Clarins Men Tanning Booster – an easy way to boost your summer colour

Getting a tan is one thing; keeping it another altogether. Come to think of it, if you’re fair-skinned like me, even the first part is a challenge. And that’s where self-tanners and bronzers can be useful. So popular have they become that the number of 16-24-year-old men using self-tanning products has gone up by a whopping 27% in the last year. To put a little colour into your cheeks (and forehead, chin and neck) you could just buy yourself a self-tanner, of course, or (and this is much more fun) you could instantly turn your existing moisturiser into a self-tanner with the help of ClarinsMen‘s clever little Tanning Booster.

To do this you simply add three drops of the Booster to your regular moisturiser, mix in the palm of your hand then apply evenly across your face and neck, taking care to wash your hands and to remove any excess moisturiser from your eyebrows and beard. It’s not a wash-off bronzer so the colour will stick around but because you’re applying a small amount you can build up the colour over time, stopping when you’re happy with the result – which will hopefully be before you come to resemble an endangered wood.

The instructions state, rather sternly, that it should be only used with a Clarins moisturiser but I’ve tried it with a couple of non-Clarins products and the results have been just fine so I’d be tempted to ignore that, especially as being able to pimp up your preferred moisturiser is the big bonus here. The instructions also warn against exceeding the ‘recommended dose’ and that’s one piece advice you definitely should stick too. After all, the objective is to look sun-kissed not oven-baked right?

ClarinsMen Self-Tanning Booster is available now priced £20 for 15ml. 

The top 5 male grooming mishaps – and how to avoid them

legsInjuries caused by male grooming treatments are on the rise. So what are the most common and how can you avoid them? 

1. BBQ’d skin

According a new survey by first4lawyers a whopping 20% of male grooming related claims come from men who’ve had a tanning bed trauma. By far the most dangerous treatment, men are four times as likely to sustain an injury from using a sunbed than women.

How to stay safe: “Sunbeds emit radiation similar to that in midday summer sunlight, with the same effects, so you should avoid them altogether,” says consultant Dermatologist Professor John Hawk bluntly. If his advice doesn’t convince you then maybe this stat from Cancer Research UK will: if you’re under 35 and are using sunbeds regularly your risk developing malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – increases by 75%. Scary.

2. Fake tan foul ups

According to the survey men are eight times as likely to suffer a tragedy after a spray tan than women, partly because of their unfamiliarity with the process. The injuries men reported from tanning treatments varied from allergic reactions and skin rashes to dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in spray tans.

How to stay safe: “Spray tans are remarkably safe these days and reactions to them are very rare,” says self-tanning expert James Read who bronzes the bodies of a host of top celebrities. “If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions before, though, ask for a patch test first on the skin behind your ear on your inner arm and come back 24 hours later you’re your tan if everything’s okay.”

3. Treacherous trims

Visit a good hairdressers and having your barnet trimmed is no more dangerous than a trip to the supermarket. Stumble into a salon staffed by an Edward Scissorhands, however, and you’ll be searching for a lawyer, not to mention the tip of your left ear. According to the survey 13% of grooming-gone-wrong claims by men are hairdresser related.

How to stay safe: According to Simon Shaw, European Artistic Director at Wahl UK, the easiest way to avoid accidents is to treat a visit to your stylist as you would an appointment with your doctor. “The most important thing to do when you’re getting your hair cut is to listen to your barber or stylist,” he says. “Do exactly what they ask of you, for example tilting your head either side, and don’t work against them.” Switching off your phone so there are no sudden distractions helps too.

If you’re thinking of having a dye job then visit your hair salon for a patch test 48 hours beforehand to make sure you aren’t allergic to the dyes it uses.

4. Eyebrow raising accidents

Eyebrow shaping treatments are increasingly popular with men but threading – an ancient technique using a cotton thread to remove hairs –  takes skill, talent and practice. “If it’s not done by a qualified and skilled practitioner you can be left with broken and ingrown hairs, unnecessary pain, infected follicles and thin, uneven eyebrows which will take months to grow back,” warns Maria Dinopoulos from Pulse Laser Clinic in London’s Mayfair who specialize in threading.

How to stay safe: Avoid informal threading kiosks and look for a professional salon or clinic that will offer you a more personalised service. “An experienced threader will also work quickly and will ask you to stretch the skin to minimize discomfort,” says Dinopoulos. “If tweezers, eyebrow scissors or brushes are used, these should be sterilised between clients to eliminate infection and a lotion with soothing/antibacterial properties should be offered after the service.”

5. Wax disasters

Remarkably, 1 in 10 claim-related male grooming accidents accidents are connected with leg waxing. “That’s probably because the leg is a large area and if hot wax is applied it can cause a burn or heat rash breakout. It’s very painful and common mistake with therapists,” says Sarah Louisa O’Looney, author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

How to stay safe: “To prevent problems ask for a small amount of wax product be applied to the inside of your wrist so you can test the temperature,” says O’Looney. To minimise sensitivity issues afterwards she recommends avoiding hot showers and baths, fragrances, and work-outs that make you sweat for 24 hours after waxing.

James Read Gradual Tan: an instant success

Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of self-tanners. This is because they’re sometimes difficult to use with facial hair and because I generally don’t like to smell of digestive biscuits. I do, however, recognise how useful they can be and how their popularity with men is growing.

The question is, which is the best? I’ve tried lots (with various and sometimes hilarious results) so it’s a delight to come across one that a. works brilliantly; b. doesn’t honk to high heaven and c. is an added-value product, providing skin with a raft of anti-ageing ingredients as well as a decent, natural-looking tan.

The product I’m talking about is the new Gradual Tan Face by the UK’s leading tanning expert James Read. Part of a James’ inventive new tanning range, I tried it out at the weekend and mightily impressed but the results. Not only is it fragrance-free (you won’t even smell of a Rich Tea let alone a Digestive), it gives a natural-looking bronze to the skin that you have total control over (it has a just a touch of self tan that develops over time, the intensity of which you can govern by applying more if you wish).

What’s especially good about this product is that it also contains anti-aging coenzyme Q10, hydrating hyaluronic acid and cell-renewing red algae too, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist for multi-functional products. Though it’s designed for the face I also tried it (after exfoliating) on my feet, to see if I could get them looking vaguely decent for Birkenstocks and it worked a treat – giving them just enough colour to prevent them from blinding small children. I used the medium version but if you’re a self-tan newbie and nervous about using them why not try the light version  to begin with? I think you’ll be impressed with the results.

James Read Gradual Tan Face £18.50. If you fancy trying James’ range QVC are offering a  great-value ‘discovery set’. For details click here.

Matt Cardle: a slight case of over-grooming?

I’m sorry but I feel utterly compelled to comment on X-Factor finalist Matt Cardle’s transformation from good-looking painter-decorator with a great voice to over-preened, tangerine monster. This is a shot of  him getting ready for the show with a last-minute pluck and paint. But really, what show is he getting ready for? RuPaul’s Drag Race?  So men – if you’re listening take my sage advice: plucked eyebrows and spray tans are best left to the ladies. And those wanting to be ladies of course…

insider interview – master of manicures Leighton Denny


When it comes to nails nobody knows more than than Master of the Manicure Leighton Denny. With a bio that deserves a film treatment (he started out as a fork-lift truck driver before morphing into Britain’s most respected nail technician) he’s tended the talons of just about everyone who’s anyone. So it’s great to be able to, er, nail him down for this week’s Insider Interview…

GG: So Leighton, what would you say  are men’s biggest grooming mistakes?

LD: Not doing anything! We are very much past the days when men could get away with hardly ever showering and paying little or no attention to their appearance. I think that looking good, and looking like you know what you’re doing is as important for men now, as it is for women. It isn’t about being vain, just a bit more aware of what’s out there and taking pride in how you look.

GG: Why is it important for men to look after their nails?

LD: For the same reason that it is important to look after anything else. Nails can be a huge give away so it’s important to make sure that the basic steps are taken to help day to day maintenance. Practically too, having healthy well kept and sealed nails is an important way to prevent infections, so it is vital that you file nails correctly, and keep them hydrated with a good hand and nail cream, such as Best Defence from my range.

GG: What’s your best tip for men who want great nails?

trioLD: A good buffer is a great tool to have to hand, as buffing nails every two to three weeks will help to strengthen and shine nails with very little effort, or product. The Leighton Denny Trio Buffer is my personal favourite as this flattens out ridges, smoothes nails and polishes nails to leave a natural shine. I’d also recommend always carrying a hand cream with you. It’s an easy thing to forget, but great to do at intervals throughout the day for wonderfully conditioned hands, nails and cuticles.

GG: Why should men think about manicures?

LD: Most importantly, everyone deserves to be pampered, and a manicure is a great way to relax whilst getting hands into great shape. For many men who aren’t so familiar with DIY nail care, this is also a great way to get to t know what products to use, and how to use them efficiently. It’s a great way to pick up tips, and treat yourself!

GG: What are your favourite fragrances?

terredhermesLD: I’m a huge fan of Chanel Allure Sport as this is a perfect all rounder and great to wear all day as its fresh and vibrant, without being too heavy. Gucci by Gucci is a classic staple for anyone. It’s such a sexy evening fragrance and is perfect for night out all year round. Terre d’Hermes is my ‘Sunday best’ fragrance and the one I wear when I want to feel really fantastic. Its elegant and clean, but still smells masculine which is really important to me when I choose fragrances.

GG: What’s the one grooming product you couldn’t live without?

LD: For me it has to be fake tan. I’m a huge fan on St Tropez and the products in their range, particularly as I’m very fair skinned and the colour still suits my tone! Especially during the summer, but even during the winter months, I always feel that little bit more confident when I have some colour; and applying it at home means I keep my skin in better condition, and looking younger for longer.

For more info on Leighton go to

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How to fake it (convincingly)

pantoneWell, spring appears to have finally sprung. The sun is out (for the moment) and the sandals are already out (a bit prematurely if you ask me but still….). And already I’ve seen a fair few sets of pasty Anglo-Saxon arms, legs and feet. It’s at exactly at this time of year that I get asked about how to use fake tan and sometimes get calls from friends who’ve ‘done a  Tweed’ (as in Jack, as in orange and streaky) and wonder what went so badly wrong. In most cases the simple answer is they didn’t read the instructions (men never do – we just like to think we know it all). 

So if anyone’s about to have a go with the fake tan my simple advice is this: always, always exfoliate first with a body scrub or body buffing mitt. It’s a simple step but it makes all the difference. Do it and  you’ll remove any dry skin cells which have a nasty habit of greedily absorbing more their fair share of the self-tanner, leaving dark, uneven, streaky patches. 


Focus, especially, on the  elbows, knees and heels where skin is driest and no-one will ever know you’re such a  faker.

I wonder whether Jack can access this blog in stir? 


PS. Put that golf club down Jack. I’m only joshing you. 

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