Until recently most men thought of ‘grooming’ as something the dog is subjected to. Fortunately that’s changed in recent years with many former toothbrush-and-razor guys beginning to take an interest in good grooming and personal hygiene.

Others would like to take the grooming plunge but are unsure what it entails or even where to begin. So for them we’ve put together an essential guide to male grooming basics that should get them off on the right foot.

Male Grooming Head to Toe

There’s a fine line between taking good care of oneself and narcissism (an unnatural fixation with your own appearance at the expense of everything else). We’re going to steer clear of narcissism here and just lay out our thoughts on good grooming basics for the average man.

  • Hair Basics: Obviously not every man’s hair will call for the same level or kind of attention. But there are a few generalities we can provide that should steer you in the right direction.

For straight, wavy or loosely curled hair you’ll want to wash it on a daily basis due to the tendency of this type of hair to experience oil build-up. Going more than a month without visiting the barber will generate loose hairs down the back of the neck and a scruffy appearance all around. Typically having your hair trimmed every 1-2 weeks is a good rule to be guided by.

For guys with curly hair or hair that exhibits a tight curly pattern, washing every 2 to 3 days is a good rule of thumb. That’s because this type of hair is prone to drying out and the more often you wash the more natural oils you remove from the hair. So wash every 2 or 3 days and then use a conditioner once a week. If you want to maintain a neat, well-groomed appearance you should visit the barber every 2 weeks max.

  • Finger and Toenails: Most men are extremely reluctant to submit to a professional manicure. That’s cool. If you don’t want to go to a pro just get in the habit of trimming back your nails once a week. Keep them tight to the end of the finger but not so tight you expose the sensitive skin underneath. Also clean out the corners well to prevent hangnails.
  • The Skin: The skin is the largest organ in the body and serves more health-related purposes than most people are ever aware of. It’s essential that you take good care of your skin.

The most important thing you can do for your skin is to exfoliate it (remove dead skin particles) twice a week. To do this you’ll need to get a quality face and body scrub and use it. There are so many on the market today that finding the right one can be difficult. Start by doing an Internet search and reading what other men have to say about which scrubs are best. Then select one and use it for a week, keeping an eye on your skin. If it appears smoother and clearer and feels light, clean and taut you’ve got yourself the right exfoliant.

  • Your Teeth: There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to your teeth. Brush after every meal or at least twice a day, floss every day after one of those brushings and use mouthwash to kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of plaque. If your teeth have acquired a yellow patina after years of cigarette smoking, coffee drinking or simple neglect pick up a whitening kit or have them professionally whitened (and quit smoking).

Extremities

  • The Hands: The hands should be well moisturised and callus-free. To remove calluses built up from work or working, out use a pumice stone or callus shaver. Be careful with the callus shaver though. If you’re too aggressive you could cause painful cuts to the soft tissue around the callus.
  • The Feet: Treat your feet as you would your hands. Keep them well moisturized and remove any calluses before they become too hard and painful. Keep those nails trimmed and don’t wear shoes that are too tight or poorly balanced.
  • The Nose: The nose should never be forgotten when it comes to good grooming. The rest of your face may be ready for your big close-up but if you’re sporting a pair of nose-bushes nothing else will really matter. Pick up a good nose hair trimmer and use it once a week.

Getting into a productive grooming routine will make an enormous difference in how others perceive you and how you feel about yourself.  Also check out our male fashion style guide.

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