First impressions matter, whether you’re in a job interview, business meeting, meeting the girl of your dreams for a blind date.
When people see you for the very first time, they will judge you based on how you present yourself.
Even if you’re the most beautiful person out there, lousy grooming habits could cost you a job that you want. Or close down a business that could be a game-changer for you financially.
So a lot is at stake here, take this seriously.
Grooming, in general, is a broad topic. So I’ll be specific here and talk about grooming tips that we men can apply that will make us look better, feel better, and make an excellent first impression.
Why is grooming so important?
Every day of our lives, we interact with people at work or school. And the last thing you want is people covering their faces when you walk around them because you have some weird odor coming out of your armpit or mouth.
Or someone stares at your nose because you have a strand of hair sticking out.
While we cannot please everybody, but the least we could do is make an excellent first impression.
1. Treat Your Scalp Well
The secret to great looking hair is a healthy scalp. An unhealthy scalp can be a source of dandruff and hair loss.
Only use warm water when you shower, as hot water can be harsh on the scalp. Avoid using too much shampoo as it can be hard to rinse out.
When applying shampoo, make sure to massage it thoroughly with your fingers. And more importantly, rinse it well again using your fingers to remove every last residue.
Lastly, avoid rubbing your hair vigorously using a towel. This is bad for the scalp, instead gently pat dry.
If you can air-dry your hair in front of an electric fan before you go out as wet hair can easily attract dirt, odor, and bacteria outdoors.
2. Groom That Beard
Having a beard can be cool, but if it’s smelly, frizzy, or all over the place, that coolness level drops down to zero.
The first step is to wash it with a good shampoo and conditioner, so it stays clean and smells great.
Now there are different nuances to grooming a beard.
If you have a really thick and long beard, you will need a wide-tooth comb, narrow tooth comb, and a bristle brush to comb through your beard.
What this does is removes the tangles and keeps it looking in order.
The last step would be putting in some beard oil that does two things. First, it hydrates, and second helps you style the beard. If you want to learn more about beard grooming, I’ve written about it here.
Don’t forget to trim it down if it grows out too long because facial hair will tend to have split ends and will grow all over the place, and trimming it keeps it looking tidy.
You can go to a barber and have them do it for you. But if you don’t want to spend the $20, you can do it in your bathroom.
Depending on how short you’ll cut it, you will need a beard trimmer or pair of beard trimming scissors, a comb, and a mirror.
For basic trimming, a pair of scissors and comb will do. Use the comb to fluff the beard and following the shape of your face, trim the beard in half an inch at a time.
3. Don’t Forget To Manscape
The term manscaping simply means trimming off excess body hair purely for aesthetic purposes.
Some men have more body hair and lots of it. Thick body hair, particularly on the chest and back, is not a pretty sight, and the ladies hate it.
The first area of business is to buy the right tools. A disposable razor will not cut it. You will need something electric to at least trim off the excess body hair on your chest and wax off hair off the back and shoulders.
Remember that you don’t need to remove all the hair and look like a pre-adolescent boy.
Just trim it when it grows too long, you still to strike the right balance between not looking like a caveman and not looking like Justin Beiber.
4. Don’t Forget To Trim Off Nose And Ear Hair
This is probably one of the most neglected areas that most men fail to address.
I must admit I’m one of those men. And my wife would always remind me to cut off that strand of hair that sticks out my nose.
Young men may not have this problem. But once you reach your thirties, you will need to address this.
It can be one of the grossest things that could ruin your otherwise handsome face.
In a survey done by Women’s Health (courtesy of Men’s Health), nearly half of the 400 respondents (46%) say that they would rather talk to a guy who has a bad breath than someone who has some stray hair sticking out their nose.
You can use a motorized nose hair trimmer or fingernail scissors that have an angle at the edge trim excess nose hair and an ear hair trimmer for ear hair.
5. Keep Those Hands Clean
What do you use when you shake hands in a business meeting?
Your hands right, and if you are meeting a female client in a business meeting, this can either make or break the deal. So do your due diligence and keep your hands, particularly the fingernails clean.
Regularly trim off the nails if they grow too long and file periodically. So dirt does not accumulate on them.
After eating or going to the john, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly. And keep a pair of clippers handy just in case.
6. Don’t Go Too Long Without A Haircut
A lot of men wait too long before having a haircut.
One rule of thumb of cool guys that “get it” is to never look like you’ve just had a haircut – upkeep is the key.
This means paying your barber a visit once every 2 to 3 weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.
And when you visit your favorite hairstylist, make sure to be as specific as possible in the style you want because these people cannot read and will not read your mind.
If you think they’re not going in the direction you want, tell them to stop (respectfully, of course). And clarify with the hairstylist on the style that you wish before it’s too late.
7. Shower Everyday
This is probably the most essential thing you can do to keep yourself from developing body odor.
If you shower every day, you may not need to use as much cologne to mask any bad odor if you don’t shower.
The best-case scenario would be showering first thing in the morning. And shower again before going to bed. If you go to the gym a lot, do yourself a favor and shower afterward.
8. Learn How to Wash Your Face (Properly)
Different men have different needs. Some men have oily skin, and some have dry skin.
Avoid using bath soap that you use on your body to wash your face. These contain cleansers that can possibly dry out the skin and cause more irritation.
For men with oily skin, you will need to wash your face with warm water and with a cleansing soap specially formulated for oily skin.
One of the best and widely available options is the Cetaphil daily facial cleanser for normal to oily skin.
Another option would be the organic facial wash soap. Both are pretty good options because they don’t contain harsh chemicals.
Men with dry skin will need a facial soap formulated for such. This ensures proper cleansing and moisture retention.
Some recommendations include the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and the Dove Men+Care Face Wash.
After washing your face, make sure to rinse off with cold water to close down pores.
If you have dry skin, apply some moisturizer for added protection against the elements.
9. Brush Your Teeth And Don’t Forget To Floss
Communication is one essential skill for every successful man, must-have. So having fresh breath is a must if you don’t want the person talking to you walking away.
This makes brushing your teeth every day is must do grooming chore, not only just once a day but as much as three times a day.
First, after you wake up, then after lunch and once more before going to sleep.
Brushing not only freshens up breath but also removes any food excess particles on the teeth.
And don’t forget to floss. Toothbrush alone won’t be able to reach areas in between teeth.
That is why the American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to remove excess food particles trapped in between the teeth and gum area that can rot in between teeth turn to plaque, tartar, and eventually gum disease.
Flossing also reaches other hard to reach areas like the back of the teeth.
10. Groom Those Feet
Unlike girls, a majority of men don’t really care about their feet because their feet are hidden most of the time.
But gents you have to take care of those feet, if you don’t care women do care and stinky feet are a big turn off.
Start off by washing them thoroughly, particularly areas between the toes. These areas are prone to gathering bacteria that could potentially lead to foot problems like athletes foot.
When those nails grow long, trim them as soon as you can in a straight pattern to prevent ingrown nails.
If you have sweaty feet, apply some body powder before wearing socks. My brother in law would apply deodorant on the sole of his feet to prevent it from sweating.
And if you’re not going to a business meeting, consider wearing sandals so your feet can “breath.” If you go to a publicly shared area like the gym, avoid walking barefoot as you don’t know what bacteria may lurk on the floor.
Lastly, go to a foot spa from time to time to have your foot scrub and exfoliate dead skin cells that build up over time. Better yet, do it with your wife or girlfriend and enjoy the experience together, it is a great bonding time.
11. Hydrate Yourself
Healthy skin and starts from the inside out and one of the best ways to bring out the glow on your skin is to drink at least 2 liters of water every day.
Water is natural in terms of eliminating toxins from the body. And it helps promote skin elasticity and shed dead skin cells.
To take it a step further, drinking coconut water helps hydrate the skin as it is rich in potassium and antioxidants. This is an excellent replacement drink for sports drinks like Gatorade that are rich in sugar that can also make you fat.
Don’t drink sports drink unless you are an athlete or will engage in a high impact sport like basketball for a few hours. If you’re just going to the gym, do yourself a favor and bring a bottle of coconut water instead of a sports drink.
12. Workout Regularly
Working out not only improves your health, but it also makes you look good. Let’s be honest, when you see a man in shape, you’ll look at him differently compared to an out of shape dude.
It may be unfair, but that’s the way it is.
The key here is consistency, whether you’re working out in a gym or at home, you have to get your but moving.
When you combine that with the right diet, the results will be dramatic. And listen, if you work out, you’ll have more energy.
Your skin will look better, have more energy, and be in a better mood. Basically, you’ll be a joy to be around.
If you’re just starting out, you can start by jogging for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Another great workout to try is the High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT). These exercises only take 5 to 15 minutes per day at the comfort of your home and really raise up your heart rate.
It doesn’t matter if you lift weights, jog, or do interval training; the most important thing is to take action and be consistent.
13. Go Easy With The Cologne
Smelling good is one thing, but you will have to find the right balance of applying just enough cologne that will match your body’s natural scent.
The last thing you want is to turn heads because you smell like you showered yourself with cologne. You want it to enhance your body’s scent, not overpower it.
Always buy original because knock offs will not match the scent of the original. And avoid mixing and matching different perfumes because you’ll never know what scent it will create. It’s usually an offending one.
Please avoid using cologne to mask body odor because it does not work.
14. Avoid Unhealthy Vices
Unhealthy vices, particularly smoking and drinking, are a killer, more than the adverse health effects. It also takes a toll on how you look.
For chain smokers, the most significant effect in the outward appearance, specifically the skin. Smoking reduces blood flow to the surface and reduces the number of nutrients that go to the skin. Over time this causes the skin to prematurely wrinkle – in short, you’ll look older than you should.
Not a lot of people know this, but alcohol, mainly wine and rum, are made from fermented sugarcane, and these drinks are rich in sugar, and too much sugar is bad for our skin and waistline.
I’m not saying that you don’t drink but only do so moderately.
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