For what seems like forever it’s been the norm that when folks have a conversation around caring about certain parts of your appearance that it’s “only for women''. Men have been expected to neglect things like nails, skin, and parts of hair care -- but why? Taking pride in your appearance and caring for yourself is more than skin-deep. It’s personal.
For men of color, this time devoted to caring for ourselves can celebrate who we are as individuals, the culture that makes us unique, and be a form of expressing ourselves. Making time for personal upkeep and hygiene is a form of self-care that everyone should indulge in.
Grooming routines can encompass everything from hair care, that bomb cologne before a night out down to personal hygiene, and it all depends on your preferences. We’re dropping this essential grooming guide to give the community some ideas on how to create or improve their grooming routine this year.
ESTABLISH A ROUTINE FOR YOUR FACE
Your face is the first thing people see when they look at you, so you want to make sure it’s looking fresh. Establishing a skincare routine is important, especially for us. Why? Because the thicker and denser your facial hair is, the more prone you are to getting ingrown hairs and razor bumps. You can combat this by having a good skincare routine, especially one that includes exfoliation. Using a facial cleansing brush when washing your face will provide a gentle exfoliation - that’s the way to really remove that dirt, dead skin and oil. Follow-up with a hydrating moisturizer to help reduce dryness and irritation so your face will be prepped for shaving.
When you’re getting ready to remove your facial hair, make sure you’re using the right shaving products, as they should be tailored to men who have thick, textured hair. The razor you use is crucial to your process because without the right one you can damage your skin. The main thing to note is that the razor you use needs to give a close shave without causing skin irritation. Almost as important as the razor, shaving cream can make the whole deal a great experience or a hassle. As you should do with all of your products, make sure you choose something that’s sulfate and paraben-free and is moisturizing to reduce razor burn.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HAIR
Tending to curly, wavy, or textured hair is a completely different ball game than straight hair. As with the hair on your face, the hair on your head needs the proper products and tools to flourish. This doesn’t mean we have to do mad extra labor, it just means finding products that were created with us in mind, not as an afterthought. First off, purchase products that are about our textures: curly, wavy, coiled. That’s a focus.
For men with longer hair, minimize the usage of combs as they can cause a lot of breakage. If you must use combs, wide-tooth ones are the best option. If you have longer hair and a lot of patience, finger detangling is your best friend. For our short haired guys, thinking about your tools still matters! Using extra hard brushes to maintain hairstyles can lead to thinning hair. For those experiencing hair thinning despite making changes to hair tools and products, you may want to speak with a pro about a hair loss medication like Finasteride pills. This can help your hair get the fullness that it once had and boost your confidence. Like every other part of personal grooming remember: There ARE things for us and that address specific concerns, you don’t have to settle.
INVEST IN A GOOD COLOGNE
This one’s a sleeper hit. A way to be remembered or set your vibe with no words and very little effort? Bet. Using cologne is a very underrated part of grooming that can make you stand out and have people turning their heads when you walk by. A survey of 20 women taken by Men’s Journal showed that most women like when men wear good-smelling cologne, in moderation, of course. If you want an extra boost of confidence before a date or important meeting, try busting out that Tom Ford or custom blend. You never know, it may become something you use regularly.
If you do decide to start wearing cologne, the best part is truly trying to find your signature scent. To reiterate, don’t overdo it. Most people, whether that be your partner, family, friends, or even strangers, don’t want to choke on the cologne you’re wearing. But the right selection? We promise: That hits different.
Once you’ve found what speaks to you, moderation is key, and it will help the product last longer as some colognes tend to get pricey.
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR NAILS
Your nails can easily become one of those things that you forget to take care of. You may be wondering how much maintenance nails actually need, and if it’s even worth it to think about . Check this -- The same notion that applies to cologne applies here too. Having dirty or unkempt nails aren’t a deterrent to some people, but if they are clean, it conveys the idea that you pay attention to the details.
Obviously, you want to keep it clean -- that’s simple. But just like the rest of you, your nails need moisture too.
Follow up with a lotion that has an ingredient like shea butter in it. This ingredient helps lock in moisture and protect your skin, as well as nail beds. If you don’t want to do that, putting vaseline on your hands at night will have them feeling and looking great by morning.
Grooming can be as simple or tailored as you want, this is an area in your life that is 200% about you.
All it takes for the man who rocks coils, curls, texture and in between is some special consideration in products for your unique hair and skin to go from “it’s whatever” to a point of confidence and pride.
WRITTEN BY MIGUEL MARTINEZ