Can You Self-Tan With Hairy Legs?

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Self-tanner is a great way to add some glow to your skin without having to worry about exposing yourself to potentially harmful UV rays. However, there are a few challenges that you may face while using self-tanning solutions, including those brought on by body hair.

All of us have it somewhere, or at least we have to constantly deal with it.

Body hair is the subject of today’s article.

Can you self-tan with hairy legs? What about those little forearm hairs, the hair on the fingers, etc.?

Yes, you can self-tan with hairy legs or skin, it will work. But depending on the length of the hair, it’s possible your tan will be more uneven than it would be on bare skin.

And by the end of this guide, you’ll know what you need to fake tan with body hair. We’ll also discuss the potential downsides of using self-tanner with body hair.


Can You Self-Tan With Hairy Legs?

While you can self-tan with hairy legs, you may run into a few issues that you wouldn’t encounter if you had waxed, epilated, or shaved your legs before you used a self-tanner.

This is because longer hairs will make it more difficult for the fake tan solution to be evenly distributed over your skin.

When the self-tanner solution comes into contact with your hairs, it won’t dye the skin underneath. As a result, you have to have to rub it in much more vigorously than it would otherwise have to be if the skin was cleared.

The good part about this is that you can still self-tan with body hair, but it will take a bit more work.

There are a few preparatory steps that you can take to reduce the amount of work that you’ll have to do to get a spray tan or sunless tan with body hair, but you don’t have to take these steps.

They will merely make your work easier and may make for a more even tan that looks a little more natural.

Longer hairs will make it more difficult for the fake tan solution to be evenly distributed over your skin.

You’ll also have to account for the kind of tanning solution that you want to use, as some of them will work better with body hair and others will work better with waxed skin.

Can Guys Spray Tan With Hairy Legs?

Mens leg hair is almost always a lot longer than women’s, and men don’t usually shave. If you’ve got long leg hairs that haven’t been shaved or controlled, your tan will likely not come out great.

Even if you don’t want a completely smooth-leg look, you may be able to trim the hair down to a shorter length to tame them. This would make fake tanning a lot easier.

Here are some of the steps that you’ll have to take when self tanning with hair on your legs:

How To Fake Tan With Leg Hair or Body Hair

1. Trim the Hair First

Bottom line: it’s better to shave or wax or remove the hair before you self-tan. You’ll get a cleaner, smoother look. That’s the ideal. But many of us just don’t want to bother constantly trimming small bits of hair.

If you’ve got any long hair, hit it with a trimmer or scissors to shorten it. This will allow you to trim it away and reduce how much of an issue it causes you. The longer the hair, the more chance that the tanning solution will stick to your body hair instead of the skin.

The sharper the scissors, the easier it will be to trim away the hair closer to your skin. Of course, the amount of hair that you want to trim off of your legs will depend on the amount of time that you want to put into your self tanning preparation regimen.

If you don’t mind taking your time to ensure that your self-tan comes out as good-looking as possible, trimming the hair down as close as possible is your best way. 

And when it’s time to shave after you’ve sunless-tanned, see our article here.

2. Make Sure That Your Hair and Skin is Dry Before You Tan

While it’s a good idea to shower before you apply self tanner to your skin, make sure that your skin and the hair on it are dry before putting fake tanon. If your skin and hair are wet, it will repel the self-tanner and will make it more difficult to get a consistent tan.

Towel drying is usually good enough. But you don’t want to be in a rush after you take your shower, as your skin may still be too wet.

We’d recommend waiting for about an hour after your shower to ensure that your skin dries off naturally, as you can’t get all of the water with a towel most of the time.

3. Use the Right Kind of Self Tanner

Can you self tan with hairy legs? Sure you can, but you’ll also want to make sure that you use the right kind of tanning solution to get the best possible results. There are many different types of self tanner, and you can find these various types both in and out of the tanning salon.

Most self tanning solutions come as a kind of lotion that’s almost reminiscent of sunscreen. However, these types of self tanners are designed to work best with smoother skin, so they won’t be as effective at tanning your skin when it’s covered by the fine body hairs that you’ll find on your legs.

On the other hand, self-tanners that mist or mousse before they touch your skin are much better at tanning your skin when you still have body hair. This is because it’s easier for the mousse-style tanning solution to get under the body hairs, contacting your skin fully instead of partially.

Any of the mousse-style self-tans like this one from St. Moritz would be a good choice.

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4. Use a Tanning Mitt

While a tanning mitt may not be as comfortable ad rubbing the tanning solution into your skin with your bare hands, it will allow you to maximize the effect of the self tanner.

This is because some of the tanning solution gets absorbed by the skin on your hand when you don’t use a tanning mitt. There are alternatives to tanning mitts you can use.

Keep in mind that if you choose not to use a mitt, you may get patchier results, particularly on the hands and feet.

5. Don’t Rush the Results

If you want to get an even sheen over your body, you’ll want to take it slow and gradually apply the tanning solution to your skin over an extended period.

Also, don’t be afraid of your self-tanners color coming out too light, as you can always darken it later on with the application of an additional layer of self-tanner.

6. Consider an IPL or Laser Hair Removal Device

Some of the at-home laser hair removal devices on the market nowadays are surprisingly good quality, and not terribly expensive. The best quality home units, the Tria Laser Hair Removal Devices, aren’t cheap, but they work well.

Many IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices are much less expensive than full laser hair removal devices but still work quite well.

If you hate shaving, you can target the hair with one of these devices over the course of a few months, and you’ll be rid of the hair long-term.

Final Thoughts

Can you fake tan with hairy legs? Yes, but there’s a good chance it won’t work as well. The best course is to get rid of the leg hair and get a nice even tan.

But if you don’t want to do that, keep the hair short, follow best practices for applying the tanner, and use a mousse or mist like Tanologist  that is easier to work into skin with hair on it.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).