What Can Be Used Instead of Tanning Oil?

When most people hear the word “natural” they usually think of something that may work a little bit but will never be as good as the chemically made alternative.

This is especially true of tanning oils, and most tanners are under the impression that natural, or DIY tanning oils are inferior to those that can be purchased from a store.

The fact is that a well-made natural tanning oil can in some cases be better for your skin and still have all the advantages that those sold on the market can give you.

Natural tanning oils are perfect for tanning, and some oils even contain elements that protect the skin from sunburn while allowing you to achieve a golden glow. These natural substitutes are less expensive, easy to make, and offer multiple benefits when used to tan with.

In this article, we will talk about how natural tanning oils can work for your skin as well as the benefits of making and using your own natural DIY tanning oils.

Do Tanning Oils Really Work?

Alright, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and find out why using tanning oils can substantially help you to obtain a better result during your tanning sessions.

  • Ultraviolet rays are drawn to tanning oil that has been smeared on the skin. These oils are used to amplify the intensity of the rays.
  • When there is an adequate amount of UV exposure these tanning oils can make the process of tanning go a lot faster.
  • Melanocytes are cells in the body that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that causes your skin to turn brown in an attempt to protect itself from UV rays.
  • Tanning oils can accelerate the production of melanin thus enabling you to obtain a darker tan in a shorter amount of time.
  • The long and short of it is that tanning oils can enhance the ability of your skin to naturally obtain a great tan. The more melanin your body produces, the darker your tan will be.

Reasons Why Natural Tanning Oils are Better

As with most homemade products, tanning oil made naturally contains no harmful ingredients and can still give you a dark and healthy tan.

The advantages to using natural homemade tanning oils:

  • Homemade and natural tanning oils are easy to make.
  • They are made with ingredients that are not harmful to your skin.
  • Natural tanning oils are cheaper than store-bought tanning oils.
  • These tanning oils reduce the chances of any allergic reactions.
  • Natural tanning oils contain nutrients that are great for your skin.
  • Your mind will be at ease as you will know exactly what ingredients are in the tanning oil that you have made.

How Do Natural Oils Benefit The Skin?

Tanning oils can speed up the tanning process and ensure that your skin stays healthy while you are getting the skin tone that you have always wanted.

Natural tanning oils can also enhance UV rays but at the same time filter any excess UV light that may be harmful to the skin and cause sunburn.

Many natural oils are readily available in your kitchen such as coconut oil and olive oil. This makes preparing a homemade tanning oil at home as simple as one, two, three!

Here are some examples of natural oils that can be used for tanning:

Olive Oil

Vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant that nourishes and moisturizes the skin. Olive oil is the perfect example of an oil that is going to increase your chances of getting a tan while at the same time look after the health of your skin.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is filled with essential fatty acids that are perfect for skin that is prone to irritation. The bonus is that this oil contains a light SPF which makes it a wonderful natural oil to make use of while tanning.

Aloe Vera Oil

This oil is perfect to use if your skin burns easily. It harbors the ability to prevent any of the side effects that can be caused by sunburn.

Aloe vera is full of antioxidants and is extremely soothing when used on skin that has been sunburned.

Avocado Oil

This oil contains fatty acids, lecithin, and vitamins which and help to moisturize the skin. Avocado oil will work best when it is unrefined.

Carrot Seed Oil

This oil is filled with Vitamin A, Pro-vitamin A, Vitamin B, and beta carotene. These vitamins help to nourish dry skin and also have healing properties. It is perfect for use on any skin type.

Sesame Oil

This oil has a strong scent and is extremely thick thus making it very conducive to your budget as it lasts forever. It also contains a slight amount of natural SPF.

Tip:  Mix sesame oil and coconut oil to get a richer tan.

Hazelnut Oil

Widely used in most tanning oils, this natural oil is easily absorbed into the skin due to its high content of fatty acids. It also contains a lot of Vitamin E which increases hydration on the top layer of the skin. This is the best oil to use if you want to firm your skin!

Orange Oil

Orange oil has anti-inflammatory properties and also allows the skin to absorb vitamin C and promote the production of collagen by increasing blood flow to the skin.

Hemp Seed Oil

This is a very popular natural tanning oil as it helps to reduce wrinkles and prevent the signs of aging due to the linoleic and oleic acid that it contains.

Sunflower Oil

This wonderfully moisturizing oil is not only a tanning oil, but it also helps to prevent wrinkles as well by protecting your skin’s elasticity and maintaining the hydration of your skin.

Make DIY Tanning Oil from The Comfort of Your Own Home

Making your tanning oil is easy and has a whole lot of benefits for your skin. With so many oils to pick and choose from you can try them all and see which one works best for your skin type.

It is important, however, to take note that, unlike conventional SPF sunscreens, tanning oil is not waterproof and has to be reapplied especially after you have been swimming.

The Simple to Make DIY Tanning Oil Recipe


One-quarter cup of olive oil

Two tablespoons of avocado oil

Two tablespoons of coconut oil

Two drops of aloe vera extract

Two drops of walnut oil


It’s quite simple! Just mix all the ingredients in a jar or a tub that has a lid, seal tightly and store in the fridge. When you want to use it shake it well and don’t be shy when applying it to your skin.

Tropical Tanning Oil Recipe

This stunningly scented tanning oil is made from both coconut oil and sesame oil. The coconut oil is what gives it a beautiful smell while the sesame oil has a slightly darker tint to it which causes immediate yet temporary tanning results.


One cup of coconut oil

Eight teaspoons of walnut oil

Eight teaspoons of coconut oil

Eight teaspoons of avocado oil

Eight teaspoons of sesame oil

A few drops of a nice smelling essential oil such as lavender or vanilla


The first step is to pour the cup of coconut oil into a glass bowl. Make sure that the consistency is liquid enough. If your mixture looks more like a gel, then put it on low heat for a few minutes.

Now it is time to add 8 teaspoons of walnut oil, 8 teaspoons of avocado oil, and 8 teaspoons of sesame oil. Mix them into the coconut oil and thereafter your tanning oil is ready for use.

Natural Ways To Keep the Skin Hydrated

It is very important to keep your skin nourished and hydrated before and after your tanning sessions.

Here is a list of natural extracts that you can add to your tanning oils to keep your skin healthy and moisturized:

Aloe Vera Extract

This amazing extract has the extraordinary power of helping soothe, heal and reduce any skin inflammation that can be caused by the sun’s rays.

Aloe Vera contains amino acids that can soften the cells of your skin and keep it hydrated and protected during and after tanning.

Pine Bark Extract

If you want hydrated skin, then pine bark extract is most certainly going to give it to you. When added to tanning oils this extract is perfect to help reduce any skin dryness that has been caused by the UV rays of the sun.

Green Tree or Chamomile Extract

Green tea extract is widely known as a potent anti-inflammatory. It can be used to soothe and neutralize the effects of too much UV radiation on the skin.

Chamomile also has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties that help to alleviate inflammation and irritation of the skin.

Other Tips on How to Tan With Home Made Tanning Oils

# 1 Use Natural Oils to Extend Your Base Tan

These oils are perfect for those who already have some kind of base tan. There is no need to purchase store-bought products if you have access to these natural tanning oils.

Natural oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil just to name a few will attract the UV rays from the sun and maintain and deepen a base tan.

# 2 Remember To Reapply The Tanning Oil

To protect your skin from painful sunburn or skin damage you must reapply the tanning oil at least every two hours. This will ensure that you always have some form of SPF on your skin to protect it from burning.

# 3 Tan During Peak Hours

The UV rays emitted from the sun are at their strongest between 10 am and 2 pm. Although it is not always safe to tan during peak hours it will, however, ensure that you get a quick tan.

Make sure though that if you feel that the sun is starting to burn your skin that you take some time out and go sit in the shade for a while.

# 4 Make Sure You Are In The Direct Sunlight

It is important to make sure that you are directly in the sun when you are tanning. Follow the sun as it moves around during the day so that you can get as much of the rays in as you can.

# 5 Don’t Stay in The Same Position

You have to turn your body frequently to prevent tan lines and ensure an even tan. To this end, it is good practice to turn your body at least every half an hour and reposition yourself while basking in the sun’s rays.

# 6 Make Use Of A Reflective Sheet

This form of tanning makes use of a reflective towel to draw the ultraviolet rays from the sun into your skin.

While this is a relatively old-fashioned way to tan it is still used by many tanners worldwide to help them to tan faster.

# 7 Lie On The Water

Lying on the water is the best way to reflect the UV rays from the sun and enable your skin to absorb as much of the sun as it can. You can choose to lie near to the water or on the water in a floating device.

# 8 Take Your Clothes Off!

This is the best way in which to tan! If you are uncomfortable at the thought of tanning in your birthday suit you can take heed of the fact that this can be done in your backyard where nobody can see you.

Tanning naked is the best way in which to tan your body all over without getting tan lines.

The Takeaway on Natural Tanning Oils

Natural oils can repair your skin as well as protect it from any damage that UV rays can have on the skin.

These oils are cost-effective, non-allergenic, and worth any time that it takes to make them yourself. A great substitute to store-bought tanning products and more often than not better in the long run for your skin.