Cheap Tanning Lotion Just Doesn’t Cut It

Cheap Tanning Lotion

Everybody is tempted by low prices but opting to buy a cheap tanning lotion might not be the smartest decision.

Think about it, an indoor tanning lotion is something you apply to your skin, usually your entire body and face, so it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to go the cheap route with this type of product. The cheapies just don’t have all of the high quality ingredients that the good lotions have, and whatever substances are in their formulas are generally sub-par.

We know how tempting it is to only want an inexpensive, basic lotion, but the fact is this is really something you need to spend a little money on, I mean it’s your own body we’re talking about here right? The main problem is that tanning salons charge an exorbitant amount of money for the good tanning bed lotions, which puts them out of the reach of most consumers. For the really great top-of-the-line lotions salons can charge upwards of $100 or more, which most people think is just ridiculous. In summary, stay away from the cheap tanning lotions. You only get one body and you need to pamper it if you want the best results and you want the most protection for your skin.


25 comments... leave yours here.
  1. Jesica Mejia says:

    You’re very right cheap tanning lotion DOESN’T cut it… Over the years Ive tried many different kinds of lotions and you I know from tanning and experience when you spend money on lotion you get WAY BETTER RESULTS…

  2. Laura Dickerson says:

    Cheap tanning lotions are a waste of money.. Don’t waste time or money even trying these. Most of the cheap lotions are more watered down then the more expensive ones. You will not be able to achieve your tanning goals plus you waste the tanning sessions. I have tried some cheap lotions and after i tan, they leave my skin dry and after a few times, i never saw any difference in my tanning goal. When you sweat and use cheap lotions, the lotion actually looks like it is running off of you instead of being soaked in and smell horrible. Most of them expire shortly after purchase too. Spend a few extra dollars and get soft skin and a beautiful tan.

  3. jesse says:

    very true. one summer i spent all my money on a tanning package that not only was extremely nice but it was a great deal and i forgot all about lotion which was a huge mistake. i had to go to walmart and by this lotion that was only $15 but needless to say it was horrible. i was blotchy and orange all summer because it wouldn’t come off. i definitely believe that if you are tanning you need to go all out to get a perfect sun kissed glow

  4. Mari says:

    Cheap tanning lotion is not only a waste of money but waste of time too. I purchased this lotion at the salon, which was about $17.00. Although I put in the lotion 45 min before I started tanning, my skin got burned, especially on the places where the body touches the bed: the back and legs, and to think I only tanned for 10 min. On top of this, after tanning the skin smelled awful, although when you put it in initially it smelled like tropical fruits. I learned my lesson. Better spend a little more and prevent all these afterwords facts.

  5. Bethany W says:

    I also have tried all kinds of lotions. I have only been satisfied with those that cost more. The cheap brands do not seem to moisturize your skin or help keep tan longer. Even though $50 or more seems like a lot to spend on a lotion, it is well worth it. The quality just is not there with the cheap brands. If you are going to pay to tan, it is best to pay for an expensive lotion to make your tan last longer. Also, the cheap lotions fo leave your skin smelling funny after tanning.

  6. Melissa says:

    I bought a cheap sample from a tanning salon and went in a fairly nice bed and came out looking like a zebra with red stripes :P. And I smelled funny because the lotion had a funny smell. It sucked really bad. I know now not to buy cheap lotion and I need to get in a better bed. I learned my lesson. I hope you all will too :). More expensive is actually better!

  7. Beth says:

    Cheap tanning lotion really doesn’t cut it. Every time I try to get the less expensive brand it either stinks, is runny, and it just will not stay on you throughout the whole tanning session as other lotions would. I really do not like reapplying my lotion half way through the session, it is a complete waste of time and money especially with the timer running. It is really sad to have to spend an extra ten or twenty dollars on the next lotion up just to get the tan you want to achieve!

  8. Lisa says:

    I used cheep tanning lotion once and it just smells bad and makes you look like a zebra except your red and pale, it takes you long to tan so you spend more time in the bed. It doesn’t last long so you have to reapply it, it might seem like a lot to spend $50 on a lotion but it is well worth it! Trust me. 🙂

  9. Kristine says:

    If you want the best lotion for your money, one suggestion would be to buy sample packets of some of the more expensive brands to see the difference before you spend a lot of money on a whole bottle. Try a few different samples to see which one is the best and then go for buying the whole bottle. This also gives you a chance to make sure you like the smell of the product. I like the idea in the article of purchasing online to avoid the retail mark ups.

  10. kim says:

    i bought the walmart brand, it is cheap and you think what difference does lotion make when tanning. It makes a big difference. I come out of the bed, my skin is dry and i got small bumps all over my back. i have now gone to a more expensive lotion and it makes a world of difference. My skin is soft, silky, and has such a wonderful color to it. If you are going to spend the money to tan, you might as well get the most of it. The lotion does go a long ways, its silky and glides on skin.

  11. Missy says:

    I would suggest talking with the people at your tanning salon about your skin type and what it is that you are looking for. I know there are some salons out there that will only try to promote the most expensive bottle, especially if they are working on commission, but the people at my salon seem to really care and they found a lotion for me that was great and not the highest dollar brand. Also, look at the different levels of tanning lotions. If you are just starting out then you want to go with a level 1 and so on…..

  12. Tessa says:

    High-quality tanning lotion makes the biggest difference in the world. I used to only buy cheap ‘drug-store’ brand tanning lotions, believing that one lotion couldn’t vary from another. That had been all I had known with indoor tanning. Then one day I decided to splurge and try the ‘luxury’ tanning lotions sold at the salons, and the difference was drastic! My skin no longer gets dry, it feels silky ALL OF THE TIME, tan color is more even throughout, and I never feel that “stretchy” feeling on my skin that I used to. The bottles last for a long time, so I think the expense to buy a good, quality brand is definitely worth it!

  13. Kain Anderson says:

    You need to get a good quality lotion, this doesn’t mean you have to spend 100 bucks on lotion. It all depends one the brand, ingredients, and kind of lotion. I have tried some non-expensive lotions that worked better then some very expensive ones. I have also tried some drug store brands lotion that make me break out, turn orange they are a disaster in a bottle. Here is some of the less expensive ones – oc-next big thing 55x tan factor, trinity3- tingle devoted creations, Australian gold- sinfully black, that is just a couple and they work really well for not a wallet draining lotion i hope you find this review useful – Kain anderson

  14. Laura0098 says:

    I’ve just started tanning and was shocked that that salon was charging 139 for just one bottle of tanning lotion so I ended up purchasing a bottle for $40 and ended up turning orange from where I had not blended it in “good” enough. After some research online I was able to get the top quality lotions for prices that are more in my price range that salons were charging over $100 for.

  15. Laura0098 says:

    My advice would be to try the sample packets and when you find the one that works best for you then go online and purchase your lotion there to save $$$

  16. Sarah Kay says:

    The first time I ever bought lotion I didn’t buy it at a tanning salon. I decided to buy a lotion because my friends who also tanned were all talking about their lotions and they were all SOO dark!! But when I went to look at the lotions and the cheapest was like $50. I walked out. I didn’t know how long I’d continue to tan I was mainly doing it for prom. But anyways to make a long story short. It didn’t do anything!! and I love tanning!! (: So I went a head a bought a Designer Skin lotion. It changed my tanning experience!

  17. Chelsea ballars says:

    Buying tanning lotion is a very hard thing to do. Almost as hard as buying shoes! U do wanna stay away from the cheap stuff anything $20 and below is a bad idea. I’m not saying go out there and spend $150 on tanning lotion. When looking for a good tanning lotion you have to find that out yourself due to the fact that everybody’s skin reacts differently to different kinds so sample some here and there then see which one you like best!

  18. Ellen Jones says:

    When trying to achieve that sexy tan I highly suggest staying away from cheap tanning lotions, especially ones found at your local drugstore such as Hawaiian Tropic’s T2 Max Deep Tanning Lotion. I found out the hard way when I first started tanning at my local tanning salon. I purchased a bottle of the T2 Max Lotion and used it for three days in a row. Needless to say I became orange! Ever since then I stick with brands such as Designer Skin or Australian Gold and have been able to achieve a beautiful dark tan!

  19. Christy says:

    I can totally agree about not using cheap tanning lotion, i purchased a $15.00 bottle at wal-mart and it felt so watery & i couln’t see any good results in a week of using it. Went to the tanning bed & purchased a $30.00 bottle and could instantly see results after my couple of visits. So the saying is true, “you do get what you pay for”..

  20. NadiaNasralla says:

    I can really relate to this!! My first time going tanning was a couple days ago and I used a cheap tannin lotion! As a result i did not get tanned, how ever I did get red. I used a spay on oil/lotion, I forgot what it’s called because my friend bought it. She told me she bought it for 8 dollars, the lotions they has at the store was 40 dollars and higher. I thought to my self I’m already paying for tanning theirs no way I’m paying 40 for a lotion. But now after I read this article it made me raise that after all it is my body and no matter how expensive I buy a lotion for tanning in the end it would not leave my face red but it will leave me with a perfect tan 🙂

  21. Emily Stern says:

    I bought some cheap lotion that WalMart carried for indoor tanning. It was awful! The lotion turned my hands brown, I had to start putting it on with latex gloves… The smell after I laid in the tanning bed was horrible! I eventually just started laying without any lotion at all until I could afford to buy some new, better lotion!

  22. Banana Tans says:

    “Beat the system”? I am personally insulted. We are the people that cater to sun-savvy people. If lotions are more expensive in a “Province or State certified indoor tanning salon” that’s because we paid premium price for it. Do you really think these huge manufacturers give us some kind of massive discount? NOT!

  23. Dana says:

    While that may be true, this information is useless without an explanation as to which ingredients are sub-par and what those ingredients do. Also, instead of suggesting people buy more expensive products, suggest that they buy more quality products. If those just so happen to be the expensive ones, so be it. The whole point is that buying based on price (whether low or high price) is a bad decision. Especially since the SAME quality lotion such as Designer Skin can cost over 100 dollars in a salon, but costs less than 70 on Amazon.com. Prices vary on the same product. Why don’t you explain to us what it is that’s in the good/expensive products so maybe we can search for that ingredient in more mid-priced products? Besides, some of us tan very easily and don’t need the aid of all those brozners and tingle lotions. It’s hard to find a good quality product that nourishes the skin but doesn’t turn you brown before you even get in the bed. We need real information, not, “Just go buy the most expensive thing you see.”

  24. derek says:

    Good luck navigating the sea of misinformation in regards to tanning salons and products.
    Price is irrelevant. The only situation in which you should trust someone’s opinion is if it’s based on their personal experience. Salon owners are bombarded with propaganda from manufacturers. Anyone in that position who dare question the wisdom of industry representatives could go mad searching for a hint of truth.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I can tell you…its about the skincare. Cheap ones do not have it… For example Gilded from AG has 24kt gold extract which is a powerful antioxidant, and 50 skincare elements to it. Its an amazing lotion along with its sister product Sterling.


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