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.

Insider Interview: Brendan Murdock, founder of Murdock

Established in London’s trendy Shoreditch in 2006 Murdock has become a prime destination for guys seeking good grooming and barbering in a classic, stylish but unstuffy environment. The ultimate example of an instant heritage brand (i.e. sounds as though it’s been around for decades but hasn’t) it’s been such a success that there are now sores at Liberty, in Mayfair and in Covent Garden.

Building on the success of the barbershops they’ve even branched out into their own skincare products, accessories, candles and fine fragrances – the Patchouli one being one of my own favourites (and I’m very fussy about my patchouli fragrances). 

Here I find out what makes founder Brendan Murdock tick and manage to get some invaluable grooming tips from him in the process. 

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to shaving? 

BM: The biggest mistake is undoubtedly lack of preparation. The best shaving results will be achieved when the skin and facial hair is prepared, a combination of a hot flannel or water, pre-shave oil, and perhaps a badger brush to apply the cream.  The pre-shave oil softens the whiskers and prepares the skin for the razor’s edge.

The fine tips of the hairs on the brush create a smooth and creamy lather, while the remarkable softness of badger hair cleanses the face gently, ensuring a comfortable and close shave. The action of a razor is quite harsh and surface skin cells are removed.  If the skin and facial hair is not prepared you may suffer from an itchy, sore face post-shave.

GG: What trends in male grooming have you noticed of late?

BM:Men have gained more confidence when it comes to shaving, and are becoming increasingly inquisitive as to how to perfect the art. When we first opened in 2006, gentleman would simply purchase a shave cream to shave. Most customers were not even using post shave balms after shaving, despite complaining of sore, red faces after shaving!

Today, men are more informed and educated about best grooming practice. Coupled with more visible brand and places to visit for grooming, more educated choices are made.

GG: What are your favourite men’s fragrances and why? 

BM: Green Irish Tweed by House of CREED. I’ve been loyal to the scent for many years; it now represents familiarity and comfort.

I also like the scents by Carthusia they are light and summery and remind me of wonderful holidays in Italy.

I really enjoy wearing our Murdock Patchouli Cologne too. It’s a subltle, sensuous and mysterious scent, suitable for all seasons; great all year round.

GG: What’s your best shaving tip? 

BM: Always use a post shave balm after each shave.  Shaving strips the skin of essential oils and you must ensure that the skin is moisturised and soothed post-shave.

GG: What’s your best skincare tip?

BM: Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise.

GG: Desert island grooming product?

BM: Naturally sunblock is an essential. However, I would not be complete without a bottle of Murdock Patchouli Cologne; capturing my more bohemian and free-thinking style for the desert island.

GG: Body hair. To trim or not trim? 

BM: If, for example, you are an athlete and your decision to wax or trim is to enhance your performance in your chosen field, then I am in favour. Conversely, if your decision to wax or trim is purely based on vanity, then I am not as convinced. For me, masculinity is reflected in natural body hair; to wax or trim detracts from this. Ultimately, the decision lies with the individual; each to their own.

GG: Fantasy grooming product? 

BM: A miracle cream that prevents hair loss and baldness, without any side effects!

To check out what Murdock has to offer go to www.murdocklondon.com