There’s a good reason we bang on about routines and regimens (and sticking to them) when it comes to caring about your hair and skin: in the same way a car needs more than a once yearly wax and polish, skin and hair need constant maintenance if they’re to look top-notch.
What the well-groomed man needs, then, are some solid, results-driven grooming habits. Here, nine industry experts reveal the habits all well-groomed men have in common.
1. They Seek Out The Right Scents
“Men who smell great have usually set aside time to explore the field and discovered, through experimentation, what works best with their skin chemistry and personality,” says James Craven of independent perfumers Les Senteurs. Craven believes that if a man’s as thoughtful about his fragrance as he is about his clothes, then he can’t go far wrong.
“A great scent – like a great belt, a pair of shoes or a scarf – can compensate for all manner of inadequacies in the rest of your self-presentation,” he says. “So set aside time to explore what [fragrances are] out there and live with them on your skin for a while before deciding to buy.”
What To Use: A few classics worth sniffing out include Dior Eau Sauvage, Terre d’Hermès, Guerlain Vetiver, Acqua di Parma Colonia and Givenchy Gentleman.
2. They Factor In Sun Protection
It’s now known that the sun’s UV rays – even on dull winter days – are the skin’s worst enemy, leading to photoaging and DNA damage. Guys who want to look as good for as long as possible know this and remember to protect their skin from sun damage on a daily basis using sunscreen.
“Check that you are using both UVA and UVB sunscreens combined, if possible, with a collection of potent antioxidants,” advises Dr. Des Fernandes, co-author of Vitamin A Skin Science – a Scientific Guide to Healthy Skin. “The most important antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10.”
What To Use: Recipe For Men SPF15 Broad Spectrum Facial Moisturiser, Anthony Facial Moisturiser SPF30, Malin + Goetz SPF30 Face Moisturiser.
3. They Think Ahead
“Our fast-paced modern lifestyle means we can forget some essentials,” says barber and male grooming expert Jason Shankey. “So it’s a good idea to set up a recurring appointment with your barber for a haircut and eyebrow tidy-up, and sync that appointment with your smartphone, ensuring your barber of choice is always free to cut your hair just when it’s needed.”
What To Use: Email. The telephone if you’re feeling adventurous.
4. They Floss Daily
According to a new survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, over 10 per cent of us would rather clean the toilet than floss our teeth every day – an astonishing fact given that gum disease has been linked to everything from diabetes to heart disease to erectile problems.
“Brushing alone only cleans three of the five surfaces of your teeth, so it’s important that you also clean between your teeth every day,” says Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the foundation.
What To Use: Oral B Superfloss, Philips Sonicare Airfloss, Denti-Brush wire-free Interdental Brushes.
5. They Exfoliate Before Shaving
“If you want a better shave, get into the habit of using hot water and a face scrub before shaving,” says Daniel Davies, manager at Pall Mall Barbers in London.
“This prepares skin for the shave, lifts hairs and reduces the chance of razor burn and ingrown hairs.”
What To Use: Clinique For Men Face Scrub, Pall Mall Barbers Pre-Shave Scrub, Gillette Series Pre Shave Scrub.
6. They Down Pints
“Healthy skin is reliant on good hydration levels if it’s to function efficiently,” says Candice Gardner of The International Dermal Institute.
Not only does water promote skin elasticity, the enzymes which facilitate desquamation – the natural process in which skin sheds damaged dead cells – require water to work effectively. “That’s why dehydrated skin can look flaky and dull,” she says.
Gardener recommends getting into the habit of drinking two litres of water a day but suggests using a moisturiser containing humectants (ingredients that help bind water to the skin) as a safeguard too.
What To Use: Aesop Facial Barrier Cream, Dermalogica Active Moist, Anthony All Purpose Moisturiser.
7. They Know The Devil’s In The Details
“You can have the most expensive clothes on your back, but if your beard has stray cornflakes in it, your barnet looks like it’s been backcombed with a wire brush or your nails are black with dirt, all your good work will be undone,” says make-up artist and groomer Luke Stephens, whose job is to make men look perfect for the camera.
His top tip? Tidiness is as essential as cleanliness and good hygiene, so make the mirror your friend and check, double-check, and check again before leaving the house.
What To Use: Kent Folding Beard Comb, Miller Stockholm Extending Shaving Mirror, Tweezerman GEAR Men’s Essential Grooming Kit, Taylor of Old Bond Street Nail Brush.
8. They Treat Their Hair (And Scalp) With Respect
We all know looking after your hair is important but, according to award-winning hairdresser Jamie Stevens, it’s how you look after it that’s crucial.
“Shampooing is not something you should ever do aggressively – the same can be said for towel drying,” he says. “When shampooing your hair, gentle circular motions are just as effective as a good old scrub, but will cause less hair follicle damage. Guys also need to get into the habit of patting their hair dry with a towel as opposed to vigorously rubbing it – especially if they want to avoid unnecessary hair loss and breakage.”
What To Use: Jamie Stevens MR Thickening Shampoo, Redken for Men Mint Clean Invigorating Shampoo, Head & Shoulders Shampoo for Men.
9. They Avoid Bad Habits
“Smoking is probably the most damaging thing a man can do to his skin besides exposing it to the sun and excess sugar,” says dermatologist Dr. David Orentreich. Why? Because smoking reduces blood flow to the skin, which means tissues get less oxygen, leading to a sallow complexion and impaired wound healing.
Too much booze is bad news, too. “Heavy drinkers have a redder, ruddier complexion because alcohol dilates the capillaries under the skin and leads to greater blood vessel formation,” explains Orentreich. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
What To Use: A generous dose of self-restraint.
What grooming habits do you think are crucial if you always want to look your best? Do you incorporate any of these in your existing routine?
Let us know using the comments box below.