Tanning for Men – Everything You Need to Know

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In a day and age where we’re working on our bodies to ensure they look as good in person as they do on Instagram, fake tanning is no longer just for females.

Tanning for men is becoming more and more socially acceptable and for some generations, is pretty much the norm now but if you’re yet to take the plunge to try and get that holiday glow without seeing a single ray of sun, we’ve got some tips to get you started.

From the do’s and don’ts of tanning for men to the top products and must know tricks, we’re going to get you on the right track to having a golden glow at all times if you fancy it!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tanning for Men


If you’re new to the world of false tan, DO choose something instant first. Gradual tan is quite the commitment as it’s going to be on your body for a few days at least, so if you’re still grasping the technique of tanning then choosing an instant product that washes off as quick as it develops is going to be easier for a beginner.

DO choose a lighter shade to start with. As much as you might want to look fresh from a week on the beach, you want your false tan to fool everyone into thinking you really have been on holiday, so it needs to look relatively natural, especially to start with. Start with a light/medium shade and work your way up to dark to avoid turning heads for the wrong reasons!

DO apply your false tan with a tanning mitt as opposed to your hand. Whether you’re using gradual or instant, applying with your hands is going to leave you with bright orange or dark brown palms, so use a mitt to keep things even and clean!


DON’T keep layering fake tan products on top of each other without washing layers off. When your tan goes patchy, it’s a real give away that it’s false, so keeping on top of cleaning your skin of product before you reapply is the way to get an even tan.

DON’T forget to apply moisturiser before you tan! This might all sound like a bit of an over the top routine but there really is no way to get an even and natural looking tan without applying moisturiser first, especially to your knees, elbows and face.

DON’T apply tan straight after shaving. Being clean shaven or sporting an extremely short amount of stubble is best for getting a smooth and even tan but if you shave straight before tanning, it could lead to your tan going patchy or sinking into the open pores.

Top Tanning Products for Men

When it comes to fake tanning for men, there are two options for picking your products: you can buy specifically male fake tans or head to the women’s tanning products and pick up something from there – they are all the same!

Clarins Men Tanning Booster – £20 for 15ml

Coming highly recommended from GQ, the Clarins Men Tanning Booster is the perfect stepping stone if you’re just entering the world of fake tanning. This oil-type consistency can be added to your regular moisturiser and with just 2-3 drops, you can add a subtle bronze colour to your skin without being too bold.

St Tropez Bronzing Mouse – £20.43 for 120ml

Rated a number one tan for men by many, including Graham Jones from Ape to Gentleman, the St Tropez Bronzing Mousse is a reliable and easy to use gradual tanning mousse that can be applied after your shower or bath in an evening, slept in and then washed off in the morning.

Reviews coming from men who have tried the product say that it can even easily be applied to hairier legs and arms if you’re not a fan of being cleanshaven.

Clinique For Men Face Bronzer – £21.00 for 60ml

A favourite of the guys at Mankind, the Clinique for Men Face Bronzer is a gel consistency that is lightweight and streak free, making it the ultimate comfortable product to instantly tan your face. An oil-free formula to avoid making you look greasy, this specifically for men facial bronzer can be applied alone or in your moisturiser, depending on how deep and dark you want your tan to be.

Top Tanning Tips for Men

To round up our guide on tanning for men, we’ve got a few final top tips to remember when trying to master the world of fake tanning!

  • Always exfoliate before tanning, it makes for a smoother tan
  • Moisturise your ankles, elbows and knees before tanning
  • Keep it natural to start with, you don’t want to go too dark, too soon
  • Give your skin chance to breathe and be tan-free every few weeks, it’ll allow your tan to apply smoother next time

So, are you a regular male tanner? Are you fancying giving it a go? Are you still not convinced?  Let us know where you stand on fake tanning for men on Twitter!


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