Fancy fragrances and expensive moisturisers are all very well but, to look his best, the average bloke also needs a raft of slightly less glamorous products in his grooming armoury – the gear that deals with everyday issues like dandruff, dry skin and game-killing nasal hair.
So here are eight deeply unsexy – but completely essential – products that should be propping up the back of your bathroom cabinet. They may not be much to look at, but what they lack in attractiveness they more than make up for in ability to overhaul your appearance.
The Blackhead Remover
Blackheads, or ‘comedones’, form when sebum – the natural oil produced by your skin – gets stuck in pores, hardens and forms an unsightly plug which then oxidizes and turns black. Nice.
Left untreated, they can stretch the pores they’re squatting in, leaving your face littered with mini manholes. Evict them instead with the help of Clear Nose Men blackhead removal strips. A popular Japanese product, these are easy to use and also afford you the gross thrill of being able to see the sebum ‘plugs’ that stick to the strips on removal. It’s a bit like those spot-bursting YouTube videos.
The Foot Saviour
Few men would cite their feet as their best asset – and with good reason: after wintering in sweaty boots and pounding parks and treadmills in trainers, they often end up blighted by dry skin and calluses.
Now, you could remove these effectively with a foot file and some elbow grease but far more fun are Footner’s Exfoliating Socks, which act a bit like a skin peel for feet.
Apply for an hour daily for seven days and you’ll see dead skin begin to fall away in huge strips (not unlike the time you went 24 hours without sun cream in Ibiza) to reveal much better-looking stuff underneath. It’s gross – but in a good, cathartic way. Just trust us.
The Sweat Stopper
Noticed that your usual antiperspirant just doesn’t seem to hold back the flood of sweat your pits are producing anymore? Then maybe you need a little extra damming in the form of Odaban Antiperspirant Spray.
A fragrance-free product that’s been specially formulated for excessive sweating, Odaban encourages sweat to be more evenly distributed across the skin and, usefully, can be used on almost any part of the body, including the groin, back, feet and hands.
Keep some handy and you’ll never soak through your shirt again.
The Eyebrow Tamer
It might have worked for Bert from Sesame Street but not every man can pull off a monobrow. If your eyebrows have joined forces to defeat your good looks, you could try waxing them, judiciously plucking them with tweezers, or tackle them professionally (by having them ‘threaded’ at a salon).
Alternatively, you might want to try using the Tweezy. A brilliantly simple gadget that looks a bit like a spring, it catches hairs you want removing and, with a quick twist, yanks them clean out.
It’s not entirely painless (a pre-treatment snifter of scotch helps), but the results are both excellent and long-lasting.
The Flake Fighter
A whopping 50 per cent of us will suffer from dandruff at some point thanks to the activity of an inconsiderate yeast called Malassezia, which – although occurring naturally on skin – occasionally multiplies out of control, causing those unsightly flakes.
And while any anti-dandruff shampoo will help dislodge the flakes, allowing them to be washed away, only those containing anti-fungal agents like ketoconazole (such as Nizoral) will tackle the yeast head-on.
According to trichologist Philip Kingsley, cutting back on foods high in salt, fat and sugar can help, too, but shampoo is by far the less boring option.
The Itch Stopper
With skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis some of the most common, having a tube of HC45 Hydrocortisone Cream in your grooming arsenal always comes recommended.
Good for reducing itchy and unsightly inflammation, it’s also excellent for insect bites. Since detergents and hot water can exacerbate skin irritation, it helps to steer clear of the washing up too. Which is massively convenient.
The Bad Breath Buster
In the war against breath that rivals a cat’s, saliva is your first line of defence – which is why both chewing gum and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid dry mouth helps.
But pre-date, after an all-night bender or when you’re on the go, UltraDEX Fresh Breath Oral Spray is an oral essential. Fragrance, sugar and alcohol-free, this pocket wonder doesn’t just mask smells, it neutralises the compounds that cause bad breath. And its antibacterial action prevents new whiffs from forming, too.
The Unwanted Hair Remover
It’s hard to imagine a less sexy gadget but the Philips Series 3000 Nose Hair, Ear Hair and Eyebrow Trimmer is a godsend for guys of a certain age plagued by unwanted fluff – something thought to be triggered by changes in the levels of dihydrotestosterone in the body as we age.
Unlike trimmers with rotating cutting heads, which can aggressively tug hairs, this one has a flat, angled trimmer, allowing it to sport a “No pulling guaranteed” strapline. One to tuck away from sight if you’re planning on pulling in a different sense, along with the Anusol, fungal nail cream and rest of these little lifesavers perhaps.
Have you got an unglamorous grooming product you swear by? Or is this all far too much fuss (and mess) to bother with?
Let us know below.