How’s your tan looking? Because, with almost a whole summer of beating sunlight and searing heat behind you, almost every inch of your skin should be sufficiently bronzed by now. It should have that dusky, dark-complexioned glow; an olive-tinted tinge that looks equal parts mid-century movie star, French Riviera jet-setter and Seville easy-peeler.
But how, now the clouds of colder months are gathering, can you ensure that your new sun-kissed skin persists into autumn? There’s nothing more draining than a summer tan fading, so we’ve rounded up a handful of tips, tricks and techniques that’ll keep your vivid, vibrant colour glowing for a few precious weeks more…
#1: Moisturise every morning (and night)
Let’s start with the simplest step; moisturising. The only way you can guarantee your tan’ll stick around is to hydrate your skin sufficiently and stop it peeling. Oils and creamy butters are perfect for this, and will ensure your skin doesn’t dehydrate.
We’d recommend Heath’s vegan moisturiser, formulated with ‘Tiare Flower’, ‘Butterfly Bush’ and — perhaps most importantly — ‘Hyaluronic Acid’; a proven moisturising agent that delivers long-lasting hydration whilst stimulating epidermal renewal for softer and smoother skin.
#2: Exfoliate your skin (even if it feels illogical)
It sounds counter-intuitive; but bear with us. Sunlight penetrates the top layer of your skin, and builds a tan that pervades deeper than just those surface pores. This, however, means that if you’ve not been moisturising properly, there’ll be lots of dead or dehydrated cells atop your skin — and they’ll dull your tan.
How to fix this? Exfoliation. Remove that dead layer, and you’ll expose richly-tanned skin beneath. Try turning to Dr Sebagh for this. The world-renowned cosmetic doctor has created a mask with ‘Azelaic’ and ‘Lactic’ acids, which work to sluice off dead layers of skin for a faster cell turnover — and a more radiant complexion.
Dr Sebagh Deep Exfoliating Mask
#3: Give your bronzing a boost with a specialist serum
There’s no harm in offering your tan a helping hand — especially if it’s starting to fade prematurely. And there are many products available, tailored specifically to modern man’s complexion, that can give your bronzed visage a little boost. Our pick of this tan-enhancing bunch? Tom Ford’s ‘Bronzing Gel’.
A mainstay of our bathroom cabinet, this is a lightweight, water-based gel that uses the extracts of exotic fruits — including ‘Beach Mulberry’ and ‘Indian Soapberry’ — to mimic the look of a few minutes in the sun. Apply it to the places the sun would naturally hit you harder (cheekbones, forehead etc.) and your tan will stick around that little bit longer.
Tom Ford Bronzing Gel
#4: Remember to take more tepid showers
It’s another simple step — yet another that many men may also overlook. But skip this tip, and you’ll strip that tan from your skin quicker than September rolls around. Because hot showers are exceedingly dehydrating, and will kill that top layer of skin you’ve just exposed by exfoliating.
So, rather than turning the tap to its steamiest setting, we’d recommend braving a more bitter shower; one of a temperature that’ll still keep you clean — but not dry you out. While you’re at it, squeeze out and lather up some of Floris’ ‘No.89 Moisturising Bath & Shower Gel’, created with olive oil that’ll naturally soften and hydrate your body.
Floris No.89 Moisturising Bath & Shower Gel
#5: Wear more white to force a colour contrast
Of course, not every tan-sustaining tip is steeped in science. There are certain tricks you can deploy that’ll make your skin appear darker — without actually prolonging your summer colour at all. And, chief among these bronze-boosting ploys is this simple technique; wear more white.
It’s as easy as it is effective. Contrasting the bright, light colour with your richly-toned tan will push both shades to their extremes. And there’s no better way to wear white than with a crisp Turnbull & Asser shirt. Sticking to a summer theme for this scheme, we’d go for this ultra-breathable linen number.
Turnbull & Asser White Linen Shirt
#6: Or opt for coral-coloured clothing for the same effect
White isn’t the only colour that’ll bring out your tan’s bronze-hued best. In fact, there’s a whole host of different tones and tints that’ll enhance and intensify your skin’s new shade. Purple, oddly, can work sun-kissed wonders — as can certain pastel blue hues, and even gold.
But your best bet, aside from the summery steadfastness of white? Coral. This pinky orange shade not only conjures up warm feelings of warmer weather, it will also bring out the reddy-brown tinge of your tanned skin, and accentuate your summer look for longer.
Gusari ‘St. Barts’ Swim Shorts
#7: Ensure your diet contains plenty of beta-carotenes
Back to the science for this seventh tip. In a tan-maintaining diet, ‘beta-carotenes’ are your best friends. Not only are these naturally-occurring pigments chock-full of antioxidants that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on your skin, they can also improve your ability to tan in the first place.
This is all thanks to the tan-enhancing talents of humble Vitamin A. Beta-carotene-rich foods — such as mango, melon and apricots — will increase your levels of this essential nutrient, and boost your body’s ability to produce melanin, and thus both tan faster and maintain your tan for longer.
Fortnum & Mason Dried Mango Slices
#8: Hydrate your skin from the inside out
And, finally, a last simple, crucial step; drink lots and lots of water. If you’ve been sitting out in the sun this summer, it’s likely that you’ve already invested in a handy water bottle (such as the double-walled Chilly’s ‘Series 2’ below), but it’s imperative to keep drinking two litres a day if you want to maintain your tan.
Water keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, ensuring that it stays soft and supple from the inside-out. So, if you’re moisturising every morning, remember to have a glassful or two of water, too — to protect your tan from every side and prolong that summer look long into autumn.
Chilly’s ‘Series 2’ Water Bottle
Want more heat-beating tips for summer? Here’s why all your polo shirts should be knitted…
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.