Your ingrained mistakes mean ingrown hairs, barbaric trims and skin that looks like it’s lived an extra decade. Fix up, look sharp.
Grooming lore says dail y washing is the route to a brittle barnet. But while that’s true for shoulder-length locks, your short back and sides needs regular attention, says Lilly Dillon, trichologist and master barber at London barbers Ruffians.
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“It depends how much product you use, your hair type and hair length,” says Dillon. Short and fine hairs rapidly transfer oil from root to tip quicker, so hair gets greasy. Adding conditioner makes it look like you’ve been swimming near the Deep Horizon spill. But shampooing a Kit Harington crow’s nest stops that protective oil from reaching the tips. Hence your Worzel Gummidge mop. For fine hair, Dillon recommends washing daily and, if it’s brushing your collar, conditioning at the ends only. For thick hair shampoo just three times a week, conditioning every time. Try to match washes to gym day to avoid post-workout sweat head.
Your Hair, Her Stuff
It’s tempting to indulge in the haircare products your better half leaves littering the bathroom. But unless you’re sporting matching ‘dos (in which case, the right shampoo is the least of your problems) you need something designed for what you’ve got up top. That means being suspicious of label claims. “There’s no such thing as ‘normal’ hair,” says Dillon. Specificity is your follicles’ friend.
Get something that targets a problem. Is your hair greasy? Dry? Frizzy? The wrong product will make it worse; the right one will control it. Once you find something that works, stick with it. “People decide to try something new, then ask me why their dandruff’s come back,” says Dillon. Shampoo can only control symptoms, not cure them. If you stop taking your medicine, expect a relapse.
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Going Back to Black
Twenty years of greying shouldn’t evaporate overnight. “Don’t walk out of the office on Tuesday night looking like George Clooney, and back in on Wednesday morning looking like Danny Zuko,” says Man Made London head barber Tom Bell. If you’re resolved to cover up then a lighter touch offers more natural results.
“If you’ve reached a point where there’s more salt than pepper, you should aim to keep some of the white hairs among the freshly coloured darker ones,” says Bell. Which means forgetting at-home kits. Ask your barber for a white blending service that covers around 70% of the grey. “It stays age appropriate and keeps it subtle.” Silvio Berlusconi shades look about as innocent as his tax affairs.
Not Putting the Lotion on Your Skin
Your skin’s like your pension; small deposits made early make more impact than trying to deal with the problem in your 50s. And your best investment is seeing off sun damage. “Skin cancer and ageing are two reasons to make sure you don’t leave the house without SPF on your face,” says tanning expert James Read – a man whose day job involves ensuring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s skin remains sun damage-free.
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UV rays tinker with your skin’s DNA, causing cancer, and degrade its collagen, which saps your face’s elasticity and eventually leaves it wrinkle-ridden. But it’s not just holiday beams that do the damage; the dangerous rays penetrate cloud cover, meaning even in winter you need protection. Look for a moisturiser that includes SPF, says Read. Try Lab Series’ SPF 15 Daily Moisture Defence Lotion for a youthful look that will get you high interest.
Your ears probably aren’t level. Go look in the mirror. So using them as a guide when you trim your sideburns makes your face looks wonky. Getting your ‘burns even can even out any aural imbalances, but trim with a light touch. “Always leave some,” says Bell. “Don’t ever take them as high as where your ears join your head.” It’s as weird looking as going eyebrow free.
Instead of just lining up with the tragus (the fleshy bit in the middle) make them match your face. If you’ve got a weak chin, shorter is better, while round faces are helped by going long. First, trim your left. “It’s the more difficult side,” says Bell. Put your index finger at the bottom and, looking in a mirror, do the same on the other side. Then just shave to match.
Whether you have to head to the bathroom for a 3pm touch-up, or only need to get the razor out once a week, shaving can become a chore. But like splurging on a cutthroat tidy-up, investing time (and, sure, money) can turn obligation into pleasure. And stop you suffering the ignominy of a razor-raw face and neck.
“Invest in a double-edged razor,” says Ruffians’ barber and shave expert Hari Efthymiades. “The blades are cheap, they’re easy to use at home and they’re healthier for the skin and stubble as there are no gimmicks.” Prep your skin with an gentle exfoliator like Ruffians Daily Facial Scrub then lather up with a warm brush to keep stubble soft.