10 Grooming Resolutions For The New Year
Handy hacks and small switch-ups can make a big difference.
Bold and emotionally impulsive goal setting is as impressive as it is foolhardy. Your colleagues may cheer you on, but anyone who’s experienced the month of February will be familiar with the phantom-like disappearance of well-intentioned resolutions made just weeks earlier.
Small, subtle tweaks to your look are far more sustainable, and likely to lead to bigger changes down the road. The artist Mr Vincent Van Gogh had the right idea when he said that “great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”. Whether or not he said this before lopping off his own ear is unclear.
This is especially true when it comes to changing our appearance. The decision to remodel ourselves in one fell swoop is usually regrettable, especially if the choice was made in a moment of vulnerability or self-criticism.
Rather than resolve to get Botox in your brow or fillers in your chin for 2018, incorporate these small but important adjustments to your grooming routine. And if you aren’t a new man by June, at least you’ll look like one.
Block-book your barber
If your sideburns suddenly morph into mutton chops or your beard takes on Gandalf-like proportions, then you’re long overdue a trim. Hair growth is a curious and unpredictable phenomenon that varies from man to man. But with an average spurt rate of about 0.5in per month, it doesn’t take long for a buzz cut to lose its edge or for a fade to grow out. Unless you’re sporting a longer style for 2018, resolve to book your haircuts/beard trims for every three to four weeks.
Save the pennies where you can
For decades, men have been indoctrinated with the hyperbolic gospel of Gillette. Not only does “the best a man can get” come at an extortionate price, it also involves tricked-out pieces of plastic that are an absolute eyesore. Disruptive startups have revolutionised the razor market in the past few years, offering beardy men premium blades via online subscriptions. Harry’s is by far the most innovative and charming of the lot. Not only did it secure $100m of funding in its first year, but it used it to buy a 93-year-old German factory where it now produces stable and ultra-sharp blades at an affordable price.
And spend them where they’re needed
When it comes to skincare, you get what you pay for. This is especially true if you’re considering anti-ageing or cosmeceutical products formulated to fix stubborn dermatological problems. A mass-market product might namecheck the right ingredients on the bottle, but chances are it won’t deliver them at the right concentrations to make a discernible difference. There is a very real quality to cost ratio with premium skincare, just as there is with designer clothing, so spend wisely.
Become a conscious consumer
New legislation means that the tiny beads of plastic found in face scrubs will go out of production by the end of 2017. But the government’s plan doesn’t cover the vast array of microplastics that have been contaminating our oceans and disrupting marine life for years. The World Economic Forum has predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, so try to cut back on non-recyclable plastics and excess packaging where you can. If you still need a good scrub, turn to Malin + Goetz Jojoba Face Scrub, which contains biodegradable beads and jojoba meal.
Wear sunscreen every day
UV exposure is a year-round threat that must be countered with a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Unfortunately, it’s hard enough to convince men that an SPF is needed in summer, let alone in winter when the days are dark and long. We suggest reframing the way you think about sunscreens. Don’t think of these products in the context of tanning and burning. Think of them as a preventive anti-ageing measure. UV rays are the most potent and insidious of all skin agers by dint of their ability to destroy collagen and elastin with ease.
Don’t neglect your hands
There’s little point getting a bespoke suit or investing in fancy skincare if you have the hands of a gravedigger. Be sure to remedy nails that have been cut at odd angles or palms that feel like sandpaper. All you need is a good manicure kit so you can trim or file the free edge of your nails down to 1mm of growth. Leave your cuticles alone and massage some oil or cream into your mitts once a day. Your handshake says a lot about you.
Stop popping your zits
We know how hard it is to resist the temptation of a volcanic blackhead but, unless you’ve been trained in extractions, popping your own zits comes with a number of risks. Nails can tear the paper-thin follicle wall, causing bacteria to spread into the surrounding tissue and into other follicles where it can cause more acne. In an effort to stop infection, the body destroys the tissue, blood is drawn and the odds of scarring are pretty high (especially as you age). Apply a benzyl peroxide-based gel to the spot and wait for the situation to diffuse naturally.
Up your shaving game
No more rushed morning routines. Irritation and sensitivity are due to poor tools coupled with technique that has been sacrificed in favour of time. Set aside a good 20 minutes and turn your morning shave into a fully fledged ritual. Invest in hot towels, a badger brush, cream soap and a double-edged razor if you’re feeling daring. A badger brush absorbs hot water to create a luxurious lather that will cushion your skin as you shave. As an added bonus, it also exfoliates the skin.
Groom in your sleep
Most men think of grooming as a daytime habit. But skin is at its most receptive at night when metabolism peaks and the body isn’t busy defending itself from environmental aggressors and UV rays. In other words, a high-performance overnight product can achieve a lot more than its daytime counterpart, especially around the eyes where skin is fragile and prone to wear and tear. Sisley Supremÿa Eyes At Night serum contains acai and yeast extract as well as caffeine to banish dark circles and bags by sunrise.
There’s only so much a topical product can do. The appearance of your skin and hair hinges on your diet as much as your grooming routine. Given the number of gaps in the modern diet, it pays to make up for absent nutrients with a bioavailable supplement. Omega-3, for example, will nourish hair follicles, ensure skin is moisturised and protect against sun damage.
Illustrations by Mr Nick Hardcastle