The days when a guy could just shave, shower and hit the road for a big date are all but a fond memory. Good grooming and plenty of it is the order of the day for both sexes. Owning the right tool to tame a cowlick, excise a hangnail or put some sparkle in your smile is important, especially if your social life involves more than delivery pizza and a series of solitary evenings in front of the flat screen.
On the next few pages, we'll take a look at five must-have grooming aids for the budding metrosexual. You don't need to be a fashion conscious urban dweller to get on board with a regular grooming routine, either. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums, soft skin, and clean, short nails can keep you healthier, too.
OK, most men brush their teeth, but maybe not enough. The condition of your teeth can affect everything from your smile to your heart health, so brush twice a day and between meals if you can manage it. You might also want to consider brushing your tongue -- yeah, it's an extra step, but germs lurk and linger there, too.
We like electric toothbrushes over manual. Although there may be little difference in scientific tests between manual and electric methods, that's only when the manual brushing is done correctly. Electric toothbrushes that use rotation oscillation make the process pretty idiot-proof and get the job done right every time. The brush does all the work, whirling around your mouth like a dervish, and all you have to do is hold on.
Rotation oscillation toothbrushes make it easier for you get at plaque under your gum line and do a more thorough job of brushing between teeth. If you tend to lose track of time while brushing, many electric toothbrushes also have handy timers to let you know when your molars and bicuspids are minty fresh and ready to greet the new day.
Even if your mane isn't your crowning glory, you'll still need these two tools to keep it under control. Hair is notorious for being unruly, especially when you have a big meeting or date coming up. When the wind blows, there's nothing like a comb for a quick fix-up, so keep one handy at all times. A small or folding comb will fit in your pocket and help turn a bad hair day into a, well, a better hair day. If you have very thick, curly hair, choose a comb with wide teeth. That way you'll never be the guy who has to call his barber or stylist to schedule an emergency comb-ectomy.
For your morning grooming ritual, you'll want a hairbrush, too. We like soft, natural-bristle brushes. They're gentle but still perform some scalp massage without much risk of yanking valuable hairs out in the process. They're also very effective at lubricating your hair with the natural oils from your scalp. If you have dandruff, though, opt for a stiff-bristle brush that will stimulate good blood flow and keep your dandruff under better control.
Nail care is important. Clean nails harbor fewer bacteria, and short, well-trimmed nails (and toes) will leave you less vulnerable to problems like hangnails and ingrown toenails. It's easy to find nail and toe clippers in those cute faux leather, zip up kits, but save your pennies and invest in a pair of precision nail clippers and a larger pair of toe clippers.
Look for clippers that will fit the curve of your nail so that one or two quick snips will do the job cleanly. That way, you won't need to use a file to tidy up afterward. Toenail clippers should make relatively straight cuts and be strong enough to cut your big toe nail without shredding it or forcing you to shift your grip.
Manscaping is the manly art of hair removal, and your personal preferences (and those of your significant other) will dictate what types of manscaping activities you find essential for good grooming. You may want to carve a couple of eyebrows out of your unibrow, give the back of your neck a touchup between haircuts, banish those stray hairs peeking out of your nose or ears, thin your beard, or perform some landscaping on your back or points south.
There are specialty razors for all kinds of manscaping tasks. The trick is to marry the right tool with the task and learn to use it effortlessly. Some newer specialty razors have multiple blades and can perform more than one function by just switching out the head. They can be versatile and convenient -- after a little practice. Single function razors, like those with spinning blades that won't snag the tender skin in your nose or nick your earlobe, can only remove hair efficiently from a few areas, but what they do, they do very well.
Choosing your style of razor is a very personal thing. Nine out of 10 boys and men over the age of 15 shave. Shaving is a rite of passage. Dads teach their sons, and boys emulate their fathers. It all sounds so traditional, and it would be if methods of shaving and facial hair fashions weren't always changing.
If you went back a couple of generations, you'd get a good argument for using a straight edge razor to get a close shave. Fast forward a bit and you'll find advocates of safety razors for ease of use. Today, proponents of electric razors will tell you that they're as good as anything else on the market, easier to use and safer, too. Actually, you can still probably find proponents of all three points of view, together with hold outs who believe that shaving at all is ridiculous and unnatural.
The take away is that there are lots of options. We like electric razors because they're convenient, available for use wet or dry, and you can almost always find a size, shape and blade style for your skin type and the task you have in mind. Whether you're looking for long battery life, a lightweight option or just like the idea of an onboard moisturizer dispenser, you'll be able to find it in an electric razor.
Women aren't the only ones who battle oily skin. Get skin care advice for men with oily skin.
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