The Grooming Manual
Habits matter. Even the little ones. Flossing. Exercising. Eating right.
Sticking to seemingly small daily habits adds up to big results. And skipping those little details makes things worse than they need to be.
Be honest - you've had the dental hygienist ask “so how often are you flossing again?” - and it didn't feel good, did it?
The same is true of your skincare and grooming habits. Worse, you may have developed bad habits without even knowing it.
Here are 10 common grooming mistakes men make and how to avoid them for lasting results.
1. Washing With Low-Quality Cleansers
You really shouldn’t wash your hands, face, or anything else with cheap, low-quality soap. This is a common mistake guys make -- after all, it’s easy to just choose the cheapest option at the store. And it may seem like it’s all more or less the same stuff.
This is not true. Soap bars, as a general rule, are hard on your skin. They use harsh detergents that strip your skin of essential, hydrating oils. So while they do eliminate bacteria, dirt, and oil, they use a scorched earth method that is less than ideal with bad-for-your-skin ingredients like:
- Emulsifiers: Meant to make soaps suds up and mix together, emulsifiers like polysorbate, stearate, steareth, cetearyl and ceteareth (that’s a mouthful) leave a residue on your skin that can mess with your natural barrier and dry out your skin.
- Parabens: These are meant to maximize shelf life by decreasing mold and bacteria in products. The problem is that they can throw your hormones out of balance -- some studies even suggest they can cause cancer. Not great.
- Artificial fragrance and colors: Many artificial fragrances and colors are made known carcinogens and skin irritants. Since these are often considered trade secrets, companies don't have to disclose the exact ingredients they're using.
These ingredients are so harmful that the European Union (EU) has banned over 1,300 of them from cosmetic products (though in the US the FDA is slow to catch up with only 11 banned ingredients).
Want to be smarter about what you're using on your skin? Good! Read your labels and replace products with these no-no ingredients with safe, natural options like the coconut-based cleansers we use in our Clarifying Gel Face Wash.
In the shower, your skin will appreciate the gentle touch of a body wash over a soap bar. Our Invigorating Body Wash is made with hydrating ingredients including glycerin, jojoba, and aloe vera. It also steers clear of synthetic fragrances, which use dubious chemical ingredients and are common causes of skin irritation. We opt for essential oils instead in all of our scents.
2. Going to Bed with an Oily, Dirty Face
It may not seem like a big deal - you forget to wash your face or just do it in the shower or just “when you remember.” But nightly face washing is actually really important.
Your face produces sebum - or oil - that mixes with dirt, sweat, and anything else that you encounter throughout the day. If you don’t wash it off at night, it’ll soak into your pores and create blackheads and pimples. Over time, this can result in significant acne concerns.
Dirty bedsheets and pillowcases are hotbeds of blemish-causing bacteria too. If you’re in the lazy habit of almost never changing your sheets, it’s time to step it up.
The issue is that bacteria, sweat, and oil transfer from your face and skin onto your sheets and pillowcases while you sleep. If allowed to fester, the bacteria can thrive in this environment. The next time you lie down, that petri dish of bacteria can transfer onto your skin - and cause trouble.
Bottom line? Wash your face daily, people. If you know you have oily or acne prone skin, try our Acne Control Face Wash with 2% salicylic acid, grapefruit, and tea tree oil.
- Adult Acne in Men: What It Is, Causes of Adult Acne, and How to Treat It
- The Best Ingredients for Clearing Breakouts
3. Skipping the SPF
Fact: at least 80% of the visible signs of aging and skin damage are caused by UV rays and environmental stressors. This means that 80% of those fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and sagging areas that you see popping up could be avoided with proper sun care.
Too many guys think putting on sunscreen is a bother. They skip it and just assume they’ll be fine. But there are negative effects beyond just a bad-looking farmer’s tan.
The right SPF product can help - and skipping this step can majorly affect your skin over time.
Want to slow down the aging process? Incorporate a moisturizer with SPF into your morning routine - like our Daily Defense Face Moisturizer with SPF 20. That way, you kill two birds with one stone and you stop those premature or unnecessary signs of aging in their tracks.
No, you shouldn’t be afraid of the sun. But you should respect the negative effects UV radiation can have on your skin. It only takes a minute or so to apply sunscreen. It may seem like a nuisance now, but years later you will be glad you applied it regularly.
4. Causing Skin Irritation Every Time You Shave
If you rock a smooth, clean shaven look, you’re no stranger to occasional shave issues. All those little imperfections in your shave routine add up to give you a less than ideal appearance.
A lot of guys shave the wrong way - going against the grain, shaving too closely, or using low-quality razors. This can lead to ingrown hairs, bacterial growth, angry red spots, and other irritating skin concerns.
The problem? A guy with shave irritation, cuts, and similar issues doesn’t look put together. It gives the impression that you don’t take good care of yourself, that you rush through life, and that you don’t take the little things seriously. Even if none of that is true about you, creating that impression is disaster in the business world.
Stop these issues in their tracks by following a few simple steps:
- Always wash and exfoliate your skin before you shave. (Have you tried our Renewing Face Scrub?)
- Choose a shave cream or oil that soothes and hydrates your skin so you have minimal risk of shave irritation (That’s how we designed our Smooth Brushless Shave Cream and Hybrid Glide Shave Oil.)
- Don't shave too close to the skin. Keep it gentle with light, gliding motions in the direction of the hair growth.
- Rinse the blade with water after every stroke - don’t be lazy and try to get it all done in one go.
- Don’t shave too frequently - if possible, every other day is much easier on your skin.
- Finish up with an alcohol-free aftershave that won’t dry out or irritate your skin - like our Instant Relief Aftershave with hyaluronic acid.
- 5 Easy Ways to Prevent Ingrown Hairs Once and For All
- 3 Men’s Shaving Tweaks for a Smoother Experience
- How to Prevent Razor Burn, Razor Bumps, & Ingrown Hairs
5. Rubbing Your Dirty Phone on Your Face
You always wash your hands before you touch your face, right? Well, hopefully. Especially since you come into contact with tons of dirty things - like money - throughout the day.
Like your phone. According to one study, there are more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies on the phones of high school students. Another study discovered that cell phones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats.
So if you’re touching that thing to your face without sanitizing it, you’re just asking for acne and skin problems.
6. Taking a Haphazard Approach to Skincare
Some skincare ingredients take time to start showing their full effects. Here are some averages:
- AHAs start working right away, but peak at 12 weeks
- Niacinamide doesn’t start working for 12 weeks
- Vitamin C takes 3+ weeks
- Peptides can take up to 12 weeks
The lesson? You need to use your products with active ingredients daily - and regularly over the long term - if you want the full results. So develop a skincare routine that works for you and stick with it - even if you start simple with just face wash and moisturizer.
Want to start a basic, no-frills skincare habit that will keep your skin clear, bright, and hydrated? Our Daily Essential Face Care Routine has got you covered. It includes face wash and face moisturizer - use both each morning and each evening before bed. The routine comes in two varieties - one for guys with normal or oily skin and one for men with dry or sensitive skin.
If you already take good care of your skin but want to smooth out the texture and prevent future wrinkles, go with our Advanced Anti-Aging Routine. It's a 3-step regimen that nourishes, moisturizes, and tightens the skin.
7. Over-Applying Your Skincare & Grooming Products
Using too much product also comes with its setbacks. Being heavy-handed with your hair styling products, for example, can lead to flaking or an overly waxy appearance (and, over time, it can contribute to breakouts).
In the same vein, using too many different active ingredients - or in too high concentrations - can lead to redness and irritation on your skin.
Don’t over-do it. It won’t make things work better. Quite the opposite.
When it comes to our skincare products, on most cases you only need a dime-size amount to get the job done. Moisturizer should cover your skin, not smother it in a thick paste. With skincare in general, easy does it.
8. Ignoring Your Hands
A lot of guys skip nail care and simply give their nails a trim from time to time. Bad idea.
Remember - your hands are one of the first things that people will see and touch. It’s important to get this first impression right with a nail regimen that includes:
- Pushing your cuticles back
- Moisturizing regularly
- Keeping an appealing, rounded shape
9. Letting Your Nose Hairs Grow Wild
They stick out like… nose hairs. It’s incredibly distracting to talk to a guy with protruding nasal whiskers. Also, it’s gross.
Imagine you’re having a high stakes business meeting. The dialogue is getting intense. And then you notice the guy talking has a long, wiry hair sticking straight out of his nose. Not a good look for a career-focused professional - or anyone.
Fortunately, this is an easy faux pas to fix. Each morning when you look in the mirror to brush your teeth or do your hair, make a quick nose hair check. Anything showing? Remove those hairs with clippers - or better yet, invest in a tool specifically designed to trim nose hairs. They come with safe attachments that prevent any needless accidents.
10. Overdoing the Colognes and Fragrances
Does it get worse than this? You do not want to be the guy stinking things up with too much cologne.
What you do want is a slight hint of a subtle fragrance - not a smell that blows a horn from down the hall announcing your presence.
Having a signature scent can be a good thing - both in personal and professional settings. Using a distinctive cologne makes you stand out as a man who takes his appearance and presentation seriously. Just don’t overdo it. Here’s how:
- If you’re new to wearing cologne, go with a light, fresh scent.
- Start with one spray to the chest after showering and drying off.
- Spray your skin, not your clothes.
- Don’t rub on your cologne or walk into a cloud of it. Neither will get you good results.
- How to Choose the Right Cologne for You
- Why Is Cheap Cologne Bad?
- Stay Away from These Toxic Ingredients in Your Cologne