BUSINESS IS GROOMING!
As if it were yesterday, I can smell the aftershave on my father as he dropped me off for school in the early morning. His tie tight, the New York Times tucked in his briefcase and a scent that still resonates with me signaling ‘ready for battle.’
As I’ve grown older, my feelings of grooming have since expanded to a mission of preservation of youth. Although, as men we all mock the amount of time a lady takes to prepare and close her day the reality is, she’s more likely to remain unblemished by life’s everyday challenges.
Here are a few ways I’ve found to keep me prepped and protected for/from my day:
Staunchly classic by nature and nurture, I’ll always recommend a wet shave complete with pre-shave balm, shaving soap or cream, butterfly or straight razor and aftershave balm or lotion. This is not out of necessity, but simply because anything worth doing is worth doing right!
I take pride in the process of preparation just as I would in tightening a tie or shining my shoes. Further, the precision of a single blade vs. cartridge or electric razor is simply incomparable. This is especially important if you go back and forth between stubble, clean or attempting to be Abraham Lincoln’s stunt double.
Start with a hot shower to soften the bristles of your facial hair and open your pores
Rub a drop or two of pre-shave balm on the desired surface with your hands to reduce razor friction. If you find you get razor burn, I highly recommend not skipping this step!
I lather the desired surface with a shaving soap and brush (see above in taking pride in the classic process).
Using strokes with the grain, not against it, I clear my razor with hot water to maintain smooth brushes against the skin between after every stroke.
Wash the remaining shaving soap with cold water to soothe the skin and close the pores. It also adds that pheromone of preparation and pride that we discussed at the opening of the article.
Come winter, I’ll often add some facial hair for a couple reasons.
One, every good pitcher has a few good pitches in his arsenal… why always look exactly the same? Especially, if you naturally have the ability to grow a fine beard?
Two, it can protect from wind burn if you travel the north from November through March. Keep it in check!
Beard Oil/Balm - Facial hair shouldn’t resemble barbed wire to your own neck or others (especially the lady, iif her kisses seem to drop by over 50% this could be why). Beard balm will not only soften your facial hair but keep it smelling ‘ready for battle,’ thick and slick!
Beard Wax - If the hair on your head gets longer, you add pomade to keep it in check! The same must go for your beard Gent! Don’t show up to your meeting wind-blown!
BASIC SKIN CARE:
I once mocked those who spent time and money on skin serums until I started resembling middle aged adults with each year equivalent of my life. Why wait any longer to preserve your youthful appearance?
SPF - Sounds obvious? The sun puts miles on your skin more than anything else. I never quite understood the 31 year old male or female sitting at the beach or pool putting their best efforts behind looking 60 by seasons end. Aside from the fact that you might not make it to 60 if you keep adding unchecked cancer-causing UV light!
Face & Body Scrub - Exfoliate those dead skin cells that clog your pores with a little grit. Otherwise, blackheads and pimples can unite against you!
Facial Soap - The truth is, a bar of soap scrubs away not only dirt but essential oils that keep your face protected. Facial soap helps maintain the PH balance of your face.
Face Mask - May seem lady-like, but quickly becoming a sexless routine. I’ll do one with my fiance once a week to clear my pores and prevent break-outs, it’s become a fun family routine.
Skin Moisturizer - This isn’t a one-size fits all strategy. It really depends on how oily or dry your skin runs. That could be both behavioral or by genetic disposition. However, dry skin is rough in nature, flakey and most prone to wrinkles and lines. Fight back!
My uncles were original Queens, NY greasers in the 1950’s crafting fantastic styles like pompadours, waves and curls. Someone once told me later in life that vaseline was their version of pomade. What a mess that must have left every night on his pillow, sheets and clothes! Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s hair gels left my crown (and that’s exactly what it was) dried out and crunchy because its ingredients evaporate moisture. There are so many better options for all kinds of hair like the following:
Hair Dryer - Face it, gents… If you’re lucky enough to have a full head of hair but it’s straight as an arrow, a hair dryer will train your hair to get the girth you need to style upward! Otherwise, you’ll be fixing it all day with every gust of wind!
Pomade - There are many types but I prefer water-based because they can keep you looking slick like Elvis all day and wash out with plain old water at the end of the day.
Wax & Clay - Come summer time, I prefer a shorter haircut. It’s cooler and I battle less with the natural environment such as open windows or roof deck bars. A wax or clay paste can add texture giving even your short hair a bit of volume.