The top 5 male grooming mishaps – and how to avoid them

legsInjuries caused by male grooming treatments are on the rise. So what are the most common and how can you avoid them? 

1. BBQ’d skin

According a new survey by first4lawyers a whopping 20% of male grooming related claims come from men who’ve had a tanning bed trauma. By far the most dangerous treatment, men are four times as likely to sustain an injury from using a sunbed than women.

How to stay safe: “Sunbeds emit radiation similar to that in midday summer sunlight, with the same effects, so you should avoid them altogether,” says consultant Dermatologist Professor John Hawk bluntly. If his advice doesn’t convince you then maybe this stat from Cancer Research UK will: if you’re under 35 and are using sunbeds regularly your risk developing malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – increases by 75%. Scary.

2. Fake tan foul ups

According to the survey men are eight times as likely to suffer a tragedy after a spray tan than women, partly because of their unfamiliarity with the process. The injuries men reported from tanning treatments varied from allergic reactions and skin rashes to dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in spray tans.

How to stay safe: “Spray tans are remarkably safe these days and reactions to them are very rare,” says self-tanning expert James Read who bronzes the bodies of a host of top celebrities. “If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions before, though, ask for a patch test first on the skin behind your ear on your inner arm and come back 24 hours later you’re your tan if everything’s okay.”

3. Treacherous trims

Visit a good hairdressers and having your barnet trimmed is no more dangerous than a trip to the supermarket. Stumble into a salon staffed by an Edward Scissorhands, however, and you’ll be searching for a lawyer, not to mention the tip of your left ear. According to the survey 13% of grooming-gone-wrong claims by men are hairdresser related.

How to stay safe: According to Simon Shaw, European Artistic Director at Wahl UK, the easiest way to avoid accidents is to treat a visit to your stylist as you would an appointment with your doctor. “The most important thing to do when you’re getting your hair cut is to listen to your barber or stylist,” he says. “Do exactly what they ask of you, for example tilting your head either side, and don’t work against them.” Switching off your phone so there are no sudden distractions helps too.

If you’re thinking of having a dye job then visit your hair salon for a patch test 48 hours beforehand to make sure you aren’t allergic to the dyes it uses.

4. Eyebrow raising accidents

Eyebrow shaping treatments are increasingly popular with men but threading – an ancient technique using a cotton thread to remove hairs –  takes skill, talent and practice. “If it’s not done by a qualified and skilled practitioner you can be left with broken and ingrown hairs, unnecessary pain, infected follicles and thin, uneven eyebrows which will take months to grow back,” warns Maria Dinopoulos from Pulse Laser Clinic in London’s Mayfair who specialize in threading.

How to stay safe: Avoid informal threading kiosks and look for a professional salon or clinic that will offer you a more personalised service. “An experienced threader will also work quickly and will ask you to stretch the skin to minimize discomfort,” says Dinopoulos. “If tweezers, eyebrow scissors or brushes are used, these should be sterilised between clients to eliminate infection and a lotion with soothing/antibacterial properties should be offered after the service.”

5. Wax disasters

Remarkably, 1 in 10 claim-related male grooming accidents accidents are connected with leg waxing. “That’s probably because the leg is a large area and if hot wax is applied it can cause a burn or heat rash breakout. It’s very painful and common mistake with therapists,” says Sarah Louisa O’Looney, author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

How to stay safe: “To prevent problems ask for a small amount of wax product be applied to the inside of your wrist so you can test the temperature,” says O’Looney. To minimise sensitivity issues afterwards she recommends avoiding hot showers and baths, fragrances, and work-outs that make you sweat for 24 hours after waxing.

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.

Important date? Here are five products to help you attain grooming perfection!

Whether you’re planning something special for Valentine’s Day or hoping for a hot date at any other time, the little grooming details matter. Here are five products I rate that’ll have you ship-shape for dating success in no time. Alas, whilst  I can provide grooming advice, finding a willing partner is your part I’m afraid.

1. Wahl Tripple Head Trimmer.  Nothing lets a man down like ear and nose hair or errant eyebrows so deal with all three with this nifty battery-operated trimmer which has heads for all three (including an eyebrow comb guide that spares you painful plucking).

2. Yves Saint Laurent M7 Oud Absolu. My new favourite fragrance this slightly reworked-version of M7 is dense, woody and supremely sexy and though some fans of the original version complain it’s not as good, I think it’s better.  When I wear it I’m irresistible (in my mind anyway).

3. Philips Azur powertool iron. Let me be clear about this: I hate ironing. So much so that I’d rather sit and flick through a bumper issue of Hello! magazine dedicated to Kate Middleton (yes, that much). In fact, I’m famous for only ironing the bits of shirts that show. Mark my words, though, prospective partners notice details like badly ironed cuffs and collars. Marketed as the ‘man iron’ – presumably because it’s sleek and black and tough as nails –  this is the first first iron I’ve used that actually makes ironing a (sort of) pleasure. Looks the biz too doesn’t it?

4. Biotherm Homme high Recharge Eye Shot. If you’re on a date with someone chances are your eyes are going to be the focus of their attention. So the last thing you want is for the skin around them to look tired and puffy. This powerful anti-fatigue eye treatment, with its three rollerball delivery system, is the perfect antidote.

5. Baxter of California Hydro Salve. If you want to get kissed you at need lips that are kissable right? This balm, packed with skin-conditioning vitamins is the perfect way to keep your smackers soft and ensure some tonsil tennis.

Have fun y’all!

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.

Why those finishing touches always matter when it comes to male grooming

A while ago I was asked to edit a little digital magazine on the importance of male grooming (and those finishing touches that make all the difference) on behalf of ClarinsMen, in association with Men’s Health where I’m Online Grooming Ed. In a world where we’re constantly being scrutinised – by potential employers or potential partners – attention to detail has never been more important.  So if you fancy having a read of the booklet yourself simply click on the image below.

Balls to that! How to make sure your nuts are the mutts.

CONKSHThe other day in a radio interview I was asked by the presenter what grooming question I get asked the most. I’d like to have said it was about blackheads. Or how to get a great shave. Or about fake tan even.  But alas no. The most common question I get (and I must emphasize in a professional capacity) is ‘how do I shave my balls?’

Seriously. Men are obsessed with the quest for billiard-ball knackers. In part, I blame myself. Many years ago I worked with Philips on the launch of their phenomenally popular Bodygroom hair clipper and in helping them sell the thing, spent the best part of a year banging on about how ‘Shaving Private Ryan’ gave you an extra ‘optical inch’.

This illusion (more impressive than anything David Blaine’s ever done) was later confirmed by Anna Span, Britain’s leading female porn director who I interviewed for her thoughts on pubic topiary. When it comes nuts, Anna’s seen plenty and is convinced a smooth pair look bigger and better because (and this is a technical thing) anything that’s smooth and light tends to look bigger. “Smooth balls also feel better in the mouth and limit the chances of your partner getting hairs stuck between her teeth,” she helpfully added.

So, for anyone wanting a smooth sack here’s a simple step-by-step guide. Just remember though, guys, once you start shaving you’ve gotta keep it up. As the lovely Anna herself says, there’s nothing worse than a bristly ball.

STEP ONE: Trim before you shave. To make shaving easier trim long hair first using hair clippers or a specialist body hair trimmer like the Philips Bodygroom or the Remington Body Hair Trimmer (pictured below). Do this when the hair is dry. This’ll make shaving much easier. Remington-Body-Hair-Trimmer-IMGREHF2

STEP TWO: Chill out. Key to getting good results (and avoiding the kind of accidents that require difficult explanations down your local A&E) is splashing your boys with plenty of cold water first. This will tighten them enough to make shaving much easier.

STEP THREE: Lather up. If you’re going for a completely smooth look apply a dollop of shaving cream (it tends to be more moisturising) and use short, gentle strokes, making sure you rinse the blade regularly using cold water to keep everything tight.

STEP FOUR: Soothe and protect. Just like the stuff on your face, the skin housing your jewels needs a little post-shave TLC too. After shaving rinse thoroughly with plenty of clean water and apply a post-shave balm (preferably an unscented one for sensitive skin). And if a couple of days later you’re itching like mad thanks to re-growth try applying a little talc.

PS. Please don’t use hair removal creams on your bits. Well, not unless you get a kinky thrill out of third degree ‘ball burn’.

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How to fake it (convincingly)

pantoneWell, spring appears to have finally sprung. The sun is out (for the moment) and the sandals are already out (a bit prematurely if you ask me but still….). And already I’ve seen a fair few sets of pasty Anglo-Saxon arms, legs and feet. It’s at exactly at this time of year that I get asked about how to use fake tan and sometimes get calls from friends who’ve ‘done a  Tweed’ (as in Jack, as in orange and streaky) and wonder what went so badly wrong. In most cases the simple answer is they didn’t read the instructions (men never do – we just like to think we know it all). 

So if anyone’s about to have a go with the fake tan my simple advice is this: always, always exfoliate first with a body scrub or body buffing mitt. It’s a simple step but it makes all the difference. Do it and  you’ll remove any dry skin cells which have a nasty habit of greedily absorbing more their fair share of the self-tanner, leaving dark, uneven, streaky patches. 


Focus, especially, on the  elbows, knees and heels where skin is driest and no-one will ever know you’re such a  faker.

I wonder whether Jack can access this blog in stir? 


PS. Put that golf club down Jack. I’m only joshing you. 

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