil also has an SPF of 4.
All these oils are great bases for your tanning oil needs. As well as thinking about the type of skin you have, you’ll also need to think about the smells that you want. Coconut oil is the one that will give you the closest tropical smell. Of course, you can always add other natural ingredients to create that perfect scent.
As well as the SPF, there are also other benefits of the different oils available. Here’s a brief look to help you get the best care for your skin.
Coconut Oil: This is the best option for those with sensitive skin, despite the lower SPF. You can always add another oil with a higher SPF to add extra protection. It is full of fatty acids to offer all the benefits of omega 3 and good fats in the skin.
Avocado Oil: Those who suffer from dry skin conditions will benefit the most from this oil. It’s naturally full of fatty acids and vitamins to heal and soothe.
Olive Oil: Full of vitamin E, this oil has antioxidant properties that help to protect the skin from sun damage. It also offers extra benefits to fighting the effects of the sun when the UV rays do get through, reducing your risk of cancer and sunburn. You’ll get the golden tan and the moisturised, soft skin at the same time. You can even use other ingredients to help darken your tan.
Sesame Oil: This thick gooey oil is one that you won’t need too much of, meaning your tanning oil goes a long way. It’s a great addition to other oils but does have a low SPF. It’s a lower cost option compared to many of the others.
Aloe Vera and Green Tea Extract: Okay, so this isn’t quite an oil, but either one will help you create a tanning oil. Green tea and aloe vera are full of antioxidants, which help to prevent sunburn side effects and fight off cancer. You’ll offer your skin a protective layer that won’t block your pores. The ingredients can also help to soothe damaged skin and promote healing. If you have dry or oily skin, you can also balance out the body responses to promote naturally soft and smooth skin.
Now you’ve got the basics, here are a few tanning oil recipes to try at home.
A word of caution before you do move onto the recipes. Always take things slow to get a natural, sun-kissed look. While the oils can help to boost your glow and offer some protection from the UV rays, the best way to protect your skin is to avoid prolonged exposure every day. This is especially the case if you haven’t seen the sun properly for a few months (because of that horrible winter)!
Avoid the hottest parts of the day, and don’t sit out for hours at a time. In many cases, 15-30 minutes will give your skin all the sun benefits it needs for vitamin D absorption and colour gaining.
A Dark, Tropical Tanning Oil
Coconut oil is one of the best for the tropical scent, as we’ve mentioned. Opting for unrefined virgin oil is always going to be the best for your skin and body.
For a darker tan, look at this tropical oil:
- A cup of coconut oil
- 8 tsp of walnut oil, avocado oil and sesame oil
- A few drops of coconut essential oil and vanilla essential oils
Altogether, the ingredients will protect your skin, soothe dryness, and help to create a natural, sunkissed glow. You’ll also get a beautiful smell, making everyone ask where you got your perfume from!
You’ll need to heat the coconut oil to turn it into a liquid before you mix in the other oils. Make sure they all mix together well before you then pour into a glass container.
Ensure this contain is completely airtight. Otherwise they will soil. You only need to pull the container out whenever you want to use them. During the summer with regular use, the mixture should last at least a month if stored out of direct sunlight.
Tanning Oil for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, this is one of the tanning oils that you really need to try. It’s full of ingredients that are perfect for boosting the natural oils and promoting their natural production.
The ingredients are:
- 8 tsp of avocado oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil and sesame oil
- A few drops of calendula oil and patchouli essential oil
The patchouli will give you a floral smell for the rest of the day, making you feel fresh and ready for anything.
Unlike coconut oil, none of these will solidify at certain temperatures. You can just pour them all together and make sure they fully combine. Make the patchouli the last thing you add, once everything else is fully mixed.
Store in an air-tight container, like the other oil, to help it last.
Tanning Oils for Fairer Skinned People
When you have fairer skin, you want a tanning oil with a higher SPF rating. This offers some extra protection to avoid burning and other skin damage. Using these ingredients will help with this:
- A cup of olive oil
- 8 tsp avocado oil
- 2 tsp raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil
- A few drops of sandalwood essential oil (for the scent)
Mix the main oils together before you add the sandalwood in. The benefit to this oil is that you’re adding numerous options that have higher SPFs, especially carrot and raspberry seed oils. You will still get a sunkissed look, despite the higher factor. All that does it protect your skin from extra harm.
Tanning Oil to Neutralise the UV Radiation
UV radiation is a common concern for many people. It seems like skin cancer is on the rise, and part of that is the sun’s fault (as well as using some of the preservatives and harmful toxins mentioned above). You can use this tanning oil to help neutralise the effects of the sun to protect against radiation.
- A cup of coconut oil
- Two cups of brewed green tea
- 8 tsp walnut oil
Combine the two oils first and then add your green tea slowly. The green tea is where the UV balance comes from, due to the antioxidants. These fight against the free radicals in your body while giving the immune system a boost to protect against some of the harm. Altogether, the oils will also moisturise the skin and help balance the natural oil production.
Now it’s time to make your tanning oils. Once you get to understand how all the oils work together and find ones that offer your skin the benefits that you need, you can start making your own recipes. There are just so many options out there, depending on what you want.
Remember there are many essential oils for the different scents and other benefits. Try them out with your oils to create the smell that you’d prefer. Are you after that tropical look or do you want something that will replace your perfume for the summer? Does indoor tanning lotion work? Find out here.
Using your very own tanning oil keeps you worry-free of any harmful side effects drugstore products can cause. By knowing the ingredients used in your tanning oil, you are sure to enjoy improving the color the sun can give as it kisses your skin. The natural ingredients can even help improve you skin while getting your desired tone.
For more info on tanning lotions, self-tanning, and tanning oils check out these articles:
What Is The Best Self-Tanner
A 5-Step Guide To Creating A Naturally, Healthy Tan
Best Sunless Tanning Lotion
Everything You Need to Know about Tanning Lotions
What are the ingredients in tanning oil? ›
Key ingredients include grapeseed oil, coconut oil, olive fruit oil and cocoa seed extract. Our Cacao Tanning oil contains different levels of SPF so you can choose your own level of sun protection.What ingredient in tanning oil makes you tan? ›
One common bronzer used in tanning oil is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), per the Mayo Clinic. DHA is a colorless natural sugar that chemically reacts with the natural amino acids on the outer layer of your skin.What oil makes U 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.Is olive oil or coconut oil better for tanning? ›
Olive oil and coconut oil are both excellent for tanning. But olive oil will give you a better glow than coconut oil because it attracts UV rays to the skin quickly. Also, the presence of fats may help shield the skin and prevent the formation of pressure ulcers.What household items can you use for tanning oil? ›
- Coconut Oil. The fatty acids in coconut oil help your skin and the oil itself contains light SPF. ...
- Avocado Oil. Avocado oil is another big name in natural tanning products because it's full of natural fatty acids that moisturize your skin. ...
- Aloe Vera. ...
- Olive Oil. ...
- Olive Oil and Oranges.
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.Which ingredient is best for tan? ›
- Tomato. Tomato is a great ingredient when it comes to beauty and skincare. ...
- Gram flour. Gram flour acts great for your skin. ...
- Curd and honey. Curd and honey can be easily found at any household. ...
- Aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is one of the most used ingredients as it has immense skin and beauty benefits. ...
- Cucumber And Milk.
Choose a base lotion or oil with SPF 15 or 30.
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.
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.Do you tan faster with or without tanning oil? ›
Tanning oils are able to offer a “quicker tan” as they stimulate the body to produce more melanin. When these oils are applied to the skin, it activates the melanocytes and causes them to produce melanin at a faster rate. If your skin has a higher concentration of melanin, your body will tan more easily.
What is a natural tanning oil? ›
There are many other natural oils that you can use as tanning oil on top of coconut oil, grapeseed oil and olive oil. You can use jojoba oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, carrot seed oil, hazelnut oil…Is Vaseline good for tanning? ›
Products such as baby oil, vaseline, and petroleum jellies are all inappropriate for tanning. These products have not been designed for tanning. Therefore, they do not contain UV-specific ingredients, or the appropriate skincare needed to care for skin whilst tanning.
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most effective and natural ways to tan your skin. It attracts the sun's heat and helps you get a browner and deeper skin tone.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.Does coffee tan your skin? ›
Coffee makes a great budget beauty option, especially for getting tan skin without harsh chemicals. You can tan your skin with coffee by making a coffee tanning lotion, mixing coffee grounds and olive oil, or boiling used coffee grounds.How long does DIY tan last? ›
Self tanners can expect their golden hue to last between 7-10 days due to the natural turnover of skin cells. Or if you get a tan outside, you can expect your tan to fade in about the same amount of time at 7-10 days as well.What liquid is used in tanning? ›
The three most widely used tanning agents are vegetable tannin, mineral salts such as chromium sulfate, and fish or animal oil.What oils can darken skin? ›
Some oils darken skin tone, Emu oil gives you one or two shades darker than your natural skin tone. But oils like coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil do not whiten or darken your skin complexion. But the regular use of these oils can help to restore your natural skin color and remove signs of skin darkening.Does coconut oil ruin tan? ›
This melanin is embedded in your skin, so coconut oil rubbed on the surface does not affect it and will not remove your tan. However, a spray tan or self-tan only affects the outermost layer of the skin. If you would like to know more about how self-tanners work, we wrote this article on how self-tanners work.Why do people tan with coconut oil? ›
Of course, we can't forget the most widespread reason for people using coconut oil for tanning. Regardless of whether you use it as-is or mix it in with other oils, coconut oil forms a protective layer on the skin. This helps prevent some of the UV rays from penetrating your skin and doing serious damage.
What does Jennifer Aniston use to tan? ›
Moriz Professional Instant Medium Self Tanning Lotion, which "can be used as your everyday body lotion," she says.What do the Kardashians use to tan? ›
Tropez's Jumbo Self Tan Express Mousse is one of Kim Kardashian's all-time favorite self-tanners, she previously revealed on her KKW blog. It's a lightweight, fast-absorbing tanning mousse that doesn't leave your skin feeling sticky after application.What color makes you the most tan? ›
All shades of orange, from peach to carrot, will make your tan especially noticeable. You'll want to stick with the shades of bright yellow, as they will do your skin the most favors. WIth red, you'll want to try to find a balance somewhere between pink and orange.
Using baby oil is one of the best ways to get a quick tan. Using this method easily without exposure to the sun, the skin color turns golden bronze. To tan the skin with baby oil, you must first pour some baby oil into the bottle, and then spray it on the skin. If this is done every day, that is better.What makes a tan last longer? ›
The key to making your tan last longer, whether real or faux, is moisturising. Look for rich body butters, silky oils and hyaluronic-acid infused lotions that'll really feed your skin. 'Always keep you skin extra moisturised before, during and after tanning' says Pierotti, 'because the sun dries out your skin.How can I look more tan overnight? ›
- Remove Old Self-Tanner and Prime Skin for New Tan. ...
- Avoid Shaving Immediately before You Self-Tan. ...
- Stay Cool, Baby. ...
- Take Special Care of Your Hands. ...
- Use a Light Hand on Your Face. ...
- Don't Rush the Drying Process. ...
- Get Up and Glow. ...
- Take Care of Your Tan.
The Sicilian 200x Double Dark Black Bronzer
The Sicilian Double Dark formula will give you the darkest tan you're likely to get from a bronzer. The color is smooth and even, but it is very noticeable. If you're looking for those rich, dark tones, this is where you want to go.
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.Does salt water make you tan faster? ›
No. Your skin darkens and your hair lightens because of exposure to sunlight, not salt water. The water has nothing to do with it. The darkened skin is not from seawater, You could get darkened skin at a freshwater lake.Does 2 layers of tan make it darker? ›
Another way to make your tan darker is to apply two layers of self-tan or to top your tan up the day after the initial application. However, this is probably best left to the more confident tanners among us.
How do you get a deep tan without burning it? ›
Take your time, and build your tan up slowly
If tanning in the sun, start with only 15-20 minutes in the sun on your first session. In your following tanning sessions only increase your time by 5-10 minute increments, and monitor your skin regularly to make sure you aren't starting to go red and burn.
Many people tan with baby oil because it can actually make your skin tan more quickly. The reason for this quicker tan is because baby oil helps attract and absorb UV rays, says Farber. The problem, and this is a big one as far as problems go, is that baby oil doesn't offer any sun protection.What to use to tan the fastest? ›
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. ...
- Change positions frequently. ...
- Eat foods that contain beta carotene. ...
- Try using oils with naturally occurring SPF. ...
- Don't stay outside for longer than your skin can create melanin. ...
- Eat lycopene-rich foods. ...
- Choose your tanning time wisely.
Dry is better than wet. Take it slowly and gently. It may sound like a drag, but burning doubles your risk of skin cancer - and intermittent, intense sun exposure raises your risk by 70 per cent. For more information go to www.sunsmart.org.uk.What makes tan stay on longer? ›
The key to making your tan last longer, whether real or faux, is moisturising. Look for rich body butters, silky oils and hyaluronic-acid infused lotions that'll really feed your skin. 'Always keep you skin extra moisturised before, during and after tanning' says Pierotti, 'because the sun dries out your skin.What dries tan fast? ›
Speed up the drying process
Waiting for your fake tan to dry can be a drag, so speed up the process using your hairdryer on a cool setting. Just lightly blast across the areas you have tanned.
Tanning oils are able to offer a “quicker tan” as they stimulate the body to produce more melanin. When these oils are applied to the skin, it activates the melanocytes and causes them to produce melanin at a faster rate.