Three Grooming How To's Every Man Should Master
Welcome back, men! Today we are going to talk more about grooming. Because when it comes to first impressions, there are few things more important than your appearance. A well-groomed man tells the world that he cares about how he presents and that he is worth the time and energy of others. So, let's start with a little honesty, shall we? We humans are a fickle lot. And it takes a special person to look beyond an ungroomed mess-of-a-man to his character and values. So why don't we make it easier on those we are trying to impress and spend some time honing our grooming skills.
Grooming doesn't have to be complicated and doesn't require hours in front of the mirror. In fact, at its best, grooming involves small tweaks and touches that make a big difference to personal appearance. In previous blogs, I've touched on everything from hair myths to moisturiser, grooming mistakes to beard maintenance. All to help you, good Sirs, to become the well-groomed gentleman I know you can be. Think of this blog as yet another feather in your grooming cap. So, settle in and let's get right to it as I break down three grooming how-to's that every man should master.
1. How To Tidy (and Trim) Your Eyebrows
Okay, stay with me, men, because I know the mere mention of eyebrow tidying is enough to send some of you running. You might think they're just tiny tufts of hair above your eyes, but a well-groomed pair of brows can work wonders for your overall look. The key is to avoid going overboard – and here's how:
Step 1: Brush your brow hairs upward towards your forehead and look for the strands that extend over the natural top line of your brows. You can use a fine-toothed comb for this or a mascara wand (don't panic! You don't actually have to use mascara, just buy the wand).
Step 2: Trim the hairs that extend over the top line of your brows using a pair of small, precise scissors. Smaller scissors are best here, Gents. Please don't hack away at your brows with regular scissors. And don't go crazy - we're aiming for polished, not patchy.
Step 3. If you've got a pair of extra-bushy brows, consider investing in an eyebrow trimmer. Don't use an electric shaver or beard trimmer for this - use the right tool for the job.
Step 4. Pluck any stray hairs floating around outside the borders of your brows. Make sure to get any growing in the dreaded uni-brow area (between your brows). Use a pair of tweezers and pluck toward the direction of hair growth. Remember, we are not shaping the brows, we are tidying the brows, so less is more.
Step 5. Wash your face to remove any trimmed or plucked hairs, and smooth your brows back in place using your fingers. If I haven't lost you yet – and you feel extra-adventurous – try using a clear gel to smooth the brows so they look sleek and healthy.
2. How to Remove (and Prevent) Ingrown Hairs
An ingrown hair occurs when shaven, plucked, or waxed hair grows back down into the skin instead of out the surface of the skin. This can result in pain, itching, infection, swelling . . . just an all-around good time. Unfortunately, ingrown hairs often come with the territory when shaving, waxing, or plucking. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent them.
Preventing Ingrown hairs
Scrub-a-dub. Gently exfoliate your face once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells that can trap hairs beneath the skin's surface (gently is the key word here, gentleman – we aren't trying to scrub off the top layer of our skin).
Squeaky Clean. Use a gentle skin cleanser (like this one) to remove oils and bacteria from the skin before you shave.
Lather Up. Use a quality shave soap or shave cream every time you shave (I recommend this shave soap & this shave cream). Quality shave soaps and creams reduce friction and protect your skin from the blade.
Don’t be a Rebel. Shave with the grain. You may fancy yourself a rebel, but trust me on this. Shaving against the direction of hair growth increases the likelihood of hairs curling back into the skin.
Blade Basics. Invest in good quality blades. They will change your life.
Feed your Skin. Use a non-irritating moisturiser (I recommend this one with built-in SPF) after shaving and every day to prevent dead skin cells (which increase the risk of ingrown hairs) and nourish your skin.
Removing an Ingrown Hair
Firstly, don't even consider removing an ingrown hair if it is still deep in the skin. Digging into the skin on your face (or nether regions) is never a good idea (unless you think scars & infections are cool). Instead, try to wait it out - most ingrown hairs will eventually clear up on their own. If you develop a cyst (a fluid-filled lump), use a warm compress each day for 10 minutes to draw the cyst to the surface of your skin and treat it daily with an antiseptic such as pharmacy-bought ointments or tea tree oil.
If you can't hold out any longer – and a part of the ingrown hair has emerged above the surface of the skin – you can set about removing it as follows:
Step 1. Clean the affected area and wash your hands.
Step 2. Place a warm, clean washcloth over the area for a minute or two before gently rubbing the area in small circular motions.
Step 3. Take a sterile pair of tweezers or a sterile needle and gently grab or hook under the part of the hair that has come above the skin's surface.
Step 4. Pull the rest of the hair back up above the skin.
Step 5. Avoid plucking out the hair until the skin around it has healed (or the skin may re-grow over the hair).
3. How to Treat (and Avoid) Razor Burn
There's nothing that can make you look like a teenage-boy-still-learning-to-shave like a shaving rash. Shaving rash – or razor burn – usually appears a few minutes after shaving and presents as little red dots on the skin (really attractive – said no-one ever). So how can we avoid it?
Step 1: Just as the warrior prepares for battle, so must you prepare for shaving. Start with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt and oils, then take a hot shower or use a hot towel to soften your skin and hair.
Step 2: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: invest in a good-quality razor and change the blades regularly. Dull blades are like trying to cut steak with a butter knife – it just isn't pretty.
Step 3: Make sure to use a good quality shave soap or shave cream when shaving. Do me a favour and skip the canned shave cream. It's just not worth it. If you need convincing, Google "Why is canned shaving cream bad.”
Step 4: Shave with the grain to minimise irritation. If you're feeling lucky and want a closer shave, apply a bit more shaving cream, and go gently against the grain on your second pass.
Step 5: Rinse your face with cold water to close those pores after shaving, then pat your skin dry. Skip the aftershave and use a quality facial moisturiser instead.
In the unfortunate event that you still end up with razor burn, fear not! Apply aloe vera gel or a soothing moisturiser to calm the irritation – it should clear up in a few days.
Those Who Know Better Do Better.
So, Gents, you're now armed with the knowledge to tackle your grooming challenges head-on. Razor burn, ingrown hairs, and bushy brows won't stand a chance against your newfound grooming brilliance. Remember, grooming is all about confidence and a little self-care. Now go forth and conquer your grooming battles, one hair at a time!