Men's Grooming: The Tan Commandments
Editor Introduction

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 using self tan is something that I believe carries an unnecessary stigma. There’s nothing wrong with using products to accentuate your summer glow if it leaves us looking and feeling better, especially with the concerns over potential sun damage. What I do have a problem with however, is bad fake tanning. Whether its over or improper use, bad fake tanning has NO place in our culture, Z-list celebrity or otherwise. As far as I can see the main concerns are;

1. Too much
Exhibit A shows us how ridiculous over-tanning can turn nasty. Now I love a man bag as much as the next guy, but I don’t want my face to look like one.

2. Very, very poor application
Hats off for trying, but if you’re going to get it this wrong then you may as well have stayed pasty. Study this photo below closely gentlemen, and consider what could happen if you don’t adhere to the correct tanning procedures.

How NOT to Self Tan

In order to stop you falling into the same orange tinged trap, I’ve devised the ten commandments of self tanning. If you follow these golden rules by the book (Book? Bible? See what I did there!?), then you give yourself the best chance of achieving a tan worth showing off this summer.

The Tan Commandments

1. Honour your high quality products
In the tanning game, there is a lot to be said for quality when making your product choice. So avoid ‘The Man Tan Lotion’ from the pound shop and opt for brands we all know and trust – think; St. Tropez, Fake Bake, Clarins, No. 7 or Dove – and if possible, opt for a brand where you’re already a fan of other products in the range.

2. Thou shalt always exfoliate
This is the most important of the 10 tanning commandments. If you avoid pre-tanning exfoliation, then you run the risk of achieving a tan that’s got more in common with animal print than a groomed Adonis. Using either St Tropez’s Body Polish or King Of Shaves Sensitive Face Scrub, you’ll remove dead skin cells and smooth dry areas to make your new tan more even. Be sure to pay particular attention to areas of rough skin like knees, elbows and feet as these are the areas most prone to patchiness.

3. Thou shalt never forget to moisturise
Once you’ve exfoliated, the next step is to apply a body moisturiser to smooth your skin before application – allowing your self tan to concentrate on tanning, rather than moisturising. I’ve always found that when it comes to body moisturiser you can’t beat Vaseline Intensive Care. When your skin is smooth from exfoliation and fully moisturised, you’re ready to start tanning.

4. Thou shalt always use a mitt
One of the tell tale signs of fake tanning is orange hands. Yes, you can thoroughly wash them after application, but the only fool proof way to prevent this is to use a tanning mitt. Not only will this prevent any give-away signs, but you’ll achieve a much more even tan when using one. With a water resistant barrier to ensure your fingers remain unstained, this Applicator Mitt from tanning experts St. Tropez should be high on your tan essential list.

5. Remember your skin type and keep it holy
Choosing a ‘medium to dark’ tan if you’re a fair haired Scandinavian is a sure fire way to get self tanning horribly wrong before you even start applying. Be true to yourself and your skin type by picking a shade of self tan suited to you, build up gradually and your tan will look more natural and more subtle (are you listening Alex Reid?).

6. Thou shalt not get dressed too quickly
Picture the scene; you apply a bit of fake tan before a big night out but in your haste you put your new white shirt on too soon after tanning – ruining your tan and leaving you with a hefty dry cleaning bill.

7. Thou shalt correct thy mistakes if necessary
Even the most experienced tanners amongst us are bound to make mistakes every now and again, but fear not, your tan isn’t quite ruined yet. Exfoliators not only provide the perfect preparation but they also become a useful problem solver, removing unsightly streaks and patches even after your tan has dried.

8. Thou shalt not mistake fake tan for sun protection
The harmful side effects of sun exposure may be one of the things that turns you towards fake tan in the first place. However, once you’ve achieved your natural-looking – but out of the bottle tan – don’t then think you’ll be adequately protected from the sun in the future. Yes you look sun kissed but you’re not protected, so don’t ruin all your hard work by turning that golden tan lobster red.

9. Thou shalt always shave or wax the day before application
Shaving and waxing, as well as removing hair, is an excellent form of exfoliation. If you’ve ever used an electric razor, then you’ll know exactly what I mean, seeing that along with stubble, you also remove dead skin cells from the skin surface. If you shave of wax immediately after tanning, you’ll remove the recently tanned skin, and create a patch work quilt.

10. Ask for help from thy neighbour
As you’ll have realised by now, without the correct preparation, self tanning can be tricky enough at the best of times. But things don’t get much more tricky than trying to self tan your own back, so you’ll need the help of someone you can trust to apply tan to tricky areas (maybe this is the chance you needed to get to know you neighbour a little better and you could return the favour!).

Products Recommended Throughout


ST TROPEZ APPLICATOR MITTVaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh Body Lotion 200ml