I used to subscribe to 3 or 4 ‘mens’ magazines in my 30’s. Faithfully read every one, hoping to get some insight on how to look good and maintain all the things us guys worry about. Good skin, hair, manscaping, muscles, blah blah blah.
The thing I realized is that 1) either many or most of the writers were overweight nerds with families and 2) they pretty much rehashed the same shit every month, year in and year out. And first and foremost, they were pushing products they were paid to by corporate entities. The other thing I observed was that many of the magazines were touting some unspoken homosexual influence that led to the ‘metrosexual’ era that still lingers. Men were supposed to be prettier than women. Men had to shave their chests, bleach their assholes, get Botox and look like puffed up versions of the assbags you may have seen on the Jersey Shore.
Now in my 40’s, I’ve taken a minimalist approach to this whole genre. I don’t want to end up looking like Michael Keaton or Robert Redford but I also don’t want to spend my hard earned money on shit that doesn’t line up with my goal- which is to age gracefully. I want to keep my skin looking good, I want to smell good, I want to be at peace with my changing body and I don’t want chicks to ask why I have 3 inch hairs growing out of my ears.
The thing that totally sucks about getting older is your body starts betraying you. Hair shows up on your back you never had in your 20’s and 30’s. Hair grows out your ears…your FUCKING EARS! The butt starts to soften up, those chest muscles you worked so hard at when you were younger are now pulling themselves to the floor. And on top of that, a lifetime of hideous vegetable oils in everything we eat or cook now decides to park itself in places we’d rather not see.
You can fight it to a point. Eat better, exercise smarter, drink lots of water, less booze ( not really), less drugs (kinda) give up cigarettes, use some moisturizer. But in the end, we ain’t our kid selves anymore.
Which leads me to this post. There is some stuff that actually works that won’t lead you to be a slave to marketing and will keep your hard earned money in your pocket. I’m a bit vain so I do a little more than maybe Ken the FedEx driver does but in the end, grooming and taking car of your body is straight forward.
- Best thing for your skin is to drink 2-4 liters of water a day. Sweat out the toxins by doing 10-30 minutes in the dry sauna after your gym session.
- With hair, keep it simple. As you get older hair tends to get more dry and brittle. It even likes to leave your head. My crown is thinning so I keep my hair short. Shampoo it once a week with GOOD shampoo, not that drugstore crap. Condition daily, use good pomade. (I like Reuzel)
- On the subject of hair, if your under 40 and have premature silver coming in, you can be forgiven for getting a dye job. Just make it a tad lighter than your natural color. Too dark and you’ll look like Justin Theoroux. If your over 40, it’s actually trending now for men to go silver so that will save you a lot of cash through the years that you’d spend on the coloring every 3 weeks. I had salt and pepper in my mid 30’s and started coloring a couple years ago but I’m now back to S&P. There are even fashion websites devoted to older guys with salt and pepper. Chicks love it (the smart ones).
- Thinning hair. If your crown is thinning and it’s noticeable, you may want to try Toppik. It is micro fibers you sprinkle on your spot that make it less apparent. Sprinkle, pat a few times and brush through. All the Hollywood guys use it on camera when filming. *You can also take biotin for hair growth AND put flaxseed oil on your crown once a day. Omega-3 has been found to very important in hair regrowth.
- Odor. No one wants it. So….eat better food. Drastically cut down or eliminate processed food from your diet. That helps ALOT. Refer to number one. I prefer using salt crystal deodorant but I keep a bar of Speed Stick in the gym bag for emergencies. And shower dude…seriously. Every day.
- Cologne. Less is more. Find a scent that works for you. Forget AXE, scented soaps and that other bullshit. Its all petrochemicals. Spray and walk through. Done.
- Try and use natural products as much as possible. Regrettably, many suck- like deodorants, moisturizers and the like. If you can’t find one that works, defer to paraben free products. Jack Black is a great brand, among others as well.
- Exfoliate, moisturize, mask. These three things, done once or twice a week will keep your face looking young and tight. Best done after a hot shower.
- Shaving. Best done after a hot shower. Exfoliate first, lube up second and use new razors with short steady strokes-with the grain. I found sandalwood essential oil is great for this along with Cremo Cream. And don’t use a disposable razor more than twice if you have strong folicles. You’ll cut your face up trying to eek out a 2$ razor for all it’s worth.
- Manscaping. When I was 21 and working as a male stripper in Florida, I shaved my entire body. I didn’t have much hair then but it was the ‘thing to do.’ Now, I’m about as hairy as an Italian on holiday in Venice. If this sounds like you too, a good clipper with a #1 or #2 guide allows you to get the bulk out while still maintaining some masculinity. A close crop trim on the chest and belly is sufficient. A little trimming down south also is met with smiles from the ladies. Some thinning out on the glutes doesn’t hurt to if you suffer ‘carpeting’ issues there too. Same goes for the crack. It’s much cooler down there in the summer with a less hair. Balls are your personal call. (Don’t forget the armpits). More and more women are discovering they like their man with hair.
- Back/shoulder hair. If your one of the lucky ones that don’t deal with this, skip this. But, if like me, you never had to deal with this until recently or have had to deal with it your entire adult life, it’s not so much embarrassing as it is a chore. Oddly, scientists have shown that men with body hair in abundance usually have high levels of testosterone. But you can’t argue that when your at Sapphire’s in Vegas so, it’s gotta go. Nair or Veet is effective for spot coverage and inexpensive. This is going to sound gay but if you have a buddy that can put it on your back for you, all the better. Its fucking hard to put it on yourself. I used to use a spatula and a mirror and that worked for me. Now I get a wax, which is your second option. Ranging from $45-80, you have your entire back, from shoulders to butt waxed. That will last you a couple of months or more depending on regrowth. The good thing is that repeatedly doing it will lessen the hair that regrows. DO NOT let the woman put oil on your back after!! You’ll break out like a bodybuilder on a 4 stack of juice.
- If you like getting tan, use SPF lotion daily on your face. A good thin SPF 15 or SPF 30 will suffice. There is a school of thought that says the chemicals in SPF lotion actually contribute to skin cancer so it’s your choice. Personally, I have olive skin tone and can use coconut oil to get a tan without burning up. BUT, I limit my exposure to 10 min front and back when I’m coming off the winter months until I get a good base. Even with a good base, you don’t need more than 30 minutes to cause the melanin in your skin to darken. Fair skinned guys need to be even more cautious.
- Vitamins. Eat them via fresh fruit and veggies or drink them via fresh squeezed juice. Foods are more and more less likely to have the essentials vitamins and minerals in our food supply because of constant farming without the benefit of soil rotation . Add a good multivitamin if you feel the need. Your call.
- Alpha hydroxy acid. This stuff will lessen wrinkles and crows feet on the face. Inexpensive, effective-use it.
- Teeth and gums. Brush after every meal; inside and out. Tongue too. Floss twice a day. If you have chronic bad breath, go to a gastrointestinal doctor to see if you have a condition. Of course, write down all the food you eat and see if it’s something your ingesting. If nothing is apparent, bad breath can be a sign of a preexisting malady you are not aware of or a food allergy.
That about does it. And, keep in mind these are my suggestions from a well lived life. As always, see what works for you; whatever doesn’t-discard.
I’ve included a link to some products I use.