These days, you have a ton of options when it comes to grooming products for men.
But all that choice can make it hard to... well... choose.
What is the right product? Which products should you buy to take care of your hair, skin, teeth, etc?
Well, I wrote this humongous guide to help you choose the right products for you.
Because in many cases, the right product for your best bud may be a terrible choice for you..
So here's how this guide works...
In some areas, I give recommendations that will apply to all of you. In shaving and dental care, for instance, we're not so different and different men will benefit from the same products.
In other areas, such as skin care and hair styling, the right products depend on your specific type of skin and hair. I have not personally tested each of these (as I don't have every skin and hair type there is), but I've done hours upon hours of research to find the most recommended and well-reviewed products for each different type.
Now before we begin, I do have to add this:
Disclaimer: You will try any of the recommended tools and products on your own risk. This site and its owner will not be held responsible for any and all accidents you might have when using recommended tools, nor for any and all adverse reactions you might have from using any of the products.
So, for example, if you happen to be allergic to any of the ingredients in the recommended products, of if you happen to nick yourself while using the recommended razor, that's on you.
With that out of the way, are you ready to dive in?
Perfect. Then here's an overview. Feel free to jump to whichever area of grooming you need help with.
Most of you are spending your money on inferior shaving products — ones that have to be replaced more often, don't work as well, and are more prone to leave you with those nasty razor bumps.
You can get better quality goods that give you a much cleaner shave, and they’re actually cheaper. The only reason most guys aren't using them is because they don't know any better.
I only found out about this a few years ago myself.
The big mistake most men make is shaving with disposable razors.
At some point, big razor companies — most notably Gilette — have convinced us that a regular razor is no longer enough. They'll have us believe that we need five-bladed razors with lubrication strips, vibrating handles and “Flexball Technology”. (What?!)
Even Q from the James Bond movies couldn't make this shit up.
The truth is, al of this is a bunch of baloney. The only reason you need a lubrication strip is because the multiple blades are overkill and cause the irritation. The multiple blades, the vibrating handle and the Flexball BS is all just marketing trying to make their product look like “more than just a razor.”
The Gilette Fusion is the most popular disposable razor on the market today. The chief reason it's most popular is because of great marketing — hey, I fell for it in my early twenties.
What Gilette doesn't want you to know is that the old-fashioned, single-bladed safety razor is a much better investment. Not only does it give you a closer shave, but it does so without irritating your skin (if you use it properly).
And frankly, wielding a proper blade instead of a boy's toy just makes you feel more manly. Even applying shaving cream the proper way makes you feel more like a grown-up.
On top of that, you'll also save some money on shaving products and won't have to think about replacing them as often either.
Know what? Lets compare.
The Gilette Fusion (pictured left) is the most popular disposable razor, so let's see how it holds up to the Merkur 23C (pictured right) which is one of the most popular safety razors.
First, let's compare prices:
Huh? Wait... What? Didn't I say the safety razor would be less expensive?
No, I told you that shaving with one will be less expensive. First, because the stainless steel Merkur will last a lifetime, but most of all, because the razor blades are dirt cheap.
See, Gilette's business model relies on giving you the Fusion for cheap but then charging you ridiculous prices for the razor blades.
So let’s go ahead and compare those as well...
Again, let's compare prices first:
That's quite a difference, isn't it?
With Gilette, you get 12 blades for $34 and with Derby you get 100 for $9.
That means that after using only 12 Derby blades, you're already making up the difference of what your Merkur razor cost!
What about durability?
Gilette would have you believe that their blades will last five weeks. The truth is, how long razor blades last depends on your beard growth. Some guys are luckier than others. The only way to truly tell when it's time to replace your blade is when you feel the razor pulling on your beard. For me, Gilette razors lasted only a week.
(Note: Gilette's packaging suggest that you change the blade as soon as the lubrication strip has disappeared, but this doesn't necessarily mean that the blade has dulled. It's just another trick to get you to change your razor more often.)
I saw no difference in durability with Derby blades. They lasted the same period of time. I've seen some others online suggest that double-edged razor blades last longer than disposable, but this wasn't the case for me. (Admittedly, I'm quite prone to razor bumps, so I will replace my blade as soon as I feel the slightest tug.)
Anyway, after I bought my safety razor, I bought a pack of 100 blades, which lasted a little less than two years. I didn't have to think about getting new razors for two friggin’ years, guys. This might not seem like much, but it's quite a load off your mind.
And let me repeat for the record, that the shaving with a safety razor offers a much better shave.
Seems like an easy choice, right?
The next item you should invest in is a shaving brush.
If you desire a clean shave, you absolutely must use a brush. It’s an absolute must-have.
See, the typical way most men apply shaving gel, foam or cream, is they use their fingers. But by doing this, you essentially press your facial hair against your skin.
When you use a shaving brush, you do the exact opposite. You raise your whiskers rather than push them against the skin. You make them stand for attention so your razor blade can’t miss them.
On top of that, it’s a much more effective way to apply an even lather while using less of your shaving foam, gel, or cream.
Speaking of which...
Most men use shaving gels or foams that come out of aerosol cans, like one of these:
The truth is, these cans are designed to spray their gel or foam at rapid-speed, which leads to men almost always using much more foam to lather up than they need.
When you use a shaving brush with a shaving cream or soap, you only need a tiny amount to achieve a full lather.
Shaving creams come in containers that allow you to open the lid and dab the tip of your brush in, giving you much more control than if you were using a pressure can.
Most of the time, you’ll find that dipping your brush just once will be enough.
What keeps many men from using shaving creams instead of their canned counterparts is the price. Shaving creams are often more expensive, but that’s only when you don’t take into account how much use you get out of them.
So again, let’s compare:
This Gilette Fusion Shaving Gel pictured above costs $6.40 on Amazon for 6 ounces (or about 177ml).
This Maca Root based shaving cream from The Body Shop is the one I’ve been using (and it’s amazing). It costs $16 for 6.7 ounces (or 200ml):
Typically, a can of Gilette shaving gel would last you for a bit over a month. But for fairness’ sake, let’s say you apply it extremely sparingly and it lasts two whole months.
That pales in comparison to the Maca Root shaving cream, which lasted me at least a year.
In other words, you’d spend around $38 of shaving gel per year vs. only $16 on shaving cream.
Again, seems like an easy choice, doesn’t it?
After shaving, you want to apply some aftershave to your skin to soothe, moisterize and close your pores so you don’t get any dirt trapped inside.
Most men are still using alcohol-based aftershaves that make you go like this:
Now, despite the sting, these aftershaves actually have something refreshing to them. But most guys use them just because they feel like the sting is telling them it’s doing its job.
In fact, many believe the alcohol in this aftershave helps close any nicks and cuts and prevent razor bumps. It does neither.
In fact, the alcohol is unnecessary, and for some men can cause irritation or drying of the skin.
These aftershaves also tend to have strong odors, which can cause interference in case you want to apply some nice cologne.
So what’s the solution?
Balm contains no alcohol, which means it doesn’t sting. It barely has any scent to it, which means you’re free to wear any cologne you like. And it will often provide a more soothing and moisterizing effect on your freshly shaven skin.
And you don’t have to get anything fancy. This balm from Nivea works like a charm:
So let’s sum everything up.
To get the best possible shave, I'd recommend the following products:
But before we continue with the next section, I want to explain how to use these products. Because if you’re transitioning from a cartridge razor to a safety razor, it can take some getting used to.
Not knowing the proper way to wield a real man’s shaving blade can cause you to nick yourself more than you normally would. (In fact, you may experience a few more nicks than usual on your first few tries, but don’t give up if you do.)
So here’s a guide that tells you step by step how to shave with a safety razor:
Shaving with a safety razor isn’t the same as shaving with a cartridge razor like Gilette Fusion, and wielding the blade the wrong way will actually cause more nicks and cuts.
For the optimal shave, follow these steps:
Too many men today still refuse to take care of their skin. Many think applying any creamy substance to your face is too girly for tough guys like them, while others think they don’t have to bother until they start getting wrinkly.
The truth is, all men benefit from keeping a simple skin care routine. Besides slowing the development of wrinkles and keeping you looking younger for longer, it has the immediate effect of making you look fresher and healthier today.
And it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, guys. Just try it for a month or so, and you can always stop doing it if you still don’t see the point.
You’re with me? Okay, then let’s see what a basic skin-care routine looks like.
Every man should at the very least take up the following habits to take care of their skin:
That’s all there is to it!
What? You want some more details on the how, when and how often? I’m way ahead of you, bud…
Let’s start at the beginning:
Cleansing your face involves washing your face to remove impurities and bacteria and to prevent oil from clogging up your pores. (Snore! Don't worry, I'll try to minimize the cosmetics crap as much as possible, for both our benefits.)
Now you might be thinking, “That’s easy! I’m already washing my face!” But to sufficiently cleanse your face, you need to do more than just splash a bit of water on your face.
Splashing water on your face is only the first step. Then, you should apply a face wash, and rub your face gently using circular motions for about 30 seconds. After you are done, rinse and pat dry.
That’s right. It only takes 30 seconds. You can muster that, can’t you?
When and how often: Do this every morning as you shower and at night before bed.
After cleansing, you also want to keep your skin properly moisturized. This has countless benefits for your skin both short-term and long-term. It also happens to be super-refreshing.
Through moisturizing, you form a barrier film on your skin’s surface, which prevents the loss of moisture/oil, which makes the skin feel smoother and softer. It helps the skin to look healthy and helps cells to repair themselves.
Your skin will feel smooth and supple and you won’t just look but feel fresher. Plus, it also keeps the effects of aging at bay. (Men who moisturize develop fewer and less-severe wrinkles, so your face won’t end up looking like your fingers do after taking a hot bath.)
When and how often: You should apply moisturizer in the morning after showering and shaving, and once more at night.
Exfoliating your skin goes beyond just cleansing it; it involves scrubbing it to remove dead skin and other undesirable buildup, which in turn allows newer, better-looking cells to grow and make your skin look younger.
When and how often: The best time to exfoliate your skin is in the morning since the skin has been doing repairs during the night, which means it’s likely to have lots of dead skin cells. You should do it before you shave, because your skin will be too sensitive for scrubbing after shaving. The removal of dead cells and dirt also gives you a cleaner shave, helping prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
Unlike cleansing and moisturizing, you shouldn’t do this every day. Instead, you want to aim for 1-3 times a week, depending on your skin type. Oily-skinned men should do it more often, and dry or sensitive-skinned men should do it less often.
Speaking of skin-types…
Okay, so now you know the basic skin-care regimen for men. The next step is to discover what type of skin you have and which products you need to best treat it.
So how do you determine your skin-type?
Simple. In the morning, cleanse your face take a shower, wash up, etc. But don’t apply any moisturizer or other creams. (Shave the night before so you won’t have as much growth the next morning.) When you’re done, take a moment to look in the mirror. Take note of how your face looks.
Then, leave it alone for about two hours. Try not to touch or wipe your face with your fingers.
When the two hours are up, go back to the mirror, and check how your face looks and feels.
Beyond this test, you should also check whether you have sensitive skin, as this would require a different skincare regimen. Guys with sensitive skin are prone to rashes and red patches and might feel a burning or stinging sensation when they apply products. If you have any pre-existing skin-conditions, you might have sensitive skin.
If you’re still unsure, you might try taking some skin-care tests online. You can find several by just googling “ skincare test” or “ skincare quiz.” (Note: They’re mostly created for women, but skin-type doesn’t differ between sexes. You just might get some awkward questions about your make-up habits with some of them.)
Now, once you determined your skin-type, just click the button below that applies to you:
Congrats, you are a lucky son of a beeswax.
Most guys would love to have your skin-type as you are least likely to experience issues such as acne, rashes, or irritation.
You can also use almost any skin product — except for the ones that specifically state otherwise — without worrying too much about adverse effects.
Just because you have the best skin-type in the world, doesn’t mean you should skip any of the steps. If you do, your skin probably won’t stay that way for long. So cleanse and moisturize twice every day, and exfoliate 2-3 times a week.
Oily skin feels slightly greasy. If you have this skin type, it looks like you’ve already applied oil to your skin even when you have not. When you touch it, it feels slick. And as you probably know, oily skin is more susceptible to blackheads, acne, pimples and other kinds of breakout.
You should keep an eye out for products that are designed for oil-control. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel and mineral clay.
And just in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s absolutely necessary to moisturize oily skin. You might assume it would only add to the shininess and oiliness of your face, but with the right moisturizing product, you actually control the production of oil.
Follow the steps exactly as outlines earlier, and exfoliate three times a week.
When you have this skin-type, your skin will often feel tight and itchy. With very dry skin, you might also experience flaking of the skin, making it appear to have a dandruff-like substance on it. Dry skin is susceptible to irritations.
With dry skin, you want to look for hydrating face washes and strong moisturizers. Look for ingredients like maca root, aloe vera, allantoin, glycerin, sage leaf and brazil nut.
Exfoliate no more than once or twice a week. Try setting a habit of exfoliating about once every three or four days.
If you have combination skin, you’ve been dealt one of the toughest skin-types to properly care for. It’s like your skin can’t make its mind up about what it wants to be.
A combination typically comes up as an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) and dry cheeks. But you may also experience your skin changing its type from day to day. Dry one day, oily the next.
Look for products that say “suitable for all skin-types,” and look especially for products with vitamin E or ingredients like menthol, algae, caffeine, plants or fruits.
You can exfoliate three times a week, but go easy on your cheeks. Spend more time on the T-zone.
With sensitive skin, you’re prone to break out in irritation and inflammation. This can come up as swelling, redness, itching, or even stinging. You have to be extra careful when trying new skin products.
If you have sensitive skin, avoid skincare products that contain dyes, fragrances, and preservatives. Look for products that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free.
Before you try a product on your face, run a test first on a small patch of your arm. Wait a day, and if you don’t experience a reaction, try a little behind your ear and wait another day. If you still have no issues come up, the product should be fine to use.
Then, you want to avoid scrubs that are too harsh on your face. Go for a gentle face scrub and don’t use it more than twice a week.
Note: The products below come highly recommended for men with sensitive skin, but that’s no guarantee you won’t have a bad reaction to them. I implore you to do the test as instructed above before applying to your face.
Confession time. I struggled with my hair for quite a bit. I didn’t know how to style my hair in a way that looked good on me, and I only figured it out about two years before my hair was getting so thin, I decided to shave it off.
What I’ve learned though is that the product you decide to use has a great effect on how your hair style turns out. You want to select one that’s both appropriate for your hair type and your hair style.
When you do, it can turn a “meh” hairstyle into a hairstyle that looks awesome on you.
So let’s dive in and see what hair type you have.
Before I can recommend you specific styling products, you’ll need to understand your hair type.
Fortunately, you’ll already have a good idea what type of hair is on your head. (It’s been there all your life, after all.)
So these are the four types of hair:
Below you’ll find an explanation of each of these, along with general recommendations.
Straight hair is exactly that. Straight. The strands don’t grow curved or bent, but exactly linear, with almost no wave pattern at all.
The main downside of straight hair is that it typically has little volume. Without applying a product, it often looks flat and lifeless.
Lucky for you though, it’s easiest hair type to style and maintain.
The way to determine if your hair is truly straight can only be done with a length of about three inches. That’s going to let you know if there is any wave or curl to your hair at all.
If it falls three inches over your forehead and it still appears stick straight, then you definitely have this hair type.
Hair Products to Try:
Hairstyle recommendations: The world is your oyster, my friend. You can take anything from short to long hair styles. Medium and long haircuts will give you some more volume to work with when styling, but short haircuts will be easy to shape into many different styles for you.
Wavy hair has bends and curves in their strands that create a wavy pattern, but the hair does not quite form coils.
You probably need at least three inches of hair to determine this, as it will be indistinguishable from straight hair at shorter lengths. If, at three inches, it springs into a curve, you have wavy hair.
Like straight hair, this hair type is easy to style, but it has more natural volume than straight hair.
The biggest downside with wavy hair is frizz. If you live in a humid environment or you tend to sweat a lot, you might experience frizzy hair at times. With the right hair products though, you can tame your frizz and sport a proper lion’s mane.
Hair Products to Try:
Hairstyle Recommendations: Like with straight hair, you can choose from short to long hair styles and everything in between. It can look sharp no matter the length. Shorter hairstyles will have a bit more texture to them, but wavy hair shines at medium to longer lengths due to its natural wave pattern.
When you have curly hair, your strands form coils about as soon as they sprout from your scalp. You won’t have to grow your hair very long to notice its pattern.
This hair type can be a dream or a nightmare to work with.
The biggest problem with curly hair is that most guys don’t understand how to care for it, which can turn their hair into a giant puffball or frizzy mess. It’s a difficult hair type to maintain.
On the plus-side, if you care for them right, growing out your curls can look quite cool.
You have to either embrace the curls or cut it super short. If you do grow out your curls, you have to be careful what products you use. Only use a hair dryer if it has a diffuser attached to the nozzle, and only use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to style your hair. Never use a regular or fine-tooth comb, as they will turn your hair into a frizzy disaster.
Hair Products to Try:
Hairstyle Recommendations: As mentioned before, you can keep your hair short if you don’t want the hassle, but if you want to rock those curls, go for a medium-length. If you are patient and are willing to go through a phase where your hair looks rather awkward, shoulder-length hair can also look awesome on curly men.
Kinky hair is most commonly found on dark-skinned men (though it sometimes occurs among other races as well). With kinky hair, the length needed for the hair to curl is so short, that you couldn’t identify individual curls from a short distance. The curls just blend together into one big mass.
Kinky hair will give you the most volume out of all the hair types. In fact, while the other hair types tend to grow downwards, kinky hair tends to grow outwards. It can usually stand upright even without adding any product.
Hair Products to Try:
Hairstyle recommendations: With kinky hair, you can rock an epic afro, or keep it short and clipped. The best part about kinky hair, is that it can be shapes into all kinds of hair styles with a hair clipper.
Keep in mind with any hair product, usually less is more. The amount you will use will depend on the product and thickness of your hair.
Ideally you want to find only ONE styling product that creates the effect you desire. But if you have to stretch that to two different products used together for best results, that’s okay. But definitely no more than two.
And remember that less is more when it comes to hair products. Just run a small wad of product between your hands, and then apply carefully with the fingers from back to front.
Seriously. You don’t want to be known as scary hair product guy with hair that looks unnatural and stiff.
When choosing a hair product, you need to be aware of two factors: The hold and the shine.
The hold determines how firmly the product keeps your hair in place. Products with a strong hold will keep your hair style firmly in position, but also tend to make your hair feel stiff. Products with a light hold will help you shape your hair style but still keep it pliable, so you can re-style it throughout the day.
The shine determines how shiny the product makes your hair look. High-shine products will give a wet look to your hair, while low shine (a.k.a. matte) products will give you a more natural look.
Which of each you want depends on the hair style you desire. (Strong hold and high shine products usually don’t work that well on longer hair styles though.)
Here’s a breakdown of each type of hair product on the market:
Most suitable for: Straight and wavy hair. Short and medium-length hairstyles.
Hair wax is a product that adds hold to your hair without giving it a wet look. If you’re going for a messy bed-head look, wax is your best option. Though, that doesn’t mean it can’t also be used for more structured styles.
The great thing about was is that it has a strong hold, but remains pliable, which means you can reshape your hair throughout the day.
Caught a gust of wing and your hair is all messed up? No worries, you can check your reflection in a window and fix it.
The downside is that waxes tend to be oily products, which makes them incredibly hard to get out of your hair.
I also wouldn’t recommend wax for curly or kinky hair, as it tend to create clumps when applied to those hair types.
Most suitable for: Straight, curly and kinky hair. Short and medium-length hairstyles.
Pomades are a great option if you’re going for neat and slick hairstyle, like that 50’s combed-back look.
Like wax, pomades are quite pliable, which means you can reshape your hair throughout the day.
Unlike wax though, it won’t form clumps when applied to curly or kinky hair.
It’s typically a high-shine product, but its hold differs depending on the brand. You can get pomades that are light-hold, medium-hold or even stronger holds.
Most suitable for: Wavy, coiled and kinky hair. Medium-length and long hairstyles.
Hair mousse is a whipped styling foam that adds body, shine and control to your hair. It’s a great product to use for defining your curls.
This is one product that can actually work well when combined with other types of product. You can use the mousse to create more volume, and finish with a hairspray or paste to strengthen the hold.
While it can be applied to most hair-types and length, it’s most useful for curly hair types and longer lengths.
Most suitable for: Wavy, curly and kinky hair. All hair lengths.
Styling creams are your go-to option if you’re looking to control frizzy hair. You can also use it to weigh down longer hair if your hair doesn’t naturally hang down as much as you like.
Creams have a super-light hold (almost no hold, really) so they keep the hair soft and flexible, unlike waxes and gels that keep the hair firmly in place. This aspect makes creams particularly useful for longer hair styles.
For shorter and medium-length hair styles, creams usually work best as a pre-styling product, as it won’t keep the hair as firmly in place as other products do.
Most suitable for: Short or medium hair. Any thickness. Fine hair needs to use less.
Hair gels are typically strong-hold and high-shine products, especially compared to other products on this list. The hold, however, differs between products.
So you can find hair gels that have a lighter hold, but the hold won’t be quite as light as, say, a styling cream.
Gels are all about control as they will keep your hair in place all day. But the downside is that you can’t run your fingers through your hair as it can break the hold and mess everything up.
Your hair won’t be as easily mussed up by wind as with other products on this list, but if it does get mussed up, you wont be able to reshape your hair.
Most suitable for: Straight and wavy hair. All hair lengths.
Hair spray is a finishing-touch product that you can use after styling your hair to keep everything in place. That means it’s commonly used in combination with another product.
Once your hair looks the way you want it, spray from about a foot away to cover your hair with a protective layer.
If you find your hair often getting mussed up by wind or humid weather, hairspray may be the answer you’re looking for.
Its hold can range from light to very strong, and which one is best depends on what you want.
If you want to reduce frizzing but still have natural movement of the hair, opt for a lighter hold. If you want to keep the hair firmly in place throughout the day, opt for a stronger hold. Just be aware that the stronger the hold, the more stiff your hair will feel.
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