Men deserve to have the same golden tan that women do, and should also be able to achieve this tan without stepping a foot into the sun.
Previously, men weren’t so open about their self-tanning habits, but luckily as time and trends change, the idea and acceptance of men self-tanning is growing, as it should.
We all understand the dangers the sun poses to our skin, with both immediate and long-term damage being a possibility. It is always a good idea to avoid venturing out into the sun unprotected just to get a summer tan, but this in no way means that you can’t enjoy bronze, toned-looking skin.
Men and women are built differently, and these differences require different formulations of products to suit their skin types.
When it comes to self-tanning products, men deserve to treat themselves, and their skin, to a self-tanner that not only gives them the tan they desire, but also self-tanning products that hydrate, nourish, and rejuvenate their skin.
There are some great products out there that are suited for men, that help gradually or instantly tan the skin to achieve the sunless bronze everyone is after. These products have been made to suit the male skin, ensuring the best result possible.
On top of knowing the best product for your skin, it is a good idea to become familiar with the application process of self-tanners, making sure you give yourself a streak-free, even tan. Some helpful tips will also go a long way in ensuring you get that sunless tan you have been after!
I did write an article on the best self-tanning products for men’s legs, which you can check out here, but it was finally time to write a more definitive guide on picking the perfect product.
The Best Self-Tanner for Men
Alright, now let’s jump straight into the best self-tanning products for men.
1. Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse
This is my absolute favorite bronzing mousse right now, and it is the perfect choice for men.
This self-tanning mousse comes in a deep tone, so make sure you are prepared for a dark shade. If you are looking for a more subdued look on lighter skin tones, then there are other options in this list that will work better for you.
So why does this product stand out if you’re looking for the deepest shade possible? For starters, it’s 100% vegan, lightweight, non-sticky, and hydrating for your skin.
This product will also adapt to your skin tone, so even though it is marketed as having a deep shade, the formula is designed to complement your natural skin tone. This means that this self-tanning mousse is perfect for beginners.
2. St. Tropez Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse
Remember when I said there would be a more subdued option for lighter skin? This is it!
What sets the St. Tropez Express Advanced Bronzing Mousse apart from the Classic version is that it is formulated to provide a medium-deep tone instead of a deep tone.
This is a 3-in-1 tanner that offers a light tan in less than 1 hour. Here is how you can customize the color of your glow with this product:
- For a light tan, leave it on for 1 hour.
- For a medium tan, leave on for 2 hours.
- For a deep tan, leave it on for 3 hours.
If you want the fastest-acting self-tanner possible, this express formula is your choice!
3. Skinerals Self-Tanner Sunless Bronzer
When it comes to self-tanners, Skinerals is one of your safest bets. Their products are completely safe to use and gentle, even for men.
The Sunless Bronzer can be used on both the face and body and will leave you with an even, consistent tan, free from streaks, orange tints, and blotches.
To make life even easier when applying the Skinerals Sunless Bronzer, you can purchase the tanning mitt. This will work to give you the most fuss-free, easy-to-apply self-tanning process.
The Sunless Bronzer is cruelty-free, Paraben-free, Sulfate-free, and vegan. Skinerals look to use organic and natural ingredients to create their products over non-organic where possible and avoid using the harsh chemicals found in other self-tanners completely.
A bonus for men is that the Sunless Bronzer contains ingredients that help to rejuvenate and restore the skin while giving it a perfect tan, which helps with the rougher skin that men tend to have.
It is a reliable, easy-to-use self-tanner that gives you a streak-free result with a no-hassle application. You will have the benefit of having a great tan and healthy-looking skin.
4. Neutrogena Micro-Mist Airbrush Sunless Tan Spray
Neutrogena is known to be one of the leading skin brands in the world, so it would make sense that they would have one of the best self-tanning solutions out there.
For an easier application, this self-tanner is an airbrush spray that allows for hands-free application.
With a fine and light mist, the spray applies evenly and gives good, light coverage. There is no need to rub in the even spray, making it perfect to avoid any extra mess or staining.
The airbrush spray has a one-touch continuous spray that works at any angle, making it ideal to tan all those hard-to-reach areas, and making tanning your back a breeze.
The spray tan dries in under 5 minutes and applies fast, creating a quick process that will save you tons of time compared to other spray tan applications.
The color is buildable, and you are able to control how dark you want your tan to be depending on how often you apply the spray tan. The tan will be streak-free and has a light fresh scent, which does not smell like the usual spray-tan lotions.
Being oil-free and non-comedogenic, the airbrush spray will not clog up pores and create a surplus of oil and breakouts. You will be able to achieve a sunless summer tan that is up to three shades more tanned than your normal skin tone.
5. LÓreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self-Tanner Towelettes
If you are looking for a quick and easy application solution for self-tanners, this is your answer.
These convenient and easy-to-use towelettes give you a streak-free and natural-looking tan.
Each towelette has enough self-tanner for a full application and is perfect to use when at home or even out and about.
The towelettes are formulated with Vitamin E along with AHA’s for a natural-looking, instant tan. The overall tan develops after 2-4 hours, with a streak-free, even coverage.
Being travel-friendly, you can take these towelettes along with you when you are on holiday, avoiding the harsh rays of the sun but still maintaining the holiday-bronzed look.
The towelettes are made with a tanning agent that is applied to the skin with the towelette, but it is a good idea to use gloves to apply the towelettes to the skin to avoid overly-tanned hands.
This is a convenient and easy solution that many men look for, and will be a quick and hassle-free application that will allow you to build and maintain a sunless tan, completely safe from the sun!
6. Clinique Skin Supplies for Men
Made just for men, the Clinique Non-Streak Bronzer is one of the best options for males looking to achieve a natural-looking tan.
The gel bronzer is made from an oil-free formula that easily blends into the skin to create a natural, radiant tan that will last through physical activity, rain, or swimming.
Easily apply by blending the gel over clean and exfoliated skin. That’s it. A simple, fuss-free application that is perfect for the man on the go.
The gel formula keeps the skin hydrated and looking refreshed, while still giving it a natural, radiant tan that fades slowly.
What makes this the perfect option for the active man is that the gel lasts throughout activity and wet. It can be used weekly to maintain the tan and will give you the sunless tan you want, streak-free and natural looking.
7. Self-Tanner for Men’s Grooming – Sunless Tanning Mousse
The Man Tan Organic Self-Tanner is designed specifically for men by Man Tan Co. It is a sunless self-tanning mousse which is applied as a clear mousse, making it an easy, no mess application.
Being designed specifically for men, it is able to be used over facial and body hair, but still offering a natural looking, even tan. It is odor free, helping you avoid the usual sunless tanning smell.
The brown sugar based formula helps to achieve a golden glow that can either be light, medium or dark. The mousse can be used to build a gradual tan over time and can be used on both the body and the face.
The formula is paraben-free and organic. It has anti-aging and hydrating ingredients that help to keep the skin healthy and moisturized with a tan that fades evenly before you gradually build it up again.
Overall, the mousse is easy to use and easily achieves the sunless tan that you are looking for. It is long lasting due to the fact that you can continuously build up the tan to get to the tone you want.
Made for men, you know it will be the best option for your skin and body, accommodating for the uniqueness of a man’s skin.
8. James Read Hydra Tan Mist for Men
This Hydra Tan Mist is made with a wide range of skin loving ingredients which help to hydrate the skin, all while giving it the perfect bronze tan.
Made for men, this tanning mist can be used after shaving, and the lightweight mist gives a gradual tan that can be built into a deeper, darker tan, giving you full control of the color you want, and giving you the option of how often you want to tan.
The fragrance of the Hydra Mist is made with undertones of ginger and fig, providing a light and fresh aroma that can be used as an aftershave solution as well.
The Hyaluronic Acid in the mist gives the skin a natural elasticity which helps to reduce the appearance and occurrence of wrinkles. The added cooling agent in the mist is perfect for aftershave use.
Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, and Guarana offer a refreshing boost that moisturizes and restores the skin and giving it added firmness. All while giving you a bronzed tan!
The colorless formula of the mist does not stain clothes or linen and the fast drying formula is perfect to spray and go. The clear mist applies easily, so you do not need a mirror for application.
This is the perfect self-tanner to use if you are looking for an easy solution that works well with your daily grooming schedule.
9. Banana Boat Self-Tanning Sunless Lotion
This self-adjusting color formula gives you the opportunity to control the shade and tones of your tan. The tinted lotion is easy to apply, streak-free and fast drying.
It can be used for all skin types and is ideal for men to use. The lotion is oil-free, so it will not clog up pores or create breakouts. The added Aloe Vera and Vitamin E help to nourish and moisturize the skin while building a bronze tan.
There are different shades of the lotion available, light, medium and deep dark, so you are able to choose the color which best suits your skin tone.
Your ideal tan will be a few shades darker than your natural tone, but not so dark that it looks unnatural. The Banana Boat Self-Tanner gives you that option.
Banana Boat believes in being sun-safe, and this self-tanning lotion keeps you out of the sun but still looking like you have spent a week in the Bahamas.
10. Gradual Self-Tanner for Face and Body
You are able to control your tan with this self-tanning lotion. It can be used over a period of 1 to 3 days to achieve your desired tan, with no streaking, no orange patches, and no blotchiness.
There is no need to have a wide range of sunless tanning products as this lotion can be used on the face, body, feet, and hands.
It is a pure and natural lotion made with organic ingredients that are not only designed to give you the desired tan but to nourish and hydrate your skin.
The ingredients responsible for caring for your skin are Shea Butter, Seed Oil, Safflower, Babassu Oil and Argan Oil. The Eco-certified DHA is gentle on the skin and does not dry the skin out like DHA used in other sunless tanners.
The bottle comes with step-by-step instructions and helpful tips to give you the knowledge to perform a flawless, even natural tan which lasts up to 7 days.
11. Tan Physics True Color Tanner
Tan Physics has a great self-tanner on offer. It gives you a truly authentic tan with ingredients that nourish and hydrate the skin.
The self-tanner comes with a free Sans-Sun mitt which helps you achieve a professional looking tan. The mitt also allows for a streak-free and even application thanks to the microfiber surface.
The natural ingredients pamper the skin and offer some anti-aging benefits that help your skin appear young while being tanned and glowing.
The correcting tints in the formula help to even out your skin tone and enhance your skin with a natural looking, even tan.
For someone looking for an easy solution to sunless tanning, this lotion with the tanning mitt will give you a hassle free application with the benefit of being able to gradually build your sunless tan to the shade and tone that you are happy with.
The natural ingredients also keep your skin looking hydrated and nourished, which helps to make the sunless tan last longer as well.
Step By Step For Men’s Self-Tanners
While men might not spend as much time on their beauty regime as women, it is just as important for them to know the steps it takes to achieve a flawless self-tan, both before, during and after application.
Preparation is key to a successful tan and will make the whole process much easier, but it is also important to note that you will need to put in some extra work after you have applied the self-tanner to ensure the sunless tan lasts long and stays looking great.
Here is what all men should do when self-tanning:
Prepare Your Skin
It is absolutely essential to prepare your skin before applying a self-tanner. A clean, fresh palette will respond to a self-tanner much better than skin which has excess dead skin cells or dirty patches. Removing any impurities and build up will give you an even application.
- Use a face scrub or exfoliator to cleanse the face of any build up or oils
- Use a body exfoliator to remove excess dead skin cells from the skin, and remember to focus on the drier areas such as the knees, heels, and elbows.
- Shave before applying the self-tanner. The hair might get in the way of the product reaching the skin and reacting with it evenly.
Applying The Product
You should always follow the recommended steps provided by the self-tanner, which are usually found on the bottle or box of the product. However, there are a few things they don’t tell you, which can help make the application process a little bit easier.
- Always remember that less is more, especially when applying self-tanner to your face. You can always go back and apply more self-tanning product, but it is difficult to remove too much self-tanner once it has developed.
- Do not apply self-tanner in the bathroom if you have just showered. There might be too much steam present which can interfere with the application.
- Use circular motions to massage the product evenly into the skin. Avoid rubbing the self-tanning lotion into your eyelids and ears.
- There are some common spots that people forget to apply self-tanner to: back of the neck, elbows, knees, ankles, feet and the torso. These areas are very visible and would make it easy to notice if they have not been tanned.
- Clean your hands often during the application to avoid your hands, and especially your palms, turning dark orange, which is a sure giveaway of fake tan.
No matter what the self-tanner instructions say, it is better to wait at least 20 minutes before putting on clothing after applying the self-tanner. This minimizes the risks of staining. There is also some extra care that needs to be done to ensure that your tan lasts and looks great.
- Straight after you have finished the application, scrub your fingernails, palms, and hands to clear away any residual self-tanning product.
- If there are any splotchy areas, apply some moisturizer to the areas, this should help even the tone out a little bit.
- Make a habit of moisturizing your skin once a day after you have applied the self-tanning lotion. This will help to extend the lifespan of the tan as a healthy skin holds a tan much better than dry, flaky skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many men are new to the world of self-tanning and might have a host of questions ready to be asked. These are some of the most common questions men have about self-tanning:
Should I shave before self-tanning?
Some products have been designed to work around men’s facial and body hair, but it is much safer to shave before applying a self-tanning product.
There really is no way for a lotion or mousse to be spread evenly on the skin if there is hair in the way. This will result in the tan being blotchy and patchy, which really isn’t a great look.
Shave a day before applying the self-tanner. This will give your skin time to recover from shaving and it won’t be too sensitive to the product.
Can I shave after a spray tan?
Shaving does remove some of the dead skin cells that sit on top of the skin, and these dead skin cells are responsible for reacting with the DHA found in self-tanning lotions, giving the skin a bronzed look.
However, if you really do have to shave, wait 10 hours before doing so. Use a new, sharp razor as older razors might be dull and drag excess skin off when shaving.
Do all self-tanners have a fragrance?
Back in the day, most self-tanners had a very recognizable smell that would let everyone know that you had just applied a self-tan.
Luckily, most brands have worked this away and now use fresh scents like coconut to mask or hide this smell.
Many of the scents used in self-tanning lotions are more feminine, but there are self-tanners that are made for men who have more rugged fragrances, such as musk or spearmint.
Can I shower after a fake tan?
You need to give the DHA enough time to react with your skin to develop a dark bronze tan. You could shower at a minimum of 4 hours after the application, but the longer you wait, the better your results will be.
Showering too soon could lessen the intensity of the tan and make it look dull, or cause it to fade faster.
Self-Tanners for Men
There really is no reason in today’s world that men should not be afforded the opportunity to enjoy an incredible, sunless tan.
There are some really amazing products out there which have been specifically formulated to suit a man’s skin, keeping it glowing and tanned, while still being caring and gentle to the skin.
Other self-tanning products are just as versatile, being made for both men and women, there are so many options.
Getting into the habit of self-tanning does not need to be difficult. As a man, you will be giving yourself that extra bit of confidence you need, but still avoiding any damage to your skin by staying out of the sun.