best tanning lotion

“What’s the best tanning lotion?”: How to answer the unanswerable question

We’ve all had it. A customer has come in looking for a new lotion and the first words out of their mouth are “what’s the best tanning lotion you stock?”. The impossible question to give a direct response to! There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to lotion recommendations, and that makes this question almost unanswerable if your client is expecting an immediate response with no further details on their skin type, tanning goals and skin sensitivities. 

Never fear though, we have broken down the important key elements to note when considering what would be suitable for your customer, and highlighted what will help you identify the “best lotion you stock” for that client.

Categories to separate lotions by:

1. What type of lotion?

The first thing to consider, is what type of lotion are they looking for, an Intensifier, a bronzing lotion or a tingle… Knowing which type of lotion will best suit their needs will slim down your decision considerably.

Intensifier: Naturally promotes dark, bronze colour through hydration, natural colour boosters and skin-conditioning ingredients. Ideal for those with fair skin, those building a base tan, maintaining a tan, layering with SPF whilst sunbathing and applying in between sessions as a premium tan extender. An Intensifier works to optimise skin’s natural colour potential.

Immediate Bronzer: Provide an immediate colour to enhanced your base tan during the tanning process. Botanical ingredients, such as Henna, Caramel, Carrot Oil, Banana Leaf Extract and Black Walnut Shell, promise for instant colour with staining. What’s more, this won’t stain or streak, and bronzers can be washed off with water. Results can last 1 – 2 days, whilst natural tan develops underneath.

Delayed Bronzer: Promises for a deeper, delayed colour that develops 2 – 8 hours after tanning. Ideal for those looking for a deeper golden colour and faster development. This is also a great choice for those looking to even out any tan lines or hyper-pigmentation, or those looking to break through their tanning plateau for deeper colour.

Tingle: Works to encourage faster circulation on the skin’s surface for a faster-developing, deeper natural tan. Ideal for breaking through tanning plateaus. Please note this should only be used by experienced tanners, if requested, and should always be applied initially as a test patch on a pulse point prior to a full-body application.

2. Price point

Understanding your client’s price point is a key benefit when recommending a lotion. This ensures that you’re not overshooting your shot, and you’re also recommending something that will be able to give them the best results possible. 

As a rule of thumb with Australian Gold® (and all other New Sunshine products), the higher the price of a lotion, the more skincare and tanning technologies have been added. The more skincare, the better your skin condition. The better your skin condition, the faster and deeper you will tan and the longer-lasting this shall be. Therefore by ensuring that you are recommending something, both in their price bracket, but at the top of this, you will be able to offer them the best results possible for their financial situation. 

3. Defining features and benefits

Finally, by identifying the key features and benefits of the lotions you stock will also help direct you toward the best choice for them, and also give you more confidence in your understanding of the difference between your products.

So firstly, what is a feature and benefit? Although this may seem simple, putting it into words can be difficult. Simply put:

Feature = What it is

Benefit = What it does

For example, when looking at Party Animal this can be argued to have many features, with each providing a different benefit to clients:

Although you wouldn’t list every single feature of this lotion to your clients, by having a multitude of positives for this lotion, you can detail the features that best benefit that specific customer, ensuring it’s a relevant recommendation.

By combining the information you have gathered from your client surrounding what they would usually use, their tanning goals and habits, with the above three points, this will help you to narrow down your recommendations faster and with more success.

So let's apply the theory...

As her skin is susceptible to breakouts, a facial Intensifier will help lessen the likelihood of spots. The use of Smooth Faces alongside a Delayed Bronzer from the Outback Collection, such as Nothing But Black, Run Wild or Pretty Fierce would ensure tattoo protection, a matte feel, and kiss of colour.

Don’t forget!

For people like Jade, with fair skin (types 1 & 2), they must ensure that they apply any bronzers in a circular motion prior to tanning. Although this is important for everyone, this is something that must be emphasised for those with fair skin, as any missed patches would be more noticeable on paler skin than those with a base tan. An uneven application will result in a patchy, streaky tan.

As his skin has aged, Richard now invests more into skincare to build & maintain a tan. As he wants premium skincare & a lightweight feel to avoid matting body hair, Intense by G Gentlemen, or Idol would work, thanks to their hydrating formulas, no sticky or greasy residue, unisex fragrances and natural colour boosters which work to promote a natural tan.


For male clients, typically a lightweight lotion, or product designed specifically for men is the best option to recommend. 

The obvious choice here is to recommend a powerful Delayed Bronzer. As she also has tattoos, a lotion with tattoo protection, or a Tattoo Stick, would be a great choice: Almost Famous & a Tattoo Stick or Nothing But Black. As Yasmin is looking for her tan to last, upselling Hemp Nation Tan Extender will help maintain a great tan, and prepare skin for deeper future results.

Although this question is a difficult one, and there is no straightforward answer, no matter the client, by listening to what your client is saying and what they’re looking to achieve you will be able to better meet their needs. Break down your lotions into categories of type, price point and feature, as this will give you time to become more confident in your understanding of what you stock, and how best to help your clients further when this question arises.