The essential guide to self-tanning for men

When it comes to self-tanning there’s a fine line between an acceptably-tinted fake tan and looking a little too Trump for comfort. And, while a golden glow certainly isn’t the most important thing on our list of priorities during a global pandemic, here we find ourselves, a couple of months into a spring that has allowed few opportunities to get outside and a lot of time to idly stare in the mirror, 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? Especially when double-digit growth in the sector suggests we’re all secretly reaching for the self-tan anyway. Leave any misgivings at the door. Fake tan has been coloured with connotations of reality television and budget high streets in recent years, but these are associations unfairly afforded. Rather than being a cop out, self-tanning is both a safer and easier alternative to spending hours out bathing in rays and trying to get equal coverage to every limb, fold and crease. We asked Chanel make-up artist Thom Walker for his take on the trend – and his tips for getting that subtle glow that no-one will ever guess isn’t natural.

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

I think in the past it has been thought of as more of a female beauty product, so it hasn’t been as widely spoken about in association with men, even though men have enjoyed using self-tan for many years. However with a change in male role models and gender stereotypes I think that is now changing and men are freely expressing their enjoyment of self-tan. So while it seems like this is a new trend for men it’s actually a pre-existing appreciation that’s now being heard

Should men be using specialist products?

Men’s skin generally produces more sebum (oil) than women’s – also men’s skin texture is usually around 25% thicker and tougher. Regular shaving exfoliates the upper skin layers and can lead to irritation, so using a product range that is catered more towards your own skin is preferable. To prepare my skin for tanning I look for a shaving cream, after shave lotion and moisturiser for face and beard that are designed to leave men’s skin feeling soft and supple. The Bleu de Chanel range is one of my favourites.

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