Should men ever use fake tan?

As your summer glow fades into autumn, should you be reaching for the fake stuff?

Let’s be honest, there are more manly things than fake tanning. In fact, there are more manly things than even talking about fake tanning. Yet here we find ourselves, rapidly losing our summer glow and already toying with the idea of artificially getting our glow on. But should men be embarrassed about reaching for the tanning mitt, or stepping into the spray booth? We asked James Harknett, known by monikers from ‘the Tan Man’ to ‘the Tom Ford of tanning’, just why do men go so red when faced with bronzing?

Should men ever use fake tan?

Why are men put off by the thought of fake tan?

For many men, the thought of fake tan fills them with dread. If it’s not the ‘Ross from Friends’ horror, it’s the time that they saw and smelt their girlfriend developing a not-so natural hue. Also, many guys who love a natural tan have been more swayed by sun beds in the past. But I’m now pleased to report an upswing in male spray tans, with this making up around 45 per cent of my business at Away Spa W London.

With the likes of David Gandy coming to me for a subtle bronze, men are now seeing it as something that does enhance their look, especially when baring skin for the first time since they hit the beach for holidays. Also, a contoured tan highlights and defines the muscles and is extremely popular with men that work out and take pride in their appearance – making it more versatile than laying out in the sun.

Should men ever use fake tan?
Should men ever use fake tan?

What is the best way for a man to fake tan?

For guys the best and safest option is a bespoke spray tan, especially if they are new to the concept of self-tanning. Once they embrace the new and enhanced version of themselves, I tend to recommend at-home products to top up with. Fake Bakes Iconic Airbrush tan in a can is trustworthy product for men that glides through body hair and stubble for a natural sun kissed glow.

Is a spray the best way? What about gels or lotions?

An aerosol can deliver results fast. It’s just important to lay a dark towel down in the bathroom and barrier the hands and feet first with moisturiser. I also recommend a little moisture or Vaseline around the hairline, brows and elbows.

But there are many options now for self-tanning at home. Lotions, gels, serums and balms give tanners a choice of how to apply, but I’d still say that a tanning mousse is easiest for males. Most are tinted with a golden, guide colour to allow you to see where you are applying, therefore the risk of streaking is diminished. The formula dries fast and works with the individuals skin tone to create a warm golden colour. Tanning mitts allow the user to glide the mousse over the body for speedy results I recommend a test of tanning the arms first to quickly learn the knack of fast and easy self-tanning.

Should men ever use fake tan?
Should men ever use fake tan?

How long does fake-tan last?

A good self-tanner will last around 5/7 days on the body. Our skin renews itself over the course of a week or so, therefore to get longevity from the colour it’s crucial to keep the skin moisturised at all times. This helps lock in the colour and avoid dehydration. Keep showers a little cooler than normal and pat dry the skin. For guys that work out and sweat quite regularly I recommend a gent’s talc to help absorb the perspiration, before it starts to crumble the tan.

Is this the best time of the year to start fake tanning?

The autumn and winter months are a great time to start tanning. First of all, it’s normally around this time any summer colour has started to fade. But also, our skin is covered a lot of the time so it’s a great opportunity to trial a subtle colour should you not like the look.

James Harknett offers a menu of tanning treatments at the AWAY Spa W London. Learn more here.

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