7 of The Best Self Tanners For Men – Guide to Preparation & Application

By Tara | Updated: 20/05/2023

While some men cringe at just the thought of fake tan for guys, there is simply no better, or safer, alternative to getting bronzed fast. 

The simple fact is that sun damage can affect us all and regular sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. So, if you are looking to avoid wrinkles, skin damage AND maintain a summer glow (even through the winter months!), then there are many great fake tanning solutions for men to try.

The formulas have evolved and significantly improved over the last few years. While you may be associating “fake tan” to some bright-orange, patchy mess your girlfriend once sported, we are here to tell you things have changed. There are SO many effective and subtle and natural-looking tanning products available suited to all different skin types that will have everyone convinced it’s an au-natural glow.


Here Are Our Picks For the Best Fake Tan For Guys

1. Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Foam for Men

The best thing about this product is that it will give you a tanned look gradually over a few applications so you can avoid becoming orange overnight. This also makes it perfect for first-timers who want to ease into tanning.

The light-weight formula features a masculine scent (no horrible smell!) and is non-greasy. The end result is a natural-looking and long-lasting tan.


2. Clinique For Men Face Bronzer

What’s great about the Clinique for Men Face Bronzer is that it is non-streak meaning you can apply it and walk out of the door not worrying about a streaky face.

The bronzer itself is transparent and being oil-free it is suited for all skin types. It applies onto the skin smoothly and creates a subtle bronzed glow as it develops over time.

If you feel you have applied too much it can always be removed with soap and water!


3. St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

While this product is not exclusively for men or women, it is a great option for men who may be trying fake tanner for the first time or those who want a not-so-obvious layer. Having tried it myself, it’s one of the best products for both body and face.

Being a mousse, it has a very lightweight consistency and makes the application a breeze. When it comes to the Self Tan Bronzing Mousse a little goes a long way. 

The bronzing mousse is tinted and dries almost instantly. If it is your first time tanning you will easily be able to see if there are any patches or streaks and can fix them as you go. 

The beauty of this product is that it will give you a natural appearance and is buildable with multiple applications. 

Another plus of this tanning mousse is that it has no obvious smell. If you don’t want it to be obvious that you are wearing fake tan, this would be a great option!




4. James Read Hydra Tan Mist For Men

This can be applied to both the face and body to achieve a natural-looking tan. This is a great product for men as it gives subtle results that you can build upon depending on the deepness of colour you are after. 

Meaning you can avoid the obvious oompa loompa look. 

Best of all the fast-drying, colourless formula is infused with a blend of cooling agents that hydrate and refresh tired skin. 

As it is non-streak and fast drying you can pop it on and head out the door. 

Also, it will restore some of the dullness your skin experiences in the colder months.


5. St Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan Lotion

This is one of the best fake tan for men as it’s super convenient to apply and produces a healthy-looking layer for all skin tones. As the name suggests, it can be applied as part of your daily shower routine and will gradually build up over a few days of use.

The body lotion formula is activated with water, meaning it’s perfect for in-shower use. This is a perfect option for those who are short on time.

You will find with regular application the tan will develop into darker shades.

What’s great about this product is that it is ultra-hydrating so you will not need to moisturise after showering. 

Additionally, it is free from the nasties you might find in other products such as parabens, sulphates and phthalates.


6. Eco Tan Face Tan Water

You can read my full review on Eco Tan Face Water here.

Due to its buildable formula and subtle glow, this is another alternative for a great facial tanning product for guys. 

The product is developed for those with oily and acne-prone skin and due to the moisturising properties in the formula, it will leave your skin feeling moisturised and radiant. 

If you are easing into the world of fake tan, then this product is a great start. You won’t wake up with an orange face (it takes about 2 applications to start seeing colour) and the clear consistency and pleasant smell makes it a perfect option for guys who are new to fake tanning. 


7. Micro-mist Neutrogena

Coming in as our final pick for the best fake tan for guys is the Neutrogena Micro-mist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray.

This product can be used over your whole body and is seamless to apply. It dries very quickly (within 5 minutes time) and requires no rubbing or tanning mitt. Anyone can do it!

In terms of the colour, it leaves a very subtle, yet buildable colour that will develop to a few shades darker than your normal skin tone. This ensures you won’t turn up to work the next day with an obvious orange glow. 

The ease of use and flawless results of this product makes it an ideal option for guys who may be trying fake tan for the first time or want a natural-looking go-to self-tan.


Conclusion: Finding the best fake tan for guys

All the quality self tanners listed above are some of the best options for guys looking to try fake tan or wanting to make it part of a consistent routine due to the fact that they provide very natural-looking, subtle results and are very easy to apply and maintain.

It is always important, however, to find a product that is going to work best for you. Those with sensitive skin may lean towards products with natural ingredients and those wanting more dramatic shades will have plenty of different options on the market.

Spray Tan for Men: Preparation Guide

A convenient alternative to self-tanning at home is, of course, getting a spray tan at a salon. It’s as easy as standing in a tanning booth for a few minutes and the result is an all-over bronzed glow. You can even choose the shade that you would prefer – great for first-timers!

Spray tan for men is becoming more and more popular as guys look to achieve a year-round healthy shade. While many salons also offer the option for tanning beds, the convenience and safety of spray tanning are hard to argue with.

As a man, there are certain steps you can take in order to prepare.

1. Shave

For the areas of your body that you shave commonly (this may be your face and even body hair), you will want to have this done at least 24 hours before. Be aware that shaving can and will remove some of the tanner once it is applied so it is best to have these areas shaved before your appointment.

2.  Exfoliate

A few days before your appointment, it would be recommended to exfoliate your skin. This will help scrub off any dead and dry skin that would result in a patchy or uneven spray tan. Exfoliating will leave you with a fresh layer of new skin – a perfect base for a new spray tan.

3. Moisturise

The key to a long-lasting spray tan is maintenance and a great way to keep your skin hydrated and firm is through moisturising. If you are not already consistently using moisturiser, then apply it for a week leading up to your spray tan. It would also be recommended to place on particularly dry areas (knees, elbows, ankles) just before you are about to get it done.

Once you have washed off the first layer, moisturise your skin at least once a day. This will help maintain the tan considerably.

This is one of the best ways to maintain your spray tan.

4. Wear loose-fitting clothes

Remember to wear loose-fitting clothes to the appointment. This includes wearing sandals or slides. There is no worse feeling than putting on tight jeans after a spray tan and you are almost certain to remove a great deal of the tanner too. 

Ideally, wear dark and very loose-fitting clothes. You are not going to be washing the tan off for *at least* 4 hours so make sure you don’t have to be anywhere important immediately after your appointment.

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

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