1. Say no to lady brows
Eyebrow maintenance is a modern male imperative, but don’t get overzealous with the tweezers. Instead, spruce up an unruly pair with “an eyebrow brush swept through the brows after a shower,” suggests Aviva, the Los Angeles-based celebrity groomer. “It keeps the hairs in place without looking over-groomed. And if you can’t find one, a new toothbrush will work.”
2. Lose the baggage
You likely have genetics to thank for the bags under your eyes. And not keeping your head properly elevated will make them worse, as fluids pool there while you sleep. So prop yourself up with an extra pillow and, come morning, apply an under-eye product that soothes and de-puffs.
TRY: L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Ice Cold Eye Roller, $15.99 at drugstores nationwide.
3. Stop shaving wrong
Most men start shaving as soon as the shave gel goes on, says Stew Taub, research director of Gillette Male Shaving. But it’s crucial to wait a full minute, so the gel can soften the hair, resulting in less tug and pull when you shave. Also, save the chin and upper lip for last: Those whiskers are tougher and need extra hydration. Lastly, never bang the razor on the sink. It affects its geometry and the precision of the shave.
4. Be a well-oiled machine
Following the proper shaving procedure and still cutting yourself? Try applying a pre-shave oil before reaching for the razor. A dime-sized amount smoothed onto the bearded area will soften your whiskers and prep your skin for a smoother and nick-free shave.
TRY: Anthony Logistics
For Men Pre Shave Oil, $20 through www.beautymark.ca.
5. Use serum
Serums are vitamin- and antioxidant-rich elixirs, usually worn under moisturizer. Jamie Beuthin, co-founder of Vancouver’s Masc Skincare, recommends Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum, loaded with anti-agers such as peptides, vitamins A, C and E and organic Omega-3, “for any guy wanting to take his grooming routine to the next level.” Named the Best Anti-Aging Serum at the 2010 Men’s Health Grooming Awards, it can be applied in the morning or evening after washing your face, Beuthin says; to save time, he mixes two to three pumps into his daily moisturizer or sunscreen.
TRY: Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum, $68 through www.shopmasc.com.
6. Smell good everywhere
Men’s magazines and grooming blogs are trumpeting the return of body talc, the perfect product for keeping your man parts dry and fresh-smelling. Just sprinkle some on after your shower and you’re good for the entire day.
TRY: Acqua di Parma Colonia talcum powder, $54 at Holt Renfrew.
7. Make peace with your body hair
Celebrating your body hair “doesn’t mean turning your back on manscaping,” Toronto-based fashion stylist Alon Freeman says. Rather, it means getting acquainted with what he calls your “hair aura.” “While naked in front of the mirror, turn to the side,” Freeman proposes. “If you see an extra inch or two of fuzz, you have a hair aura and need to do something about it.” This involves a good trimmer, preferably one that’s lightweight, rechargeable and comes with several guides for various cutting lengths. But don’t go too short, Freeman warns: “No one wants to share personal space with a prickly pear.”
TRY: Wahl Lithium Ion Trimmer, $49.99 at Canadian Tire.
8. Ditch the bedhead
Today’s coolest coif is distinctly 1950s. If a slick Don Draper ’do feels overly affected, however, try a softer side part, such as the kind spotted on D&G’s fall runway. Judah Down, proprietor of JD’s Barbershop in Vancouver, explains it thusly: “[Trim]a little off the top, thin it out a bit and [go]tighter on the sides and back, but no clippers – you don’t want to look like the guy who just got his hair cut.” Follow-up home styling is also a cinch. “Just throw in a bit of pomade and blow-dry.” Yes, blow-dry. (See below.)
TRY: Hawleywood’s Layrite Original Pomade, $18 through www.jdsbarbershop.com.
9. Blow your lid
When it comes to hair dryers, Giovanni Smaldino, creative director of Vancouver’s TONI&GUY salon, recommends the lightweight-yet-heavy-duty Avanti Ultra GP-2000. “It’s expensive, but it’ll last for years,” he says, adding that the Italian-made model is an essential tool for achieving this season’s fuller, smoother-looking hairstyles for men.
TRY: Avanti Ultra GP-2000 Professional Hair Dryer, $150 through
10. Reverse your losses
If you’re thinning up top, ask your doctor about Proscar. The prescription medication is a quarter of the price of Propecia and just as effective at slowing and even reversing hair loss. Unlike Propecia, though, it’s covered by some insurance plans.
11. Skip the mouthwash
Many over-the-counter rinses are high in alcohol and can actually dry your mouth out, making halitosis even worse. Instead, use a tongue scraper after brushing. Then stay well hydrated.
12. Tea off
Speaking of bad breath, researchers from the University of Illinois have found that the polyphenols in black and green tea prevent the growth of bad-breath-causing bacteria. So consider swapping your morning coffee for something steeped.
13. Watch your back
If you’re prone to bacne or ingrown hairs – often from shaving or waxing body hair – Kathryn Sawers, skin therapist and general manager of Spruce Body Lab in Vancouver, suggests scrubbing your body with a gentle buffing cloth, “a great alternative to the loofah, which takes ages to dry and can harbour mildew.” Dermalogica offers one “made from Japanese anti-microbial microfibre. Just dampen it and squeeze body wash on it before you use it.”
14. Tap into flower power
According to Nahla Saad, a co-owner of Noor, a fragrance boutique in Toronto, “scents with floral or powdery notes ... can be stunning on men.” Two of her favourites are a fragrance by Italy’s Santa Maria Novella called Melograno (which “mixes the tart taste of pomegranate with an insistent, floral undertone”) and Heeley’s Cuir Pleine Fleur (wherein “floral notes like mimosa, rose and honeysuckle mix with castoreum,
birch and vetiver, creating the scent of fine leather”).
TRY: Melograno by Santa Maria Novella, $120, Cuir Pleine Fleur by Heeley, $165 through www.noorboutique.com.
15. Put your best foot forward
Until recently, the only option for treating toenail fungus was a lengthy course of oral medication. Now, however, the ever-versatile laser has proved an effective means of clearing the problem up. Jason Rivers, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia, will begin offering the treatment at his practice soon; while the procedure is apparently painless, though, the $800-to-$1,000 cost most certainly isn’t. Thankfully, one session should do the trick.
Special to The Globe and Mail