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How to Tan a Bald Head Quickly (and Safely)

Does your scalp have a different skin tone than your face? This can be embarrassing, making your head look like an eggshell.

Or maybe you've grown tired of wearing hats outdoors and want to parade your smooth dome for a change?

Learning how to tan your bald head quickly and safely is vital.

Let's discuss the various ways of tanning your head without ending up with a burnt scalp.

Why Should You Tan Your Bald Head?

Stewart Cink Bald tan line

image via CBS

First-time shavers often discover that the skin color on their domes is lighter than that on their face and body. This is called the dreaded bald head tan line that baldies encounter after shaving their heads for the first time.

It's noticeable, especially if you have a pale scalp and a darker skin tone.

The solution: tanning your bald head.

Tanning creates a more polished and balanced look.

Who doesn't want an even skin tone with a golden glow?

So what to do in the meantime? Buzz your bald heads and sunbathe.

The shortest buzz is ideal for more exposed skin. After a week or two, you'll notice a change in your scalp's skin pigment.

Traditional tanning methods do come with risks, though. Sunbathing or using tanning beds without any protection can have serious consequences.

What are the Risks of Skipping Sun Protection?

If you want a tanned head, the sun is your friend. However, there are bad guys you need to avoid: UV radiation.

UV rays cause wrinkles, dark spots, and worse, skin cancer. Too much UV rays can damage the DNA in skin cells, causing benign or malignant growths.

Is There a Safe Way to Tan My Bald Head? 

There is no such thing as a 100% "safe" way to tan a bald head.

But there are safer ways to achieve a smooth, bronzed look, like using self-tanners and tanning sprays.

Sunshine and tanning usually go together, but traditional tanning methods like sunbathing and tanning beds have their share of risks that can make you think twice before tanning that bald head. We'll discuss the safer and traditional ways and how to minimize risks.

Self-Tanning Products

Are you looking for a healthier and safer way to tan your head? Self-tanning products are an easy, convenient, safe, and effective way to achieve a bald head tan.

Most self-tanners contain an active tanning agent called DHA or dihydroxyacetone. This agent reacts with the proteins in the outer layer of the skin, creating a bronze/tan color.  

They are available in lotions, creams, gels, and drops.


  • Safest method vs sunbathing and tanning beds

  • Convenient

  • You can DIY (Do-it-yourself)

  • Control over tan darkness

  • See results in a few hours (2 to 4 hours)

  • Cheaper than spray tans


  • Can stain clothes or bedding

  • Hard to achieve an even tan 

  • Has a distinct smell that can stick to your scalp for a few hours

  • DHA increases the chances of sunburn if exposed within 24 hours

  • Allergic reaction (some baldies may be allergic to ingredients in self-tanning products)

  • Fades within a few days (needs reapplying)

  • Some products leave an orange tint, streaks, or blotches

Exfoliate before applying self-tanning products for a more even tan. Avoid showers or sweating, which can wash off the tanning product and cause unwanted streaks.

Spray Tan

Another safer, sunless tanning solution, spray tans, is a good option for tanning your smooth dome. Like self-tanners, a DHA tanning solution is applied by spraying a fine mist directly onto your scalp.


  • Tans in several hours (2 to 4 hours)

  • Choose different shades

  • No harmful UV rays


  • Lasts around 5 to 7 days

  • Overspray can stain clothes/towels/bedding

  • Expensive

  • Unpleasant odor

  • DHA increases the chances of sunburn if exposed within 24 hours

  • DHA must not be inhaled, ingested, or applied to lips, nose, and areas around the eyes.

Similar to self-tanners, you must exfoliate before applying tanning spray solution. Showering or sweating can wash off the spray tanning product, so avoid this while you have the spray on. 

It would be best to avoid exposure to direct sunlight while you have a self-tanner on your scalp.


bald man sunbathing

Sunbathing is the easiest, cheapest, and most common way to tan your bald head. 


  • Vitamin D

  • Natural method

  • Stress reliever

  • Cheapest method 

  • Even tan


  • Unwanted tan lines (sunglasses)

  • Sunburn (excruciating)

  • UVA and UVB ray exposure

  • Multiple sessions needed

  • Time-consuming

  • Premature aging/ skin damage

  • Increases risk of skin cancer

After your tanning session, always moisturize to soothe and hydrate your scalp.

Tanning Beds

man getting UV treatment

A tanning bed is another way to get your bald head tan, but it involves more risks than other methods. A tanning bed mimics natural sun exposure (using UV light), so you'll get the good and the harmful effects.


  • Quick and convenient

  • Vitamin D booster during winter months

  • Relaxing experience


  • UV rays  

  • Higher cost 

  • Sunburn

  • Premature skin aging

  • Skin cancer

  • Not suitable for fair-skinned or those with medical conditions

If you choose sunbathing or tanning beds to get your head tanned, you can minimize risks by:

  • Applying sunscreen with a high SPF (30 and above) or broad-spectrum sunscreen. Reapply after 2 hours, especially when swimming or sweating

  • Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated

  • Limit exposure from 10 minutes to a maximum of 30 minutes each time

  • Apply a moisturizer to soothe and hydrate your bald heads

  • Protect your eyes (from UV rays) by wearing UV-proof goggles

Things to do While Waiting for Your Tan


While working on your tan (sunbathing or tanning bed), wearing a summer hat or headband and adding sunglasses are cool ways to hide your uneven scalp skin color. 

Bronzer for Scalp

A matte bronzer can provide a subtle and temporary tan effect. It isn't easy to get the result you want, though; you may need a professional make-up artist to make it look natural. If you think you can DIY, go for a lightweight bronzer that won't clog pores and irritate your scalp. Remember that a little bronzer goes a long way. Apply sparingly; too much can make it look fake and cakey.

Keep a Shaved Head

While waiting for your tan, ensure that you keep your head shaven. More hair blocks the sun and may result in an uneven tan.

How do you keep your bald head longer? The FlexSeries is the best razor for the job.

Get one now to help get even coverage for your scalp.

FlexSeries Shaving Kit


Tanning your bald head quickly and safely can be achieved by choosing the safer method. Self-tanners and spray tans are safer bets than sunbathing and tanning beds.

Prioritizing your skin's health is more critical than high-risk methods that may cause skin damage and cancer.


How Long Does a Bald Head Take to Tan?

Self-tanners usually take 2 to 4 hours to develop a tan. Sunbathing around 10 to 30 minutes. That's how long before your bald head gets a tan, but another question you may ask is how long before you get an even tan? With self-tanners, you can apply more for a darker skin color, which may take a few hours. Traditional methods like sun exposure and tanning beds may take a few days or weeks.

How to Prevent Sunburn on a Bald Head?

Preventing sunburn on a bald head involves using high-SPF sunscreen, wearing hats, avoiding peak hours, and staying in the shade. Read our article for a more detailed discussion on how to get a safe tan.

Can You Spray Tan a Bald Head?

You can ask your professional spray tanner to include your scalp in your tanning session. Tanning spray is a safer alternative to sun exposure and tanning beds. For a natural-looking result, it is better to have a professional spray tanner for your scalp tanning. They know the proper application and help avoid uneven streaks.

Can You Pre-Tan Before Shaving Your Head?

man getting a buzz cut

Yes, you can. Get a buzz cut before shaving and sunbathe until your scalp's skin tone evens out with your face and skin. It can take a week or two before your scalp tan matches your skin color. Remember to apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn, which can be very painful.

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