Men’s grooming is about finding a balance between self-respect, hygiene and style rather than looking like you’ve spent two hours in front of the mirror, appearing prepubescent or down right dirty and scruffy.
At Face Value
The last thing you want your date or client to be wondering is if you’re aware that there are whiskers peering out of your nose, or how long you’ve been growing that ear fluff for. Excess hair growth in these areas is akin to whiskers on a woman’s chin and can add at least ten years onto your age identity. It’s a far cry from the ‘man of distinction’ look garnered by brushstrokes of grey at the sides of the sculp. Electric ear and nose trimmers are the most practical means for this type of facial orifice hair removal.
It’s also totally okay to do some ‘manscaping’ on your brows. But don’t think that swiping a razor or trimmer between them en route to beard maintenance is going to suffice. Waxing is also not recommended unless you want to look like you’re defining a new ‘block and chisel’ trend. Rather book into a salon for tweezing to achieve a more natural look, and once the professional has laid the boundary lines all you have to do to maintain regrowth is stick within these lines using the tweezers from your home grooming kit.
If you’re feeling extra manly try the ancient art of threading - think of it as a flossing of the brows. Just a lot more painful than flossing your teeth. Perhaps best left for women who have been designed for pain like child birth. Alternatively, electrolysis is a great option for small areas like this. It uses a tiny needle to deliver a shortwave radio frequency to the hair follicle to destroy it. Invest in a few sessions for permanent hair removal.
Less Grizzly, More Bare
Waxing and laser hair removal work well for rugs of back hair, the chest, or thick, dark hair on the knuckles and toes - you’re more likely to receive hand and foot massages from your significant other if these are fuzz free.
For men who don’t feel up to visiting a salon for waxing and opt for DIY maintenance at home, areas you may want to consider neatening up or thinning out are the chest and underarms. It’s best to use electric clippers in these areas of longer hair growth. Combing the hair beforehand will prevent it getting tangled in the clippers. Then follow up with a 3D pivoting razor if you decide to go ‘smooth criminal’.
For that difficult to get to back hair, extendable trimmers with shock absorbers are now on the market. And cyclist or not, shaving the arms and legs for the first time also requires a pre-trim using clippers.
If you couldn’t be bothered about any other body hair, at the very least take pride in the hair surrounding your face.
These days it’s safe for men to shop for hair styling aids without feeling like they’re stepping into women’s only territory. However, striking up a conversation with a mate about hair styling product preferences with the nonchalance of Johnny Bravo, is perhaps a bit too progressive for the conservative socialist. So, if you’ve wondered what the difference between wax and gel is, or whether you need them at all, here’s a simple breakdown:
Clay - Herculean hold, think matte rubber cement. If you’re going for the sculpted look.
Pomade/gel - Herculean hold, medium shine, hipster vibes.
Wax/paste - Bedhead look, matte finish, for the minimalist.
Styling Cream - Super slick shine, ‘coiffed’ look.
For proud beard owners, investing in a beard brush and softener is essential. Beards can get split ends as they grow longer, causing rough and ragged ends. Using a beard trimmer contributes to this so keep your hair softer and more comfortable for others who may be coming into contact with your face, with regular use of beard oil. A brush is better than a comb as it helps keep the beard thicker, detangles hair and allows for an even application of shaving butter.
Bearded or not, keep an eye on that hair at the nape of your neck and back of the neck too. A good barber should take initiative here and keep it clean at your monthly trim.
With the recent re-emergence of men’s only barber shops where all of the above grooming services are on offer, as well as refreshments like biltong and whisky, there’s no excuse not to be groomed in the 21st century.
Date Published: 29 August 2018