Lookin’ Good: A Man's Guide
What to look for in male grooming products, from skin and hair care to shaving and razor burn.
Men’s shaving products
Shaving is the area where men typically have the most problems, especially guys with heavy facial hair. Not surprisingly, a number of blogs have sprung up devoted entirely to conversations about various men’s shaving products. One of the most popular, www.shaveblog.com, offers lively reviews of new and old men’s shaving products.
The biggest complaint is razor burn. Glaser’s advice: “If you have problem with razor burn, take the time to wash your face with warm water. Warming smoothes the skin and makes the blade less likely to scrape.”
Experiment with different shaving creams and lotions to find one that works best for you. The same advice goes for razors. Some men like razors with multiple blades. Others find that those extra blades just offer more chances to scrape and irritate the skin. Glaser’s male patients generally like razors with glide strips. Schick Quattro, for example, has a glide strip with aloe that is positioned just in front of the blade.
As for aftershave lotions, they’re usually designed to close up pores. Lotions that contain alcohol can sting and further irritate razor-burned skin, however. So shop around for an aftershave that soothes instead of burns.
Even more irritating than razor burn are razor bumps, which are caused by ingrown facial hair, according to Glaser. The curlier or kinkier your hair, the more likely you are to be troubled by razor bumps. Her advice: Avoid shaving too close. An electric razor, for example, leaves slightly longer facial hair behind, which is less likely to grow into the skin. Better yet, use a beard trimmer, which can be adjusted to leave even more hair behind ― for the classic Don Johnson look.
Lately, some men troubled by razor burn and bumps have turned to a more permanent solution: laser hair removal. Lasers work by generating light energy that is absorbed by the dark pigment in hair and converted into heat, which damages hair follicles, explains David Colbert, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. Men have typically turned to lasers to remove simian patches on the back. But increasingly, Colbert and other dermatologists are using improved laser removal technologies to remove facial hair on men, especially on the throat, where it makes shaving a real pain in the neck. Some dermatologists are even using lasers to create neatly edged beard lines.
Despite the boom in men’s grooming products and services, however, the ideal of masculine beauty today is still the unstudied look -- natural, easy-going, even a little bit touseled. So go ahead and spend as much time as you want primping in front of the mirror. Just don’t end up looking as if you did.