People often say that men have it easy in the morning. But despite the fact that there are as many steps in a man’s morning routine as there is in a woman’s, it’s not enough for you guys to simply roll out of bed and into a pair of pants and a shirt and shimmy your way out the door. Taking a little time to make sure your grooming is on point can go a long way to making a good impression.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy list of a few quick head-to-toe grooming tips to help you look and feel a bit more put together on busy mornings so that you can put your best foot forward for the rest of the day.
Whether or not you are a daily hair washer, you are (hopefully) a daily hair styler. Unless you have a crew cut (even if you do, you still need the last part of this tip), a little styling time is necessary to keep yourself from looking like you just rolled out of bed.
If unruly texture is your hair challenge, look for strong hold pastes and creams and style your hair dry. Hair has a completely different attitude when wet and you won’t be able to address the specific problem areas like stray curls or cowlicks.
If lack of volume is an issue, there are plenty of foams and sprays that will give you a little extra lift. Apply these close to the root and use your fingers or a comb to pull the product through to the ends. A blow dryer is your best tool in creating a little extra height, whether your hair is wet or dry. Just a quick blast to the root, while lifting your hair up will give you a noticeable boost.
Quick Check: How is your outgrowth? Is the back of your neck starting to look stubbly? This is a common issue that happens between trims. By placing your palm flat against your hairline, you can safely shave up to your hand using either a beard trimmer or razor, keeping the line of your haircut even. This will keep you looking neat between visits to the barber.
Not having to apply makeup like the ladies do does shave a lot of time off a man’s morning routine versus a woman’s. However, it also leaves your face, well, naked which means that your skin is on full display. Rather than just splashing with cold water, or using your in-the-shower bar soap for your face and body (no, please…just no), putting a little thought into your skin care can make you look fresher, brighter and more rested, even on your busiest mornings. Skin care regimes are specific to individual types and research is definitely required, but, in general, you need a daily soap, a scrub and a lotion with an SPF. Using a facial scrub once a week will leave your pores clear and your skin bright, as it removes the dead outer layers. Scrubs also go a long way in preventing those pesky and painful ingrown hairs.
Using a daily lotion not only protects your skin, but it helps your skin appear smooth and soothes post-shave irritation. A little-known fact about men’s skincare is that it’s formulated with the same exact ingredients as pricier counterparts skewed towards women. The typical differences are fragrance and packaging, which means that men’s skin care products are just as effective as women’s. You just pay less for them.
Hair care doesn’t stop at the top of your head; we still have your facial hair to cover. So let’s start at the top. Some men draw the line at having their eyebrows professionally groomed, and that’s fine. If you’re opting for at-home brow maintenance, keep an eye on the space between your brows. Your eyebrows should start at the side of your nose, and to find out where this is, take a pencil, toothbrush or the edge of a comb and lay it directly against your nostril so that it reaches up to your brow. This edge is where your eyebrow should start. Do the same thing on the other side. Any hairs that fall in between those two points are in unibrow territory and should be tweezed. The length of your eyebrows is also a consideration for a well-groomed appearance. Some men have longer hair in some parts of their brows as opposed to others. Some men have a tendency to get “antennas” at the start of the eyebrows and this is easily kept in check with a little trim. A pair of nail scissors remedies this nicely and they can be picked up in the nail accessories section of any drugstore. Of course, use extreme caution when wielding a sharp, pointy object near your eyes.
And then we have facial hair, the last bastion of manliness. Facial hair has been riding a wave of popularity in beauty lately and that’s good news for your morning routine. However, just because you no longer have to be smooth as a baby’s bum to be considered “well-groomed,” it doesn’t mean you can allow your razor to collect dust. Facial hair, like all types of hair, requires its own care to look well maintained and healthy. While we are huge proponents of the professional straight razor shave you can do a lot at home to keep your facial hair neat and tidy.
You can tell a gentleman by the condition of his nails. Much like eyebrow maintenance, some men are uncomfortable with the idea of visiting a nail salon for a buff and trim. If you opt for the DIY route, make sure to keep nails short, clean and even. Your nails should never go past your fingertips, it’s better to keep them about ⅛” shorter.
Most men are tempted to cut straight across, or in a point. Please note these methods are not conducive to nail health. Cutting straight across your nail will cause the edges to catch snags, which could lead to damage to your nail, your sweaters, even a loved one’s face. Those edges are sharp! And cutting your nail to a triangle point is just begging for cuticle damage and a possible ingrown nail. Instead, do your best to trim around your nail and use a file to smooth down the edge.
The next step to healthy, neat nails is to use a cuticle stick. You can find these in the nail accessories section of any drugstore. You’ll already be there when you run out for those nail scissors for your eyebrow maintenance. They are small, pointy and usually made of wood. You want to use these little guys to push back the cuticles of your nails (the thin, translucent skin that surrounds your nail). Not only does this make your nails look neater, it prevents your cuticles from getting dried out and cracking.
The care we put into our appearance is a direct reflection of the care we put into ourselves, our work, in our relationships, and everything in between. People we meet for the first time have only a moment to form a first impression and whether we like it or not, it’s based on looks. While relationships of all kinds are (hopefully) formed off more than just what each person looks like, first impressions can be difficult to change. Think of your appearance like a billboard and ask yourself, “What is your look advertising?”
The hard part is one of those hair terms that, if you know it, you probably love it. At its core, a hard part—or surgical part as it’s been called once or twice before—is essentially a part that is shaved into the hair. It’s a little more extreme than the sharply defined side part that has been running rampant all over men’s magazines lately. And, by its very nature, requires a bit more commitment.
*Please Note: Since this technique requires a certain level of skill and steadiness of hand, definitely don’t try this one at home. A hard part is best left to a clipper-savvy, knowledgeable professional that can help determine whether your desired style is a good fit for a hard part.
What Is A Hard Part?
Typically, a hard part pairs well with undercuts, fades, and combed-over styles like a “Classic Sweepback” or a serious pompadour, and a good stylist/ barber will take creating hard parts very seriously. After all, it’s a bit more permanent than your typical combed in parting. The trick to create it is to start with soaking wet hair, and using a comb to define the part perfectly before starting in with the clippers. A typical best practice is to finish it all off with a straight razor to make sure the lines are as clean as possible. This will also extend the life of the hard part.
Now, it should be noted that there is one potential drawback to the hard part—they are a bit high maintenance. Depending on the width of the part, outgrowth can be very noticeable. While longer-on-top styles have the option to comb the hair over to cover growing hard part stubble, shorter styles like spikes and crewcuts will just have to let the proper amount of time pass. If you want to keep your sharply defined part looking fresh, you’re going to need to see your stylist or barber a lot more often. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do for hard part regret except to let nature take its course.
The Hard Part At Home
As far as at-home maintenance goes, it can be covered with one word—don’t. As in, “Do NOT attempt to keep your hard part clean, yourself.” Remember how a hard part is irreversible? Well, so are hard part mistakes. If you are keeping an eye on your outgrowth, book a quickie appointment to get both your part and neckline cleaned up. By doing so, you’ll extend the life of your cut overall. As far as styling goes, a hard part looks best with “tamed” hair. You’ll want to get yourself a good pomade, preferably something with a soft finish and a medium to strong hold.
Styling on the day-to-day should be pretty simple, as your hair should naturally fall away from the part. All that you need to do is encourage it. Take a little dab of pomade, work it between your palms until it is warm and malleable, and smooth it over your hair, starting at the part and working your way outward. Follow up with a comb to evenly disperse the product through your hair and finish up with whatever the recommended styling steps are for your specific cut.
Now that you know the basics, deciding on how you can best incorporate this style into your current look is really the hardest part.