Instead of having to hurriedly action a whole list of things at once, you’ll be relieved to know that you can spread your grooming improvements throughout the year. That way, any changes you make won’t be so drastic, or so costly.
So, if you fancy ending this year better looking than when you started it, here are some essential month-by-month tips to help you draft your own grooming manifesto for 2017.
Wear A Daily Sunscreen
Granted, the middle of the winter (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) might not seem like a necessary time to be slathering on a sunscreen. However, while the sun’s burning UVB rays are much less intense at this time of year, its UVA ones (responsible for wrinkles) still pose a threat to skin.
“UVA rays are constant all year round, even in winter,” warns Sally Penford of The International Dermal Institute. “So it’s worth protecting with a sunscreen even on cloudy days.”
To do this, simply apply a daily moisturiser which includes a sunscreen like Dermalogica’s Daily Defense SPF15 or Lab Series’ Daily Moisture Defense Lotion SPF15 as part of your morning routine.
Whatever you do, don’t dodge the sun altogether: “It’s estimated that 50 per cent of the population of Europe, the USA and Asia are deficient in vitamin D, which is formed in the skin only on exposure to sunlight,” says Dr Des Fernandes, author of Vitamin A Skin Science.
Since sunlight is in short supply in winter, you might also want to think about taking a supplement to boost your supplies: “When levels of vitamin D are ideal our cells function much better and it’s easier to keep skin healthy,” adds Fernandes.
Remember That Less Can Be More
When it comes to
sex, beer grooming products, one thing men often forget is that you can definitely have too much of a good thing.
Nowhere is this more relevant than when it comes to fragrances. The nasal receptors in the nose quickly suffer from olfactory fatigue, meaning they stop recognising a scent once they become familiar with it. But remember, just because you can’t smell your fragrance, it doesn’t mean everyone else can’t.
As a rule, two to three sprays is ample. Focus on applying the fragrance to areas such as forearms or the back of your neck rather than traditional warm spots like wrists and behind the ears to ensure it sticks around longer.
Mask Any Problems With A Spring Clean
A clay mask is a bit like a vacuum cleaner for skin, sucking out unwanted impurities: “Some men feel self-conscious applying a clay mask but they’re very good for improving the texture and tone of skin, as well as for removing oil and dirt from the pores,” says Nicholas Clayton, author of A Butler’s Guide to Gentlemen’s Grooming.
So if you want better looking skin in 2017, overcome your fears of looking ridiculous (you will, but that’s OK) and slot a product like Tom Ford’s Intensive Purifying Mud Mask or Baxter of California’s Clarifying Clay Mask into your grooming routine.
To turbo-charge its effectiveness, apply after gentle exfoliation with a face scrub and finish with some moisturiser to replace any sapped oils.
Say Goodbye To Soap
Cleansing is the foundation of any good grooming routine, but what you cleanse with is crucial, especially if you have a skin type that requires specific products or ingredients.
According to Dr John Gray, author of The World of Skincare, harsh, alkaline soaps are especially bad news for those with oily skin: “This is because severe degreasing with soap and water can actually lead to a worsening of sebum secretion, which completely defeats the object of cleansing,” he says.
So think about swapping your old bar of soap for a non-drying cleanser like Recipe For Men’s Ultra-Sensitive Facial Cleanser, Anthony Logistics Algae Facial Cleanser or Shiseido Men Cleansing Foam. How’s that for a clean break?
Take Action On Thinning Hair
No man likes to admit his hair isn’t as thick as it used to be, but trying to disguise it is a recipe for disaster (not to mention ridicule). You’re much better off acknowledging the fact that your thatch is thinning and tailoring your haircut to work with it.
“Since hair thins on top before the sides, the difference between density is often what makes it look thinner than it really is,” says Daniel Davies, general manager of Pall Mall Barbers in London. “A traditional short back and sides [such as a buzz cut] works well as it evens out the two densities.”
As for products, Davies recommends Phyto’s Phytoaxil Treatment to thicken hair and look after the scalp, as well as a matte styling clay (check out Hanz de Fuko’s Claymation or Pall Mall Barbers’ Pliable Clay) to add texture without weighing down fine hair.
Of course, just because your hair is thinning, it doesn’t mean you have to shave it. There are two recognised treatments for hair loss: Propecia, taken orally, and Minoxidil, labelled as Regaine, which you apply straight to the scalp. Both are clinically proven to work, but don’t expect miracles. Though these treatments prevent further loss, neither can actually grow hair back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So start as soon as you suspect you’re getting lighter up top.
A more drastic route to take is surgery, during which healthy follicles are transplanted from your neckline to your scalp, where they grow as usual. This is a costly and time-consuming process as it may require multiple transplants, so make sure you do adequate research before taking the plunge.
Say No To Sunbeds
At the start of the summer it’s tempting to take a shortcut to a beach-ready body with the help of a few sunbed sessions. Bad idea.
According to Cancer Research UK, the risk of developing malignant melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) is up to 25 per cent higher in men who’ve used sunbeds. Not to mention habitual use radically speeds up premature ageing by destroying the skin’s elastin fibres and collagen.
If you’re determined to hit the sand with some colour, consider the sunless option. Don’t worry, fake tans have improved massively over the last few years and experts like the UK’s leading spray-tanner James Harknett even offer services tailored to men that can sculpt muscle definition (double win).
“Good tanning is becoming a part of the modern man’s grooming regime. Guys are constantly looking for a quick, safe and accurate way to tan themselves, without looking fake,” says Harknett, who counts David Gandy as one of his clients.
At home products are growing in popularity as well. According to Mintel, over a quarter (27 per cent) of 16-24-year-old men have dabbled in a spot of self tanning and the number is rising. The main choice to make here is whether to go instant (with a product like Fake Bake Airbrush, which is a mist so doesn’t stick to facial or body hair) or gradual (like Garnier’s Summer Body Lotion), which will build up a colour the more you use it.
Whichever you opt for, just make sure you exfoliate and apply moisturiser to dry areas such as wrists, elbows, knees, heels and ankles before applying the tan to avoid patchy, uneven results.
Look out for the second part of our 2017 Male Grooming Manifesto in June.