Trends in male grooming seem to have swung from one extreme to the other over the past couple of decades. In the 90’s we had the age of the metrosexual; the overly preened, bleached and waxed David Beckhams of the day setting the tone for the trendy man. In the noughties the trend went to retrosexual; rugged, rough and rather hairy. But where are we today?
Today, it seems, we are somewhere comfortably in between the two. Sales of men’s cosmetic products have soared over the past couple of years, pointing towards a culture of modern men who enjoy the good life. A healthy daily routine of looking after ourselves has become the norm, and long may it continue. Here’s our guide to grooming for the modern gent who enjoys keeping themselves looking dapper.
Love it or hate it, unless you’re growing a facial forest, you’ll be undertaking this task on pretty much a daily basis. To get your shave ultra-close and smooth always have your shave straight after a warm shower. The warm water will open up the pores and soften the hair follicles, to avoid irritating your skin and ending up with a shaving rash. Use quality shaving materials, avoiding disposable razors.
Applying a pre-shave oil or gel can help to further soften the hair for shaving, but avoid products containing alcohol as these will dry out your skin. Shave in the direction of hair growth and try not to apply too much pressure. Once shaved, rinse your skin in cool water to close the pores and apply a soothing aftershave with moisturiser to make your skin soft and fresh for the day.
Growing a Beard or Designer Stubble
Believe it or not, growing a designer beard is not just a case of not shaving. Growing and maintaining a healthy, attractive beard or stubble takes some work too. To make your growth look deliberate and not scruffy, you’ll need to remove the hair from the areas outside of your natural beard growth, such as the top of the cheeks and the lower part of the neck. Don’t go too high up the neck though, as you could run the risk of creating a ‘chin strap’ effect, a la Flo Rider, which is probably not the look you were going for.
Once your beard gets to a length you are happy with, you can maintain it with a beard trimmer used a couple of times a week to keep it in check. To keep it in tip top condition, use a beard moisturiser product with cocoa butter to keep the hair supple, and bay or argon oil to encourage growth.
Try to maintain a daily skincare routine that involves cleaning and moisturising your skin. The skin on your face is subjected to all sorts of pollution, sun damage and dirt during the day, so give it a good wash each evening with a gentle cleansing product. Follow this up with a good quality moisturiser to renew the hydrolipidic film which protects the skin surface. Around your eyes you can use an eye contour cream which acts on dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness to keep you looking fresh.Once a week or so, indulge your skin with a face mask for men.
Good face masks will act in two ways to improve your skins appearance: first of all they will draw out the impurities from your skin, opening pores and detoxifying the skin’s surface, and secondly they will imbibe the skin with active ingredients and nutrition to keep it looking its best.
Don’t be ashamed of taking two bottles into the shower. Using separate shampoo and conditioner allows you to maintain much greater control over the amount you apply to your hair than a two in one product would. Try to condition after every wash to protect your hair and add shine. Ideally choose a haircut which doesn’t mean you need to apply a tonne of gel every day. The use of any styling products on the hair can cause damage, so try to reserve this for special occasions rather than every day.
If you have a shaven head or are bald, make sure you apply the same skincare routine to your head as you do to your face. Giving your head a good scrub with an exfoliating product once a week can avoid it getting super shiny and keep the skin looking healthy.
Nails and Teeth
Don’t neglect your nails and teeth. OK so you may not want to go for a full on manicure, but keeping your nails filed short and clean under the edges can finish off your look perfectly. Moisturise your hands now and then too, as shaking a rough, dry hand is far less pleasant than a soft, supple one. Teeth should be brushed twice a day, and in the evening you should use a floss tape or interdental brush to clean between your gnashers. Try not to mouthwash directly after brushing, as it washes away the toothpaste, reducing the amount of time it has to work on your teeth. If you must mouthwash, use it about half an hour after brushing, or before.
Keeping yourself looking your best will not only boost your attractiveness and confidence, it will benefit you in the long run too. Establishing and maintaining a good grooming routine now will keep you looking younger for longer and will keep your skin and body healthy as you age.
This article was sponsored by Montagne Jeunesse who specialise in natural skin care and face masks to bring you the perfect pamper experience. I’m looking into trying out a few of their products in the future (I mean who doesn’t want to try a Dragon Fruit face mask!) but if you’re feeling insatiable have a read of my guest post on Luxury Barber where I talk about the perfect skincare routine for men (LINK).