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Homemade tanning oil header

Following my previous article’s success about how to get a perfect tan, I decided to step up my game a bit and created my own homemade tanning oil recipe. It works wonders and is super easy, fast and cheap to make! Which is why I thought I had to share it with you. This DIY only requires 3 natural ingredients that you can find online or at your closest organic shop (for best properties!), or even at the supermarket. Are you excited to learn how to make the best tanning oil? Because I sure am to share this recipe with you! Let’s dive straight into it.

Disclaimer: I am by no mean a specialized doctor or dermatologist, the advice that I give in this article is purely informative. I advise that you make your own research or consult your general practitioner before using these oils on your skin. You should also always protect yourself when exposing yourself to the sun.

Disclaimer #2: This article contains affiliate links, which allows me to earn a small commission on any purchase you make through my links, at no extra cost to you. It helps me keep this blog running, thank you for understanding!

In order to choose which ingredients I would use in my homemade tanning oil, I did a lot of research on natural oils and their properties. I found three that seemed really interesting and decided to include them in my recipe. The lucky winners are coconut oil, grape seed oil and olive oil. Read until the end to see the results I get!

Coconut oil

Coconut oil helps to get a dark, natural tan!

Coconut is hard until the room temperature reaches 24°C (76°F)

Research has shown that coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory that also protects the skin by enhancing skin barrier function. It has also been used for centuries as a natural moisturizer! You can furthermore count on coconut oil to let your skin absorb Vitamin D.

Unlike commercial tanning oils made with synthetic ingredients, it doesn’t block all the good coming from the sun! Coconut oil also triggers melanin production, and the more melanin your skin produces, the darker it gets! That’s the magic behind coconut oil. You can find more about tanning with coconut oil in this very complete article!

Another study has shown that coconut oil has an SPF of around 4, however, this does not mean that you shouldn’t protect yourself when using coconut oil or use coconut oil as a sunscreen. The oil actually only blocks about 20% of UVAs and UVBs! So always apply a natural sunscreen (I love the one from Thank Me Later!).

I will discuss later in this post how to apply your homemade tanning oil to tan safely.

Grape seed oil

Full of Vitamin E, an antioxidant neutralizing free radicals, grape seed oil is a natural oil that is well known for its anti-ageing properties. We can benefit from it when under the sun! Its thin and easily absorbable texture also ensures that your skin stays nourished when you expose yourself.

Olive tree dancing in the wind

Olive oil

Just like grape seed oil, it helps neutralize free radicals thanks to its polyunsaturated fats. This allows you to tan more safely (less damage on your skin)! And just like the two oils mentioned above, not only does it help to nourish the skin, but as an oil, it also helps your skin to receive more light which speeds up the tanning process! Without any oil, some of the sunlight is reflected away.

I add less olive oil than the two other oils in my recipe because of its texture that is quite thick and easily leaves your skin greasy.

Homemade tanning oil recipe

To make this tanning oil, you will need (for 100 ml) :

Coconut Oil (45 ml)

Grape Seed Oil (40 ml)

Olive Oil (15 ml)

– A container to put the oil into (I personally reuse a bottle from another beauty product.

If you can, use virgin oils, they will offer more benefits than regular oils.



Vitamin E (10 drops, helps to conserve the product)

Carrot seed oil. This oil is known to help speed up the tanning process thanks to the presence of beta carotene (it increases melanin production), but I personally don’t like it very much. Its orange colour leaves my skin with a strange tint (and I’m not even talking about my bikinis!), the smell is strange and the texture leaves a greasy film on the skin.
But it does provide great results so if you feel like trying it, go ahead! I would suggest adding no more than 20% of the total proportion of your tanning oil.

– Natural coconut fragrance or any other natural fragrance you might like for a deeper smell (a few drops, depends on your taste)

– Mica powder to give your skin some shine! I use a mix of mica powders from this shop in the colours “Pearl Gold” and “Copper”, they are so pretty.


The only thing you need to do is add the oils one by one in your final container and any other extra ingredient you may like from the optional list! Then close your container, shake it well and voilà! Your homemade tanning oil is ready to be used. And of course, you can modify the proportions to your liking!


Homemade tanning oil bottle

How to apply tanning oil

Throughout the summer, I usually apply my tanning oil differently.


At the beginning of the summer, my skin is quite fair and not tanned at all, so I take a lot of precautions. For this reason, I prefer to apply my tanning oil at home, before heading to the beach. I leave it to penetrate my skin for about 20-30 minutes before going to the sea.

Then, at the beach, I apply my sunscreen (while being under an umbrella) and leave it to penetrate while I drink my freddo espresso or read a book!

After that, I finally go in the sun and change position every 10-15 minutes (I can’t stay in place doing anything for longer than that!). I also do a break in the shadow or go to the sea every once in a while. I never stay more than 1-2 hours under the sun at the beginning, I don’t want to burn my skin. By the way, I wrote an article in which I share many tips on how to get a perfect tan if that’s a topic that you are interested in!


Pretty tan lines! Image via Pinterest, source unknown.

Pretty tan lines! Image via Pinterest, source unknown.


After a couple of weeks, my skin starts being darker and is more protected by itself thanks to the increase of melanin. Then, I like to apply my tanning oil without any sunscreen during safe hours. This means only after 16:00 in August, before that I don’t apply any oil at all.


At night, I love using my tanning oil as an after-sun lotion. It helps to keep my skin nourished and I don’t get this “crocodile” skin anymore! Say bye-bye to dry skin with this oil 😊

What oil can I use as a 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… I chose the first three because they have the best properties, smell nice naturally and have a good consistency. But feel free to try different oils and see which one(s) you like most on your skin!

Benefits of homemade tanning oils

My favourite thing about homemade tanning oils is that they are completely natural and don’t harm your skin with nasty chemicals! Tanning oils sold at supermarkets contain artificial products that are not ideal for your skin. For example, many of them contain silicone or mineral oil which is derived from petroleum. It is actually the byproduct of the distillation of petroleum to form gasoline.

Is it really something you want to apply on your skin? On top of coming from a non-renewable resource that happens to be harmful to the environment, mineral oil is known to clog pores and lead to oily skin and/or acne. Although it does trap moisture in your skin, it does not moisturize itself. It also acts as a barrier between your skin and the air, not allowing it to breathe properly.

Your homemade tanning oil will bring you all the benefits from natural oils while giving you a really deep, long-lasting tan. Here are the results I get with it ✌🏽


The result I get with my homemade tanning oil: a dark tanned skin!


I hope you enjoyed this recipe and learnt new things today! Have fun making your own tanning oil, and send me before/after photos, I would love to see your results!


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