As an urban male, you have to look good. If you are a guy who lives, works, and plays in a city, you need to take care of yourself. Otherwise, nobody will take you seriously, whether that’s at the office, at a bar or restaurant, or most importantly – at home with your significant other. This is not the country. There are no brownie points for weathered, cracked skin or unkempt hair.
As a guy, what is the first (and easiest) step to acclimating to an urban environment? Arm yourself with the basics:
- Facial Cleanser. Step number one. If you do not have a clean face, you do not have a clean body. My favorite product is the cleansing foam from Shiseido, which I apply once in the morning while showering and then again at night before going to sleep. It will open your pores and help your face breathe like it never has before. This easy step will mitigate pimples, along with any dry or damaged skin.
- Face Scrub. I use a pineapple face scrub that my wife and I purchased from Mii Amo spa last year on vacation. You should not use it everyday or else it may dry out your skin, but if you use it every other day or even three times per week, it will help you remove anything the cleanser doesn’t catch. These products are more for a deep clean. I like to use it immediately before shaving.
- Face Cream. Apply after you clean your face, especially in areas like your forehead and between your cheeks and nose. These places have a tendency to dry out quickly. I use the Sephora brand shown in the pictures below. It is light, easy to apply, and reasonably priced. Use once after cleaning your face in the morning, and then again before going to sleep.
- Eye Cream. Oh the ever important eyes! One of the primary areas of your face prone to aging is around your eyes. Whether it’s wrinkles, raccoon circles from lack of sleep, or puffy evidence of exhaustion, your eyes need attention. This product from Origins is my favorite. It is designed to fight wrinkles, reduce puffiness, and fade dark shadows.
- Shaving. I have been using Art of Shaving products ever since my girlfriend told me I need to take better care of my face (true story). I used to fall victim to ingrown hairs on my neck, the most sensitive area to shave. Red pimples across your entire neck is not attractive to say the least. Art of Shaving sells pre-shave oil, which preps your hair and forces it upright. Then you apply their shaving cream, which is more lotion and foam as opposed to an airy froth that you get from more generic brands. Finally, their after shave gel is soothing and comes in a variety of masculine scents (my favorite is sandalwood). In terms of blades, my go-to now is a Norelco electric razor, but I have used manual razors in the past (Gillette Mach3) and I still do for harder to reach hairs after taking the first pass with the Norelco.
- Hair. I have tried a variety of gels and hair products (for my quickly disappearing hair), but my current favorite is a volumizer from Living Proof. Less of a gel and more of a cream, this product makes for a fuller, thicker hold. If you’re like me and have thinning hair, you’ll like this styling volumizer. And if you wash your hair every other day (recommended, so long as you’re not working out and sweating too much), you’ll find that the volume, texture, and hold on day two is even more amplified.
- Cologne. Smell is important. Aside from it being one of the most powerful senses, your scent can empower you and impact how others think of you. With that being said, as a guy, you may not want to smell overly fragrant or floral. A musky, manly scent moderately applied, however, can make you feel cleaner, stronger, and yes, even more masculine. Different colognes have different purposes too. My YSL fragrance, for example, is more sensual and probably best suited for a Friday night out, while my Armani cologne is a little more neutral, smoky, and confident, making it perfect for daily use.
The bottom line is that it is important to take care of yourself as an urban male. Living in an urban environment can be dirty, polluted, and grimy. The first step you can take to combat these forces of urban nature is to care for your face. Once you develop a routine, you may find yourself feeling better and ready to take the next step: colognes, complex hair products, and makeup products like concealer. Yes, even makeup.
The WSJ ran a piece last weekend on how more men are wearing makeup than people might think. Although I am skeptical about eyeliner and other more aggressive and visible products, everyone can use a quality concealer every once in a while (goodbye zit!). Men should not fear making efforts to cover up minor blemishes. There is no masculine rule prohibiting you from trying to look better. There should not be anything taboo about it.
My advice to you: start small, with creams and cleansers for your face, advance further to colognes and hair products, and if you find your face occasionally breaking out, purchase a quality concealer. There is nothing to be ashamed of for looking good.