Make me a well-groomed man.
November 5, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

What should my grooming regimen include?

I'm a 30-year-old male. I work in a casual office. My morning routine is typically shower (body wash/shampoo/face wash), the twice-weekly shave, teeth-brushing, deodorant applying, hair-doing and cologne spritzing.

I feel like I'm missing some steps in there, and I'm fairly certain I don't know the "best" personal care products to buy.

So, I guess I'm asking what a guy my age should be doing every morning/week from a grooming perspective, and then also help me fill up my Christmas list with personal care items I might not be using already.
posted by po822000 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
You are cleaning the insides of your ears, flossing and using mouthwash right?

American Crew make the best men's hair products, and I have tried a bunch.
posted by griphus at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2012

Dump the cologne (for work anyway. You can still wear it out/on dates, but don't wear strongly-scented products in an office). Add sunscreen of some sort (probably as part of a gentle moisturizer with SPF) -- this will make the largest long-term difference in how your skin looks. Do you have any specific skin issues you want to address?
posted by brainmouse at 1:31 PM on November 5, 2012 [8 favorites]

The only thing that leaps out at me in a "minimum social acceptability" sense is nail care - clean under fingernails (at least) daily, clip fingernails and toenails as often as necessary to keep them your preferred length. (Note: my preferred length of toenail is "none" - your socks, and anyone looking at your feet, will thank you. Results may vary if you're into nail polish.)
posted by restless_nomad at 1:32 PM on November 5, 2012

What kind of hardware do you have for shaving? I switched from cartridge razor and spray gel to safety razor, brush and lather and it's been a significant upgrade to my approach and results.
posted by neilbert at 1:33 PM on November 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Your routine sounds perfectly reasonable, though I'd actually suggest that you stop wearing cologne to work as it is becoming more and more common for offices to be "fragrance-free." I actually had a co-worker get kicked out of a meeting for wearing perfume because one of the people we were meeting with was sensitive to scents. It was embarrassing for everyone, so don't take a risk of this happening.

I'll echo griphus comment's about cleaning your ears (you don't necessarily need to use q-tips for this, it can be done with a washcloth in the shower, unless your fingers are huge) and that American Crew makes excellent hair products.
posted by asnider at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, yeah, I don't know anyone who wears cologne and I hang around well-dressed, well-groomed men of our age.
posted by griphus at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your routine is pretty close to Husbunny's.

He uses Dove sensitive skin body wash. Whatever shampoo I buy that's on sale. Ditto deodorant. His hair doing is dragging a comb through it and he spritzes cologne when I tell him to.

The only thing I'd caution against is using any Axe or such-like heavy-stink products. Cologne is cologne and you can buy it in a drugstore, but like wine, it should cost more than $10 a bottle.

If you have a friend (girl or boy) have him or her pick it out for you since that person will be the one assaulted with it most frequently and up-close.

I think where you might beef up the Christmas list is with Classic Shaving.

Husbunny uses a safety razor and Proraso shaving cream. He also likes a pre-shave balm that they make. Once you buy the razor, beaver brush, stand, etc, the blades are dirt cheap.

He's used the same razor for 3 years and his cost per shave is less expensive and he enjoys it more. (Enjoy is a strong word. Tolerates?)

Sephora carries advanced shaving products, so does Kiehl.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:34 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually enjoy a nice smelling man, I don't mind a little cologne at all (not a shower in it, just a light spray,) but that's me. I like clean ears too. I would add some moisturizer with SPF in it for your face. Moisturizer for your hands.
posted by Yellow at 1:39 PM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, yes - ears are clean.

Shaving wise, I have a badger brush and shaving soap, but the razor uses Mach 3 cartridges, which I'm not much a fan of. Thought about switching to a single-blade safety like grandpa used to use, but not sure how that'd feel against my sensitive skin.

And as far as skin goes, the only "issue" I have is my forehead tends to get oily later in the day.
posted by po822000 at 1:42 PM on November 5, 2012

for face, cleanse, tone and then some sort of face cream with moisturizer and a little SPF
posted by pyro979 at 1:43 PM on November 5, 2012

you don't necessarily need to use q-tips for this

My doctor (and google, I see) says not to use q-tips, or even toilet paper. They lodge stuff back in your ears that hardens and is hard to remove (not hard like they can't get it out at your regular checkup, just time consuming and painful, speaking from personal experience.) Google says just clean the outside (not the canal) and go to the doctor if you get a serious buildup.
posted by spbmp at 1:50 PM on November 5, 2012

I don't think there is (or should be) a universal grooming regimen. Everyone has slightly different requirements.

For example, I am blessed in terms of body odor. I can skip deodorant most days without consequence, and often my clothes smell better after I've worn them once or twice. On the other hand, I have itinerant eyebrows, and must tweeze them once or twice a month to keep them from wandering all over my face.

Find what works for you. Rely on trustworthy friends to tell you straight what areas you can improve on.

Sunscreen won't help you look better today, but your future self several decades from now will appreciate it.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:52 PM on November 5, 2012

It sounds like your day-to-day grooming is fine. A couple things off the top of my head that aren't daily activities but will make you look much more groomed:

- Pay attention to your clothes, shoes, and accessories (socks, belt, wallet, winter stuff). Make sure everything fits, is in good condition, looks good on you, and is reasonably stylish without being trendy. Do a complete wardrobe audit now, and revisit in six months.

- Clean up any non-beard facial hair you might have. Get your eyebrows shaped if they're unruly, and trim any visible nose and ear hair. Nothing wrong with trimming hairy armpits, either.

You probably do these already, but I mention them just to cover all the bases.

If you're looking for personal care products for your Christmas wish list, I really like Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash. It's pricey but quite nice. I also enjoy Kiehl's products; most of their stuff is unisex in terms of function and packaging.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:55 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My doctor (and google, I see) says not to use q-tips

Yeah, my doctor used to say "nothing larger than your thumb should be going in your ears." My intention was simply to say that you can clean your ears without using q-tips (which, for better or for worse, is what most people are going to use).

Also: I'll second Metroid Baby's point about keeping your eyebrows trimmed. I never used to do this. I have started doing so on the advice of my wife and it is surprising how much of a difference it makes. Also: pluck or shave the unibrow if you suffer from that affliction.
posted by asnider at 2:04 PM on November 5, 2012

I found switching to a safety razor helped my sensitive skin. With the multi-blade cartridge, I used to do 2-3 passes to get a smooth result - that meant 9 blades scraping over the same spot. I do 3 passes with the safety razor as well - but that is only 3 blades going over that spot.
posted by PGWG at 2:09 PM on November 5, 2012

And as far as skin goes, the only "issue" I have is my forehead tends to get oily later in the day.

Protip: if your office has toilet seat covers in the bathroom, use one of those to blot your forehead grease. It's amazingly effective (way more so than toilet paper or paper towels or the blotting paper you pay $ for in drug stores).
posted by phunniemee at 2:16 PM on November 5, 2012

I use the double-edge razor (safety razor) these days, too; I've loving the Shark blades.

May I direct you to the Wicked_Edge, a subreddit all about wetshaving? Even if you don't want to dive in, there are useful FAQs for obtaining (cheaply) the razor of your choosing, as well as plenty of information on techniques, products, etc. ll as plenty of information on techniques, products, etc. Wetshaving is about skin prep, proper shaving, and then post-shave skincare, not just about cutting whiskers. (And yes, if you shave anywhere else, W_E probably has it covered-- might want to hang on to the Mach 3 for certain places.)

Wet-shaving gear makes great man-gifts, too; since you've entered your 30s, you will be attending many weddings, possibly including your own.
posted by Sunburnt at 2:21 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with those saying don't wear cologne to work. The goal in the modern office setting is to not impose your odor on others. Wearing cologne won't confer any advantage and is highly likely to bother some of your co-workers.
posted by HotToddy at 2:37 PM on November 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

As you get older, make sure you control the stray hairs on your shoulders, and in and on your nose and ears.

I recently switched to an electric razor, and while the shave is not as close as a razor, there is a time savings and there are no nicks or cuts so far. The electric razor also comes with a hair trimmer, which helps me keep the hair on my head from growing over my ears and allows me to keep a tight side-burn.
posted by lstanley at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2012

You might want to consider teeth whitening. Talk to the dentist about it.
posted by jgirl at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2012

I found the single blade safety to actually be better on my sensitive skin. For one thing, I'm now only dragging one blade across it instead of three at a time, and I feel like I have better control. I generally do two passes - one with the grain, and one across - and I get close enough that I don't feel a need to go against the grain.
posted by neilbert at 3:36 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you do wear cologne, do not adjust how much you wear as you become desensitized to the smell. As you wear the same cologne, you will stop smelling it . This is why some people apply enough to create a cloud of odor that follows them; they can't smell it as well anymore. One spray to the chest, under clothing, should be more than enough.

Also, please don't spray your face/neck. This may not be applicable to a work situation, but when you spray exposed areas or clothing, you rub the cologne scent onto others when you hug them. There's nothing worse than wearing someone else's cologne because you embraced them.

Short, clean fingernails. Always.

Trim the hair on the back of your neck. Learn to do it yourself unless you want to be visiting the barber weekly for a clean-up.
posted by quince at 4:02 PM on November 5, 2012

An oily forehead later in the day may indicate your skin trying to produce moisturizer on its own. Hopefully, the moisturizer will help that issue. If not, a little blotting with a tissue (or if like to get fancy, blotting paper) has never hurt anyone.

As for all of the talk of the ears, just clean the outer parts, a little loofa or soap on a washcloth will do.
posted by Yellow at 4:59 PM on November 5, 2012

for face, cleanse, tone and then some sort of face cream with moisturizer and a little SPF

I disagree with this. If your biggest problem is a bit of oiliness late in the day, you're fine! Just wash your face again in the afternoon with a gentle daily cleanser. Cetaphil is pretty much my go-to, and don't worry, it's not "womanly" or anything; dermatologists recommend it for people with all different skin types.

There's no need to spend more money on face cream, toner and moisturizer; you'll do more harm than good gunking your skin up with all those products.

Sunscreen, though, is a good idea for just about everyone.
posted by misha at 7:39 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your routine sounds fine. It's better not to go overboard. Just keep everything clean and clean-looking. Agree about sunscreen and keeping fingernails clean and trimmed—grotty nails skeeve me out so much! If you have bushier eyebrows, I'd say keep them in check; clean up strays and unruliness.

I have sensitive skin too and I like and use the Boots Sensitive Skin line from Target. Though it's not specifically for men, the packaging is still nice and clean, almost clinical but not quite so detached. The foaming face wash is fantastic to get your face feeling clean without feeling stripped. Always moisturize—at least at night. If you have oilier skin, I'd go with something lighter like a gel cream moisturizer.

I actually like when guys wear some kind of (clean) scent (one of my all-time favorite unisex scents is Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert [Green Tea]—it's light, refreshing, and classic). But my golden rule for scent is to wear only enough that the only ppl who can smell it are close enough to kiss you.
posted by violetk at 1:34 AM on November 6, 2012

Oh just saw that bit about your forehead getting oily later in the day. As Yellow pointed out, this is probably your skin trying to moisturize itself, especially if you are using regular soap or a harsher facial cleanser. Again, I'd recommend a sensitive skin facial wash followed by a light moisturizer.
posted by violetk at 1:39 AM on November 6, 2012

Look after your clothes. It seems a shame to be nicely groomed and then wear stained or damaged clothing. If you wear suits proper hangers etc are vital.

A light moisturiser with a sunblock in would be a nice way to finish up in the morning. If you get one with a very light fragrance you can skip the cologne all together.

If you are prone to callosed heels and like to walk around shoeless a pumice for your feet is nice.

Remove any stray ear or nose hairs, it's not fun to do but the little trimmers you can get make this super fast and easy.

I love mens hands so a hand moisturiser and keeping your nails nicely trimmed and clean is nice.

My husband has sensitive skin and had found shaving with a safety razor really helps and he no longer gets the nasty red bumps and in grown hairs he used to.
posted by wwax at 11:44 AM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

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