Grooming Essentials


In collaboration with John Leite

Personal grooming, and general good hygiene for that matter, is something that is typically assumed and seldom discussed. You might think that all modern societies would have the same grooming and personal hygiene practices. After all, doesn’t everybody take showers? Most people do recognize the need for hygiene, which is the basis for cleanliness and health-and a good way to keep one’s friends.  Grooming practices include all the little things people do to make themselves look their best, such as combing their hair and washing their bodies. Some of the best memories I have of my father include his morning routine. I always admired the precision and meticulousness of it, and most of it has been passed down to me.  Following are the basics:

Hair

Now that I’m in my late thirties, I’ve taken on quite a few grey hairs. I’m not complaining since many of my thirty something comrades have little hair left, grey or otherwise.  Nevertheless, these grey hairs do act as though they have a mind of their own and to avoid looking like Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”, I’ve begun to experiment with a number of hair products. Let’s forget some of the common ones.  Mousse is for women, and gel makes your hair look and feel like a Chilli’s “awesome blossom”.

I’ve begun working with Pomade, the age-old proven mix of petroleum jelly, beeswax and who could forget good ol’ polyethylene glycol. I prefer pomade from American Crew.  It gives you a good hold without stiffness and a good shine. This is especially good for me since my greys can look a little dull and brittle.  The trick is to use a comb after working through your hair, then finish off with a good boar’s bristle brush. The aim is a George Clooney like look.  The pomade and a good haircut can do a decent job of replicating the hair.  The face, charm and swarms of women, haven’t followed yet.  Maybe I’m not using enough?

Shaving

This is easily my least favorite morning routine, but there are steps to make it less painful. I shave immediately after a shower when the open pores enable the smoothest experience.  A pre-shave oil prepares the skin for the razor onslaught especially for those with sensitive skin.  One good brand comes from the shaving experts “The Art of Shaving”

The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil is offered in Unscented, Lemon, Lavender and Sandalwood.   Applying a pre shave oil does a fantastic job of prepping your face and avoiding nicks, especially in dense trouble areas like your chin and neck. Next comes the actual ritual of shaving.  Forget the shaving gels and anything that looks like slime and stick with a quality gel or classic shaving soap. Remember that it’s called a “wet shave” for good reason … Make sure your face is wet!   There are some great products on the market.  Jack Black’s “Beard Lube conditioning shave” is an amazing product.

The Jack Black Beard Lube isn’t like any other shaving cream or gel.   Perhaps the major difference is the fact that it doesn’t foam like regular shaving gels and creams. It offers a comfortable, close shave. It’s a pre-shave oil, shaving cream, and skin conditioner, all-in-one. No foaming means you can see what you’re shaving!  Give it a shot.

Now, I was once a skeptic of these ludicrous multi blade razors. I think mine is up to fifteen blades now and is the size of a car door.  I actually use the Fusion ProGlide from Gillette, and hate to admit it but it is a very efficient tool for the job.

Moisturizing

Always finish off your morning ritual with an alcohol-free after-shave and a moisturizer with sun-block for your face and neck. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel energizes your skin quite nicely!

Trimming & Grooming

Because men have been trained not to spend excess amounts of time on their personal appearance, they generally fail to recognize a few simple aspects of personal grooming that should be undertaken to keep them attractive to the moister sex.  But how does a gentleman know that his hair is unsightly?

Here’s how …

A unibrow, also known as monobrow is the the presence of abundant hair between the eyebrows, so that they seem to converge to form one uniform eyebrow.

Seen here on former President George Bush!

Or here on Frida …

Nose hair peeking out …

Here is an example of ear hair evidence of our primate past … not attractive!

Grooming and trimming –  It’s a must gents!  Unwanted hair sneak up on you when you least expect it. Pluck them, cut them, burn them off if you must but keep them off of and out of your nose and ears. Regarding eyebrows, just avoid the unibrow and errant long crazy hairs. Take a close look, I’ll bet you have at least two right now. But don’t do anything stupid and over-groom, you’ll look like husband material for Liza Minnelli.

One simple tool gentlemen is the ear, nose and hair trimmer.

Tweezers to pluck those errant brow hair …

Want to avoid looking like this?

Then you have to get one of these …

Deodorant / Anti-perspirant

One of the most common (and noticeable) grooming issues for men, is the battle to control underarm odor and all of its smelly remnants. No need in pretending like it’s never happened to you – this personal aromatic disaster has affected us all at one point or another.   Most body odors, which are scientifically known as “bromidrosis”, occur when bacteria metabolizes proteins and fatty acids in the sweat produced by the apocrine glands. These glands are located in the armpits, the groin area, and other parts of the body that collect large amounts of bacteria.  Following a consistent cleanliness plan is just half the battle. Washed underarms will only remain fresh and clean for about 2.5 hours, depending on weather conditions and the amount of sweat accumulated. Many men find anti-perspirants effective against wetness and those armpit-downpours during the summer months. While deodorants do not supply protection against sweating, anti-perspirants do not help prevent odor. Instead, they block the sweat ducts with aluminum salts, which reduces the amount of perspiration. Both elements work in tandem to fight odor and wetness, and may even include added fragrances which further cover odors.

A good fragrance is essential.  Body chemistry plays a big role … When in doubt use less.  The aim is to create your own subtle signature. The key, operative term is “subtle”. Cologne tends to combine with your body’s natural fragrance to form a unique scent on its own.  This is the reason why a scent that smells good on one man does have the same effect when another individual applies it.  Do change cologne according to the season.  In summer, choose lightly scented ones with citrus or grassy tones.  In winter, switch to heavier musk and woodsy related accents.  Experiment and have fun.  Now you are ready to face the day!

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