Commencing a new series of treatment trials, Charlie Teasdale takes on the dreaded spray tan
An office overlooking Soho is all well and good, but like soldiers on leave, trigger-happy FBI agents and battery chickens, we at Esquire long to be out in the field. And so, with only your best interests at heart, this is the inaugural grooming trial, our sounding board for products and treatments that you’ve always been interested in, but never explored. First up: the spray tan.
My treatment investigation took me to James Harknett at the Away Spa, W Hotel London on Leicester Square. Dubbed the “Tom Ford of tanning”, Harknett tells me — after he’s meticulously airbrushed my soft, meringue-like body — that I must stay moisturised to allow for an even fade. He says it a few times. When I get to back to the office, the girls at Harper’s
Bazaar give me the same advice, warning me that an ill-maintained tan can make you look like you have a skin disease.
The process is actually very agreeable. I wanted the tan to be subtle (as you should too), so Harknett chose the second weakest of his shades. For 15 minutes I stood in a vacuum-lined booth while he wafted the gun around like Zorro, coating me evenly as I held different sprayfriendly poses. Harknett is able to contour your torso, and although he can’t turn a beer barrel into a six-pack, he can certainly lessen the heft, albeit visually.
I left the spa looking like I’d been away for a few days, but the tan deepens for a few hours, so by the time I got to the pub that evening the effect was more similar to 10 days in the Balearics, but still understated. Friends who I had seen the day before were puzzled. I told them about the tan, and they laughed, but were clearly interested, and perhaps quietly impressed. One girl was blown away at the evenness, and keen to know which great master I had commissioned for the work.
Upon Harknett’s advice, I invested in Vaseline spray moisturiser, which made the twice-daily process a doddle. For the next week my glow dissipated slowly and evenly, and at no point did it streak, or crust, or puddle, or stain my clothes. Even white T-shirts remained pure. And I got to keep the paper pants, so what’s not to love?
Tanning with James Harknett at Away
Spa, W London Hotel, W1, from £50;