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Men’s grooming: What the modern day man needs to know (from head to toe)

Grooming for men: Looking good in today's world, under the clothes

A man reading a book
nappy / Pexels

Men have some catching up to do. For decades, women have focused on grooming, skin care, hair care, and everything from head to toe. Men, on the other hand, have traditionally focused more on clothes (if that) with little to no regard for our skin and hair. Luckily for us, an explosion of companies have begun to surface that focus on our physical appearance below the wardrobe, and it has arrived just in time for us to catch up to ladies; now is the time for the rise of men’s grooming

Contents

Below, we’re going to help you kickstart your bodily focus by giving you some tips, tricks, and maybe a few brands or products that will help you look your very best even before you start looking at your style.

Man in round sunglasses with jacket on his shoulder
Chloe / Pexels

Hair

Since the 1950s, men have made statements with their hair. Hairstyles like the pompadour landed on the scene, bringing men’s hairstyles into fashion for bad boys and celebrities like Elvis Pressley. They were followed in the 1960s and 1970s by the longer styles of the music industry, like The Beatles, and movies like John Travolta. Eventually, hair bands brought rocker styles to the forefront. In short, your hair is a part of your image and one of the first things people notice about you. It can become an entire identity all on its own, making your hair just as important as the clothes you wear when sending a message. 

Here are some things to keep in mind and what to focus on.

Hairstyle

There are many reasons why a man chooses a specific hairstyle. Everything from lifestyle to vocation can make a difference. If you are in the military or most law enforcement/security fields, your options are much more limited. Buzz cuts and fades are how most men in these industries keep it out of their faces. 

If you are in the corporate world, you may have a length standard to adhere to. This means you can go longer on top with lower fades and opt for many more options. If you are free to do whatever you want with your hair, you can have fun and explore almost anything. The important thing is to have fun with it. 

18.21 Man Made Sweet Tobacco Paste

Hair care

Choosing a hairstyle is merely the beginning. Once you have an idea of what kind of hairstyle you will rock and what message you want to send with it, you need to take care of it, or the message you will be sending is that you’re unkempt and lack attention to detail. 

The products that you choose will be more important than the routine that you create. If you use a shampoo and conditioner combination, it doesn’t matter if you have the best routine; you’ll just be putting junk in your hair. 

VitaMan Shampoo + Conditioner kit

Man with a beard standing on the beach.
kudla / Shutterstock

Beard

One thing that has yet to change? Men and women both love a good beard. The virility and masculine energy have endured since the beginning of time. Prehistoric men used beards for multiple reasons. A simple explanation is warmth — they didn’t wear scarves often, after all. But it also strengthened the jawline and was used as a sign of intimidation as well. Much like the mane of a lion, your beard has a deep evolutionary tie to your manhood. Even though we have moved on from believing clean-shaven men are weaker, we still deeply love the bearded man. Here are a few things to consider:

Beard style

While it may feel like the choices for a beard are simply long and short, you can display your facial hair in many different ways. Everything from the look of your Viking ancestors to harnessing your best Tony Stark, the options are endless, and picking one to fit your face is something all men will try at some point. Check out a ton of possibilities with this comprehensive list

PT45 Beard and Hair Trimmer

Beard care

If you decide to join the ranks of the lauded bearded men’s club, you must take the time to trim, clean, and condition your mane. Did you know the beard was a sign of wealth and power in Ancient Egypt? The men would have their beards dyed and interwoven with golden thread. If they could do that, you could spend ten minutes in the mirror for detailing.

Beard Club Beard and Face Wash

Beard Club Sandalwood Beard Balm

A man with a charcoal face mask
Safia Shakil / Unsplash

Face

If you are a man who either prefers to or doesn’t have the option to grow a beard, there is a lot of real estate above the neck that needs attention. You don’t necessarily have to go as in-depth as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, but there are easy shave and skin routines you can use to help you look your best. In today’s world, not having a beard doesn’t make you less manly, and taking care of yourself will have your partner marveling at your silky smooth face. Here is where your attention needs to be.

Shaving

There is a lot of marketing that goes into the best shaves. Whether you want to get the fourteen-blade closest shave or sit down in the barber’s chair and have him do it with a warm towel and straight razor, your products and routine will make all the difference in the world.

Art of Shaving Heated Razor

Oars and Alps Shave Cream

Floris No. 89 Balm

Face care routine

Not only is it important to moisturize your skin to avoid dryness and lines later in life, but using products to clear the pores, eliminate bags under the eyes, and protect you from the sun’s harmful rays will always be a vital part of your day. Establishing a great routine will keep you looking younger longer — the John Wayne leathery skin look is out. 

Lumin Badass Bundle

Shaped and healthy body building man holding a fresh salad bowl,shaped abdominal
FS Stock / Shutterstock

Skin

Your skin doesn’t end at your neck, nor does the need to care for it. Men tend to neglect our skin below the neck because it is under the clothes, and no one sees it anyway, right? We have been duped into believing that the 3-n-1 shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are good enough for you. Your hair and your body will both tell you that isn’t true. Your products will impact how you look, smell, and feel in your skin.

Dr. Squatch Wood Barrel Bourbon Soap

Shower

There are many products you want to avoid in bath works. Sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and triclosan are some of the biggest. Most are used for fragrances and other needless features, but triclosan is the primary ingredient in many antibacterial soaps. It’s an endocrine destructor. This means it interferes with essential hormone functions, directly affecting our brains, immune systems, and reproductive systems. For the sake of your kids, use regular soaps.

Sima Japanese Exfoliating Towel

Deodorant/antiperspirant

The first thing to know is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. It comes down to what you struggle with more. Some men struggle with the body odor that necessitates a strong deodorant, while others struggle with sweating no matter the temperature or amount of activity. Even stores will put the wrong product under the label. Wal-Mart often lists the aisle as deodorant, but pay attention, or you will end up with antiperspirant. The second thing to be aware of is the iffy use of aluminum. While studies are inconclusive, there are theories that the ingredient can lead to cancer and Alzheimers.

Native Eucalyptus & Mint

Harry’s Odor & Sweat Control

Man playing guitar
Scott Gruber / Unsplash

Nails

There isn’t much to say about fingernails besides you must clip them. You need to focus on three things with your nails: length/shape, cleanliness, and health. There is a little spectrum for the length, but keeping them longer than the length and keeping a sliver of the white end is ideal. For cleanliness, that goes mainly for under the nails. We know you work hard, get dirty, and appreciate your hard work, but nobody wants to hold or shake a handful of black nails. Lastly, the health, don’t rip off hangnails, don’t bite your nails, and don’t ignore problems that cause fungus.

Bespoke Post Luxury Nail Kit

Manscaping

Treat your body like you would treat your face. That is, act like someone will see it because you never know. Most hair on your body doesn’t need to be shaved or trimmed; most of it has a terminal length. So your chest hair may already grow to an ideal length and stop independently. However, we are all different; therefore, some of us need to remove hair from our bodies. There are three ways to do it: shave it off at the surface, rip it out of the follicle by waxing, or trim it shorter with clippers. Each one has its benefit and its setback. If you plan to remove hair, treat it like your face and do similar pre-shave and post-shave routines.

Manscaped Perfect Package

Barbero Hair Removal Hard Wax

Man putting on cologne
KOLOstock / Getty Images

Fragrance

The truth is, your natural body musk is probably not what you hope it is. It is essential that you find the right scent that is subtle but noticeable, never overpowering. Technically, you should have eight different scents, one for day and night for every season of the year, but most men have one or two, so here are two choices, one for work and one for play. 

Fulton & Roark Blue Ridge

Tom Ford Oud Wood

Your body is your temple. It doesn’t only matter what you put in it or what clothes you put on it; it is also vitally important to take care of the rest of it. Follow these steps to get started, and you will elevate your appearance before the wardrobe becomes a question.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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