Looking Your Best: Grooming Essentials for Men

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man grooming
There’s a misconception that real men aren’t supposed to be particular with grooming. But unless you want to repel people on purpose, then you should care; perhaps not at the same level as women do, but at the very least, you should tidy up to some degree. Here are some of the non-negotiable basics that men should do to get halfway through to looking their best.

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Hair

While all or most men presumably clean their hair in one way or another, grooming routines vary depending on hair style and texture. And when it comes to texture, those with straight, wavy, or loosely curly hair should wash their hair daily or every other day, while men with kinky hair should wash theirs two to three times a week or once a week.

Washing frequency, of course, should depend on the amount of oil and dirt accumulating in the hair as others may need to do it less frequently.

Men with kinky hair also need to moisturise their hair as it is naturally drier and has a tendency to tangle and break. To retain moisture, you can use shampoos and conditioners, depending on your type of hair. A good regimen to follow is to shampoo and condition once per week, and then wash your hair with a conditioner twice per week.

As for cutting your hair, frequency would depend on a couple of factors:

  • First is the hairstyle you want to maintain. If you want to keep your hair short, the established practice is to get a haircut once a month. If you want to grow your hair, allow it to grow and give it an occasional trim to even up the ends until you reach the desired length. Once you have longer hair, get a trim regularly to minimise split ends.
  • Next is how quickly hair grows. Fast-growing hair usually necessitates a visit to the barber or stylist every three weeks. If your hair takes its time to grow, a haircut every month or five weeks should be fine.

Nails

There’s only one rule when it comes to men’s nails: they have to be short no matter what. If your justification for having long nails is that you play a guitar, then use a pick. Your nails (hands and feet) should never be longer than the thickness of a five cent coin. Since it only takes about five minutes to properly clip both your fingernails and toenails, there’s no excuse not doing it.

But when you do cut your fingernails, make sure you don’t do it in public. Do not bite or chew them either (including hangnails), whether you’re alone or otherwise. You can get rid of this bad habit by keeping your nails short. Moreover, you should never cut your cuticles.

If you can afford dropping by your local manicurist, go right ahead. It’s a great way to keep your nails clean and trimmed.

Teeth

Your smile depends greatly on your teeth’s condition, which is why you have to take good care of your chompers. Here are a few teeth care basics:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be meticulous when brushing and don’t rush. Brush the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • Floss daily.
  • If your teeth are stained, use a whitening kit.
  • See the dentist every six months to get your teeth cleaned. If you have a gum or periodontal condition, drop by every three to four months.

Skin

To properly care for your skin, you first need to determine your skin type. Why? Because each type requires a different approach to skincare. There are five basic skin types:

  • Dry
    As its name suggests, dry skin means you have a rough complexion, visible lines, and almost indiscernible pores. You may also have some redness, intense itching, and tightness on your skin.

    If you have dry skin, you need to moisturise it. Don’t worry; it won’t make you any less manly. Put on moisturiser after washing your face, but reapply as needed. You should also use mild soaps and/or cleansers.

  • Oily
    People with oily skin have large pores, pimples, blackheads, and a shiny complexion. Your skin’s oiliness is sometimes affected by the weather, and can be exacerbated by stress, heat, and humidity.

    To take care of oily skin, use products that are non-comedogenic, which means they’re designed to not block pores. You should also exfoliate (i.e. wash with a granular substance to remove dead skin), although you should refrain from scrubbing blackheads and popping pimples.

  • Combination
    A combination-type skin means you have dry, normal, and oily characteristics. This most likely means you have an oily T-zone (your forehead, nose, and chin). People with this type of skin also have shiny skin, dilated pores, and blackheads.

    The best way to care for combination skin is to use different products on different parts of your skin. Dry patches, for example, would benefit from some lotion. If your T-zone is oily, apply oil-absorbing products on it. But whatever combination you have, you should use a gentle cleanser to avoid dryness and irritation, and exfoliate regularly.

  • Sensitive
    Does your skin get irritated or feel a kind of burn after coming in contact with certain soaps, perfume, aftershave, or any other similar kind of product? Is it affected by changes in weather? Then you most likely have sensitive skin.

    While sensitive skin responds differently to various products, you should avoid using perfumed soaps. Instead, get a mild cleanser to avoid irritating your skin. You’ll also need to moisturise to prevent dryness.

  • Normal
    If your skin has few or no noticeable blemishes, isn’t particularly oily or dry, has barely noticeable pores, and has a healthy complexion, then it falls under the normal category. Younger people usually belong here, although this could change with age.

    So how do you care for skin that hardly has any issues? The best approach is prevention: avoid products that make your skin oily or dry. Use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser to wash your face, apply sunscreen to prevent sun damage, and use a moisturiser as necessary.

Manscaping

The term “manscaping” means trimming a man’s body hair for grooming purposes. There are many different ways to do this but among men, the most common is through shaving–and to a lesser degree, waxing and tweezing. Other methods involve laser treatment and depilatory cream.

The areas that commonly get the hair removal treatment include the face, chest, back, arms, legs, and nether region. While you should never groom more than your lady, it still involves a few basics:

  • Face
    If you’re going to grow a beard or moustache, make sure you keep it neat and trimmed. If you want to maintain stubble, shape the top part of your cheeks and the lower area of your neck. It’s up to you if you want to sculpt your five o’clock shadow as if it were chinstraps or give it a more natural look.
  • Eyebrows
    You may think that grooming eyebrows is women’s territory but men can do it too, as long as some rules are followed: first, it’s about grooming eyebrows, not shaping them. This means there should never be any arches. You don’t have to make both eyebrows perfectly identical either–that would make it too well done. To trim your brows, brush them downwards then pare them down with a straight-blade scissor to avoid making them look furrowed.
  • Nose and ears
    Hair growing in your nose and ears should never be visible. Fortunately, there are nifty devices that can remove those stray hairs. You can also visit your barber to get them trimmed.
  • Armpits
    You basically need to get your armpit hair under control. To find out if your pit hair is running wild, put your arms down and see if hair is visible. If it can be seen in front or at the back, then it’s too long. Remember: you’re only aiming for trimmed, not hairless.
  • Arms and legs
    Unless you’re really into shaving your arms and legs, or you’re an athlete (they say shaving reduces friction and makes it easier to clean injuries), we suggest you don’t. It’s not widely accepted; among men, at least.
  • Chest
    A hairy chest is widely accepted among men and women but a bit of grooming wouldn’t hurt, especially if your chest hair starts showing under your collar or through parts of your shirt. The established chest hair shape is an inverted triangle that is positioned right above your breastbone.
  • Back
    Do you have a hairy back? Then it has to go lest your lady friend is into it (although the odds of that happening is pretty slim). But if you don’t have one of those special back shavers or someone to help you do it each time, you’ll have to get it waxed in a salon. If you have the budget, you can try to get it permanently removed.
  • Nether region and butt
    Our best tip here: be very careful. You can use an electric clipper but include an attachment to avoid nicking yourself. If you want a smooth shave, use a safety razor with one blade.
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