Have you caught the sun? Or are you just red in the face at the prospect of discussing tanning? As men, we’re conditioned to believe that bronzing — be that of the beds, the bottle or the summertime sun — is not a matter to be discussed publicly.
But today, when men can find everything from specifically gendered face masks to makeup, surely talk of tanning should be less taboo? Here at Gentleman’s Journal, we’re ready to shine a light on the subject — and share our top tips for sunbathing this summer.
Supercharge your sunning sessions with tanning oil
Screens, creams and blocks are all well and good — but those of us serious about sunbathing should be using tanning oils instead. These lower-SPF offerings still protect your skin from harmful UV rays, but are much better at extending, enhancing and evenly spreading the tan you want to build up.
Our pick of the best include this oil-in-mist from Clarins, which can also be used to protect hair from drying rays. Sisley’s SPF6 sun oil may be low protection, but a proportioned UVA-UVB filtering complex gives you a fine spray application — ideal for those who play sport. Finally, from Institut Esthederm, this oil has been formulated to leave a silky sheen rather than a greasy residue — so it won’t ruin any of those all-important poolside holiday snaps. Just be sure to top up frequently – sunburn is a good look for no man.
Sisley Sun Oil
Institut Esthederm Sun Care Oil
Remember to time your tan — and cover up when you need to
Of course, the grooming products are only half the battle. Another key element of building up an excellent summer tan comes down to timing. Plugging into a podcast and languishing in the same position for hours on end won’t get you anywhere. Instead, you must allow your skin to recover between sunning sessions.
Around 15 to 30 minutes for each side of your body should do it. After this, either reapply your tanning oil, move into the shade or throw on a light, protective layer. We’d go for linen, such as this shirt from Emma Willis, a good wide-brimmed hat like Anderson & Sheppard’s Panama, or even a light Luca Faloni sweater.
Emma Willis Linen Shirt
Anderson & Sheppard Panama
Luca Faloni Cashmere Sweater
Go for waterproof protection if you’re hitting the waves this summer
The tanning oils above are ideal if you’re a relaxed holidayer — the type of person who enjoys a book on the beach over extreme water sports. But, if your summer months are to be spent cannonballing off the deck of a Monaco-moored superyacht (lucky you), it’ll pay dividends to invest in a waterproof sunscreen.
This way, you can paddle board and parasail to your heart’s delight — without the worry of burning. From Liberty London, Salt & Stone’s Mineral Lotion contains coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter — and won’t wash off in the water for 80 minutes. Aesop’s spearminty offering goes one better, with four hours of SPF50 protection. Jack Black’s ‘Very Water Resistant Sunscreen’ does what it says on the tube; a unique, vitamin-enriched, oil-free lotion formulated especially for extreme sportsmen.
Salt & Stone Mineral Sunscreen
Aesop Protective Body Lotion
Jack Black Very Water Resistant Sun Guard
Stock up for skin recovery with aftersun and soft clothing
Now here’s where most of us go wrong. Even after you’ve sashayed into the shade, or pulled yourself away from the pool, your tanning session is far from over. In fact, proper aftercare of sun-kissed skin is what will determine the depth, tone and longevity of your tan.
To this end, you want to apply some specialised moisturiser. We’d recommend Perricone MD’s revolutionary Cold Plasma; a cooling, intensive formula that will tighten and brighten your tan. On top of that, forgo any rough fabrics or unforgiving materials, and shrug on linens, soft cottons and cashmeres to ensure you skin isn’t irritated. Sir Plus’ shirt range and Luca Faloni’s fine cashmere knitwear are ideal.
Sir Plus Grandad Shirt
Perricone MD Cold Plasma
Luca Faloni Cashmere Sweater
If all else fails, fake it
We’d all like a fortnight sunning ourselves on the Riviera, but sometimes there’s just not the time. So, if you’re busy spending your summer working on your start-up, or just fancy a city break instead, there is still a way to top up your tan — even if it is cheating a little.
False tanning and fake bronzers for men have been steadily improving and you can now achieve a California-grade glow from the comfort of your very own bathroom. Le Labo’s bronzer, for example, is formulated with turmeric and sunflower extract to ensure it gives you a natural hue. Clinique’s offering, meanwhile, is free from oil and fragrance — so you won’t arouse suspicion that you’re dabbling with fake tan. And Tom Ford’s Bronzing Gel has been created to make you look subtly sun-kissed — without veering too close to the ‘orange’ danger zone.
Le Labo Face Bronzer
Clinique For Men Face Bronzer
Tom Ford Bronzing Gel
Want to look good this summer even with your clothes on? We asked Mathias le Fèvre for his top tailoring brands…