You may think getting perfectly bronzed skin will cost you a lot of money or time out in the sun.
But for those looking for a hack out there, the good news is that you can easily make homemade tanning oil at a bargain.
And it’s just as effective!
Check out our guide to making DIY tanning oil below!
Let's Get Cookin': Best DIY Tanning Oil Recipes
Before starting, you’ll need to gather a few basic things to make your own homemade tanning oil with.
Here are the things you need to make your DIY tanning oil:
- Mixing bowl
- Stirring stick
- Clean, empty bottle (preferably dark-colored)
Recipe 1: Neutralize UV Radiation or Get an Antioxidant Boost
Try this recipe out for extra anti-aging and sun protection in your diy tanning oil!
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 8 tablespoons (tbsp) walnut oil
- 2 cups brewed green tea
- First, combine both the coconut oil and walnut oil in your bowl.
- Give it an initial mix.
- Add the tea slowly into the tanning oil mixture as you’re mixing.
Recipe 2: For Dry or Sun-Sensitive Skin
If your skin tends to easily get burned when tanning or you always end up with painful craggy skin, try out this diy tanning oil recipe!
What You'll Need:
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp carrot seed oil
- Pour in your coconut oil and mix it with avocado oil in your mixing bowl.
- Once combined, add the carrot seed oil.
- Using your funnel, transfer your natural tanning oil into your bottle.
Recipe 3: DIY Oil for a Quick but Dark Tan
Take note this recipe will speed up the tanning process because of the properties of these natural tanning oils.
So if you have sensitive or pale skin, these diy tanning oil recipes may not be the best for you.
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup olive oil
- 8 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tbsp mixed raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil
- Sandalwood essential oil (optional)
- Combine the olive oil and avocado oil in your mixing bowl.
- Stir until well incorporated.
- Add the mixed raspberry seed oil and carrot seed oil.
- If you choose, add sandalwood essential oil for a soothing scent.
Recipe 4: DIY Tanning Oil Recipe for Dry Skin
This tanning oil recipe is excellent for preventing painful, cracked skin after being out in the sun because of the sun-protective properties of the combination of natural oils.
What You'll Need:
- 8 tbsp sesame oil
- 8 tbsp avocado oil
- 8 tbsp walnut oil
- Mint essential oil (optional)
- Combine the 3 natural tanning oils in a deep bowl.
- Stir until they’re fully combined.
- For a natural scent, add a few drops of mint essential oil.
- Transfer the tanning oil mixture into your storage container.
Recipe 5: For Extra Sun Protection
This is an excellent starting recipe if you want added sun protection while still getting that deep, Greek-like tan.
Plus, with the added mica powder, you’ll get that natural glow in no time!
What You'll Need:
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 tsp carrot oil
- 1/2 tsp raspberry seed oil
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops sandalwood essential oil
- 1 tsp bronze mica powder (optional)
- Dark glass container (protects light-sensitive compounds)
- Combine all the natural oils into your mixing bowl.
- Stir until you get a homogenous mixture.
- At this point, you can add the mica powder if you choose to use it.
- Transfer into a dark glass container.
Recipe 6: For a Hydration Boost
If you tend to get dry and flaky skin, it will get worse and crack under the sun.
Wheat germ oil isn’t a common ingredient in tanning oils, but it’s rich in vitamins A, B, D, E, and other antioxidants that help protect your skin.
The combo of avocado, walnut, sesame, and wheat germ oil in tanning oils gives your skin a protective barrier and boosts collagen production.
So what are you waiting for?
What You'll Need:
- 8 tsp. each of avocado oil, walnut oil, wheat germ oil, and sesame oil
- Essential oil of your choice (optional)
- Combine all the natural tanning oils into your bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add a drop or two of your essential oil if you want to mask the strong sesame oil scent.
- Transfer into your storage container.
Release Your Inner God(dess): 4 Benefits of Using DIY Tanning Oil
Reason #1: It's Oh So Good for Your Body
Using a homemade tanning oil is SO MUUUUUCH healthier for your skin when compared to commercial tanning oil products because of their natural fatty acids.
The benefits of using natural products aren’t new, and it’s just as true for diy tanning oil.
Homemade tanning oils won’t have the artificial enhancers and preservatives commercial tanning oils have.
And it makes sense because manufacturers aim to give their tanning oil the longest shelf life possible.
You, on the other hand, can use natural oils, like olive oil, that may go rancid earlier because you can make and buy them in SMALL BATCHES depending on what you need.
So instead of jeopardizing your skin health just for a good tan, hit 2 birds with 1 stone using homemade tanning oil!
Here are just some of the added skin health benefits of using DIY tanning oils:
- It’s better at moisturizing your skin.
- You get added sun protection.
- It’s safe to use.
- You can better absorb sunlight.
- Plus you get bonus helpings of Vitamin E.
- Protects you from skin cancer
Depending on the DIY tanning oil recipe you choose to follow, you can even get additional SPF protection against those harmful UV rays and maintain that bronzed skin for longer.
Reason #2: It's Everywhere!
Ever had to hunt around for a specific brand of tanning oil? Or maybe you just don’t want to go to a tanning salon every time you want a tan.
DIY tanning oils use accessible ingredients that you’ll find in your local store. For all you know, all the ingredients are already in your pantry!
For you, this means you can make homemade tanning oil anytime, it’s easy to shop around for, and it’s cheap!
Reason #3: Choose the Better Option!
Would you choose to hire a cheaper but more effective employee or a more expensive and slower one?
Our guess is you’ll choose the former.
Making your own tanning oil will get you that highly-coveted tan faster because it promotes BETTER ABSORPTION.
So while MAKING homemade tanning oil may seem like a time-consuming step for you, you win in the long run!
You’ll be spending less time out in the sun so it will lessen excessive sun exposure. Plus, it’s more efficient.
Reason #4: Your Wallet Will Thank You for It!
We’ve said it twice and we’ll say it again. Homemade tanning oils are CHEAPER.
Instead of spending an extra $25 on a bottle, you can make one at home without spending even half that amount!
Most DIY tanning oil ingredients can be found at home. You won’t spend a single cent!
Bring in the Subs: Natural Tanning Oils You Can Try
Okay, so now that you’ve finally seen the light (get it?), you’re probably asking: “what can I use as a substitute, then?”
Generally, you can use natural plant oils that are extracted from the plants or seeds.
If you’re too lazy to make tanning oils, you can just opt to use one of these.
Best for: dark skin (when combined with sesame oil) and sensitive skin
Coconut oil is a super versatile tanning product. You can use it to cook, rejuvenate your hair, and even make other DIY pampering products.
Why is that?
Well, coconut oil has lots of fatty acids that CREATE A BARRIER between your skin and harmful UV rays so you have better protection against sunburns and sun damage.
On top of that, coconut oil also has a high SPF rating. High SPF tanning oils accelerate the tanning process by lowering the refractive index.
In effect, coconut oil will draw more sunlight to penetrate your skin while keeping you protected.
If that’s not enough, coconut oil has been known to be an EXCELLENT MOISTURIZER to help keep your skin moisturized, and retain your skin’s elasticity.
This is the perfect natural tanning oil if your skin is sensitive.
Best for: pale skin and dry skin
Avocado oil is a great substitute for commercial tanning oils.
It’s well-known for being chock full of vitamins that can help repair and soothe damaged skin layers and tissue, so it will give you a safe sunbathing experience.
Most DIY tanning oil recipes use avocado oil in combination with other natural oils, such as coconut oil or carrot seed oil, to balance out its effects.
Keep in mind that this tanning oil is excellent at attracting sun rays for a faster and darker tan, so you may have to offset this in your recipe or shorten the time you spend outside.
If you have pale or dry skin, avocado oil will work well for you because the faster tanning process will protect you from excess UV damage or sunburn.
Also, check that you are using unrefined cold-pressed avocado oil.
Best for: those with darker skin or people in a hurry
If you cook at home, chances are you already have olive oil lying around in your pantry or on your kitchen counter. But did you know this is one of the BEST NATURAL OILS you can use for sun tanning?
Olive oil is well-known for accelerating the tanning process, which makes sense considering we use this to cook our food.
This is because olive oil has a natural bronzing effect on our skin, while still keeping you moisturized to help maintain your skin’s natural elasticity.
What does this mean for you? You can spend LESS TIME under sun exposure while still getting that golden tan AND without risking unnecessary skin irritation or sun damage!
This makes it a good tanning oil for those who don’t have a lot of time to sunbathe. You can even use it to tan during cloudy days.
We’d also recommend using olive oil for darker skin types because the shorter tanning period will prevent damage to your skin cells and won’t require you to undergo excess sun exposure.
If you can, use extra virgin olive oil. Since this is not as processed as other types of olive oil, it will give you the best results and works as one of the most natural tanning oils you can use.
Try it with a mix of carrot juice and watch it perform its magic!
Best for: Acne-prone skin
Sunflower oil has tons of benefits, and this includes acting as a natural moisturized for your skin!
Its anti-aging properties make sunflower oil one of the best natural ingredients for keeping your skin soft and supple while also preventing wrinkles.
This is thanks to the high vitamin E and linoleic acid in sunflower oil, making it an excellent anti-aging and anti-acne natural oil!
We also highly recommend sunflower oil if you suffer from hyperpigmentation since it can lighten dark marks as well.
Best for: Dry skin
Hazelnut oil is an excellent option that is naturally rich in vitamin E.
Plus, it’s one of the fattier tanning oils. These fatty acids are EASIER and FASTER for your skin to absorb, making hazelnut oil a popular ingredient that you can even find in commercial oils.
Hazelnut oil is an excellent addition to your tanning oils recipe if you want to stay moisturized and healthy while under the sun.
Best for: dark skin (when combined with coconut oil)
If you’re looking for natural oils that have a high Vitamin E content, you’ve found it! Try Sesame oil.
Sesame oil is effective at giving you a gorgeous tan while also maintaining your skin’s natural elasticity even after spending a long time under the sun.
On top of that, sesame oil also has antioxidants that get absorbed into your skin to prevent oxidative stress and flush out toxins, unlike other tanning oils.
Due to its low SPF rating, we don’t recommend sesame oil for those with fair skin. However, if you have naturally dark skin, this natural oil is a great option.
Sesame oil is sure to give you a deeper bronze while still protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.
Natural Extracts You Can Use
Part of the fun of making these DIY tanning oil recipes is that you can customize them to YOUR skin’s needs.
To do that, you need to have a good idea of what you can add to create the ULTIMATE natural tanning oil recipe for you.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extracts are SUPERPOWERED tanning oil ingredients for all tanning oil recipes.
There’s a reason matcha is such an excellent addition, whether as food, tea, or a supplement, to maintain good health all-around.
Adding green tea extracts to your homemade tanning oil means neutralizing UV radiation, including powerful anti-inflammatory benefits!
Plus, green tea extract also works as a great antioxidant.
You get Vitamin E along with Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is 20x more potent than vitamin E!
We’re sure you’ve heard of the benefits of aloe vera for your skin. Need some convincing?
Aloe vera contains 75 active nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E, and B12!
Not to mention, aloe vera is a natural moisturizer WITHOUT all the harmful chemicals you’d risk with commercial products.
Plus, aloe vera’s a fantastic way for your skin to absorb vitamin content with VERY LITTLE effort.
- We highly recommend applying aloe vera onto wet skin BEFORE you start tanning to trap in the moisture.
- Then, apply another layer of aloe vera before lying down on your mat for an extra sun protective layer.
Now just sit back and relax as the aloe vera keeps off those harmful ultraviolet rays!
Each of these homemade tanning oil recipes have something to offer you. And yes, tanning also works for guys!
It’s just a matter of trying these and customizing them to YOUR needs and creating your own tanning oil!
Have fun tanning! And always remember to always apply sunscreen when tanning for extra protection!
August 17, 2021 – Updated article formatting and content
July 15, 2021 – Reviewed and updated article links