Men’s grooming involves more than your face, it’s about taking care of your entire body. Learn these male grooming basics to look, feel and smell better.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2018. It’s been freshened up with new pictures and commentary on November 20, 2019.
- What’s male grooming?
- Basics of men’s grooming
- Facial care
- Hair care
- Oral care
- Body care
- Finding your scent
What’s male grooming?
Male grooming refers to men investing in skincare and personal hygiene. Not only will grooming help with cleanliness but it’ll also help you feel better.
We’re taught to not judge by appearance or “to not judge a book by its cover”. However, most people unintentionally do judge by appearance. Especially, when they first see or meet you.
This is why grooming is important. Not only will it help you have better interactions with others but it’ll help with your self-confidence.
Basics of men’s grooming
When it comes to moisturizers, body care, trimming, shaving, and hair removal, you might feel overwhelmed. Different parts of your body require different products and levels of attention.
Your face is the first thing people notice about you. A clean and hygienic face will help you make great first impressions.
Facial care is one of the biggest aspects of men’s grooming because it’s always exposed. Clothes cover your body, but your face is seen all of the time.
Keeping your face healthy includes cleansing, moisturizing, and using masks.
When finding a cleanser, choose a product based on your skin type. If you have oily skin, use a product intended for people with oily skin. The same goes for people who have dry skin.
Another important aspect of a good facial cleanser is to use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol (source: American Academy of Dermatology)
Moisturizer makes your skin look softer and healthier. It’s also important for preventing and treating dry skin. You want to make sure your face has been cleansed before applying moisturizer.
Your moisturizer should contain the following (source: University of Tennessee Medical Center):
- Vitamin A and Vitamin B5 for firmness and moisture
- Antioxidants, Vitamins C and E to help protect new skin and fight skin damage
When you moisturize around your eyes be very gentle because of the delicacy of the skin around your eyes (source: American Academy of Dermatology).
Masks are also essential for men’s grooming. Again, this will depend on skin type but aim for using a mask once or twice a week.
Masks help exfoliate the skin, remove dead skin cells, and impurities on the face.
You should exfoliate twice a week. Exfoliation keeps your skin looking fresh by removing the top layer of your skin, which scrubs off dead skin.
A great men’s grooming routine should have a serum in it. Serum should be used after toner but before moisturizer. You should never use a serum in lieu of a moisturizer.
According to Dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, skin toner balances your skins pH levels, prevents ingrown hairs, shrinks your pores, and adds a layer of protection for your skin.
Skin toner should be used after cleansing and before using a serum or moisturizer.
Whether you like to be clean-shaved, leave a little facial fuzz or a beard, you need to maintain your facial hair.
You should ask your barber for a nice shave or trim, then maintain it at home. Get a beard trimmer or high-quality razor.
If you want a clean-shave, prepare your face with warm water to open up your pores and make sure you use shaving cream. These two steps will reduce redness and irritation.
Grooming your eyebrows
Eyebrow maintenance is vital when it comes to men’s grooming. You need to have two separate eyebrows, not one unibrow.
Tweezers are the best tool for upkeeping your eyebrows. Pluck the middle to ensure you don’t have a unibrow. Then clean up above and below your eyebrows.
Plucking above and below your eyebrows can be painful so be careful. You’ll also want to keep your eyebrows looking natural, just get rid of stray hairs and don’t get too into it.
Hair is a great way to create your look. Keeping your hair healthy involves a good routine. We’ll cover head hair in this section and body hair in the body care section.
Shampoo and conditioner are essential for cleansing and moisturizing.
Using shampoo every day can dry out your hair and strip away natural oils. Instead of shampooing every day, try doing it every other day. Depending on your lifestyle, you can even go a couple of days in between.
The type of shampoo you use is important. Be sure to use a natural and gentle shampoo. This will keep your hair and scalp free of harsh chemicals.
Conditioner should be used at least three times a week. It’ll nourish your hair and scalp, ensuring that it’s moisturized and healthy.
From pompadours to buzz cuts, you have many hairstyles to choose from. When you’re choosing a hairstyle, figure out whether you want long, medium or short hair.
To find a hairstyle that fits you, consider your face shape and see what looks best on you. You can also ask your barber for their opinion to help you find the right hairstyle for you.
Hair styling products
One size doesn’t fit all with hair styling products. There are many products such as pomade, wax, paste, gel, and hairspray.
The product you use depends on your hair type and how you style it.
Different products offer different holds and shine levels so consider your hairstyle before deciding on a product.
Here’s how the different hair products stack up when it comes to texture and hold strength:
The key to styling your hair is that less is more. Start with a dime-sized amount, style your hair, and add more if you need it.
When you’re applying a hair product, make sure you warm it up by rubbing it in your hands. This makes it easier to apply and it’ll be more even throughout your hair.
If you haven’t already found a great barber, you need to find one. Try going to different barbers and when you find one that clicks, stick with them.
This means you pre-book your appointments a few weeks in advance instead of waiting until the last minute and having to go to a random barber.
Once you notice that your hair is getting long, it’s already too long and everyone else has noticed too.
Get on a haircut schedule, this could be every two, three, or four weeks. The frequency will depend on your haircut and how often it needs to be trimmed.
Regardless of how often you get a haircut, stick to a schedule.
You can’t talk about men’s grooming without covering oral care. Everyone loves a good smile. Aside from a great smile, oral health is important for the prevention of gum disease and bad breath (source: CDC).
A good oral care routine consists of the following:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Flossing once a day.
- Scrape tongue.
- Use mouthwash.
- Limit alcohol and sugary drinks.
- Avoid tobacco products.
- Eat crunchy vegetables and fruits.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
Grooming involves more than just the neck up, your body needs to be well groomed too. Healthy skin requires moisturizing, which makes your skin look brighter and younger (source: American Academy of Dermatology).
Be aware of spots and moles, which can be early signs of skin cancer. Monitor these spots and tell your doctor if they grow larger (source: American Academy of Dermatology).
Hands and feet
Manicures and pedicures aren’t only for women. If you don’t want to do it yourself, have someone else do it for you.
However, if you choose to take care of your hands and feet yourself, here’s what you need to know.
Cut your nails once a week. The best time to cut your nails is after a bath or shower because your nails will be softer which makes it easier to trim. After you trim your nails, gently use a nail filer to smoothen rough edges.
Another great way to care for your hands and feet is to keep them moisturized. You can do this by applying lotion every time you step out of the shower or wash your hands.
Body hair removal
Removing body hair and the method in which you do it is a personal preference. Shaving requires preparation and can cause irritation, especially in sensitive areas.
Waxing can be painful but it’ll last longer and be smoother. Laser hair removal can be pricey but it’s the only permanent solution to unwanted hair.
If you don’t have chest hair or if your chest hair isn’t visible you don’t have to worry about anything. But if you have chest hair, especially if you have lots of it, here’s what you need to do.
Trimming is the best option when it comes to chest hair. This method will keep it short but not rough. If you want your chest hair completely shaved, you can either shave or wax.
If you’ve never shaved your neck hair before, you’re not alone. A lot of men don’t bother to do anything with the back of their neck because they can’t see it.
However, it’s important to keep your neck hair trimmed or shaved. You’ll look cleaner and it can also keep your hairline nice until your next haircut.
Use a trimmer or razor to clean up your neck. If you’re using a razor, be sure to use shaving cream to avoid razor burn.
Back hair can be hard to reach and for that reason, you may overlook it. If you have a hairy back, you should trim your back hair. The best way to do this is to use a body groomer.
If you’re flexible, this will be easy for you. If not, ask a friend, family member, or partner to trim your back hair for you.
Manscaping involves trimming and cleaning between your crevices. This ensures that sweat doesn’t build up and cause you to stink.
To keep your groin hair tidy, use a body trimmer and avoid razors. Trimmers are the safest and will make sure you don’t shave everything off.
Finding your scent
It’s important to find your signature scent. Having a good fragrance will make you more attractive and confident. Fragrances are an important part of men’s grooming.
Difference between fragrance, perfume, and cologne
A fragrance is a combination of ingredients, chemicals, or oils that create a pleasant smell. It comes in many forms such as Eau de Cologne, Perfume, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Eau Fraiche.
Perfume lasts the longest, it can last up to 24 hours with just one application. It’s also the most expensive and concentrated type of fragrance, with between 20% to 30% of pure perfume.
Eau de Parfum can last up to 8 hours and is composed of 15% to 20% pure perfume.
Eau de Toilette lasts up to 3 hours and is made of 5% to 15% pure perfume. This lighter fragrance is more dissolved in alcohol than the perfume or Eau de Parfum.
Eau de Cologne has a light and fresh scent. It’s composed of 2% to 4% of perfume oils dissolved in alcohol and water. Cologne only lasts a couple of hours.
Eau Fraiche is the most diluted. It contains 1% to 3% of pure perfume and will last less than an hour.
Why you need a fragrance
When you smell good, you’re more attractive and confident. Aside from those two things, scent completes your outfit.
You put together a nice outfit and a great fragrance will bring everything together.
According to Psychologist, Dr. Rachel Herz, a good scent can boost how you feel, lower stress, and it’ll make you more memorable.
Not only will you feel good, but it’ll also be easier for you to make a good impression. This important for both, dating and your professional life.
Choosing the right fragrance
When you’re picking a fragrance, the key is to see how it smells over time. You can spray one on each wrist and compare how it smells throughout the day.
Once, you’ve done this and found the one you like, you’re ready to make it your signature scent.
Remember, you’re the only person who can decide what smells best on you. When other people make tell you what you should wear, you might not like it.
Use others as a guide and to get feedback but you’re the one making the decision.
So how do you apply a fragrance and how much should you use? I’m sure you’ve been around someone who sprayed way too much cologne. The goal is to not be that guy. The following are the rules for fragrances:
- Spray on dry skin, not your clothes.
- Less is more, start with one spray on your chest.
- Don’t spray then walk into it – this doesn’t work because the fragrance falls straight to the ground.
- Choose a niche fragrance over a line found at a department store.
Grooming has become widely accepted among men. Gone are the days where you’d use 3-in-1 soap that acted as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Being a well-groomed man is essential. It’ll greatly improve your appearance and confidence.
Additional Grooming Resources
Want to learn more about men’s grooming, or the best products to use? Here are a few additional resources:
Featured photo by David Em/Next Level Gents.