Grooming Myths Uncovered

Throughout your life you’re told a number of things by your family/siblings/TV that simply aren’t true. My parents always told me (when I was making a ridiculous face) that if the wind changed, then may face would stay like it. This is just one of thousands of popular myths and misconceptions that have been doing the rounds for years, and will continue until someone finally sits you down and explains that dogs can look up and a ducks quack really does echo! .

I’ve used these light hearted examples as a way of demonstrating a point but sometimes separating fact or fiction isn’t quite as simple, and in the grooming world there’s more gossip and rumour flying around than a Tuesday lunchtime episode of loose women. As many men are still coming to grips with their products and routines, there are often huge grey areas, and questions left without definitive answers. So rather than stumble around in the dark trying out every supposed grooming method and solution under the sun, I set about sorting the utter rubbish from the celebrated skincare saviours. In an ideal world Steven Fry would always be on hand, sounding his QI buzzer at every sign of general ignorance – but until that point you’ll just have to make do with me, and my grooming myths: uncovered.

You shouldn’t use moisturiser if you’ve got oily skin: False.

If you’ve got an oily complexion that feels greasy by late afternoon then the last thing you want to be doing is applying moisturiser, right? Wrong. Moisturisers help to keep the surface of your skin supple and hydrated, and will not add to your oily skin dilemmas. In fact, if you choose a moisturiser designed for oily skin then the specially formulated product will help to control the sebum (or oil) producing glands. Delivering lightweight hydration these oil control products work with your complexion to leave your skin clearer, healthier and shine-free.

So don’t despair, while oily skin can be challenging to deal with the skincare boffins have been hard at work developing moisturisers (like those featured below) that keep your skin hydrated, without creating an oil slick.

  • men-u Matt Moisturiser
  • Anthony Logistics Oil Free Facial Lotion SPF15 70gm
  • L'Oréal Men Expert Pure & Matte Anti-Shine Moisturising Gel 50ml
Shaving hair makes it grow back quicker/thicker: False

14 year olds up and down the land lay down your razors – shaving every day (even though you don’t need to) will not guarantee you tough man-like stubble by your 16th birthday. In fact, you’ll do nothing but waste your Dad’s shaving foam and probably cut your face. The reason we think that shaving makes our hair grow back quicker and heavier is that when we shave, we leave a blunt edge to our short stubble which then leads you into thinking your hair is thicker and more course (and that you have a better 5’oclock shadow than Desperate Dan). Not so I’m afraid.

You only need to use SPF when it’s sunny: False.

Only using sun protection during your two week summer break is one of the biggest skin care mistakes you can make, and the risks are all outlined in my Sun Safe article from last year. It’s a common misconception that you only need to protect your skin when the sun’s shining and the temperatures soar, as the sun’s harmful rays can still cause damage at any time of year – even on an overcast day in London. To ensure you protect your skin all year round, your best bet is to use one of these daily moisturisers that feature SPF protection and consider yourself protected.

  • No7 For Men Anti Ageing Balm SPF 15- 50ml
  • L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic SPF15 Moisturiser 50ml
Toothpaste cures spots: False.

This one must have been devised by someone employed at Colgate HQ, because the truth of the matter is – toothpaste does not cure spots, or aid the healing process. This daily essential does contain ingredients that dry out your blemish, but these very same ingredients also cause unsightly irritation and redness that certainly doesn’t improve matters. In an effort to combat the odd blemish you’ll be much better off opting for a spot of therapy from one of the following treatments. Although, these products might not leave your complexion smelling as minty fresh!

  • Australian Bodycare On.the.Spot.Stick 10ml
  • Ole Henriksen Roll-On Blemish Attack 10ml
  • Burt's Bees Natural Anti-Blemish Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment
Washing your face with shower gel is good enough: False.

While it may shave the odd minute from your morning routine, your shower gel certainly isn’t an effective substitute for a face wash. Your typical shower gel is packed full of ingredients that (although they work wonders for your body) will dry out your complexion and cause more irritation than the time saved is worth. So for the sake of your skin, pick a product designed specifically for your face, and not a quick dab of complexion-drying shower gel. Here are some of my top picks…

  • men-u Healthy Facial Wash 100ml
  • Ole Henriksen On the Go Exhilarating Cleanser (Normal) 207ml
  • Bulldog Original Face Wash 175ml
The Truth

But before you throw away the rule book and disbelieve everything your mother ever taught you; let me reassure you that there are some old wives tales that do in fact hold some truth.

Tea bags soothe tired eyes: True.

A combination of caffeine and anti-oxidants means that your discarded tea bags could hold the key to seeing off puffiness and fluid retention. Alternatively you could always opt for one of these targeted eye care products to take care of those bags (pardon the pun!). It’s quicker and easier, but you won’t get a PG Tips monkey at the end of it.

  • Lab Series for Men Age Rescue Eye Therapy 15ml
  • L'Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Eye Cream 15ml
Shaving after a shower improves your shave: True.

Showering before (rather than after) your shave gives the hot water and steam a chance to open your pores, soften your stubble, and prepare your skin for the daily rigours of shaving. The result? Skin that’s much less likely to become red, irritated and inflamed after you’ve used your razor. For an even better shaving performance, counter the effects of the hot water by cooling your skin and closing your pores with a splash of ice cold water post-shave.

Split ends can’t be repaired: True.

A good quality conditioning treatment will aid the appearance of split ends, but the only true way to relieve your barnet of these damaged hair strands is to chop them off all together. So keep your trips to your barber or salon regular in order to keep your style in tip top condition, rather than trying to mask the problem with at home quick fixes.

If you’ve got any myths or urban grooming legends that I haven’t covered, then leave a comment below or contact me via twitter and I’ll do me best to investigate for you.