Yeah, but I’m a man’.
For so long this was the go-to excuse, used by generation upon generation of lads to defend or pardon their subpar appearance. But we’re now in 2017, and thankfully this lazy justification of unkemptness no longer cuts the mustard. Men are finally being judged on their appearance in the same way that the fairer sex have been for millennia.
But good personal grooming is about far more than outward appearance. Solid habits can bring benefits in terms of health, hygiene and self-confidence, and can open doors in both your personal and professional lives.
So what does a well-groomed man do that an unkempt mess doesn’t? These 7 habits are as good a place as any to start.
1) They develop a knowledge of self
Your mother was right – you are a unique snowflake. And in order for you to find a style that suits this inimitability you need to have a good base knowledge of what you’re working with. A well-groomed man will understand his assets, playing on strengths while covering weaknesses.
Is your hair dense or thin? Straight or curly? Does it hold moisture well? Does it break easily? These factors will affect both the style in which you have it cut, and the choice of products to fashion it. Likewise, is your skin dry, oily or sensitive? Oily skin may need more regular cleaning to stay clear, dry skin will benefit from moisturiser, and those with a sensitive complexion may need specialist products to avoid flare-ups.
2) They look for professional advice
No man is expected to have the sum of grooming knowledge stored away in their noggin. That’s why a well-groomed man will search out expert advice when it comes to forming his self-care routine. An expert could be a barber, a beautician, a doctor or even a family member; whoever you feel comfortable accepting advice from.
Ask your barber about proper shaving technique the next time you find yourself in the chair. Ask your GP or dermatologist about any skin troubles that you are experiencing. Seeing as though girls are usually indoctrinated into the world of self-grooming in a far more comprehensive way than men, ask a female friend about their morning routine.
3) They book consistently and in advance
Nothing is certain but death, taxes and your hair continuing to grow. That means that ‘I forgot to book an appointment’ is a non-excuse when it comes to your personal grooming. Most hairstyles need attention once a month in order to retain their lustre, so why not book in on a certain day of every month with your barber? They’ll appreciate both the notice and the loyalty, and you’ll never look scraggly again. You’ll have a haircut that you can set your watch to.
4) They manscape habitually, not just for special occasions
It shouldn’t take a wedding or a gala for you to address the overgrown hedge in the front yard of your chinos. A well-groomed man will be as attentive with his downstairs furniture as he is with the bits on public display. Manscaping not only exacerbates your assets and gives the whole area more visual appeal, it also allows for solid intimate hygiene.
5) They have a signature fragrance
Many people believe that they can tell a lot from a man’s choice of scent. Smell is a key sense that a lot of males happily ignore, at their own peril. Matching a cologne to your taste and personality is key to your success as a well-groomed man.
Go to a department or fragrance store and huff a few different fragrances. If you’ve found a few that you like, see if you’re able to take home some samples – this will allow you to wear each for a day or two, and decide which you feel most comfortable with.
6) They have a commitment to pearly whites
Shoes and teeth. These are the first two ports of call that most women will check when confronted with a mysterious stranger. A strong dental hygiene game can be the difference between a lovely lady offering a warm introduction or quick-stepping it out of the room.
Like your dentist has told you eleventy billion times, flossing is a non-negotiable. It removes around 40% of teeth bacteria, reaching places your toothbrush simply can’t. If you disregard proper chomper maintenance, the only people that will want to be within breathing distance of you will be those that have a thing for halitosis (i.e. no one).
7) They quickly deal with strays
Mowing and weeding your lawn every weekend might sound like overkill, but you can actually end up putting less hours in than if you let it grow for months and require a skip to get rid of all the waste. What’s more, your yard looks all the better for the routine maintenance.
Hair, like lawn, can grow quickly and in some weird and wonderful places. Keeping it in check might seem like an unwinnable battle, but if you deal with strays – be they of the eyebrow, beard, nose, ear or groinal variety – in a decisive manner, it won’t feel like much work at all. Investing in a beard and nose trimmer is a great option, and for single strays a pair of tweezers will offer a more long-term solution.
Yeah, but I’m a man. A sentence as out of place in 2017 as Brylcreem and knickerbockers. It’s well past time that we inverted it.
A friend spots you on the street. ‘Wow, you’re looking sharp today’ they swoon.
‘Yeah, ‘cause I’m a man’.