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.

Daniel Sandler launches bronzer brush for men

When it comes to giving skin a bit of colour I’ve always been a fan of powder bronzers over liquid ones, tinted moisturisers or self-tanners. I think this is for two reasons: growing up in the early Eighties I was never afraid of using a bit of slap and, being a control freak, I like to be able to have total control over the end results.

One of the problems with them, though, is that it’s so easy to overload the applicator brush which can lead to a too-strong effect, patchiness and a shirt dusted in powder. Make-up artist Daniel Sandler has very cleverly tackled this problem, however, with this brand new bronzer brush.

Taking its cues from the silver tipped badger shaving brushes most men are familiar with his ultrafine, supersoft High Speed Bronzer Brush is supersized, made from a mixture of goat and synthetic fibres and features more sparse hairs than regular brushes making it almost impossible to overload. Having given it a go myself I can vouch for its effectiveness and its large surface area means you can get the job done in a matter of seconds.

If you’ve never used a brush (or a bronzer) before don’t worry, I asked Daniel for a few expert tips: “For the best results, gently sweep the tip of the brush hairs over your bronzer powder to pick up colour, tap off any excess then gently sweep over face making sure you apply beyond the jaw line so your tan looks natural,” he says.

“To get the best out of the brush itself, always apply without pressing the brush tip too hard on skin and use quick light, circular motions for a speedy, even-finish.” If you’re applying over moisturiser he recommends waiting for it to be fully absorbed before using  the bronzer – that way you’ll avoid streaks. Easy, no?

You can use the brush in conjunction with your own bronzer (I’ve just tried it out with the Jean Paul Gautlier one I regularly use) or why not try it with Daniel’s Mineral Bronzer Powder? Go on! Don’t be a scaredy-cat – give it a whirl!

Daniel Sandler’s High Speed Bronzer Brush is available from 1st Feb and costs £26. For stockists, or to buy online go to www.danielsandler.com.