Male grooming may have hit its high notes – to the tune of £66m a year in the UK, according to Mintel – but we’re still getting the basics wrong.
Perhaps it’s because when our fathers taught us to shave, they didn’t explain the importance of an exfoliating facial scrub. Or maybe it’s the dearth of vloggers to teach us how to contour a beard line. So we shell out on magic potions, but are yet to graduate from apprentice to skincare sorcerer.
For a guiding hand to better grooming, let industry experts explain what your old man didn’t.
1. Picking At Ingrown Facial Hairs
Stubble may bestow an air of manliness, but the short, sharp hairs can catch in your skin.
Ingrown hairs look like spots, which is why you pick at them. Bad choice, says Yasmina Kamli, senior aesthetician at London Real Skin: the more you irritate them, the more they’ll make you suffer. Fiddle too much and they can even scar.
Firstly, stop touching your face.
Then, reach for an exfoliator with glycolic acid, which stops skin growing over the hair. Bliss’ Ingrown Eliminating Pads deploy the chemicals via an abrasive surface, which removes dead skin to make hairs less likely to snag, and comes armed with witch hazel to calm inflammation.
Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads, available at LookFantastic, priced £6.90.
2. Your Showers Are Too Hot
If you like your showers steamy, you could land your skin in hot water.
Scalding temperatures dry skin out and can aggravate rosacea, a red rash that spreads across your face like acne on steroids. The more you wash it, the worse it gets, says Kamli. As will drowning your sorrows – alcohol only stokes rosacea’s red flames.
Chill out. Only wash in lukewarm water, says Kamli, and follow your (mild) cleanser with a redness-reducing moisturiser, like La Roche-Posay UV Light.
It ditches alcohol and fragrance to soothe sensitive skin, and includes SPF15 protection to see off the UV rays that can also trigger rosacea.
La Roche-Posay UV Light, available at Boots, priced £17.
3. You Only Wear Sun Cream On Holiday
The most effective grooming product is a dark, windowless room. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays cause around 80 per cent of ageing, from dark spots to wrinkles and, if you overindulge, even cancer.
Helpfully, these damaging rays can also punch through cloud cover, even when heat can’t. So just because you’re in a coat doesn’t mean your skin’s not at risk.
You don’t have to slap on sun block every day. But a high SPF moisturiser can prevent what other products try to reverse.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense moisturiser offers SPF50 protection, to outflank harmful rays, but is formulated without sun cream’s thick, sticky consistency. Or that we’re-off-to-the-beach smell.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense Sun Cream, available at John Lewis, priced £35.
4. You Still Wash Your Face With Soap
Skin’s acidic, but soap is alkaline, and the imbalance saps moisture, says Kamli. Which means tightness if you’re lucky, flakes if you’re not.
A gentle cleanser used with lukewarm water will clean your skin without stripping it bare of all its natural oils.
Bulldog’s Original Face Wash is still one of the best value for money options on the market, with its blend of eight essential oils and green tea combining to remove excess oil, dirt and grime without over-drying skin.
Bulldog’s Original Face Wash, available at Mankind, priced £3.01.
5. You Still Treat Teenage Skin Like A Teenager
A good diet and decent cleanser go a long way to achieving good skin, but laziness could spark flare-ups. “Often men still sleep with hair products in which causes spots around the hairline,” says Kamli. Especially if you take your grooming cues from Danny Zuko.
Grease from your hair transfers to your bedding, and then your face. If your pillowcase is turning see-through, consider ditching the pomade. Or at least washing them more often.
Unless you fancy sleeping in a hat, hit the showers before turning in. Redken For Men’s Go Clean shampoo is so heavy duty it could clean up oil spills.
However, unlike other cleansing shampoos, it also features glycerine to lock moisture back in once the grease is gone.
Redken For Men Go Clean Shampoo, available at LookFantastic, priced £8.