Ask the Guru: How do I beat bad breath?

It’s one of the most common grooming nightmares so here are five simple ways to halt the halitosis…

Gargle Using a mouthwash doesn’t just freshen breath it dislodges trapped particles of food. What’s more, if you use a product like Dentyl Active Ultra Cleanse (£4.38 for 500ml from boots.com) which contains an antibacterial ingredient, it’ll stop bacteria going to work afterwards too. Opt for an alcohol-free one. “Not only has alcohol been linked to mouth cancer, it dries out the mouth too making you more likely to get bad breath,” says Dr Uchenna Okoye, Clinical Director of the London Smiling Dental Group.

Go interdental Brushing’s all very well and good but it can leave up to 40% of your tooth surfaces uncleaned and it’s often the gaps between teeth that harbour odour-causing bacteria and decaying food. Yet according to a Listerine survey over 18 million never floss. If you find flossing  fiddly Okoye recommends using a pre-loaded picks like Crest Glide Floss Picks (£3.99 for 20 from amazon.co.uk) which spare you having to wrap the stuff around your fingers.

Kiss. Or chew According to a study by the Academy of General Dentistry a bit of tonsil tennis may be able to prevent tooth decay and minimise bad breath by stimulating saliva production – saliva being a natural source of bacteria-busting enzymes. If you’ve nobody to snog try chewing some sugar free gum like Wrigley’s Orbit Complete with xylitol, 69p from tesco.com. “Ones containing Xylitol are especially good as it actually slows down growth of bacteria,” says Okoye. It’s not as much fun as kissing, obviously, but works just as well.

Go for tongues In most cases 85% of cases bad breath actually originates from the tongue not the teeth or gums. “The tongue has lots of grooves and crevices for bacteria to lurk on so clean it regularly,” say Okoye. You can use your toothbrush but the best way to remove bacteria is with a tongue scraper like Oolitt Excel Tongue Cleanser, £3.56 from amazon.co.uk

Spray don’t pray Lots of things can help you prevent bad breath when you’re on-the-go (Okoye recommends chewing on cardamon pods or fennels seeds) but if you’re looking for an effective pocket breath freshening spray try Retardex Oral Spray, £2.65 for 8.3ml from chemistdirect.co.uk. “It’s designed to eliminate and not just mask odours and is the only thing I have found that immediately cures garlic breath,” she says.

The Great Groom Off: The Grooming Guru v Will Fennell

I’ve given lots of interviews in the ten years or so I’ve been writing about male grooming but the one conducted by Australian Beauty & Grooming Expert Will Fennell for DNA magazine has definitely been the most fun.

More a playful game of tag than an interview I found it hugely entertaining to take part in (and as a journalist I don’t say that often) and though being pictured next to Will was always going to leave me looking decidedly like ‘the ugly friend’ I thought I’d share it with you anyway. So if you fancy reading it click DNA INTERVIEW 147. And no, that’s not my quote about the flashlight by the way!

Shaving a pain the neck? Then check out my shaving guide in Beauty Magazine’s ‘Man Up!’ supplement


It has to be men’s biggest grooming concern. It’s certainly the one fraught with the most danger. And still we shave. So if you’re having trouble with razor burn, want to know how to maximise razor glide or are struggling with ingrown hairs, check out my shaving guide in Beauty Magazine‘s special Man Up! supplement. You can read it online by clicking here.

Ask the Guru: How do I get rid of my monobrow?

I know a lot about the dreaded monobrow. Though I don’t quite look like the lovely Bert here, I do have brows that like to meet and hold hands occasionally. Part of me is rather proud of the little touch of Werewolf in me but since I don’t really like frightening old ladies and children (not unless it’s intentional anyway) I do tend to keep things in check.

Certainly one of the simplest ways to do this is with a product like Parissa’s new Brow Groomer. Designed for men’s eyebrows they’re little wax strips you warm in your palms, apply to the fuzz between your brows and yank off while gritting your teeth. It’s a process not without a little pain but it doesn’t quite requite a peg in the mouth and it does keep you hair-free for weeks.

My only criticism is that though the pack contains 8 wax strips it only contains one after-care wipe and the wipes are important for soothing skin afterwards and preventing post-wax spots. But anyway, I’ve used them and they’re a good way to meet the challenges of the monobrow. If you want to know how to use them, the company have produced the handy little vid below. A pack costs £8.69 and they’re available from Boots.

Ask The Guru: How do I prevent ingrown toenails?

Ingrowing nails occur when a piece of the nail curves downward and grows into the skin piercing the flesh of the toe. Usually affecting the big toe, they can feel like a splinter, can be extremely painful and in more severe cases, can cause pus and bleeding.

Active, sporty people are particularly prone as are people who cut their nails too low.  Preventing them is simple enough though – for starters, make sure your shoes aren’t too snug and learn how to trim your nails properly. Always cut them straight across and don’t cut too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. Also, cut them after a bath or shower when they’re soft.

I prefer  to use a pair of spring toenail clippers and you get more leverage and they cut quickly and neatly and don’t tear at the nails as some inferior clippers can. The ones above are available from simplyfeet.co.uk. If you do get an annoying ingrown, though, visit your local podiatrist. One visit may be all that’s needed to get it sorted.

Everything you always wanted to know about facial hair but were too afraid to ask

With Movember finally upon us I thought it’d be a good time to pull together a trio of columns I wrote for the Men’s Health website on the subject of facial hair. So if you’re giving a Mo a go, then check out this sound advice…

How to look after a moustache. Click here.

How do I look after my beard? Click here.

How to prevent beard dandruff. Click here.

PS. If you think Mo’s can’t look cool take a quick look at this post.

Ask the Guru: Can I dye my moustache?

One of the main excuses for not growing facial hair is that men don’t like the colour of it. For some, it’s the fact that flecks of grey give the game away about their age. For others it’s simply that their facial hair is ginger (personally I don’t get why this is a problem but then I do have a touch of the copper in my own facial fuzz). Anyway, if this is the only thing putting you off growing a moustache this Movember then there is an answer – just dye it!

What you need, however, is a dye that’s specially formulated for facial hair which tends to be courser than the stuff on your bonce. I like Trevor Sorbie MG Beard, Moustache & Sideburn Colours (£7.45 from trevorsorbie.com) which are a cinch to use, work in just five minutes and give great results. You simply mix the contents of the two tubes to activate the dye, apply with the small brush provided and rinse off.  If you’re just dying your ‘tache you’ll probably get three or more applications from it too so it’s pretty good value. They appear to work well on body hair as well, should ever you ever feel the need to disguise the grey chest hair. Etc.

So that’s one excuse dealt with for not growing that Mo! Next!