Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Hoping to catch the sun this summer? We’ve rounded up the best tips, techniques and products to help you brush up on bronzing

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. Lancaster’s sun protective water can even be applied to wet skin, and moisturises while stimulating the tanning process. 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.

Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Lancaster Sun Protective Water

£21.50

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Institut Esthederm Sun Care Oil

£44

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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 a linen shirt every time. Emma Willis‘ Indigo Ink option is always a striking choice; or you could opt for Love Brand‘s white Abaco offering — or Turnbull & Asser‘s turquoise shirt, if you’re looking to make a colourful splash.

Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Emma Willis Linen Shirt

£240

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Turnbull & Asser Linen Shirt

£250

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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.

Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Salt & Stone Mineral Sunscreen

£6.50

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Aesop Protective Body Lotion

£30

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Jack Black Very Water Resistant Sun Guard

£15.78

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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.

Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Perricone MD Cold Plasma+

£145

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Luca Faloni Cashmere Sweater

£260

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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. If you’re new to the self-tanning game, we’d recommend starting off slow with War Paint‘s tinted moisturiser, which will build a gradual glow. 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.

Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

War Paint Tinted Moisturiser

£22

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Here’s how to tan like a gentleman

Clinique For Men Face Bronzer

£19

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Off to the beach? Here’s everything we’re packing in our beach bag this summer

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