The thing is, it is time to break the yoke imposed on the male species of the human race by centuries of warped and utterly unhealthy ideals of masculinity. There have been times when a man would get suspicious stares for spending more than a few seconds with a mirror. But it is 2018, and we must change with the times. Whether you agree or not, men also have to take care of themselves. And by that, I mean personal grooming. Here’s a few things about it every guy should know.
1. Keep Regular appointments with your barber.
Nobody is asking you to spend every waking moment in the salon/barber shop, just be regular enough to keep your hair on a level that is completely comfortable for you. I keep my hair in a short buzz cut, so I visit the barber’s every 2-3 weeks. Someone with another haircut might go every 4-5 weeks. Find what works best for you and be sure to stick to it.
2. Find Hair care products that work for you.
Generally, black people have all types of curly and/or nappy hair. And the humid temperatures are not doing us any favours, especially in the hair department and as such, finding the right kind of hair care products is key to grooming. Some products make you sweat under your hair, others make the hair knotty and very impossible to deal with. Ask questions and do not be afraid to try different products. If all other products fail you, I heard somewhere that petroleum jelly a.k.a Vaseline is God’s gift to black people and per my experience, it’s not far from the truth.
3. Take care of Facial hair and the skin under it.
Unless you plan on moving into a cave to become a hermit some time soon, you need to pay attention to your facial hair.
Some like to smooth shave, others like to keep a stuble, and some also like to cultivate a full beard/goatee/sideburn situation. Whichever category you’re in, it needs maintenance. Beard oils(for the facial hair) and face cream (for, well, the face) will do the trick for you. Fun fact, Vaseline can be used for both purposes. An occasional face steam works wonders too. Exfoliating with a sponge, a brush or a face scrub keeps the face looking young and fresh. It also helps if you wash your face every night before bed.
4. Take care of your hands and feet.
Cutting your nails when you’re right out of the shower (because they’re softer then) at least once a week is the way to go. To take the dead skin off the feet, a pummice stone will do the job. For those whitish cells (they’re actually called cuticles) at the roots of the nails, a little moisturizer will sort it out. The feet are the parts of the body most susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Dry them properly after every shower, slather a generous amount of moisturizer on them, wear socks when you need to and get a pedicure and manicure once or twice every month. It’ll be worth it.
5. There are benefits to trimming pelvic and underarm hairs.
Even though there are no medical downsides to keeping pubic hair, the chances of having odour from sweat and urine residue is pretty high. For a clean shave, apply a very mild shaving cream (or lather up the area with your bathing soap, really) and continually wash the razor in disinfected water. To minimize irritated skin, always use a brand new razor. There’s also ingrown hairs after smooth shaving, which may encourage you to trim it rather. With that, you need a clipper, a pair of tweezers or nail scissors. Avoid regular-sized scissors, they have pointed tips and are hard to maneuver. Remember, shave wet,trim dry and smell significantly better.
6. Take oral health seriously
Almost all we’re ever taught about oral hygiene from childhood is to brush our teeth twice a day, in spite of the topic being broader than that. For example, it entails the teeth, the tongue, the lips and a host of other parts of the mouth and face. Brushing twice a day is good, but you can do more, like cleaning your tongue(get a tongue scraper, your breath will be better and your food will taste better for it) and cleaning your lips (get a toothbrush for your lips, gently brush them to exfoliate, and don’t be shy to use a chapstick or lip balm to moisturize afterwards to prevent cracking and uncomfortable dryness).
7. Make A conscious effort to smell good.
Smell has been proven by science to be one of the best memory triggers there is. If you want to make an impression, to leave a mark upon people you come into contact with, one sure way is by smelling good. Apart from that, it actually makes people want to be around you. It also boosts your confidence level. Just one thing though, milder fragrances are best suited for daytime (they’re easier on your nostrils and that of the people around you) and the stronger ones are good for night time (they’re probably going to be competing with alcohol and smoke and all kinds of other strong scents).
You can groom yourself into the very best version of you there can ever be. It only takes a little work and a little commitment. Nothing extraordinary. Don’t let some social conventions hold you back from taking proper care of yourself, because at the end of the day, it’s your life. With that said, happy grooming!
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