David Beckham reveals men’s worst grooming mistake

It could have been anything: rushing the morning shave, not wearing enough deodorant or just overdoing the aftershave, but when asked by Men’s Health what men’s biggest grooming mistake was David Beckham revealed his personal bathroom bête noir to be…overplucked eyebrows. Bad memories of the above advertising shoot maybe?

Check out the Icon Stylefile featuring Becks in the December issue of Men’s Health.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Givenchy Mister Eyebrow

Back in the days when I used to work in teen mags and attended photo shoots I was fascinated to see how much make-up artists could do with a slick of Vaseline (don’t worry, this is a clean story so bear with me). Most fascinatingly of all, I watched how they would add a tiny amount to the male models’ eyebrows to slick them down and tidy them up. It was a tip I never forgot.

Which brings me neatly on to this little grooming essential. An ‘eyebrow fixing pencil’ it’s made of a microcrystalline wax and you just run it over your brows to smooth them down and give them a little definition. I’ve been using it ever since it can out and was reassured (after hearing a vicious rumour of its demise) that it’s still very much in production.

As someone hurtling towards middle age whose eyebrows are harder to control than a couple of bull mastiffs it’s a real godsend, slicking down rogue hairs and giving my sweat catchers some shape without making me look like my evening job is in a drag bar. Result.

If you fancy trying it out for yourself you can pick one up here.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

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Goodbye Mick Karn – so much more than a pair of absent eyebrows

Last night I heard the sad new that one of my teenage heroes, Mick Karn, had succumbed to cancer at the age of 52. As a 15 year old from a small, small-minded town in North Wales Mick and the rest of his bandmates in Japan provided me with a much-needed refuge from the dull drudgery of life in (how can I put this?) provincial hell.

Day after day I’d listen to Quiet Life, Tin Drum and Gentlemen Take Polaroids (my favourite album) dreaming of being achingly hip, wearing polkadots, dabbling in the art world (as both Mick and David did to show off their art-rock credentials) and – most importantly at the time – of wearing shitloads of slap.

The early eighties, was of course, the last time men wore make-up with any real sense of conviction (you really can’t include Robbie Williams and Michael Stipe’s flirtations with eyeliner). Bands like Japan were a true inspiration for me as I messed around with eyeshadow, blusher and hair dye. I even got reprimanded by a teacher at school who mistook my inventive use of red lipliner as an eyeliner (yes, heroin chic years before its time) as a burgeoning drug habit. One night I actually spent two hours recreating the Gentleman Take Polaroids cover shot (still my favourite look) in minute detail, complete with purple highlighted cheeks, umbrella and shiny black leather glove.

All of Japan dabbled with make-up to varying degrees – from keyboardist Richard’s rather sheepish experiments with eyeliner to David’s less inhibited raids on the make-up kit – but Mick, always one to push the envelope,  went one step further. In order to create a more sculptural, otherwordly look he actually shaved off his eyebrows. It was a stunning coup de theatre almost as eyecatching (if you’ll excuse the pun) as his slithery, sidewoods stage dancing. Too scared to copy the look myself (I was worried the brows wouldn’t grow back) it remains one of the boldest acts of what we now call ‘manscaping’ I’ve ever seen. And miles more fun than trimming your pubes, an act today considered positively outre by most men.

And so I’d like to to take this opportunity to pay homage, not just to Mick’s musical genius (he was undoubtedly one of the best bass players we’ve ever had and could also create absolute magic with a bassoon, sax, clarinet or suona) but also to his look. The make-up, the signature slicked-back hair and, yes, those famously absentee eyebrows.

For being original, inspiring and for looking so goddam cool Mick, that 15 year old boy from North Wales (and the 43 year old man he grew up into) thanks you.

Sleep tight Mr. x

PS. If anyone would like to find out more about Mick try reading his excellent autobiography Japan and Self Existence, available from www.lulu.com. The chapter on the death of his cat Kasmir tells you everything you need to know about the man.

Genius product alert!

Whilst I consider myself to be the most metrosexual of men even I balk at Manscara and Guyliner but here’s a great idea from Givenchy – an eyebrow fixing pencil.

The perfect solution for those errant eyebrows it’s a non-greasy, transparent eyebrow pencil that effectively slicks your brows down giving then definition and flattening stray hairs. If you must, you can even use it to shape your brows to achieve an inquisitive Roger Moore arch.

A genuinely useful piece of grooming kit and one of the best products I’ve come across all year.

Givenchy’s Mister Eyebrow Eyebrow Fixing Pencil costs £13.70. For stockists call 01932 233 824

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