7 of The Best Fake Tan For Men – Guide to Self Tanner Preparation & Application

Last Updated: August 8, 2021

While some men cringe at just the thought of self tanner, 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 self tanning solutions for men to try. The formulas have evolved and significantly improved over the last few years. While you may be associating “self tanner” 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 self tanning products available suited to all different skin types that will have everyone convinced it’s an au-natural glow.

What is the Best Fake Tan for Men?

  1. Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Foam for Men
  2. Clinique For Men Face Bronzer
  3. St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
  4. James Read Hydra Tan Mist For Men
  5. St Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan Lotion
  6. Eco Tan Face Tan Water
  7. Micro-mist Neutrogena

1. Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Foam for Men

Our Pick
Bondi Sands Men's Everyday Gradual Tanning Foam
  • Fresh masculine scent
  • Ultra-lightweight non-greasy formula
  • Streak-free and easy to apply
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The best thing about this self tanner is that it will give you a natural looking glow 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 self 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

Clinique Skin Supplies for Men: Non-Streak Bronzer
  • Oil-free formula – no extra oil on your face
  • Non-streak finish
  • Suited to all skin types


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What’s great about the Clinique for Men Face Bronzer is that it is non-streak self tanner 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

ST TROPEZ Self Tan Bronzing Mousse
  • Dries instantly
  • Tinted formula
  • Easy removal


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While this tanning mousse is not exclusively for men or women, it is a great option for men who may be trying self 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 self tanner mousse, it has a very lightweight consistency and makes the application a breeze. When it comes to this product, a little goes a long way. The bronzing mousse is tinted and dries almost instantly. If it is your first time self 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 self tanner is that it will give you a natural looking glow and is buildable with multiple applications. Another plus of this self tanning mousse is that it has no obvious smell. If you don’t want it to be obvious that you are self tanning, this would be a great option!

4. James Read Hydra Tan Mist For Men

James Read Hydra Tan Mist For Men
  • Gradual/Buildable tan
  • Hydrating and energising
  • Mess-free


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This self tanner for men 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 some self tanners result in. 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

ST. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion
  • Convenient application
  • Buildable shades
  • Ultra-hydrating


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This is one of the best self tanners 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 self tanner 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 self tanner 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

Eco Tan Face Tan Water
  • All-natural and organic ingredients 
  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid for hydration
  • Buildable, natural colour


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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 face self tanner 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 self tanning, 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

L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Mist, Medium
  • Easy and mess-free application (can be applied over the whole body)
  • Quick-drying and streak-free
  • Buildable colour


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Coming in as our final pick is the Neutrogena Micro-mist Airbrush Sunless Tanning Spray. This self tanner 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 self tanner makes it an ideal option for guys who may be trying self tanner for the first time or want a natural-looking go-to product.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should Guys Use Self Tanner?

While I would advise against anyone overdoing it when it comes to self tanning, there is no reason why men should miss out on a healthy-looking glow. Keep in mind this is a much safer alternative than UV exposure. I would start with a spray tan in a light shade – that way you know there won’t be any patches and the light shade will ease you into the world of tanning.

Can You Use Fake Tan on Hairy Legs?

Yes, but opt for a spray on or mousse as it can be applied on body hair more easily. If you want to go all-in, then add a tanning mitt to your kit. This will help you with application (no colour transfer to hands) and blending the self tanning product into the skin.

Self Tanner for Men: Preparation & Application Guide

Getting the best results out of your self tanner, comes down to the right preparation and application technique. Taking a few steps to prepare before your self tanner application will ensure a streak free and even tan application and will also mean your self tanner lasts longer.

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 applying fake tan. 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.

Exfoliate

A day prior to applying self tanner, it would be recommended to exfoliate your skin using a mitt for body and a face scrub exfoliator if you plan to use tanning products on your face. This will help scrub off any dead skin cells 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 self tanning.

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 fake tan application. It would also be recommended to place on particularly dry areas (knees, elbows, ankles) just before you are about to apply. 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.

Application

If it’s your first time applying self tanner, then use the product sparsely. Once you get more comfortable using the product can increase the amount you use.

To make self tanner application a breeze, invest in a good self tanning mitt. This will ensure you avoid orange hands.

Spray or pump the self tanner onto the mitt and apply. Massage the product onto the body in a circular motion. The order in which you apply it totally depends on your preference, however, I always start from the neck and work my way down.

I leave the face until last as sometimes I opt for a self tanning product specifically intended for the face.

Despite wearing a tanning glove, I always recommend washing hands after application as sometimes tanning residue can seep through the glove.

Wear loose-fitting clothes

Remember to wear loose-fitting clothes after you have applied self tanning products. This includes wearing sandals or slides. There is no worse feeling than putting on tight jeans after self tanning 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 application.

Wrap Up

All the quality self tanners listed above are some of the best options for guys looking to try self tanning 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.

A sun kissed golden tan is achievable for anyone however, it is always important to find a self tanning product that is going to work best for you.

There are so many great self tan products available, however, in my opinion, the Bondi Sands Everyday Gradual Tanning Foam self tanner for men would be my top recommendation for any guy looking to get started on a self tanning routine.

Follow the above preparation and application tips to get a flawless natural looking tan.