Spray tanning for men – All your questions answered

Spray tanning for men; how to do it and why you ABSOLUTELY should

Are you a man tan sceptic? Fear no more. We have spray-tanned tonnes of terrified men and aim to let you know EVERYTHING about fake tanning for men.

We’ve got you covered, from tiny tan knickers to freezing your balls off.

We will cover:

  • Do guys get spray tans?
  • What to ask for at the salon
  • What to do and bring beforehand
  • What do guys wear for a spray tan
  • Essential tanning tips for men e.g. what to do and what not to do afterwards
  • Some tips for beauty therapists providing the treatment

ross from friends spray tan episode

We know precisely why you are worried about going for a spray tan. You are worried the ladies in the waiting room are going to scoff at you, you’re panicking about being nude in front of a beauty therapist and on top of that, you fear being recruited by Willy Wonka.

NONE of that is going to happen (if you follow these steps).

These are modern times, remember. Not once in our eight years in the beauty industry have we thought that men shouldn’t come into our salon for spray tanning. We actually encourage it.

Beauty therapy is all about making people feel good whether that be welcoming you into our salon, having some great banter or giving you a treatment that’s going to make you feel like a million dollars.

A man that false tans is skin health savvy and I hope they never feel discouraged for wanting a holiday glow without the UV damage. The bottom line is, that most beauty therapists would never dream of excluding someone based on their gender.

How to book a spray tan

One thing I loved about my male clients was that they were always prepared, if not a little too prepared.

Why? Because, unlike us salon-loving females, they don’t take it for granted.

Most men booking a spray tan would like to phone or chat online before coming into our salon, and we really appreciated this. It allowed us to give advice beforehand, discuss what they really wanted and generally make it a stress-free appointment for them.

What to do before the spray tan

Spray tans for men are a bit different due to the following aspects:

  • beards
  • hairy bods
  • underwear
  • shaved or bald heads

Beards – Don’t bother shaving your beard; there’s no need.

Hair – No need to de-fuzz, but if you want to you can (just do it 24 hours before)

Underwear – Pick underwear that would replicate the natural tan lines you would get at the beach. If you are going into a bodybuilding competition, you may have to wear a thong. Going nude is not recommended for spray tan sessions.

Shaved or bald heads – Don’t worry; your therapist will spray this area.

Now that that’s covered let’s go over your pre-tan tasks:

  • Exfoliate 24-48 hours before your spray tan
  • Bring loose, dark clothing that is easy to put on (check this out what to wear to a spray tan)
  • Test your clothing suitability by putting it on beforehand and ask yourself, ‘was that easy to get on without rubbing any tan off?’
  • Bring an umbrella or raincoat.
  • Don’t wear deodorant, aftershave, moisturizer to your appointment, even if you put it on in the morning.
  • Sorry! No gym after your tan I’m afraid.
  • Refrain from washing hands or showering after treatment until you can wash it off (usually 9 hours)

What shade to ask for

If this spray tan is for a holiday, night out, or just to feel good, for your first-time spray tanning, pick a light or medium spray tan.

Are you naturally tanned? Try a medium.

Are you a ghostly shade of pale? Go for light on your first time.

Unlike a regular male spray tan for everyday events, stage or photography tans are a bit different.

For bodybuilding competitions or fitness progress photoshoots, pick the darkest shade they have. This is to give your body definition, but also counteracts the stage lights and flash photography.

Our client Ben after getting sprayed for a fitness progress shoot.

When to wash off?

Most tans are to be washed off in 9-12 hours. It’s best to check with your therapist before you leave the salon.

If you are getting a rapid spray tan, you wash this tan off depending on how dark you want to get. Find out more about rapid spray tans.

We always recommend rapid spray tans because the colour guide gives you a little preview of what’s to come, and it’s so convenient to wash your tan off in 3-4 hours!

Here are some vital shower tips for after your spray tan to keep you right: how to shower after a spray tan

Tips for therapists when spray tanning male clients

Make them feel comfortable and prepared

Give your male clients extra attention; it’s probably their first time using a fake tan, never mind a spray tan. What’s obvious to us ladies about false tanning, may not be obvious to someone who’s never used it before.

What is the event?

If the tanning session is for a bodybuilding competition or fitness progress photo shoot, it is strongly recommended that they pick the darkest shade, e.g. 16%, 20% or your ‘rapid tan‘ left on for 12 hours. I recommend Nouvatan 20% for these types of tan because it’s a natural-looking tan (non-orange) but dark enough to counteract the flash photography and stage lights.

For everyday use, e.g. holiday, pick an 8% to 10% or light to the medium max for your male client’s first session. You don’t want to give them a fright!

The ankles and feet

Ok, this is important! Really hair legs must be sprayed in an upwards motion instead of a downwards motion that you would typically do. This is to push the hairs out of the way with the airflow, so the tan get’s under the hair and onto the skin.

This can, however, mean you might overspray the ankles. It’s a little complicated, but let’s explain.

Your spray tan mist should never start directly on the skin; you should always begin spraying the empty air space before hitting the skin because if not, it will congeal at the starting point a look awful.

Start your upward spray in the middle of the shins and then very lightly mist the bottom of the legs.

This article explains spray tan flow in more detail: Spray tanning hands and feet

Remember the head!

Remember, most ladies have a head full of hair, so you can easily forget that a man with no hair on his head will need that sprayed.

Give pre-tan preparation advice

See our full guide to preparing for a spray tan: What to do before a spray tan

Over-explain the aftercare

Don’t leave any client in the dark about aftercare. It could end in tan-streaked tears. When it comes to spray tans for men, we need to remember that the vast majority of them are not knowledgeable about fake tanning.

Remind your client not to wash your hands, go to the gym etc. Check out more tips here: Spray tan tips

Straight from the bottle

If you’re just wanting to try a false tanner instead of a spray tan, the best fake tan for men would be something light and natural. A gradual tanner would be best.

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