Your sun-kissed glow is gorgeous. Want to know how to keep it for as long as possible?
The answer is moisturizer, which keeps your bronze from fading or peeling as quickly.
But which is the best tan extender lotion? Does it actually work?
When should you use it?
What is tan extender lotion?
Any moisturizer may help you retain your tan for longer. Some work better than others.
Meanwhile, some tan extenders are formulated for sunless tanning.
If you put all that effort into getting dark, it’s worth it to have the best lotion to extend your tan.
When your bronze comes from a tanning bed or sunshine, you can moisturize with oils to seal in hydration. But if you have a fake tan, oils may dissolve it more quickly.
Instead, the best lotions balance oil with other essential ingredients like vitamins, fatty acids, and natural moisturizers like hyaluronic acid or sodium PCA (1). These boost the skin’s ability to retain moisture and reinforce its natural barrier.
Lotions for after tanning usually have plenty of antioxidants to prevent photo-aging. These include vitamins C and E.
The one thing tan extenders won’t have a lot of, however, are exfoliants. Steer clear of lotions with glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid.
How to choose the best tan extender for your needs
If you’ve used sunless tanner to fake bake, gotten a spray tan, or used indoor tanning lotion with bronzer, don’t use an oily moisturizer.
Check out the section at the bottom about tan extenders after a spray tan.
Otherwise, see the reviews below for tan-extending body lotions that will keep your skin supple and bronzed.
Best Tan Extender Lotion in 2024
Lotion without bronzer
The first category we’ll review is lotions without bronzer. They contain no DHA, erythrulose, or cosmetic bronzers like caramel.
They extend your color without adding anything extra.
Australian Gold Moisture Lock Tan Extender
One of the best tan extenders for tanning beds is right here. It was developed by one of the biggest American brands in the tanning industry.
It smells like an orange Creamsicle – orange and vanilla. And it’s just as delicious for the skin. It’s rich in aloe, vitamin E, sunflower seed, and tea tree oil. It’s a blend that locks in moisture and keeps the skin healthy and smooth.
Users love it because it’s not greasy, it absorbs quickly, and it makes a visible difference.
Australian Gold Pomaberry Hemp Nation Tan Extender Lotion
As you might guess from the name, this lotion smells like superfruit. It has pomegranate, açai, and goji berry extracts. They are anti-inflammatory and packed with antioxidants to ward off premature aging.
There’s also a blend of jojoba, shea butter, and glycerin to maximize hydration and keep the skin comfortable.
Finally, there’s a little bit of magic in the form of Soft Focus Microspheres. These disguise uneven texture like fine lines and wrinkles.
Ed Hardy INK Tattoo & Color Tan Extender
Don’t just protect your tan, but also your tattoos. This lotion keeps them both from fading.
The packaging may look somewhat masculine, but the honey and bourbon scent is unisex. Moreover, the formula has everything you need to enjoy supple skin.
First, there’s shea butter, an excellent natural moisturizer that won’t clog pores.
Next, there’s lotus extract with antioxidants and anti-aging benefits.
Of course, there are vitamins. But what’s really nice is that the lotion is hypoallergenic with no oil or wheat. It has a creamy, whipped texture that sinks in quickly.
Millennium Tanning Products SOLID BLACK TAN EXTENDER
This moisturizer contains a powerful blend of argan, macadamia, and walnut oils that rapidly revives dry skin. Shea and cocoa butters nourish it back to health. At the same time, aloe quenches its thirst.
The scent is called “orchid blush”. Some say it resembles a floral perfume.
Devoted Creations PLATINUM INDULGENCE Tan-Extending Moisturizer
Most indoor tanning lotions are silicone-based because silicone is excellent for sealing in moisture. (It also won’t damage the acrylic of the tanning bed).
Silicone-emulsion lotions aren’t greasy and don’t leave a residue. Instead, they make the skin feel like silk. This one goes the extra mile as it actually has silk extract.
We’ve heard that it’s addictive to use, especially if you enjoy the scent. It’s like Victoria’s Secret Bombshell.
Designer Skin Angel After Tan Lotion
Enjoy it after tanning or as your daily moisturizer. It’s an anti-aging lotion with an appealing kiwi pear fragrance. Users say the scent lasts all day.
It softens and smooths the skin with avocado and hemp seed oils. Copper PCA and white birch firm the texture while alpha-lipoic acid and Phytoage ward off wrinkles.
Bittersweet Tan Extender by Designer Skin
The Glistening Skin Blend in this lotion gives your body a subtle shimmer. Then, the Dream Beam Elixir leaves the skin radiant.
Behind the scenes, coconut and safflower oils condition and prolong the tan.
In case you’re curious, it smells like papaya mimosa.
Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Lotion
Hempz makes more than one scented lotion, including the original (floral banana), grapefruit, pomegranate, coconut and watermelon, and green tea and Asian pear.
We selected this fragrance because it seems to be a crowd-pleaser. The formula is vegan and free of parabens and gluten.
Reviewers say it’s lightweight and pleasant to use as it sinks in quickly with no residue. On the downside, it might not be creamy enough for very dry skin or wintertime.
Australian Gold Forever After All-Day Moisturizer
We started off the reviews with an Australian Gold lotion, but here’s another. This one is for daily use, yet it’s also good for prolonging a tan.
It features a body-slimming lipocare complex, plus it provides twenty-four hours of moisture.
Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Gel Lotion
One of the best drugstore tan extenders is made by Hawaiian Tropic. It’s usually less expensive but just as effective at providing twenty-four hours of moisture.
What’s more, it’s soothing and lightweight on the skin.
It has a tropical coconut papaya scent that prolongs the vacation mindset.
Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Hydrating Body Butter
Those with extra dry skin will appreciate this rich and creamy body butter. It offers twelve hours of moisturization and a delicious coconut scent.
Indulge your skin with shea butter, coconut, and avocado oil. These are outstanding conditioners for the driest parts of your body.
Maui Island Secret After Sun Tan Sealer
Another of the best after sun tan extender lotions comes from Hawaii. Put it on sunburn, and you’ll feel better by the next day. It limits peeling and flaking, too.
That’s not surprising as it’s overflowing with healing botanicals. It has passion flower, aloe, rosehip, and green tea. With Maui coffee extract, Hawaiian ginger, and vitamin C, it brightens and firms the skin.
Brown Sugar White Chocolate Moisturizer
Brown Sugar makes indoor tanning lotion as well as this after tan moisturizer. It contains double dark chocolate extract for a big dose of antioxidants.
But this is a bronzer-free formula that won’t darken the skin. Instead, it enhances your natural color with argan oil, omega acids, and coconut butter.
In spite of the name, it has a tropical fragrance.
Tan extender with bronzer
Why would you want tan extender lotion with bronzer?
The bronzer is a sunless tanner that prolongs the color you gained while tanning. It prevents patchy spots and extends the time between salon visits.
Also, if it contains a cosmetic bronzer, it’s good for an instant sun-kissed glow.
Devoted Creations So Naughty Nude Tan-Extending Moisturizer
Out of all the tan extenders we reviewed, this one covers all the bases.
From the moment you apply the lotion, DHA works quietly in the background. It deepens your skin color without the need for sunshine.
DHA is a sunless tanning ingredient. It gives you a golden tan and helps maintain the one you already have. Someone once called it the “after-hours bronzer”.
Moreover, the moisturizer has a cosmetic bronzer. It serves as a guideline, so you know where you’ve applied the lotion, but it also improves the skin’s appearance. By the time you wash it off, the DHA should have done its job.
There’s even a little diamond powder for a subtle sheen.
What more could you ask for? Oh yes, it’s silicone-based to leave the skin irresistibly silken.
Devoted Creations Crown of Gold
If we tell you that the fragrance is called “Sweet Seduction”, will it make you curious?
But there’s more to this lotion than its pleasant scent. It features proprietary anti-aging benefits with Matrixyl Synthe 6 and Revita Fit. The more you use it, the firmer and younger your skin will be.
Furthermore, it bronzes the skin, taking about a week to reach maximum intensity. You’ll look especially radiant as it has natural light reflectors, too.
One reviewer exclaimed that it makes the skin glow with health.
LA TAN Luxury Tan-Extending Moisturizer
Use this moisturizer to extend your tan or build one from scratch. It has self-tanning bronzers (DHA and erythrulose) that deepen color day by day.
What’s more, it’s formulated for both the face and body.
On the downside, if you’re trying to avoid parabens, you might want to skip this one.
Jergens Natural Glow Tan Extender Daily Moisturizer
Here’s a drugstore lotion that’s surprisingly effective at building a sunless tan. On the day after you apply it, your skin will be slightly darker. Keep using it day after day, and your color will deepen gradually.
The same goes for extending your natural tan. As it fades, keep using this lotion to maximize its lifetime.
This is also a decent moisturizer without being greasy. The perfume scent fades a short while after application, but you may notice a slight odor from the DHA.
Especially for sunless tans
What about spray tan extender lotion? Does a sunless tan require special treatment?
As a matter of fact, it’s smart to avoid exfoliating lotions and oily moisturizers as they speed up the disintegration of a spray tan.
Norvell Prolong Sunless Tanning Color Extender Lotion
Norvell is one of the top spray tan companies in the industry. They supply professional salons around the country.
This carefully-formulated moisturizer contains the same active ingredient as spray tan solution: DHA. It’s a safe way to bronze the skin naturally.
The quantity of DHA in the formula ensures that you will build and maintain the perfect tan. Yet, the concentration is mild enough that you can use the lotion daily. Just go light on elbows, knuckles, knees, and heels.
The only caveat is that you’ll want to wash your hands with soap and water after applying it. Otherwise, the palms and parts between the fingers may stain.
Happily, this product is vegan and free of parabens, sulfates, and gluten.
St. Tropez Prep & Maintain Tan-Enhancing Moisturizer
St. Tropez makes some of the most popular self-tanning products on the market. They’ve got this moisturizer down to a science. It’s perfectly hydrating yet never breaks down a tan.
Instead, it enhances the color and even stimulates melanin production with tyrosine. Yes, that’s a trick right out of indoor tanning lotion’s book.
Key ingredients include apricot kernel oil, shea butter, and jojoba. These and other botanical extracts ensure that your bronze lasts at least three days longer.
GOLDEN STAR BEAUTY Tan Extender Daily Moisturizer
This American brand puts just a hint of DHA in their tan extender. Otherwise, it’s full of certified organic ingredients like aloe, olive oil, and argan oil.
These potent natural moisturizers keep the skin in optimal health. Along with vitamins and other botanicals, it defies aging and prolongs your radiant glow.
Use it every day to maintain a healthy appearance. It will give you a boost even if you haven’t gone tanning.
Fortunately, it’s non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types. It has no parabens, formaldehyde, or animal ingredients.
Maintain the perfect bronze for as long as possible with a tan-extending lotion.
When you keep your skin hydrated, it’s healthier. Not only does it look better, but it feels better inside and out.
Choose from lotions with or without bronzer. It’s entirely up to you how you maintain your sun-kissed glow.
1.https://www.tanningtraining.com/isc/lscc/ch3.html#:~:text=Moisture%20is%20critical%20to%20good,more%20evenly%20than%20dry%20skin by the National Tanning Training Institute, accessed February 1, 2021