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“Ordinary things done consistently produce extraordinary results.” These wise words belong to seasoned entrepreneur Keith Cunningham, but their essence extends far beyond the world of business. For example, regular sit-ups reap washboard stomachs – not a monthly burnout at the gym. Similarly, small (and possibly tedious) chunks of daily revision will earn you a distinction. Cramming through the night on a diet of Pro Plus and Red Bull will not.
The same is true for a man’s appearance: a one-off investment in a super expensive moisturiser or a bi-monthly overhaul won’t affect your appearance as much as taking care of the small details on a regular basis. And with that, we unpack the ten habits of a perfectly groomed man.
1. Thou shalt cleanse and moisturise daily. Preferably twice.
If ever there were a non-negotiable rule for skincare, this would be it (the full version would actually read “cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily” but we didn’t want to overwhelm you). Be sure to tend to your skin first thing in the morning and at the end of the day after it has been exposed to the elements.
2. Enter a LTR (Long Time Relationship) with your barber.
This is one of the most important relationships a well-groomed man can have. When you click with a stylist, make a (silent, non-verbal) commitment to them. On a logistical level, that means pre-booking appointments every couple of weeks rather than waiting until your hair has reached maximum fluff and then cheating on them with a random barber.
And, just as in any functional relationship, let communication be open and consistent. The more a stylist or barber understands you, the more they will be able to mould your look to reflect your personality.
3. Seek out a signature scent (but don’t overspray it)
In an ideal world, you will become synonymous with a single scent – something unique that will instantly remind others of how you make them feel. Avoid the commercial concoctions that line department store shelves and go in search of the cult classics or niche brands that are less well-known. The endless testing will pay off when you find your true nom de perfume. Just don’t asphyxiate everyone with it.
4. Manage your facial hair
Attractive beards don’t just happen by accident. Even though your follicles have been left to their own devices, that doesn’t mean they’re exempt from a regular tidy. If you can house stray canapés in your moustache, it’s definitely time to give it a trim. Invest in a hardwearing trimmer like the Braun Beard Trimmer, which has 25 different length settings and will allow you to contour your style with precision. If you have a voluminous chin-strap, you might also want to think about conditioning it with a beard oil.
5. Exfoliate twice a week
An overlooked but critical component in any successful grooming routine, exfoliants yield immediate results by sloughing off dead cells and revealing a fresh, new layer of skin. Rather than scrub your skin with a “mechanical’” product containing microbeads, invest in a chemical exfoliant that will dissolve debris by way of natural acids.
6. Tame your feet
It’s little use making sure that your face is well groomed when you still have hooves for feet or discoloured talons for nails. These are the details your bed partner will notice (as will everyone in the street if you’re flagrantly airing your feet in sandals this summer). In summary, tend to corns and overgrown nails at home or, better yet, employ a professional to give you a pedicure with industrial strength power tools.
7. Groom in your sleep
Granted, your looks aren’t exactly a top priority when you’re sleeping but, as you snooze, your skin is considerably more receptive to reparative or “active” ingredients. This is largely because your body isn’t busy fighting off environmental aggressors during the small hours and will default into repair mode.
Manscaping is a thing now. Deal with it. If you plan on taming fuzz below the neckline, do so with restraint. A little trim here and there is good manners but shaving or waxing everything off when you haven’t been a regular at the gym may make you look like a baby porpoise.
If, however, your pecs and abs are hiding underneath a wolverine sweater, then by all means get those pesky follicles removed with a dedicated product.
9. Sunscreen is not just for sunny days
Most guys only crack open a bottle of sunscreen when they hit the beach. But the fact is, we’re exposed to UV rays all the time – even in winter. And there is no quicker way to speed up the passage of time than by leaving your skin unprotected.
Start thinking about sunscreen as an anti-ageing product rather than seasonal protection. A minimum application of SPF 15 every day will be far more effective than any age reversal concoction on the market. Read our guide to find the safest and most effective sunscreens on the market
10. Learn how to shave properly
It’s a sorry state of affairs when a grown man can’t shave his own beard correctly. Most guys learn to shave through trial and error and inevitably pick up bad habits (shaving against the grain, using too much resistance) or do their skin unnecessary damage. Get a wet shave from a barber every once in a while and pick up some personalised tips along the way. This means asking questions, which they will be happy to answer. Larger cities may have barbershops with shaving schools. Alternatively, you can read guides to the perfect shave.