7 must-follow habits For all ‘good’ men. Ditch the nonsense and get back to the basics with our blueprint of handy, life-enhancing grooming tips for looking your best. A Bible for all men, by beauty expert Anubha Charan
Turns out that the old adage is true—men do have thicker skin! In fact, its 16 percent thicker than women’s skin, has a higher oil content, larger pores, suffers more wear and tear because of shaving, is more resistant towards ageing because of higher collagen levels but develops deeper wrinkles when the years do catch up. Which explains why men need their own version of skincare, and can’t get away by pinchin grooming goodies from the women in their lives.
In fact, women’s products, which usually contain higher quantities of oil can irritate men’s skin and clog their pores. Men’s products need to be easily absorbed, non-greasy and fragrance-free. They are thus notably lighter than their female counterparts’ and are primarily built around antioxidants, skin soothers and exfoliators.
And no, using a couple of these is not going to make you metrosexual, retrosexual or in touch with your ‘feminine side’— it’s all about good grooming and looking your best. Our fathers never went down this road, but then neither did they need iPhones and high-edge laptops. It’s all about the changing times.
The trick isn’t to spend a fortune on a thousand different products, or to preen in front of the mirror for hours. Rather, you should develop a daily routine that is quick, simple and—above all else—about maintenance, ensuring you don’t let yourself (or your impeccable wardrobe) down with unsightly hair or unkempt stubble.
FACE-WASH KNOW MORE
A fat bar of any random detergent-based soap may seem the most macho way for a “real man” to clean his face but it’s the absolute worst thing you can do to your skin! Most bar soaps strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry, flaky and with the consistency of sandpaper. The fix? A gentle alternative, such as the Clarins Men Active Face Wash Foaming Gel, will cleanse without stripping skin of all hydration. Bonus points if you get your hands on an electronic facial brush. Clarisonic now makes one specifically for men, called the Alpha Fit, whose supersonic action removes oil, sweat and debris six times more effectivel than hands alone!
LEARN HOW TO SHAVE LIKE AN EXPERT
Shaving may not be rocket science but those nicks, cuts and razor burns look as uncomfortable as they feel. And avoiding them is simple enough: Prepping skin with a shave oil, balm or foam (like L’Oreal Men Expert Anti-Irritation Shave Foam or Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream) will help the razor glide over your stubble. Opt for a high quality razor—such as the Gillette Fusion ProGlide or Wilkinson Sword Hydro—with no less than three blades and shave in the direction that your beard hair grows (never go against the grain here!). Soaking the razor blades in warm water will help your skin’s pores expand, leading to less irritation and redness.
Soaking the razor blades in warm water will help your skin’s pores expand, leading to less irritation and redness
Even though male skin is tougher, it also endures a lot more wear and tear with shaving, harsh washing and the misplaced tendency to avoid moisturisers. In fact, the last is sometimes flaunted by men as a ‘manly’virtue!
This results in dry, irritated, sensitive and flaky skin. A simple moisturizer can soothe irritation and there are several dedicated men’s lines to choose from. You may follow our suggestions or pick your brands of choice. Look out for labels listing antioxidants—and especially vitamins A and C—which help slow the development of wrinkles, rough spots and hyper- pigmentation by preventing free radical damage and exfoliating the skin. L’Occitane’s Cédrat After Shave Cream Gel and Clinique For Men Maximum Hydrator hit the spot perfectly!
… AND OTHER RANDOM FACIAL FUZZ
Nose hair, ear hair, eyebrow hair… so gross. So easy to avoid. If your eyebrows are meeting in the middle, you’ve got a problem on your hands (and face). Plucking is one option but it’s time consuming. So, if need be, ask your barber to tidy up your brows… believe us, he’s heard it before. Ditto for any errant hairs above and below your brows.
Ear and nose hair? The general rule of thumb is straight- forward: the ends shouldn’t be visible. That means trimming the hairs off till the inside rim of the relevant opening. It’s literally 30 seconds!
And get yourself a facial hair trimmer, like The Sharper Image’s Turbo Groomer 2.0 or Remington Precision Nose & Ear Trimmer. No, don’t laugh it off!
Don’t use scissors and don’t pluck. Not only does plucking hurt, there is a chance of tearing the skin inside your nose or ear, which can lead to infection. Similarly, holding a pair of scissors while navigating hard-to- reach-areas is a recipe for disaster. So, avoid.
￼No, not just a ‘silly’ add-on; rethink your style
SUN SOAK? STOP NOW!
The sun’s UV rays—even on cloudy days—are skin’s worst enemies, leading to photo ageing and DNA damage. So, use a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection, with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E & Coenzyme Q10. Picks: Clinique for Men UV Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50; Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard SPF 50+.
Sun protection is not just for women
A little body hair is nothing to be ashamed of… but if you’d rather be more man than bear, it requires upkeep. Although shaving is by far the cheapest option, it’s the least permanent. Ideally, opt for an electric razor, such as Gillette’s Mach3; it’s hardier for tough body hair. Prep skin with a pre-shave lotion such as Lab Series Electric Shave Solution to avoid irritation; to finish off, stock up on a tough razor-burn treatment such Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Razor Bump Relief.
For a more permanent solution, look at waxing and laser hair removal. Especially for tough to reach areas, like your back. While this might seem like a huge time commitment, it’s not impossible to set an hour out once a month to look good and feel more confident.
YOUR BEST FEET FORWARD
Feet barely get any love, even though dermatologists recommend investing in a foot file and taking care of any unsightly calluses and patches of dry or hard skin, especially if you intend on baring your feet. Also, cutdown on toe fuzz with scissors, then focus on your nails. Trim them square, then buff smooth with a file.
Go for pedicures in the summer and manicures year-round
1. PAUL SMITH SUNSHINE FOR MEN:
A sweet scent, this one smells almost edible with its notes of grapefruit, coriander, black pepper, nutmeg and anise.
2. DIOR SAUVAGE:
A bold, punchy fragrance, this isa reworking of Dior’s iconicEau Sauvage, with bergamot, lavender and ambroxan (which smells like ambergris).
3. TOM FORD COSTA AZZURRA:
A heady woodiness runs through TomFord’s latest creation, which is inspired by the Sardinian coastline. Think notes of salt, citrus, fresh herbs, driftwood, oak and vanilla.
4. ISSEY MIYAKE L’EAU D’ISSEY POUR HOMME SUMMER 2016:
One of the zestiest pick-me-ups to launch this year, this one marries crisp aquatics with fruity top notes of grapefruit and kiwi.
5. MOLTON BROWN TOBACCO ABSOLUTE: Instead of smelling like a full bodied, OTT Cohiba, Tobacco Absolute beautifully merges tobacco with buoyant citrus and musky woods for a scent that you can take literally anywhere.
6. GIVENCHY GENTLEMEN ONLY PARISIAN BREAK:
Reminiscent of a walk along the river Seine, Parisian Break is a crisp fantasy of mint and citrus, overlaid with green herbs and vetiver.
7. AESOP TACIT:
Fresh and subtly spicy, this daytime fragrance brings home basil leaves, vetiver and Japanese yuzu for a cologne-like feeling. Defines refresh!
8. FLORIS BERGAMOTTO DI POSITANO:
Bergamot and mandarin bring home Positano, a city that “bites deep” in the words of John Steinbeck. Both fruity and spicy, it’s like a vacation in a bottle.
9. ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA ACQUA DI BERGAMOTTO:
A great choice for the office, this one is built around Calabrian bergamot and infused with a slightly salty, aquatic edge.
10. HERMÈS EQUIPAGE GÉRANIUM:
A reworking of Quipage (Hermès’ first fragrance aimed exclusively at men), Equipage Geranium’s elusive soapiness and delicate spiciness has a charmingly old-fashioned feel.