Let's face it -- not everyone's a morning person. And for those who aren't, just getting out the door on time can be as difficult as trying to solve a complex math problem. So when it comes to hygiene and grooming in the morning, anything that can make the process less complicated is usually a good thing.
Luckily, there are a few simple things men can do in the morning to help out with the daily ritual. Here, we'll share five tips to make a man's morning routine run a little more smoothly, while still ensuring you look, smell and feel good before leaving the house.
There's no better way to speed up and streamline your morning routine than by planning ahead and staying organized. If a few of your must-do tasks can be accomplished the night before, then you'll have less to worry about (or forget to do) in the morning.
One tip for an easy morning is to decide what you'll wear the night before and make sure it's clean, pressed and easy to locate. Wearing clean clothes every day is a good hygiene must; worn clothing harbors sweat, dirt and bacteria -- three things you don't want hanging out close to your body. And there's nothing more frustrating when you've just woken up than digging through a pile of clothes looking for something clean to wear. Set out your clothes the night before so getting dressed doesn't lead to stress.
Another tip for planning ahead: Keep all of your morning grooming and hygiene products in one organized, central location. Often-used items like toothpaste, dental floss, shaving cream, moisturizer and deodorant should be easily accessible at all times, so you can find them quickly when they're needed. It's one simple way to ensure that your daily hygiene ritual is less of a hassle.
In some ways, shaving regularly can actually be faster and easier than shaving, well, irregularly. Think about it: Three or four days' worth of beard takes longer to deal with than a day's worth of stubble because too much hair can clog the razor. That means you'll have to take extra time to rinse it out more often. Also, if your whiskers are long, you'll have to make more passes of the blade across your skin to get a smooth shave (which can lead to facial irritation). And, let's face it, more hair makes a bigger mess. A daily shave can be quick and easy if you have the proper tools -- shaving cream, moisturizer and a sharp razor -- and less hassle in the long run if you keep at it.
However, shaving also scrapes away the top layer of skin, leaving your face vulnerable to bacteria. For this reason, doctors sometimes recommend using an antibacterial aftershave, which is something to consider if you plan to shave daily.
Don't Wash Your Hair Every Day
Even though some things are necessary for good hygiene, like everyday showering and brushing your teeth, washing your hair isn't one of them. That's right -- it's not absolutely necessary to wash your hair every time you clean the rest of your body. In fact, many hair stylists actually recommend washing it every other day or every couple of days, rather than daily.
Why? As the shampoo removes all the unwanted dirt and gunk from your hair, it also strips your locks of natural oils. And while too much of that oil can leave your hair looking greasy, in moderation it can keep your hair from drying out, help stave off dandruff and make your hair easier to style. So that's one less thing to worry about in the morning -- well, at least every other morning.
Multitasking may not be the best idea in some areas of life (driving, for instance), but when it comes to getting ready and getting out the door in the morning, learning to multitask a few of your morning rituals can save you time.
For example, have you ever thought about clipping your fingernails and toenails while you're in the shower? Warm water softens the nails, making them easier to trim. Plus, if you're in the shower, you won't have to worry about where the clippings land -- they'll just wash down the drain. You can do other things in the shower, too, like brushing your teeth, cleaning out your ears (warm water softens earwax) and even shaving.
Another way to multitask is by using combination hygiene and grooming products, such as shampoo and conditioner in one, or a body wash that's designed to clean both the body and hair (yes, they make those!). Out of the shower, you can try a combination aftershave and moisturizer that can be used on your whole face. Some guys like to simplify their routine by keeping around only what's needed to get the job done, so these products are a great way to reduce the clutter while keeping all of your body-cleaning bases covered.
Don't Neglect the Small Stuff
Many small grooming habits have a bigger impact on your appearance than you might think. Trimming nose hair, cleaning inside and around the ears, moisturizing, exfoliating the skin, removing eye and nose gunk -- these small tasks can sometimes make or break your overall appearance and can be essential to good hygiene.
Spend a few moments each morning checking and touching up areas that aren't groomed on a daily basis, such as nose hair, ear hair and eyebrows. If you keep up on maintaining these areas, they're less likely to get out of control.
In the shower, make sure you don't forget the easily missed body parts, like your neck, behind your ears and even your feet. To ensure the soap reaches every part of you, start at the top and work your way down, taking care that you don't miss any of your skin. If you're consciously trying to hit every spot, then you're less likely to skip something.
The bottom line is that if you work hard on the rest of your appearance, you don't want a stray nose hair or some ear gunk to undermine your efforts. So spend a few moments cleaning up these often-neglected areas, and you'll be rewarded by looking great and feeling clean.
If you'd like to know more about men's health and hygiene, the links on the next page will point you in the right direction.
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- American Academy of Dermatology. "Men's Skin Care." 2010. (Feb. 22, 2011)http://www.aad.org/media/background/factsheets/fact_men_skin.html
- Avram, Mathew. "I Want to Shave My Face Every Day, But My Skin Gets Red and Burns After Several Days of Shaving. What Can I Do?" ABC News. July 1, 2009. (Feb. 27, 2011)http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MensHealthQuestions/story?id=7917537
- Duggan, R.J. "Summer Hair Tips for Men." Debonair Magazine. Aug. 17, 2009. (Feb. 23, 2011)http://www.debonairmag.com/summer-hair-tips-men
- Giswold, Jon and David Morgan. "Basic Training: A Fundamental Guide to Fitness for Men." St. Martin's Press. 1998.
- Herald.ie. "Smooth Operators." Feb. 22, 2011. (Feb. 24, 2011)http://www.herald.ie/lifestyle/health-beauty/smooth-operators-2550417.html
- Mail Online. "Men 'spend 83 minutes preparing to go out' while women take just 79, study finds." Feb. 10, 2010. (Feb. 22, 2011)http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1249811/Men-spend-83-minutes-preparing-women-just-79-survey-finds.html
- Margolis, Kim. "Yet Another Way Men and Women are Different." Dayton Daily News. Nov. 20, 2009. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://mo.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/womenslife/entries/2009/11/20/yet_another_way_men_and_women_1.html