When it comes to basic grooming and face maintenance, there are many ways to keep Father Time far away from your mug.
Gentlemen, LISTEN UP!
OK, so maybe guys in our demographic don’t need to be screamed at, or better yet, told what to do at our age. But for those who aren’t paying attention to basic grooming, there’s a very good chance our wives, girlfriends or significant others are starting to look younger—even a lot younger—than us. Sound familiar? Or worse, look familiar?
Here’s my realistic goal: Get people to notice that something’s different. No. Better. That during the big game we’ll be having beer, chicken wings and wear a hydrating facial mask during halftime. Think twice if you feel our favorite sports stars or broadcasters aren’t spending a lot of time taking care of their mugs. It’s the new religion for everyone in the public eye in this HD world. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.
First thing’s first: Let’s define grooming.
I remember my mom telling my dad to stop using bar soap on his hair three decades ago. Does it get the job done? Yes. But it’s oh-so damaging. For me, the less we do, the more powerful the regimen has to be. That said, I prefer a well-rounded, ongoing routine of looking younger, a little every day, and a little every night, early evening or before bed, but with quality products and regimens that are going to allow our bodies and faces to keep up with living longer. Because science is extending our life span and you don’t want your face to fall apart before you do.
- Cleansing. A good face wash will remove oil, impurities and blackheads. The movement and “circulation” cleansing creates is also paramount here, not unlike exercise. If another slather of product on your face is just too much for you, consider splashing a lot of warm-to-hot water and finish with cleansing wipes, which come in jars of 50.
- Scrubbing. A good face scrub is intended to lift and soften the beard, exfoliate dead skin (sometimes we see it and sometimes we don’t) and clear the way for a great shave. I guarantee you’ll look less sallow, from the neck up.
- Shaving. This is one task most men do well with and fully understand. It’s also a huge step in staying younger looking. A good pre-shave lubricant or oil prior to a shave cream will get closer, leave your skin less nicked and irritated while remaining supple. I highly recommend a name brand shaving cream (no more cheap foam—ever). Quality shaving creams are concentrated, lubricating and comfortable. You use less and it will last for months.
- Toner. Many men forget this step, but your barber doesn’t. So don’t use toner everyday, but it’s a good final step in wiping final residue and stubborn impurities from pores, as well as tightening and prepping the skin so the following steps have a leg up and can do their job to the max. It also doesn’t have to sting. Think soothing, citric coconut vitamin water for your face.
- Serum. Yes, really. This is important, men. Serum is your secret weapon to turning back Father Time’s ravages on your face. It’s a silent grenade that gets in your skin and revs up your cells and collagen (the stuff that should be churning 24/7, but doesn’t, due to our age). When people mention skin “antioxidants,” they’re referring to the correction of age spots, dark spots from sun/UV exposure on blemishes and degradation from processed sugar, carbs and medication residue. It’s all about serum. Even if you don’t totally get why using serum is so imperative, take a page out of Nike commercials and just do it!
- Moisturizer. Skin is a lot like those expensive shoes—the minute they get dry, wrinkles and cracks begin to form. And if you tend to go up and down in weight, the sagging gets worse. So for the love of all things that matter to you, go ahead and add moisturizer to your routine for that youthful glow. Promise.
- Eye Cream. OK, you’re probably thinking that now I’ve crossed the line, “jumped the shark” as it were. Truthfully, if you’ve applied serum (everywhere on your face and around your eyes) and moisturized, chances are you’ll be cool with skipping eye cream, since product overlaps. Truth? I never leave home without applying eye cream or eye gel, because crow’s feet are the very first signs of age. If the daytime application is just too much, then move that into your evening routine or leave it in your nightstand for bedtime.
- Masks. Since most of us keep a regular workout schedule— Monday is “legs,” Wednesday is “chest,” Friday is “arms”—then one of those days (or nights) should be “face.” Know this for sure: You can build up sagging facial muscles, just like your biceps. Masks come in many different types. Some deeply moisturize, some lift “high and tight” and still others have organic, yet gentle acids to slough, exfoliate, brighten and lift. If you had a date with Christie Brinkley, you could actually use a mask every day and make a positive impression. That’s how effective masking is. Mask at least once a month, but weekly is of course infinitely better. TIP: Masks can usually be left on a bit longer than directions say and you can usually multi-task (work at desk or watch TV while it’s on). When your face starts pulsating, you’re near the end zone and it’s time to rinse off.
- Extra Credit. (optional) Try some non-surgical services from an authorized professional: Fillers, Botox and microdermabrasion. Fillers, such as Juvaderm, help push lines, folds and sagging skin up and out, such as the nasal-labial folds (lines that run from the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth). The Juvaderm brand also contains the most concentration of hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in our bodies (and usually lacking in our age group). While Botox attacks the strong horizontal eyebrow panel, forehead furrows and crow’s feet laugh lines that the strong muscles below them create. Microdermabrasion comes in many forms, too. It can be as simple (or invasive) as a brushed-on organic acid chemical peel which comes in many strengths, a more gentle microderm scrub (weekly over-the-counter exfoliant), the dry crystal method with a high-power infuser vacuum or my favorite, “particle-free” microdermabrasion which uses micro-current, oxygenated liquid and topical serums in tandem. They can also have a reverse mode for penetrating nutrients after the exfoliation. The best microdermabrasion results are performed in a series of three or six, depending on your skin type, sensitivity, service strength or your ability to tolerate down time if you need to be immediately visible in public. Singular touch-ups can be had for ongoing maintenance.
All this may seem a bit overwhelming to the civilian just getting into the grooming and face maintenance game. That said, like anything, once you become familiar and see results it becomes second nature. If you need to start your youth recapture in baby steps, then I recommend cherry picking the basics. Cleanse and moisturize, day and night and use eye cream at bedtime. Your scrub can also replace the cleansing step. When things start looking better, add the toner and serum. Let me know how things are looking via the comments section.
And don’t worry; I won’t mention how great your skin looks at the next big game.