Good grooming should be an integrated part of every man's daily routine, and so we have put together this men's ultimate grooming guide to share our best grooming tips and help you optimize your look.
To make this ultimate grooming guide easier to follow, we will break our grooming tips down into 8 categories and provide links to additional information and resources where relevant an necessary. The 8 grooming categories are:
- Men's skin care
- Hair tips for men
- Men's face grooming
- Beard grooming tips
- How to trim your pubic hair for guys
- Men's body hair grooming
- Men's (man)icure
- Men's pedicure
Ok let's get going and get you looking all groomed and ready to take on the world with optimized confidence.
Men's Ultimate Grooming Guide
Men's Skin Care
Skin care is an area that men are often guilty of not paying enough attention to. Don't take your skin for granted, read our 5 reasons to have a skin care routine for men to understand why it's important.
Having healthy skin will have a positive impact on your overall health as well as boosting your confidence. It will keep the good stuff in your body, the bad stuff out, and play a major role in maintaining the adequate levels of hydration that you need.
So what can you do to look after your skin properly? Let's go over some key points, the first of which is the most important.
1. Use Adequate Sun Protection
The greatest risk to your skin and the biggest culprit of serious skin problems is as a result of unprotected exposure to the Sun's UV rays. The skin uses sunlight to produce vitamin D, but too much unprotected exposure can cause serious problems, both aesthetic and health related. Read this for a quick explanation about the risks.
Using the correct amount of SPF protection will help protect your health and help you to look younger for longer. We recommend that you use SPF 30 or higher as this will allow you to block out 97% of UV rays. Note - sun protection doesn't mean you can't get a tan. For more information read our post on SPF, UVA and UVB rays explained.
2. Stay Hydrated
Hydrate yourself from the inside and out. This means drinking enough water (we recommend 2.5 litres a day for men) and applying a good moisturizer on a daily basis.
We have a great premium moisturizer in development at the moment, it will include premium ingredients optimized for men as well as broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. To find out when we launch, follow us on Instagram (@theunknownformen) or share your email address in our footer.
3. Understand Your Skin Type
If you know what type of skin you have, then you will be better informed to use the products and ingredients that are likely to work better for you. The different types of skin are:
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Normal skin
If you want help understanding your skin type, then read our post on what is my skin type.
4. Wash Your Skin Properly
This means using a good men's face wash to wash your face. Soap, shower gel and shampoo are not adequate replacements for a good face wash. You want to cleanse effectively, but maintain the oils your skin needs to stay looking great. The wrong product will strip these out.
We have something in development we think you will love so watch this space.
You should wash your face twice a day (we recommend first thing in the morning and just before bed) as well as after any activity that has caused you to sweat profusely.
When washing your body, a good shower gel or a premium, moisturizing soap is ok, but make sure that you wash all the key areas effectively. This might mean buying the tools you need to be able to get to all those hard to reach places like the middle of your back. The most common areas people forget to wash properly are the back, behind the ears, between the toes and the belly button. Don't forget them!
After cleansing properly make sure that you use a clean towel to dry yourself off. All that cleansing is pointless if you are going to dry yourself with a dirty towel and transfer the unwanted bacteria back onto your skin.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Most guidelines recommend 7-9 hours sleep a day which is a reasonable barometer. Good sleep is important for many reasons, but when it comes to your skin in allows your body time to create collagen, restore and repair itself.
For a vast amount of information on sleep, you can visit sleepfoundation.org.
6. Get Regular Exercise
Regular exercise help your skin by increasing blood flow, getting oxygen to your skin and managing the free radicals. Clearly the benefits of exercise impact much more than your skin so stay active on a consistent basis.
Hair Tips for Men
Your hair style is a key part of your overall look, so you need to give it the right amount of focus. Here are a few tips to help keep your hair healthy and styled to suit you.
1. Don't Wash Your Hair Too Often
This might sound counter-productive, but washing your hair every day is likely to strip it of the oils it needs. It can also cause excessive frizz and make it more difficult to manage.
We researched a ton of resources on this topic and our finding was that most hair professionals seemed to recommend that men should wash their hair about 3 times a week. That's every other day at most.
Don't skip cleansing altogether, you should still give your hair a good rinse and your scalp a wash with water every day when you shower. Just reduce your shampoo consumption. It may feel strange at first, but if you give it time you will really notice the benefits.
2. Visit Your Barber Regularly
You should know by now how often your hair needs cutting in order to stay looking on point. Don't wait until you start receiving comments about how untidy you are looking, set a regular schedule to visit your barber and stick to it.
Different hair styles need different levels and frequency of cutting, but even if you are growing your hair out it needs to stay tidy. Not all hairs grow at the same rate so don't make excuses and allow your mane to run wild.
3. Find the Right Styling Products for You
It may need a little trial and error for you to find the perfect product for your hair type and style, but there are a few basic principles for styling products that its good for you to know in advance. Here is some helpful info about the main types of men's styling products:
Best used to control and style medium and long hair. Hair pastes tend to give a textured hold and have a matte finish when applied to dry hair, but a light shine when applied to damp or wet hair.
A good hair clay is a great product if you have thin or thinning hair. When applied to dry hair the matte finish will make you hair look thicker. Hair clays work well with medium hair lengths and also if you have straight hair. If you want a little more shine then apply to damp hair.
A hair fiber should be applied to dry hair to perform its best. It's a great choice for short hair and will usually give you a matte finish with medium hold.
Wax is best suited for shorter hair styles or to tame stray hairs in longer styles. Most waxes tend to give medium shine although there are high shine options for those that prefer this type of look. Apply hair way to dry hair for a medium to high hold and textured finish.
Hair gels tend to be high hold and high shine. They have lost their popularity over the last 10-15 years with the introduction of so many alternative styling products, however a hair gel is still useful if you need to fix part of your hair in place. Just don't use too much otherwise you will look like a stockbroker from the 90's.
Most hair pomades will be strong hold and relatively high shine. This makes them useful for medium length hair styles and straight hair that requires the extra hold.
Yes guys do use hair spray too (or 'borrow' it from your other half). Hair sprays come in different strengths and they are best used to finish off your look and hold it in place. They can also add texture when applied to dry hair.
Men’s Face Grooming
As we have already covered how to look after your skin, we will concentrate this section on all the other parts of your face that need regular grooming and maintenance.
There is a saying in parts of the western world that ‘you should never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle’. Whilst the legitimacy of this advice seems rather questionable, you do want to avoid a bushy ‘monobrow’ or ‘unibrow’ as it just doesn’t look good.
First thing you need to do is to keep the eyebrow hairs trimmed. Best way to do is to use a small comb to brush the hairs upwards and reveal all those excessively long culprits. Once these are revealed, simply use a good pair of small scissors to give the hairs a trim. You can also ask your barber to take hair of this for you in your next appointment.
Now that the hairs are trimmed to an acceptable length, use a good pair of tweezers to clean up in between and around the eyebrows. Remember that you are cleaning up the area, not shaping your eyebrows. The idea is for them to look tidy but natural.
If you have ever had a conversation with someone that has a hair or something even worse hanging out of their schnoz, then you will know that is all you can remember and you consequently can’t take that person seriously. Don’t be on the receiving end of this situation, keep that nose clean and the hairs trim.
Try to always carry a small stash of pocket size tissue with you in case you ever need to blow and clear your honk. You might want to consciously give it a check and a clear out before any important meetings or situations where you are going to be in close contact with someone else.
In order to keep those nose hairs at bay, the easiest and most convenient method is to simply use a nose hair trimmer. This is also the safest way to trim nose hairs. You have mucous membranes, blood vessels and delicate blood capillaries in your nose so using a small pair of scissors can also work, but you need to have steady hands.
If you don’t mind a little more pain and watering eyes then waxing and plucking are also options (these last longer), and a permanent (and much more expensive) method is laser treatment. If you do consider laser treatment, then make sure to do thorough research on who you use and opt for someone highly qualified and experienced. We might only be talking nose hairs, but lasers can do significant harm if not used correctly.
The ear is another orifice that you need to keep visibly clean and tidy of hairs. Ear wax and ear hair actually exist to protect you, so whilst they might not be the most aesthetically pleasing, they do have a useful function that shouldn’t be ignored.
Something you might not know is that your ears actually clean themselves and your earwax even has antibacterial properties. This is why you only want to remove the wax that is outside your ear canals and the good news is that it’s easy to keep those ears visibly clear without doing any harm.
Before you start cleaning you should be aware that there is a popular rule that you shouldn’t put anything in your ear except your elbow (this is impossible in case you are looking puzzled or have failed trying for a while). This saying is designed to remind you not to put any small objects in your ear. This includes sticking your fingers in there or stuffing cotton buds down the ear canal to try to reach deeper ear wax.
Instead of risking damage to your ears this way, simply use a washcloth to gently clean everything outside the ear canal. If you have a genuine build up of wax that is affecting your hearing or causing you other forms of irritation, you can try using mineral oil, glycerin or baby oil to soften the wax. You can also but over the counter ear-wax softeners from your local pharmacy.
The effectiveness of ear candles is debatable with some studies dismissing their claimed benefits altogether. Another method is syringing, but this is ideally better left for the professionals as it can lead to permanent damage if done incorrectly.
As well as keeping the ears clean, you also want to manage those ear hairs. Similarly to the ear wax, the best way is not to remove the hair inside the ear completely (so that they can carry on protecting you), but to keep them trim instead. The easiest way to do this is to use an electric trimmer designed for this very job. It’s quick, simple and painless.
The trimmer can work for the ear lobe too, but here its not an issue to remove the hair completely so other options include shaving, waxing and burning the hair. Burning certainly looks and sounds more masculine (this is why the Turkish barber’s tend to use this method), but waxing actually does a better job as it pulls the hair from the root, leaving you hair free for longer.
Beard Grooming Tips
Men’s beard grooming has become somewhat of an art as beards have skyrocketed in popularity over the last 5 or so years. There are hundreds of types and styles of beards, so for the purposes of this ultimate men’s grooming guide we will offer out some universal advice that applies to every facial hair masterpiece.
1. Wash Beard Regularly and Properly
Underneath all the hair there is skin that needs caring for and within the hair there may be a plethora of unwanted elements that need to be cleansed away. You should use a specialized bear cleanser for maximum effectiveness. The Unknown are in the final stages of developing a premium anti-dandruff beard shampoo so will be able to help you out with this very soon.
Wash your beard at the same frequency as your hair, with 3 times a week being a good benchmark. You want it to be kept nice and clean, but you equally don’t want to encourage unnecessary fizz or damage your beard through over-washing.
2. Use a Beard Oil
A good beard oil will keep your beard and the skin underneath moisturized and conditioned, whilst softening the beard hair to make it more manageable. The right product will also leave your beard smelling great.
There are many options of beard oil to choose from, with varying smells, feel and level of finish. The best way to find the one for you is really through trial and error. The Unknown have a beard oil which contains only premium, nourishing ingredients in the final stage of development, so we are excited for you to be able to consider our product soon.
3. Beard Growth Foods and Supplements
For maximum strength and growth speed, other than good genetics your beard can benefit from Vitamin D and some B vitamins like B-3, B-5, B-9, B-12, niacin and biotin. You can get a boost of these through supplements or alternatively eat more foods like eggs, lean meats, leafy greens and nuts.
4. Consistent Beard Trimming
The hairs that form your beard grow at different speeds, so even if you are growing your beard out you will need to consistently give it a trim to keep it tidy (the exception being the first 4-6 weeks if you are looking to grow a longer style beard).
By trimming your beard regularly, you will also be helping to mould it into the beard shape you are ultimately trying to achieve.
5. Comb and Style your Beard
If your beard is of suitable length, then invest in a good beard comb or beard brush to keep it well styled and also train the hairs to grow in the direction that you want. You can finish the beard off with a good beard styling product. A good beard styling should let you sculpt effectively, help to control the stray hairs and keep your beard smelling masculine and fresh.
6. Shave or Taper the Neckline
The general rule here is to shave or taper everything below your Adam’s apple. By doing this you will really clean up the overall look, regardless of the length of your beard. Shaving gives you a nice clean finish and contrast whereas tapering allows for a more subtle graduation that will still look great. The choice comes down to personal taste.
How To Trim Your Pubic Hair For Guys
Grooming your pubic hair is now an expectation as opposed to you embracing being a modern man. If you are not currently grooming your nether regions then you are likely to be in the minority, particularly if you are under the age of 40. Here are some tips to help you trim your pubic hair the right way.
1. Pubic Hair Designs For Men
If you have spent a lot of time thinking about what type of design you are going to do down there then you are already going about this wrong. If you think a girl is going to be impressed when you reveal your love heart shaped pubic design then you may be in for a rude awakening.
The trick here is easy – don’t overthink this. Just trim the shape that you already have to a suitable length and tidy up a little around the edges. That’s it, you will be good to go.
You can also opt to go fully shaven, but this will require much more maintenance and poses a greater risk of injury in an area that you really want to avoid injury at all costs. There is also the possibility that you will look and feel like a teenage boy (or a very large baby) so for us trimming is the easiest and safest option.
2. What Length to Trim Pubic Hair to
This will depend to some degree on the look that you want and the exact thickness and type of pubic hair that you have. The idea is for the area to look clean and tidy with minimal risk of irritation. Too long and it will still look untidy, too short and you then have stubble which is just going to be uncomfortable.
If you want a guideline length then a quarter of an inch (63mm) is a pretty good benchmark, but you can go slightly above and below this without it looking bad. Start off with a longer length, take a look at what you think, and then decide if you want to go shorter. Judge it more from a visual and feel perspective instead of getting too caught up in the specific dimensions of the hairs.
3. Best Way to Trim Pubic Hair
If you are trimming as opposed to going bald then the best way is to use a good pair of body hair trimmers. It is worth spending a reasonable amount of money to buy a pair that are reliable and safe. Some well-known brands have a good track record when it comes to this type of hardware.
You could opt for trimming with scissors, but this is just going to take you much longer and will likely lead to an inferior result. With the electric trimmers you will be able to set a specific length and easily give yourself a uniform finish.
If you are going bald then the most common options are to use a razor, hair removal cream or to wax. Shaving with a razor is the most popular solution, but it does open you up to cuts and nicks that are bound to happen from time to time.
Waxing is really best left to the professionals and with hair removal cream you need to be very careful that it doesn’t hit your most sensitive parts. You really don’t want to experience an adverse reaction down there. For a hilarious review of a hair removal cream reacting badly for a guy, read this amazon review.
4. Shaving Your Penis and Balls
Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that its only above the penis that needs taming. For some men, hair grows on the penis and for many it densely inhabits the balls too. You should seriously consider seeing to this, but it should be done with great care.
You can use the right type of electric trimmer for this, but it is perhaps the one part of the pubic hair grooming process that is easier with a razor. It might be prudent to use a safety razor when attempting this and definitely to take things slowly.
To be able to shave the balls properly you need to pull them taught so that the razor has an appropriate surface to slide along. A shaving oil is also a good idea or you might consider doing this in a warm shower where the steam can help.
To get rid of any unwanted hair on your penis you are going to need to pull it upwards and outwards to fully expose the shaft and give you access to the target hairs. Now shave slowly, carefully and in the direction of the hair growth for a safer shave.
5. Rinse off in Cool Water
Once you have finished grooming your manhood, rinse it off in cool to lukewarm water in order to help close your pores and reduce the risk of you getting ingrown hairs. You can now pat yourself dry and admire your baby maker in all its groomed glory.
Men’s Body Hair Grooming
Manscaping will help you to feel cleaner, more confident and sexier, and your body hair is your biggest task overall. Let’s first of all recap on your options as to how to tackle the unwanted hair:
- Electric body groomer – our recommended option for most of your body. It’s easy, safe, convenient and gives a more masculine look than clean shaven in our opinion.
- Waxing – longer lasting, removes hair completely, but painful and inconvenient. A good option if you want the hair free look for a longer period, especially useful before a vacation.
- Shaving – more convenient and cheaper than waxing, but requires much more maintenance and increases your risk of cuts and ingrown hairs.
- Hair removal creams – a good option for the hair free look for your back, shoulder and chest (although you will need help to reach your back).
- Laser hair removal – best used for any major problem areas if you are happy to pay the cost. Laser removal is not guaranteed to stop hairs growing back although it should permanently reduce the number of hairs.
You may well decide to use a different option for different parts of your body – they sometimes need a different approach and finish. Let’s now go through the key areas that you need to focus your grooming time on:
1. Chest and Stomach Hair
For most of us the chest and stomach will take the longest amount of time to groom as it’s the area we have the most body hair. Grooming your chest and stomach properly can help you to show off your pecs and abs, but also enhance the way that you look in a tee-shirt, vest or tank top.
Once you have decided whether you want the trimmed look or the clean-shaven look, it’s time to get to work. If you are going hair free then shaving is your easiest option, but waxing is a popular alternative. Just make sure to get rid of it all, you are not the 40 year old virgin so the patchy look is not going to help you out at all.
If you are looking for a more trimmed finish, then we suggest keeping to a uniform length all over instead of trying to be fancy with any kind of graduated technique or contorting. In terms of length, a good benchmark is around 1cm, but you should start longer and work your way down to a length you are happy with.
2. Back and Shoulder Hair
Your back and shoulders are areas that you should seriously consider going hair free on, even if you are keeping a trimmed chest rug. A trimmed chest looks good, but rarely does any hair on the back and shoulders look appealing in any way.
Shaving and electric trimmers are not really effective options for your back and shoulders. I’m sure you could use your manly creativity to figure out how to create an extension (extensions do actually exist for electric trimmers) and reach the places that you need, but you are unlikely to get a clean finish this way.
Your best alternative is to have your back and shoulders waxed by a professional, but hair removal creams are also a viable option if you can get some assistance with the application.
3. Armpit Hair
We have long since passed the time when armpit hair gave us any form of evolutionary advantage, so it’s worth considering trimming it right down. A groomed armpit area will help to reduce body odour by pruning the breeding ground for bacteria and improving the effectiveness of your deodorant or anti-perspirant.
For us your best option is simply to trim the hairs right down to an inch or less using an electric trimmer. If you want to then get rid of the hair altogether (not recommended unless you are going clean shave all over and can pull it off), then getting it waxed or using a hair removal cream are the best ways. Shaving is a quick and simple method, but you are going to have itchy re-growth.
4. Buttock Hair
Yes grooming your body also includes that ass hair. Let’s get real, the hair on your butt is not a source of male pride or a sign of advanced masculinity, it’s just decreasing your level of hygiene and attractiveness.
Grooming the hair on your ass is a different proposition to most other parts of your body as you will be doing it blind unless you use the right tools (recommended) or just get it waxed by a professional (also recommended).
If you are going down the DIY route, then it is really helpful to have a small mirror that you place on the ground and gives you some visibility of what is going on. You are going to get to know your body much more intimately during this process!
You should always start by trimming the hair down and you may need to adopt a few unexpected yoga techniques to achieve this successfully. Once you have it trimmed down to a good length, it’s time to decide whether you want to leave it trimmed or get rid completely.
If you are going to wax it then trim it to a quarter of an inch (this is the best length for waxing) and if you are going to shave it then trim it right down as far as your hardware will allow without risking any injury and make sure to using shaving oil or shaving cream. Waxing is the better option here because your ass is not somewhere that you want to have constant stubble.
5. Arm and Leg Hair
Unless you are a professional cyclist, swimmer, or competitive bodybuilder, then don’t shave or wax your arms or legs. There is a tipping point where grooming becomes over-grooming and starts eroding your masculinity for little benefit.
You can try trimming down those arm and leg hairs, but be careful and start at a long setting. Once you go too low it will be very obvious and you will either need to get rid of it all and own it or wear a onesie until all the evidence is gone.
6. Foot Hair
Ok feet are different and here it is fine and even encouraged to get rid of the hair. Shaving is not a good idea as it will be too obvious when it grows back that you have been shaving. We are (hopefully) not talking about a lot of hair, so simply trim it down, wax it off or use some hair removal cream to get rid.
The manicure (or man-icure) is quickly growing in popularity and acceptance for men around the world. But what is actually involved in a manicure for men and what should you do?
In it’s basic form, a manicure for men involves cleaning and cutting of the nails, using techniques to massage and soften the skin, and shaping the cuticles. Doesn’t sound too bad does it?
You can get all this done professionally and easily at your local men’s grooming salon (and get your pedicure at the same time but more on that later). If like most men you prefer to take care of the fundamentals yourself, then you need a few basic tools:
- A good pair of nail clippers, nail scissors or nail pliers
- A sturdy nail file
- A good hand lotion
Start off by making sure that your nails are clean so that you are not spreading bacteria all over the place when you start cutting. It’s better for your nails to be hard, so give them a quick wash and rinse under cool water as opposed to cutting them after a shower when they will be soft.
Use your cutting hardware of choice to clip the white part of your nails down to a good length using only a few long cuts. Aim to leave a small bit of white at the end of the nail and don’t cut too deep otherwise you will risk damaging your hyponychium (the skin just under your nail) or your nail bed.
A good nail cutting technique is to start with a long horizontal cut across the middle of your nail and then two cuts at either edge to even it out. Now you can clean up and shape the nail using a nail file. Here you should ideally move the nail file in one direction to minimize chips and tears in the nail. You can find a good video on this process here.
Once you have finished cutting and shaping, it’s a good idea to apply a premium hand lotion to finish off, soften and moisturize your newly groomed hands.
If you opt to get the manicure done professionally then you will also get your cuticles softened, cut and shaped, you may have nail oil applied and perhaps even a hand massage. Don’t be afraid to give this a try. Every guy should get a manicure and pedicure at least once. Look at this video to give you an idea of what is involved in a manicure for a guy.
The pedicure is a similar concept to the manicure, expect this time it’s focused on you having healthy feet. Pedicures are more popular for men that you might expect, and in fact many high-profile male celebrities and sports stars include it as a regular part of their routine.
The feet are a little more complex than the hands however as your feet are home to more bacteria and fungi and your toenails and the skin on your feet are also thicker than the rest of your body.
In terms of benefits, after a good pedicure you can expect:
- Trimmed and healthy toenails
- Smooth and moisturized skin
- Your feet to smell much better
- Improved circulation
The best way to achieve this is definitely to let a professional take care of it for you. You will be amazed at the difference it can make. A pedicurist will know how to get rid of any dead or excess skin effectively and remove any microbes that could lead to a fungal infection. It’s worth having a monthly pedicure added into your diary.
If you are going to do this yourself then you need most of the same tools mentioned in the manicure section, but they will need to be more heavy duty to deal with the firmer toenails. You also don’t want to use the same clippers for your hands and feet as you will risk transferring all that bacteria and fungi to your hands.
On top of this you will need a foot file and something to soak your feet in and a lotion or wash to help your feet smell great. Here are the basic steps:
- Soak your feet for around 5 minutes in warm water. Add a nice scent into the water, a good body wash will do the trick
- Once the skin on your feet has softened a little, use the foot file to scrub away dead skin and unwanted impurities. If you have calluses on your feet, this will help.
- Cut your toenails by following the same technique as for your fingernails. Use few, long clips and then the nail file to file down and shape the nail. You may need to use a little more force here as those toenails can be tough
- Finally rinse of and dry your feet before applying a good foot lotion to soothe, moisturize and add a fresh scent.
And that concludes our men's ultimate grooming guide. We included a ton of information in there and hope it proves useful on your quest to be a well groomed gent.
Feel free to fire questions and feedback in our comments section below.