Naturally, we men can become quite fond of grooming products (especially when they get the job – whether that’s alleviating bags after a heavy night or covering the odd spot – done, and done well). But with a steady slew of launches each month, and others adding to our burgeoning collections at Christmas and on birthdays, they have a tendency to pile up.
Having a clear out of a clogged-up grooming kit is a chance to rethink what is really needed and, if nothing else, make room for a few new buys. Here, with the help of industry experts, we’ve put together the blueprint for a clutter-free cabinet to match your daily needs. Now, freshen up.
Stage One: Check The Dates
Sorry, hoarders among you, but those half-empty creams have got to go. Much like the sad bag of spinach at the back of the fridge, grooming products have a shelf life, too.
“Check the back of the packaging. There’s a small icon that looks like an open jar with a number inside. This is the maximum number of months you should keep the product once opened before throwing it away,” explains Shaun Dickson, a skincare expert at grooming e-tailer Mankind.
Once a product goes beyond this, it not only become ineffective but also potentially hazardous. “It’s important to take notice [of this number]. Otherwise, you’re potentially rubbing mould, yeast and harmful bacteria like staphylococcus on to your skin,” agrees facialist Andy Millward.
While great for the skin, products containing fewer chemicals tend to have a shorter lifespan. “Toss out anything that has separated – this is especially key for organic or natural products that may not have lab-synthesised stabilisers or preservatives in them,” says Cynthia Popper of skincare brand DHC.
Luckily, not everything has to be thrown out if it’s been a while since the last purge. Millward adds that solid bars of soap, deodorant and shampoo have a longer shelf life of two to three years, while fragrance can last three to five years if stored away from heat and direct sunlight.
Stage Two: Make Sure The Function Fits
After an initial clear out, the next stage is to ensure anything left is fit for purpose. Using a moisturiser for oily skin on dry skin types is no less futile than trying to squeeze into the wrong size shoes.
The best way to discover your individual needs is to have a professional facial or skin consultation. The same as visiting a barber, this provides an opportunity to ask technical questions and come away ready to build a solid grooming regime that’ll deliver visible results.
If that’s a little too metrosexual, there are other giveaways that are helpful in understanding different types of complexions and what upkeep each requires.
Men With Oily Skin
In addition to being thicker on account of having higher levels of testosterone, men’s mugs are also commonly more oily because they have a greater number of sebaceous glands. What this science often translates into is a greasy chin and reflective forehead.
“Men with this skin type tend to be drawn towards harsh products that strip away all oil. However, this is counterintuitive and should be avoided [as it forces the skin to produce more sebum],” advises Millward. “If the skin feels tight following cleansing, it’s a sign the natural barrier has been corroded and the skin will become dehydrated.”
Opt for gentle, non-drying products instead. Ingredients like clay help mop up excess shine, while a small amount of salicylic acid dissolves pore-clogging gunk and prevent breakouts.
Men With Dry Skin
Redness, itchiness, fine lines – the list of dry skin symptoms goes on, and the causes are endless, from a change in temperature to genetics and even diet. The most important aim here is to replace lost moisture.
“A basic face cream will provide temporary effects, but incorporating ingredients that mimic the skin’s natural barrier function can help to provide longer lasting hydration,” says Millward.
Look out for products that contain plant oils, which provide essential fatty acids to the skin. Using a few drops of facial oil underneath or added to moisturiser can also help lock in additional moisture.
Men With Sensitive Skin
Each man’s skin is unique and so are its issues. This is particularly true of sensitive skin when guys can react differently to the same product. Fortunately, there are some basic rules to ease irritation.
“If you have sensitive skin, select a creamier shaving emulsion or a shaving oil,” says Dickson. “Try to avoid any products that foam, as they contain a higher proportion of active ingredients that can cause irritation to the skin.”
Alcohol- and fragrance-free options are equally essential to maintaining the skin’s natural balance, as is staying away from aggressive exfoliators.
Men Over 40
Once men hit this milestone, most spend hours scouring aisles and aisles of anti-ageing products, but many experts agree youth serums are more snake oil.
“Avoid ‘anti-wrinkle’ or ‘anti-ageing’ moisturisers – they’re a waste of time and provide no long-term benefit to the skin,” says Millward. “Instead, invest in a good Retinol or Retinaldehyde treatment. These are proven to stimulate collagen production and regulate cell turnover, encouraging the skin to behave like younger skin instead of just hydrating and plumping the skin like anti-ageing creams do.”
Beyond this, continue to look after the skin based on its specific needs, particularly when it comes to sun protection as UV damage can rapidly speed up the ageing process.
Stage 3: Organise The Chaos
Forget rooting around half empty tubes and that old aftershave you never use. Much like a wardrobe, it pays to sort everyday necessities and seasonal products to make sense of the madness.
“Items that are needed daily include cleansers, moisturisers, facial sunscreens and hair products, so try to store them at the front for easy access,” says Millward.
“The next layer in your grooming cabinet should contain serums and an exfoliator. These are more targeted or have a specific function, so can be used a couple of times a week,” adds Dickson.
The one seasonal product that lasts is fragrance, so it’s worth splitting these into two camps: heavier, winter fragrances that contain notes like cedarwood or musk, and lighter, citrus or floral scents, which are more common in summer.
Seasonal creams, however, such as lighter moisturisers, should not be stored as these are likely to go out of date and be ineffective by the time they are next used. “The same goes for sunscreen – if you use old cream, you could get sunburn as the sun filters have lost their ability to protect the skin,” warns Millward.
Stage 4: Call In The Extras
With the daily stalwarts and seasonal swaps now sorted, all that remains is to plug the gaps and cover every eventuality.
Of course, it’s all well and good having some moisturiser to slap on. But these days we men should be open to a lot more than just the occasional spot of manscaping.
A well-stocked grooming cabinet should also be home to the tools that take care of hands and feet (think: clippers, hand cream, file), eyes (cooling mask, anti-fatigue roll-on), in addition to the face (tweezers, face mask, concealer), and even a hangover (multi-vitamins, Berocca, paracetamol).
You’ll thank us later.
- Rubis Nail Clipper
- Leighton Denny Large Crystal Nail File
- Baxter Of California Hydro Salve Hand Cream
- Loreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Eye Roll-on
- Menscience Eye Gel Mask
- Clinique For Men Anti-fatigue Eye Gel
- Recipe For Men Concealer 0.2 Medium
- Tweezerman Slant Tweezer Midnight Sky
- Tom Ford For Men Intensive Purifying Mud Mask
- Centrum Men – 30 Tablets
- Berocca 15 Orange Flavour Effervescent Tablets
- Panadol Extra Advance Pain Relief Tablets 32s