Sometimes sitting in the sun isn't enough to achieve the sun-tanned effects so many desire. If this is the case, you may want to consider using a tanning lotion, either in place of or in addition to exposing the body to the sun. There are several tanning lotions available for purchase, but you can just as easily make your own with common household ingredients.
Cocoa Tanning Lotion
This tanning lotion is not only easy to make but it smells great as well. All you need is 1 tbsp. of unscented lotion and 1 tbsp. of pure cocoa powder. Blend the two together until you have a smooth mixture.
Apply the tanning lotion to your skin with a makeup wedge, sponge or cotton makeup applicator. Use the lotion on a small patch of your skin in a concealed area first. Wash your hands immediately after application to avoid having a funny stain on your hands throughout the day.
Keep in mind that the lotion will look darker in the bottle than it will look on your skin. You may need to adjust the amount of cocoa you use (adding more or less) based on your skin tone and the tanning results you'd like to accomplish.
The best thing about this lotion is that its effects are not permanent. Your "tan" will disappear as soon as you wash it off in the shower. (Don't use this lotion if you plan on going to the beach or to the local pool!)
Moisturizing Tanning Lotion
Gather three black tea bags, 1/4 cup of lanolin, 1/4 cup of coconut oil plus an additional 1/2 tsp. of coconut oil, and a clean, empty squeeze bottle.
Place 3/4 of a cup of water over the stove on high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove the water from the heat and add all three black bags. Allow the bags to steep for 20 minutes.
After the tea has finished steeping, remove the bags and discard them. Put the lanolin and your first 1/4 cup of coconut oil into a blender along with 1/4 cup of the brewed tea mixture, and put the blender on a low speed. Gradually add the remaining tea and continue blending. Stir in the remaining 1/2 tsp. of coconut oil. Pour your tanning lotion into a squeeze bottle for easy application.
To achieve a fake tan this lotion will "stain" your skin with tea. You should wash your hands immediately after application to avoid tanning the palms of your hands.
Coconut Macaroon Tanning Oil
If you'd prefer a tanning lotion or oil that will enhance the sun's natural effect on your skin, this one is for you. Gather 3 tbsp. of virgin coconut oil, 1 tsp. of coconut extract, one shot of espresso (about 1 oz.), and 1 tsp. of cocoa powder.
Melt the coconut oil and cocoa powder on the stove over a low heat. Once melted, add the espresso and coconut extract to the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool until it is at least lukewarm before spreading it generously over your skin. Use this oil before lying out in the sun for an incredible tan.
Don't forget to set a timer in case you fall asleep in the sun. Set the timer at 15 minute intervals so you can monitor yourself and your skin to avoid overexposure to the sun or burning.
Sesame Tanning Oil
Gather 4 tbsp. of sesame oil, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 3 tbsp. of baby oil, and 1/2 tsp. of iodine. Mix all of the ingredients together and place them in a squirt bottle for easy application. Put this lotion on your skin before sitting out in the sun, and remember to apply a cooling lotion or gel (such as aloe vera) after sun exposure to rehydrate and soothe your skin.
If you'd prefer a sunless tan, adjust the amount of iodine in this recipe. Start by testing the current recipe on a discrete patch of skin. Add more iodine as necessary to get the desired shade.