Sorry for the lack of recent content. I’ve been super busy these past few months. In order to make up for it I’m presenting an article I should’ve gotten to a long time ago.
Most of these are, in my opinion, non-negotiable but depending on your own personal specific circumstances some may not be necessary. For example, if you rock a buzzcut you don’t probably don’t need hair product. Included below is a checklist for you to use. Some of these items you might already have (soap for example) but I wanted to make this list as fool-proof as possible This is a non-affiliate/sponsored article and I will give some product recommendations but generally a lot of these are hard to mess up and you’re usually fine with the products available at your local pharmacy or department store. There are SOME exceptions where quality scales proportionally with price and I will let you know when this is the case. Before you even THINK about buying new clothes I would purchase everything on this list that is applicable to you. A hygienic well-groomed male with no sense of fashion is more attractive than an unkempt man in even the most expensive tailor=made clothing. An unhygienic male with a terrible fashion sense is utterly screwed. I’m not saying you need to meticulously groom yourself like some sort of cat but you need to at least care. To 99% of well-adjusted individuals lack of basic hygiene is a major red flag and the little bit of extra work you do that most males don’t goes a LONG way.
Obviously you probably already have some sort of soap or body wash you use to bathe with. I highly recommend switching to fragrance-free or natural soap. This is especially important if you wear any sort of cologne. Even if you don’t wear cologne why would you want to smell soapy after a shower instead of just fresh and clean? In fact as a general rule of thumb you shouldn’t use ANY synthetically fragranced (natural fragrances are fine) product that isn’t actually cologne. It’s better for your skin and while smelling like Old Spice won’t offend too many people’s noses (if you mix Old Spice with cologne however, that’s a different story), in my opinion, it’s much better to take a nuanced approach with how you smell. I personally use Ivory soap. If you have the money natural soaps are great too. For example, I’m also a huge fan of African Black Soap. Don’t let the name discourage you if you’re not colored. I actually found out about it and pulled the trigger because of a white male (I’m black if you’re new here) who recommended it.
Same deal as soap with the fragrances. Toms is great and aluminum-free. If you tend to be on the stinkier/more active side of the spectrum instead of going unscented a natural fragrance might work better. If you already have a stick of deodorant I wouldn’t recommend buying another unless it has an incredibly strong fragrance like Old Spice or Axe.
3. A Toothbrush + Toothpaste
A manual toothbrush is fine as long as you actually brush for two minutes. I personally use some cheapo battery powered toothbrush. It’s not necessary but I pay a little extra for Sensodyne Extra Whitening toothpaste. Any old toothpaste is fine and any amount of extra whitening “whitening” kinds of toothpaste provide is extremely negligible if even existent.
There’s nothing sexy about having bits of food in your teeth. If you don’t floss already (gross) just floss once and smell the floss when you’re done. If you do that and care about your breath at all I guarantee you’ll never stop flossing. In the beginning, some bleeding is to be expected. You’re not bleeding because of the floss. You’re bleeding because you DON’T floss. Eventually you won’t bleed at all. I personally use the disposable picks that come in packs.
5. Breath Mints
Basic oral hygiene will take care of most breath issues but I like to take steps to be extra careful. If your breath is bad other people will smell it WAY before you realize it is. If you yourself can tell your breath is bad your breath is HORRIBLE. I ALWAYS carry Freshmint Tic Tacs with me. Don’t use fruit flavored breath mints. They’re basically just candy. Altoids and Listerine breath strips are also great.
6. Nail Clipper
A lot of guys mess this up. Girls, and guys who actually give a shit about their appearance, notice your nails. CLIP YOUR NAILS AND KEEP THEM CLEAN. Don’t clip them all the way to the nail bed but keep them short, even and managed. This is DOUBLY important if you work with your hands because they get much dirtier much quicker. Clip your toenails as well.
7. Lip Balm
Chapped, peeling, dry lips are disgusting unkissable lips. It doesn’t really matter what lip balm you use. It just matters that you use one, daily. Don’t just use it when your lips start to get dry, use it to prevent your lips from ever getting to that point.
8. Hand/Body Lotion
For colored people like me it’s much easier to tell when my skin is dry but even if you’re not colored you don’t ever want dry skin. Keeping your skin moisturized is not only good for it but it makes you look better as well. I personally ONLY use unscented lotion.
These are the bare basics for a skin care routine with SPF being the MOST IMPORTANT. The sun is great and all but will wreak HAVOC on your skin and age you ungracefully. I HIGHLY recommend CeraVe as a starting place. You really don’t want to put cheap shit on your face. At the BARE minimum you need:
9. A Cleanser
10. A Moisturizer + SPF
You can choose to buy your moisturizer and SPF separately but I use a CeraVe two-in-one. Do NOT use soap instead of a cleanser. Bar soap is high in pH and dries the hell out of your skin.
I’m a huge fan of clippers and not a fan of electric razors. If you want to bring your facial hair down to a stubble clippers do just as good of a job as an electric razor without the irritation. If you want your face to look cleanly shaven both do a terrible job. You can also shape and style your hair facial hair with clippers. It’s impossible to do that with an electric razor. Clippers are also supreme when it comes to keeping your pubic hair managed. My clippers are from Conair but Wahl is great too. Don’t cheap out here.
12. A Razor + Shaving Cream + Astringent
People are going to tear me apart for this but IN MY HONEST OPINION your shaving cream and application method matter A LOT more than the type of razor you use. Don’t feel pressured to get a safety razor unless you want to save money in the long run or razors with multiple blades irritate your skin. If you’re satisfied with your shave already staying with the canned shaving cream is fine but if you’re looking for a closer shave consider getting a badger brush and shaving soap. I personally don’t use aftershave or alum and instead use witch hazel.
13. Shampoo + Conditioner
Do NOT use a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. A proper conditioner closes up the cuticles your shampoo opens up. This does not happen with 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners. I highly recommend getting a paraben-free shampoo and conditioner. If you have dandruff I recommend Nizoral’s anti-dandruff shampoo. Generally speaking, as long as it’s not a 2-in-1 whatever you’re using now should be fine. Instead of shampooing your hair every time you shower only do it when it’s starting to become visibly dirty or greasy.
14. Hair Product + Styling Accessories (if Applicable)
Styling your hair is a game changer and you should be able to do it at home. The exact product you use will depend on how you want to style your hair. I recommend wax for daily use (American Crew is a great brand) but pomade is great if you want a look with a lot of shine. If you have curly hair you may want to use styling cream instead. If your hair is straight you can style your hair with your bare hands but a comb will do a much better job. If you have black/curly hair you can use a curl sponge to style your hair (this is what I do.)
15. An Iron + Ironing Board / Steamer
I’m not saying your clothes need to be super crisp and completely free or wrinkles but you need to look presentable. It’s crazy to me how many people men wear wrinkled clothing. A steamer will get rid of minor wrinkles but will have trouble against deep-set wrinkles. The main advantage of having a steamer is that it’s much faster (unless you have a great iron and know what you’re doing.) The disadvantage of a steamer is you can’t create creases in your clothing if you do desire for them to be super crisp. Personally I’m not a fan of wearing my clothes that crisp but some people like it.
Many men have unsightly hairs between their eyebrows. Getting rid of these hairs make a huge difference. Every so often you also may or may not want to shape your eyebrow. I personally do it myself with tweezers but if you’re not brave enough consider getting them threaded. Make sure the person who threads your hair has worked with males before and let them know you want to look masculine and not feminine.
The following are not essential but I highly recommend them in certain circumstances:
Although I don’t think whitening your teeth is essential I HIGHLY recommend it if they’re looking a little yellow. At home Carbamide Peroxide systems (the ones with the syringes, a mouth guard and sometimes a light) work great (and fast) but can burn the hell out of your gums. Activated charcoal and whitestrips also work but take foreveeeeer to start seeing results. Depending on your location you also might be able to get professional whitening from a Dentist on Groupon for about $150.
A Nose and Ear Hair Remover
Once you reach your late twenties you’re going to start getting nose and ear hairs. They’re unsightly and even worse nose hairs can catch boogers. You can soldier through with tweezers but I highly recommend just biting the bullet and getting a nose and ear hair remover when it starts to become an issue.
Done right fragrances can make you extremely sexy. The problem is finding the right fragrance. My very first fragrance was Chrome by Azzaro. I was working at McDonald’s as a teenager and a gentleman placing his order smelt amazing so I asked him what cologne he was wearing. I bought it my next paycheck. My girlfriend at the time was obsessed with it. That’s one way to find a fragrance but I developed a much better approach. My favorite way to find new fragrances is to go into high-end department stores and smell different fragrances on test strips. Once I smell one I love (not like) I’ll ask for a sample spray and see how the fragrance develops and performs through the day. I typically only use one spritz on my neck. I’ve had a lot of good experiences with Thierry Mugler, Givenchy, Gucci, Commes de Garçons, Yves Saint Laurent and Creed. Fragrantica is an extremely good resource as well. If that sounds like a lot of work you could just blind buy Armaf’s Club de Nuit Intense. It’s an amazing Creed Aventus ripoff that’s netted me a TON of compliments (in addition to the one time I literally had a girl kissing my neck while telling me how good I smelt.)
A Pumice Stone
I get callouses on my feet so I use a pumice stone to get rid of them so I can keep my feet looking presentable for when I’m at the pool or beach. I don’t think too many other people have this issue but if you’re in the same boat (pun intended) as me it works wonders.
Edit: I forgot one more thing!
A Lint Roller
If you have animals this is essential. If you don’t have any pets though it isn’t really necessary.
If you found this information helpful please share it on your social media!
Thank you for reading! If you like this content and you’re interested in receiving more like it leave your email in the form below to subscribe. You’ll also receive a free copy of my ebook 10 Parts of Your Style You Need to Upgrade Right Now.