A Guide to Basic And Advanced Level Male Grooming

Every man’s body is a temple and it should be treated as such. Many men don’t know the basic methods of grooming themselves and don’t feel comfortable asking for advice. Here’s a basic primer for how to take care of your body’s aesthetic needs.

Shaving:

Basic – Facial hair care is a delicate art. You want a close shave but not necessarily one that will cause razor bumps. To achieve this I recommend the following: First, take a hot shower and wash and exfoliate your face and neck, then pat it dry and apply moisturizer to the skin you’ll be shaving. Next, apply the shaving cream of your choice (opt for something of the “sensitive skin” variety), and finally, use a high quality razor with no less than three and no more than five blades (alternatively opt for a straight razor — but only if you’ve selected a high quality one and been trained in its use). Shave in the direction that your beard hair grows and never against the grain. When you’ve removed the appropriate hair, wash your face clean with hot water and apply aftershave and moisturizer.

Advanced – If you’d like an easier and better looking shave you can visit your local barber a few times a week for a professional shave with a straight razor. For a slightly more permanent solution, you can use laser hair removal or electrolysis to remove your facial hair completely.

Beard:

Basic – Brush your beard every day. Use clippers to keep it even and clean as you grow it in and wash it, along with your face and the rest of your hair, when you shower. You can use beard oil to soften it and increase it’s shine. A couple of times a week you should use a razor to shape the edges of it to your preferred style.

Advanced – To eliminate grey hairs from your beard, use beard hair dye from your local drugstore once every couple of weeks.

Eyebrows:

Basic – Use a pair of tweezers (get a nice pair – this is one of those items it’s good to invest in) to pluck out the hair in between your eyebrows (in the space called the glabella). For a cleaner and sharper look, pluck any extraneous hairs that grow away from the natural brow area. Always opt to pluck to hair below the brow more vigorously and regularly than you do the hair above it. You should only need to pluck once every couple of weeks. Use an eyebrow hair trimmer (or ask your barber to) to keep the hair trimmed down to a nice length. Brush your eyebrows up and out every morning.

Advanced – You can easily and cheaply have your brows cleaned up via waxing, threading, or other professional treatments at any spa. If the stylist does not regularly treat men’s brows, be sure to request that they only clean up the area away from the brow and do not shape the brow itself (this rarely ends well for men). If you’d like a bolder look you can head to a cosmetic store or drugstore for an eyebrow pencil and clear mascara to fill in and style your brows respectively. However, keep in mind that when it comes to male brows: less product is always more.

Skin:

Basic – Wash your face every morning and evening with an exfoliating facial soap. After washing, apply a light moisturizer to your face as well as a high SPF sunscreen (yes, even in winter). If you happen to be in cold weather, apply lip balm and a heavier moisturizer.

Advanced – Use an electronic exfoliating facial brush, such as the Clarisonic Mia, with a foaming cleanser once or twice a day to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. Instead of using moisturizer each morning, consider using a matte BB cream that matches your natural skin tone. This will not only even your skin tone and cover your blackheads, it will also moisturize your skin for the day. Use a heavier moisturizer on your skin at night to improve your skins appearance and prevent wrinkles. Once a month or so give yourself a facial and/or use a pore strip to help remove blackheads and improve the appearance of your pores.

Blemishes:

Basic – Do. Not. Pick. At. Your. Skin. If you want to pop a zit (you probably shouldn’t) please use an extraction tool after steaming your skin in the shower. Once popped, clean the area around the site with a Q-Tip dipped in disinfectant. Also disinfect your extraction tool immediately… unless you want more blemishes.

Advanced – See a dermatologist regularly and have your blemishes examined for more specific solutions. To camouflage a zit or blemish use a small amount of concealer one shade lighter than your natural skin tone. Apply it in as bright a setting as possible so as to check its appearance and prevent it from drawing attention rather than deflecting it. Blend the area around the blemish as best as possible. Give it about a half an hour to “cook” before leaving the house.

Teeth:

Basic – Brush your teeth with whitening toothpaste every single morning and every single night. Floss at least four times a week. Use mouthwash when you’re done brushing. See your dentist for a check up every six months. This will prevent your teeth from falling out of your head before your 40th birthday. If you need, also use the white-strips of your choice once every six months to keep your smile polished.

Advanced – Consult your dentist about a professional whitening treatment and/or getting your teeth straightened or capped. Your smile says a lot about you and factors pretty strongly into your overall appearance and health. Investing in an electric toothbrush will pay you back in the prevention of oral surgeries and dental treatments pretty quickly.

Haircut:

Basic – Based on your hair’s texture and curl, decide what you’d like your hair to look like and take a photo of that look to your barber or hair stylist. Ask them for the cut and the products you’ll need to achieve that style at home. Go once every few weeks for a trim. If there is a color you’d like that isn’t naturally occurring, purchase a bottle of dye at your local pharmacy and, after testing it on a small patch of hair, apply it – following the instructions in the box very carefully. I recommend using moisturizer or Vaseline on the areas of skin surrounding your hairline so that only your actual hair absorbs the color.

Advanced – Make an appointment at a unisex salon and consult with a stylist you trust about which hairstyle would best suit your face and hair. If you’d like to change your hair color please also do so through this stylist. When selecting a stylist be sure to ask around for photos of other clients or look for online reviews of their work. You’ll be wearing this on your head every day.

Sweat:

Basic – Wear deodorant under your armpits and baby powder on your jock. Every day. Twice a day if you use the organic kind. (Especially at the gym.) I know you don’t think you smell. I promise you that you do. Come on. You can do it.

Advanced – To prevent sweating you can see your doctor about getting a prescription antiperspirant or a small injection of Botox at the sight of your sweating issues. It can be covered by your insurance, only hurts for a second, and works like magic.

Scent:

Basic – Don’t wear Axe (or any other body spray). Wear deodorant.

Advanced – Go to your local department store, sample the colognes they have available, and select one that compliments your personal style. For daily use, use one spray of it on your wrist and rub that into your neck. If you’re going out at night you can use an additional spray of it on the clothing on your chest. Do not use any more – no matter how tempting.

Pubic Hair:

Basic – Very carefully use scissors and safely-clippers to trim your jungle down to a tiny bush. Not only will sexual partners usually appreciate this, it’ll also make your equipment appear larger. Use a body razor, very carefully, to shape any areas you would like completely cleared of hair. Keep this groomed once or twice a week depending on your preferences.

Advanced – You can have the area gently waxed at a local spa if you’d like to better shape your bush (or fully hair remove the hair better) than you can produce at home. Just remember to choose your aesthetician wisely and tip them very generously.

Nails:

Basic – Clip them (hands and feet) once a week. Look at them in the morning. Are there things under them, such as dirt or paint or food? Use the tiny metal extender on the clippers to clean them out. Are they yellowing or flaking? Show them to your doctor and get that fixed.

Advanced – Go for pedicures in the summer and manicures year-round. As a man your nails won’t be scrutinized (woohoo male privilege!), so you’ll only need them done once a month or so. If you’re feeling extra zealous you can take over-the-counter vitamins to keep them clear and healthy.

Body Hair:

Basic – You can use a variety of tools to tame your body hair. I recommended a multi purpose pair of clippers, a nose and ear hair trimmer, a high quality body razor, and an extended grip for said razor (such as the RazorBac). You’ve got to keep your nose and ear hair as trim as possible – ideally grooming them once a week. Trim or shave your body hair to your preference. If you plan on shaving your body hair then it’ll require more frequent upkeep.

Advanced – Waxing and laser hair removal are the permanent body hair management methods of choice today (electrolysis is simply too painful for most people to consider anymore). Waxing will require an appointment at a local spa once every month or two, while laser hair removal requires a few appointments before permanent results take effect. Choose whatever option is most cost-effective for your needs. TC mark

image — Maroon 5

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