EXCLUSIVE: new report reveals the truth about facial hair

MAN WITH BEARDIn grooming terms, 2013 has been all about one thing: the beard. In fact, so huge has the trend for facial hair been that it has prompted Remington to analyse the chins, cheeks and upper lips of 470 infulential men culled from a whole series of independent lists  – like Forbes’ Highest Paid Sportsmen one –  to create a kind of “Facial Hair Index”. From actors, musicians and sporting heroes to academics, magazine editors and leading businessmen, no man escaped their scrutiny (don’t you just love the fact people actually get paid to do that kind of stuff?) and what they discovered is fascinating…

FACT: More men have a beard than don’t. 

For sure, it’s a close call but 54% of the men looked at for the report had a beard or at least some designer stubble. Smoothies, you’re in the minority!

FACT: Beards are favoured by cool, creative types (except magazine editors).

According to the report three quarters of leading actors and 70% of musicians have sported a beard in the last year. The vast majority of magazine editors and authors, however, are clean shaven. In fact, 80% of them are. Mark Twain and Earnest Hemingway must be turning in their graves.

FACT: Sportsmen think facial hair is a winner.

A whopping 80% of our sporting heroes have, er, ‘sported’ stubble or a beard in the last 12 months. Bad news for companies wanting to promote their razor blades with a tennis/football/F1 star huh?

CTk21Qm3JvMFA2RujoQ11NLEVpFamJPDqxYc8IH20AUFACT: Beards still don’t mean business.

Despite the popularity of facial hair, being clean shaven is still seen as the ‘professional option’ with 76% of CEOs preferring to be clean shaven.

FACT: The richer you are the more likely you are to be clean shaven.  

70% of the billionaires or millionaires analysed were clean shaven. They can afford the razors clearly. And probably people to shave them.

FACT:  Beards aren’t seen as the intelligent option. 

There was a time when no self-respecting professor or corduroy-clad university lecturer would be seen dead without a beard. How times have changed. These days 73% of leading professors are clean shaven. What’s more, 63% of men with the highest IQs also shun the face fungus.

So what does all this mean? Well, I guess it reinforces what many suspect about facial hair: that even though it’s been this year’s most popular fashion accessory it’s still very much the preserve of hispsters, creative types and (though the survey doesn’t mention it it) burly gay ‘bears’.

Much to my dismay, as a facial hair fan, it also shows that beards are still regarded with considerable suspicion. The fact that academia and business shun them re-inforces the idea that men who sport beards aren’t serious or dynamic (though clearly facial hair hasn’t held Sirs Sugar and Branson back). But hey, don’t despair if you have a beard, goatee or ‘tache – one thing the study does highlight is that beards are still fantastically cool.

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.

Do women know best when it comes to male grooming?

Men, be afraid. A recent survey conducted by Wilkinson Sword found that nearly a third of women felt they had their boyfriend or husband ‘under their thumb’, with 60% claiming they ‘knew best’ when it came to how their other half looked. Having seen the results of Liz Hurley’s alleged Shane Warne make-over I must say I beg to differ.

And be warned, meddling Liz Hurleys are everywhere. And they have designs on you. Of those surveyed, 40% felt it was a woman’s ‘job’ to makeover their man, with a third saying they do it subtly and another third being sneaky about their plans to transform their man. What can I say? Resistance is not futile.

What really irritates men about shaving

This week Gillette revealed the results of a survey exploring how irritable us Brits are (they have a new Gillette Series ‘Irritable Defence’ range out see). It turns out that technology breaking down gets on our nerves, 32% of us hate queueing for things and 57% of us feel irritated every day (me by daft press releases usually).

Funnily enough, I was conducting my own little survey on here last week with a snap poll on men’s biggest shaving concerns. The results are even more illuminating. Nicks and cuts were in fourth place, razor burn in third and the nightmare that is ingrown hairs was second, with just over 29% of the votes. But the thing that annoys men most about shaving? Well, it turns out to be the cost of blades, with just over 36% of votes. Now that really is something to get irritated about.

PS. As a fascinating footnote to this post, it’s interesting to see that shaving products top this year’s list of ‘High Risk Items’ on Checkpoint’s Global Retail Theft Barometer – a global index of what consumers are swiping from shops.

New Lab Series survey reveals 41% of men would rather lose their job than their hair!

As someone who severely fell out with my hair after it filed for divorce from my scalp several years ago I’m always fascinated by men’s attitudes to baldness. Though I’ve come to terms with my ever-decreasing shaft count (and I’m referring to hair here), I do mourn not having a style other than the No.1 crop I’m permanently lumbered with.

Having said that, I’ve learnt to live with it. Clealry, though, hairloss is a subject that still prays on a lot of men’s minds. In fact, a brand new survey of 2,000 men conducted by Lab Series Skincare For Men discovered that 41% of men would rather lose their job than their hair and 30% of men aged 18-24 worry about losing their hair. The reason men are so worried? Well, it seems that looking old is the key, with 34% of men surveyed saying they worry that a thinning thatch will make them look old.

Helpfully, Lab Series now have three haircare products to minimise hair loss by making hair stronger, reducing breakage and maintaining optimum scalp health. Designed as a three-step system, each product contains a raft of ingredients to target hair weakness and dullness.

The lightly-fragranced Root Power Restorative Shampoo helps keep the scalp free of pore-clogging debris and thickens hair shafts, the Root Power Restorative Hair Tonic minimises daily breakage and energises the scalp while the Style Wax (for me the most impressive product) is formulated to give thickness to the hair reduce breakage. They’re not going to prevent you going bald if you’re predisposed to male pattern baldness but are a good addition to your regime if you just want to hang onto what hair you do have.

Available nationwide now. For sockists call 0870 034 2566 or go to www.labseries.co.uk

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 www.japonesque.com) . 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.

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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