The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Haircare Product of the Year: Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo

davines-setoxggawrd12lReviewing haircare products is always tricky for me on account of the fact that hair is an increasing rare commodity for me. I’m fine with my advancing baldness but it does make road-testing styling products a bit of a challenge. To get around the problem I have a small team of amply-thatched helpers to give me feedback. My favourite haircare product this year, though, is one even follically-challenged guys like me can appreciate.

This Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo from Davines is fantastic for ensuring hair is squeaky clean and for keeping your scalp free of dead skin cells and in tip-top condition. Given that there’s some studies linking blocked follicles with hairloss it’s a good investment regardless of how much hair you have. With cardamon, mint and corriander it smells great too and a bottle is never out of my bathroom.

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Coming tomorrow….Best Body Product

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel – the perfect cure for ‘stubble dandruff’!

Having sported a beard (or at least something approximating one) for something like 10 years now I’m acutely aware that it can bring with it a few little ‘problems’. Apart from the itchiness and odour isssues after you’ve slurped your way through a bowl of spaghetti vongole (my fave pasta dish) there’s the dreaded ‘beard dandruff’ to contend with too.  And there’s nothing worse than scratching your chin and ending up a snowglobe.

Part of the problem is that stubble tends to wick moisture away from the skin where it’s allowed to evaporate. This means that the skin under your bristles often ends up dry, flaky and itchy. The solution, of course, is to use a good moisturiser. Unfortunately, many can leave sticky residues on your beard so Nivea For Men have come up with a stubble-friendly version.

Their Sensitive Hydro Gel is the ideal way to hydrate skin under stubble because it’s lightweight, non greasy and easily absorbed. Since it also contains organic Chamomile and Aloe Vera it also has skin-calming, anti-inflammatory properties too.  If you’ve got stubble this is an essential.

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel is available from Boots.

Grooming Guru poll reveals top five male grooming crimes

A while back a ran a poll on here to discover what readers of The Grooming Guru considered their worst male grooming crimes to be. Actually, the results surprised me somewhat.

Admittedly, I expected smelling worse than a Ginsters pasty on a Tube train to be high up on the list but I also expected dandruff (up until now considered to be a contraceptive as effective as Durex) to garner a higher percentage of the score. But no, of the 512 people who voted the second worst grooming crime was dirty fingernails, with hairy backs a distant fourth and not quite the ‘scary backs’ I would have thought. Anyway, here’s how the votes stacked up, along with a few tips on how to ensure you don’t end up another nasty statistic.

The worst grooming male grooming crimes

Bad body odour 45% Apart from the obvious advice of using a good anti-perspirant (I like Sanex For Men which offers great protection but is gentle on the skin) a really good tip is to trim your pit hair. Less hair means less surface area for the bacteria that cause BO to live on. Since you’re not a prima ballerina there’s no need to shave it – a neat trim is fine.

Dirty fingernails 27% Every women I’ve ever talked to hates a man with dirty fingernails but sorting them out is so simple. Keep them neatly trimmed (it’ll minimise the risk of dirt collecting under them) and invest in a good quality manicure set. I like the Japonesque Manicure set (£19 from . Honestly, it’s not rocket science is it?

Dandruff 13% Treat the flakes with an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders For Men and read my ‘How to deal with dandruff’ post here.

Hairy Back 9% Avoid shaving (it’s itchy and if you try yourself you’ll probably dislocate your shoulder) and rope in a willing accomplice to remove it with Veet For Men Wax strips. Spraying the area with an anticeptic spray like Elemis’ Tea Tree SOS Spray can help soothe and protect skin afterwards.

Dirty Neck 5% Oh please. Just wash it you mucky bugger. With that stuff called water. And a bit of soap.

Ask The Guru: How do I deal with dandruff?

If you’re coming to this post as a dandruff sufferer take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s thought that 50% of all men will suffer form dandruff at some point (I know I have!). Nor are you alone in worrying about it. Dandruff is consistently ranked as men’s biggest hair worry, even above baldness.

The culprit is a tiny fungus called Malassezia, which lives on us all but which can multiply out of control in some people, causing flaking of the skin. Since dandruff seems to be exacerbated by stress it’s not uncommon to suffer outbreaks when we’re under pressure.

Using an anti-dandruff shampoo is the simplest and most effective strategy (ones containing Zinc Pyrithione, like Head & Shoulders, are especially good) but if things are particularly bad try a product like Nizoral which contains an anti-fungal agent called ketoconazole to tackle the fungus itself.

Avoiding heavy conditioners for a while often helps, too, as does taking a long hard look at your diet. According to trichologist Philip Kingsley, a diet high in salt, fat and sugar can often trigger an attack since all of these things can affect the balance of the scalp’s protective secretions, allowing the fungus to spiral out of control. Avoid scratching too. The more you fiddle with your scalp the more you’ll irritate the skin and the bigger the flakes will be, plus you’ll also run the risk of damaging the hair follicles and the hair itself.

Thankfully, dandruff tends to ease off as we hit middle age but if you can’t wait that long you might want to abandon the Wii and get outdoors a bit more – one scientific study revealed that men who spend a lot of time outside tend to have less dandruff. Just one more reason to jack it all in and become a landscape gardener then.

Got a grooming question you’d like answered? Submit yours using the form below. And kindly keep ’em clean(ish). Your details will not be published.

Grooming Guru Guides: How to hang on to your hair

Thatch not quite as thick as it used to be? Hair going the way of poor old Prince William’s? Don’t worry, hang onto what you have with The Grooming Guru’s hair-maximizing tips…

STEP 1 Look after your scalp.

In the same way that a field of corn needs good soil to flourish, your hair needs a healthy scalp if it’s to emerge strong and healthy (or emerge at all!) So make sure it’s in tip top condition by using Aveda Men Pure-Formance™ Exfoliating Shampoo to gently exfoliate the skin, remove any follicle-blocking dead cells and maintain optimum hair quality.

Tip: Not only does sun make hair brittle and fragile, burning your bonce causes the scalp to produce a compound called superoxide that can cause hair follicles to switch from a growth phase to a shedding one. So always wear a hat on the beach and protect your scalp (even if you only have a tiny bald spot) with a sunscreen. Transparent sprays like Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray are best as they’re non-sticky, easy to use and provide good coverage.

STEP 2 Don’t scratch! You might not realise it but dandruff isn’t just a disaster when it comes to dating, there’s some research to suggest it may be linked to hairloss too. That’s because the bug that causes the flakes (a yeast called Malassezia globos) makes your scalp sore and itchy which in turn makes you scratch. And scratching often leads to hair snapping off.

Research has also shown that dandruff sufferers often have less shine and flexibility hair too – signs of weaker hair structure. And that means your crowning glory is more prone to tearing and snapping. Thankfully, though, dealing with dandruff is pretty straightforward.

To tackle the problem head on (sorry!) try an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders For Men which contains flake-busting Zinc Pyrithione. And if you tend to suffer from an itchy scalp, stop the itch in its tracks with Philip Kingsley’s soothing Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo.

Tip: Rough drying, harsh rubbing and over-combing can all cause hair to break so instead of rough towel drying, try gently patting hair dry and try styling with your fingers rather than a comb. Don’t fiddle with your hair either! Playing with it can cause damage.

STEP 3 Feed your head!

Hair might be dead but the follicles that produce it are very much alive and need adequate nutrition to function properly, so stock up on foods rich in B vitamins, zinc and iron (like breakfast cereals, liver and apricots) and vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries which help the body retain the nutrients essential for hair health. And up your intake of silicon – some studies have shown this to limit hair loss. Wheat, rice and onions are good sources. You can also improve the condition of hair by washing with a nutrient-packed shampoo like Korres Magnesium and Wheat Proteins Hair  Loss Shampoo.

Taking a supplement like Holland & Barrett – Vitamins for the Hair can help too by providing hair with a concentrated and potent array of  vitamins and minerals to promote healthy growth.

Tip: If you smoke, give up. A study by Harvard School of Public Health in America showed that smoking not only increases levels of the hormones that trigger hair loss, it also constricts the tiny blood vessels that supply the scalp, quite literally starving your hair of nutrients.

STEP 4 Halt the hairloss.

Hair loss is thought to affect as many as one in three men ages between 25 and 34 and as much as 18% of men under 24. Over half of us will have experienced some thinning by the time we’re 50 and in Britain alone, thinning hair is thought to affect a whopping 8 million men.

The first thing worth thinking about if you notice your thatch is beginning to thin out a little is a topical hair loss treatment like Regaine For Men Foam which contains Minoxidil – an ingredient clinically proven to trigger hair growth and minimise hairloss.

It won’t work in every case and it’s a long-term strategy rather than a short-term fix so be prepared to be diligent (you’ll need to build using it into your daily regime) and have a deep pocket.

Tip: Hair maximizing products tend to be most effective in men whose hair has just begun to thin so as soon as you notice your hair isn’t as thick as it used to be don’t delay –  take action!

Too much aftershave tops poll of male grooming faux pas

119762-matte-grey-square-icon-signs-gas-maskA while back I ran a little poll on here to identify the top Male Grooming Faux Pas – you know, those common mistakes that have us reaching for the gas mask/sick bag/divorce courts. Well, the voting came thick and fast and the results surprised even me.

Most heinous crime of all wasn’t manky toenails or picking spots but, to use James Bond’s words, smelling like a tart’s handkerchief, with B.O a close second and dirty fingernails third. Surprisingly, given all the money spent on advertising remedies, dandruff and yellow teeth were much lower down the list, nestling either side of hairy backs (I actually gagged as I wrote that).

So, men, go easy with the eau and stick to the ‘two sprays rule’ I’m always promoting. When it comes to fragrance, less really is more ok?

The complete results.

1. Too much aftershave (24%)

2. Body odour (23%)

3. Dirty fingernails (17%)

4. Dandruff (13%)

5. Hairy back (10%)

6. Yellow teeth (7%)

7. Other (6%)

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The Grooming Guru’s favourite three…shampoos

I’ve tried ’em all so what are my favourite shampoos? Well, here are the ones I’d recommend.

neals yard shampoo copyNeal’s Yard Purifying Citrus Shampoo. Absolutely amazing smell and gentle on the hair and scalp too.

head and copyHead & Shoulders For Men. A classic and the best shampoo for dandruff I’ve come across.

activ m copySchwarzkopf Activ M Hair Retention Care Shampoo. Cares for hair and scalp at the same time and smells fantastic to boot.

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