We’re going to get real with you: You probably aren’t grooming right. Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you’ve never actively sought out grooming tips then you’ve probably just been styling yourself based on whatever your parents modeled for you or what felt intuitive. So it’s not really your fault.
But it will be your fault if you don’t up your style game, starting today. Like, right now.
Navigating the world of basic grooming can seem daunting, especially when you’re told that habits you’ve formed over years of experience are wrong — like how to brush your teeth, when to shave, or how to wash your face. But today is the dawn of a new era. Clean slate. Time to think of your approach to personal grooming as a skill you want to get better at, like cooking or tasting whiskey. And if that’s your goal, the place to start is the one part of yourself that you can’t hide under dope clothes: your actual noggin.
If you’re ready to check your head, it’s time to unlearn these common grooming myths and elevate your game.
Maintaining Your Own Haircut Can Be Mastered
To make sure you’re always looking as fresh as can be, you’re going to need to learn to maintain your haircut. For the uninitiated, this may seem intimidating but the key here is preparation. So we turned to men’s grooming leader Wahl for insider tips to help unlock some next-level skills.
Tip 1: It starts and ends with your tools
If you’re maintaining your own haircut, no matter your level of skill, you’re only as good as your tools. This is why it’s important you get a serious clipper. The Wahl Elite Pro, with its self-sharpening blades and powerful motor, will give you the torque and precision you need to avoid any accidental mishaps.
Tip 2: Patience is key
Talk to anyone with experience cutting their own hair and they’ll tell you the single biggest mistake you can make is trying to rush the clipping job. The first time you attempt to take haircut maintenance into your own hands, it’s going to take a while, so give yourself time to get accustomed to maneuvers that you’re attempting for the first time. The good news is, practice makes perfect here and it’s only a matter of time before you build up enough confidence in your own skills.
Tip 3: Don’t get a big head
By the time you consider yourself a pro at maintaining your own hair, there is still room for improvement. We suggest seeking out online tutorials, specifically from people whose hair type or style matches your own. There is always more to be learned so just because you’ve mastered your beginner’s techniques, don’t think your self-hair-care routine stops there.
Tip 4: Rock it
This is a bit of a pro-tip but once you feel comfortable handling a clipper, using a rocking motion will help you to get the finished blend that catches everyone’s eye after a fresh cut. To do this, carefully pull the clipper away from your scalp in fluid strokes as you cut upward.
The Case For Not Washing Your Face With Handsoap
If the soap you’re using to wash your face daily is the same soap you use to wash your hands, you’re messing up your skin. Specifically, you’re messing with the pH balance of your skin by exposing it to harsh chemicals and detergents that are stripping away your natural oils and leaving you with dry and weakened skin that appears dull and betrays your age.
According to a 2006 study conducted by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, soap can have a profound effect on the pH balance of your skin. The study contends that the “‘Natural’ skin surface pH is on average 4.7” and found “pH values below 5.0… in a better condition than skin with pH values above 5.0, as shown by measuring the biophysical parameters of barrier function, moisturization, and scaling” which is a real science-y way of saying, the surface of your skin should be mildly acidic, and the closer it gets to neutrality or alkalinity, the drier, weaker, and scalier your skin will appear.
According to a guide published by the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health, most popular brands of commercial bar soap have a pH value of between 6-9, liquid soaps average between 6-7, and tap water between 6-9, so basically, if you’re using the soap or water from on your sink, you’re raising the pH level of your skin, which is making you look dull and creating the type of environment that breeds fine lines and wrinkles.
This means you need to get a face wash, which still has almost all the same chemicals as other soaps and detergents but are specially formulated to be gentle enough to use on your beautiful face.
When To Shave, Pre or Post Shower?
You probably have some idea on when the best time to shave is, but it’s likely more tied to your schedule than your skincare. We get it, sometimes you’re in a rush and it’s quicker to shave at whatever time you have an open window, or you want to get your shave in before your shower, so you don’t have to deal with additional grooming once you’re all cleaned. The thing is though, it’s much better to shave after your shower — and no it’s not because the steam of the shower “opens” your pores, that’s just another myth. Steam and warm water absorb into your skin, softening and liquefying the oil and debris inside of your pores, allowing cleansers and exfoliants to remove dead skin cells and clearing the way for a smoother and less resistant glide for your razor.
Tweezing Isn’t “Just For Women” You Weird Ape Man
If you’ve been living your life having never tweezed a single hair on your body then you’re sleeping on one of the biggest ways you can change your look for the least amount of money. Well-groomed eyebrows create symmetry on your face, and the human race has been obsessed with symmetry since we first started drawing on walls.
To keep your tweezed brows looking semi-natural, follow the guidelines that nature set out for your and only pluck hairs that seem to escape the natural border of your brows or bridge between them. If you’re going for a fully symmetrical and manicured look, you’re probably going to need some help, but for maintaining overgrowth you’re fully capable of taking things into your own hands.
It Matters When You Brush… And How
There is a time and place to brush your teeth, and it is absolutely not on the way to work in your car. According to guidelines set by the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes using a soft-bristled brush. SOFT. BRISTLED. Y’heard?
If all you’re doing is a vigorous scrub for a few seconds every morning, you’re probably not known for your bright smile and fresh breath. The ADA recommends people “place the toothbrush against the gum line at a 45-degree angle… and move the toothbrush gently back and forth in short strokes.”
The optimal time to brush your teeth is when you wake up, and right before you go to bed, and there are really no exceptions here. You should brush your teeth right before you go to sleep to remove any bacteria you’ve collected throughout the day, and you’d have to be insane to skip a morning brush. So if you’re the type to brush after a particularly flavorful meal, go for it, but consider that an extra session rather than counting towards your twice-a-day goal.
Finally, and this may be hard for you to hear, but if you’ve been holding on to that toothbrush for more than three months — you’re going to have to let it go. Toothbrushes collect bacteria, that is their job, and they can only take so much abuse before the bristles lose their shape and your brush is a Petri dish of microorganisms.