As part of a two article grooming special, we have concentrated on men’s self tanning. Duncan and Ben have concentrated on two different areas for today’s mini series, with Ben concentrating on the range of products available, whilst Duncan gives out his Tan Commandments which all of you should stick by if you are going to self tan correctly. So enjoy fellas…
Men’s Self Tanning
As we approach Spring/Summer, the days get longer and sunnier (hopefully!), clothes get smaller and layers get thinner. What this means is that more flesh is on show – and during the Summer months, a dash of healthy-looking colour is often desired by both men and women. But as we become more aware of the health risks associated with getting a bit of colour the natural way – more and more people, including men, are turning to safer methods such as cosmetic products in order to create a suntanned effect. Although women have been using fake tan and self-tanning products for years – there still seems to be a stigma attached to men doing the same. In the metrosexual age – is self-tanning for men more accepted?
We are all aware of the dangers of overexposure to the sun; accelerated signs of ageing, wrinkles, an increased risk of skin cancer, mottled pigmentation and liver spots… yet still, we crave a decent tan – and to go on holiday and return as pale as when you left is deemed a failure! You can’t deny that a tan makes you look healthier, fitter and less tired, and faking it is the most efficient way of creating a suntanned effect in a safe manner. Finally, grooming and cosmetic producers are tapping into this niche market and there is now a vast range of self tan products available – specifically aimed at the male market.
We all know that men and women have different core skin types – and this means that the products men and women use need to cater for different types of skin. Men’s skin is approximately 20% thicker than women’s and as a result is firmer, as it contains more collagen and elastin levels. This means it can take more tough, harsh products than women’s skin – so don’t be afraid to get really stuck in with the exfoliator! (I recommend St Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub which contains lots of exfoliating beads which really revitalises and works out your skin.) Exfoliation is especially important before using tanning products as deep exfoliation is essential prior to applying a self-tan lotion. Men’s skin also naturally secretes more sebum oil and sweat with the result being that men’s skin is naturally more oily and tends to get dirty more quickly. Another issue is body and facial hair – which is obviously more common in men than in women (well, most women anyway!) Any skin products for men need to take all of these factors into consideration in order to be effective.
Having said this, we as men benefit from our tougher skin because we are able to use products typically marketed at women – whereas a woman making use of a men’s line of toiletries is much more likely to experience irritation and discomfort. Essentially – this means that there are more products out there for us men to choose from. In fact, look closely and you will see we are spoilt for choice! Although products such as Dove Summer Glow and Johnson’s Holiday Skin are traditionally marketed at women they are in fact unisex and can work just as well on men’s skin… if the man in question can get over the negative stigma associated with self tanning.
I think this stigma is the biggest obstacle to men taking more proactive action to self-tanning and taking the safer route to getting a tan. When anybody, male or female, hears the term ‘fake tan’ (a phrase I am keen to avoid in this article because of the negative connotations) – we naturally think of heavy, orange, badly-applied, streaky colour which looks exactly that – ‘fake.’ Think David Dickinson at an Oompa Loompa fancy dress party. However, the newer products out there, particularly those aimed at men, have been well-marketed and make clever use of semantics to avoid this negativity. Instead of ‘fake tan’ – men can choose from ‘Nivea for Men Summer Look Moisturiser’, ‘Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Healthy Bronze’ and ‘Dior Homme Healthy Look Moisturising Lotion.’ By marketing the products as a gradual tanning moisturiser and adding the suffix ‘for men’ – I think men feel less emasculated, less threatened by the notion of self-tanning, and as a consequence, more comfortable buying such products. The products out there at the moment such as ‘No. 7 for Men Gradual Tan’ and ‘L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Holiday Look Gradual Tan’ emphasise the fact that these products are designed to build up a healthy-looking colour gradually – creating a much more natural-looking effect over a period of time, rather than appearing chalky white one day, and flame-orange the next. Most men want to appear more naturally-bronzed David Beckham than spray-painted David Hasslehoff – and the new products available offer men this.
As with most cosmetic products, you get what you pay for – so it is important to be aware that cheaper products may be more liable to irritate the skin and result in an artificial-looking, less natural colour. Having said that, there are some budget, hidden gems out there which are reasonably-priced and good quality.
Unisex products such as Dove Summer Glow and Johnson’s Holiday Skin are both available at reasonable prices in Boots. The ranges offer the lotion in 3 different tones (light/medium/dark) depending on your skin tone and they all offer a deep moisturising effect which is important for maintaining healthy skin and also helps prolong the suntanned colour.
Moving away from unisex products, Boots have also recently added 2 self-tan products to their No. 7 for Men range – No. 7 for Men Gradual Tan Body and Gradual Tan Face SPF 15 . Again these products offer deep moisturisation – and I can say from experience – the effect is gradual and natural-looking, yet still noticeable. The Gradual Tan Face also contains SPF which means that it also offers some limited sun protection (although it should not be used as a sun block). I have noticed recently that other Fashionbeans writers have championed the No. 7 for Men range from Boots and I am more than happy to reinforce this opinion. Well worth a try!
Another range which I can say is generally good from personal experience is the L’Oreal Men Expert range. However, their Hydra Energetic Holiday Look Gradual Tanning Moisturiser has received mixed reviews from customers. Some people have found it to be very effective but others have raised concerns over the smell of the lotion and also the final colouring which is arguably more yellow and jaundiced than tanned. Of course, results depend on the individual’s skin tone and skin type so I still think it is worth a try.
Also available at high-street chemists, is Nivea for Men Summer Look Moisturiser. Nivea have been at the forefront of moisturising body lotions for years and this product claims to show a significant difference within 3 days and also offers a degree of SPF protection.
Available at feelunique is the Fake Bake Man Tri Kit. This is a set of three products (facial scrub/shaving gel/tanning gel) all essential to creating a natural, streak-free bronzed colouring.
Neutrogena also offer a Sun Fresh Sunless range for men. This interesting thing is that the range is available in a lotion, foam and spray. This is particularly relevant for men with a lot of body hair as often lotions can be difficult to apply without streaking. The thick consistency of the lotions can cause clumps of colour to gather around hair follicles on the body, creating a patchy effect. However, both the foam and spray are thinner in consistency and are therefore easier to apply onto areas of the body with hair.
Mid/High Price Range Products
Clarins Men offer a Self-Tanning Gel towards the higher end of the cosmetics market. The fact that this is a gel rather than a lotion/cream adds a different dynamic to the product and this product both moisturises and tones the skin after application. It also comes highly recommended by GQ magazine.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Healthy Bronze is a non-oily product which awakens and uplifts tired-looking skin whilst providing a subtle, natural-looking tan.
Biotherm Power Bronze claims to instantly enhance the skin and lasts for up to 7 days with a non-streak effect.
Other high-end products include:
The last option (above right) for men with liberal attitudes is the idea of bronzing. Although I find this a stretch too far for me – perhaps, in the modern world of ‘manscara’ and ‘guyliner’, the more liberal-minded of you out there would find this an attractive option.
So now I have given you the run down on what products are available for purchase, make sure you stick to Duncan’s Tan Commandments in order to get that perfect sunless tan application: Click Here to read the article.