There was a time when men could simply throw on a flannel shirt and run hands through their hair. Rumpled and wrinkled, they wandered the earth, perfectly happy in their own skin.
As styles and fashions have changed, so have grooming rituals. The beard has made quite the comeback in the last few years, shining a spotlight on all the accoutrements necessary to keep such a bounty of facial hair in check.
Whether you are a baby-faced metrosexual or a swarthy gentleman who prizes his weekends in the great outdoors, here are some grooming tips vital to the 21st century male.
Sean Connery and a number of other film actors may have aged gracefully, but don’t just assume you’ll do the same without some help. Inherited issues are never helpful, yet with the right products at hand, you can keep the wrinkles, spots and dry/oily areas at bay.
The key is washing and moisturizing every day. Splash your face with cold water when you wake up and use a wash with glycolic acid first thing in the morning and last thing before you go to bed. You can also use an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week, but don’t go bananas or you could end up irritating your skin.
Moisturizer isn’t just for the ladies. After cleansing your face, follow it with a good moisturizer. Make sure it’s the right fit for your skin type. Don’t use oil-based lotion on already oily skin; look for water-based products instead.
Add retinol cream to your routine to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated on the inside keeps your skin moisturized on the outside.
Do we really need to mention a good sunblock when you live in the Caribbean?
Want to get close to people? Smelling fresh is a good way to start. There’s no doubt that men sweat, and when you’re this close to the Equator, deodorant is an absolute must.
Antiperspirant keeps you dry and deodorant counteracts that wonderful scent known as B.O.
Here’s something interesting you may not have known: it’s possible for your pits to become immune to the ingredients in your deodorant.
Yup – if you keep using the same brand with the same formula for years on end, you may find that it stops working as it should over time.
Try switching your brand every six months to avoid your body building up a resistance to it. You’ll be doing everyone a favor, particularly yourself.
The art of shaving
If there’s one thing women don’t envy men, it’s the daily shaving routine. Any guy in his 20s should know by now how to shave his face, but just in case you’re still struggling and dealing with nicks and cuts, here are some tips you may not have yet tried:
- Make sure your beard is thoroughly wet. Showering before shaving is best, but if you’re on a jump-and-run schedule, rinse your face then apply a warm, moistened towel to your face for a couple of minutes. It will make the hair easier to cut and reduces the risk of razor burn and shaving rash.
- Use a quality shaving cream. This is your face we’re talking about, so don’t skimp on the products you use. You want a high concentration of lubricants and moisturizers. If you have the time, try to leave the cream on your face for about a minute before you start to shave.
- That shaving brush isn’t just for your grandfather – it is a top tool to have on hand. That one, seemingly innocuous item performs a number of tasks. First of all, it helps raise the hair for a closer cut. Secondly, it helps create a rich, creamy lather with the shaving cream; and finally, it helps remove dead skin cells.
- Buy a good razor and change the blades often. Trying to save a buck by going with a cheap razor and keeping it proudly for months on end is the surefire way to wreck your skin. A dull blade can make your face look blotchy, and contribute to rashes.
- Cleanse and soothe post-shave. Rinse your face with warm water and use a facial wash that has a high concentration of tea tree oil and witch hazel; then rinse with cold water and pat with a clean towel.
- Get yourself some aftershave lotion or balm. You’ve just put your skin through a rough experience, removing up to two layers of skin. Give it some love.
P.S. Leave the straight razor shave to those who know what they’re doing
Men can certainly get away with the streamlined look if their hair is starting to disappear, but many would rather hang on to their locks for as long as they can. If your hair is beginning to thin, consider using aa matte styling paste or clay. Matte products absorb light and instantly make hair appear a little thicker; and here’s an oldie but a goodie: wash your hair in eggs once a month for the protein they bring to the table.
Don’t rub your head to death with a towel to dry your hair, pat instead to avoid breakages. Avoid over-washing (which will make it drier) and keep the hair dryer on a cooler setting. Extreme heat can cause frizz and damage.
Final tip: wet your hair completely through with clean water, and maybe even add a bit of conditioner before swimming in the pool. It will reduce the impact of the chlorine on your crowning glory.