Sins of the lather

Not looking quite as good as you’d like? Then maybe you’re making one of these fatal grooming mistakes!

Mistake 1: Washing in hot water. Hot water might seem a good way to keep your skin squeaky clean but in reality it merely strips skin of its natural oils and over-stimulates it, leading to sensitivity and redness. Wash with warm or tepid water instead and keep showers short.

Mistake 2: Over-scrubbing. Exfoliation is a quick and easy way to invigorate dull-looking skin and prevent ingrown hairs but if you’re over-zealous you’ll end up with a mush redder than Darth Maul’s. To use a scrub properly, mix a small amount with a little water in the palm of your hand and apply with gentle circular motions, avoiding the delicate eye area. Use no more than twice a week.

Mistake 3: Not moisturising. Not only will slapping on a moisturiser keep skin supple and healthy it’ll also act as an insurance policy against premature wrinkles. Apply twice daily within two minutes of washing to lock in maximum moisture.

Mistake No 4: Shaving against the grain. You might think shaving against the grain gets a closer shave but it merely damages hair follicles and causes razor burn. Hair grows in all directions, especially around the neck, so spend a minute or two examining which way the stubble is growing and shaving according to the direction of that growth.

Mistake 5: Swiping your partner’s products. According to one survey I read recently nearly three quarters of men steal their partner’s grooming products. Problem is, men’s skin is up to 20% thicker than women’s, it’s oiler and ages differently so needs products tailored to its specific needs so don’t be tempted. And contrary to myth, men’s grooming products aren’t just women’s ones repackaged! You have been warned.

5 thoughts on “Sins of the lather

  1. Excellent piece. I’d add:

    * Not cleaning your razor properly
    * Pressing too hard because you think you’re going to get a better shave
    * Using ordinary soap and a brush – it’ll dry up on your skin very quickly and cause chapping

    And all of your points are spot on.

  2. @Chris_Alex

    Great article Mr Guru, but I must say, I find it near on impossible to get a close shave if I swipe my razor along the hair and not against it? Unless there is a fantastic technique I’m missing?

    1. My barber – The Valet in Croydon, which isn’t going to be convenient for everyone – sold me a traditional double edged razor rather than the cartridge thing I was using before. They also advised me to shave twice to reduce the hair rather than hack at it once with more force. And to use a lather that wouldn’t dry up.

      Of course they were selling me stuff, but it’s certainly worked.

    2. Val

      Exfoliate regularly (but not too much) to remove skin build up around the base of the hair. Also, use conditioner on the beard to soften the follicle.

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