From Head to Toe: The Ultimate Men’s Grooming Guide

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  1. Key Points
  2. Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment
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    by Kiehl's 

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    1. Beard Grooming
  3. 2. Body Care
  4. 3. Fragrance
  5. 4. Hair Removal
  6. 5. Haircare
  7. 6. Nail Care
  8. 7. Oral Hygiene
  9. 8. Shaving
  10. 9. Skincare
  11. Head-to-Toe Grooming: A Starting Point for a Better Life

Key Points

  • Grooming products and the processes surrounding them are subjective and personal — figure out what's best for you and your body, and stick with it.

  • Spending more on high-end grooming products might yield a great result, but you can often get the same effect using basic items.

  • Being well-groomed feels as good as it looks, and taking good care of your body is a big step toward a healthier and more confident life.

Grooming is an essential aspect of a man's health and self-image. It's key to presenting your best self to the world. A comprehensive grooming routine not only enhances your physical appearance but also boosts confidence and aids your physical and mental health. As the players say, "Look good, feel good, play good."

According to data from Statista published in February 2023, the men's grooming industry is booming and poised to be worth upwards of $115 billion by 2028. It's clear that men everywhere are waking up to the endless benefits of self-care, and they're spending big to do it right.

This Ultimate Men's Grooming Guide teaches you how to look your best from head to toe by cultivating healthy (and consistent) grooming habits. Get ready to reap the benefits and face the world with newfound confidence.

Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment
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by Kiehl's 

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1. Beard Grooming

You can grow it, and you can show it, but you want to be able to show it off too, right? Trimming, combing, brushing, and moisturizing your beard not only helps it look better but feel better as well.

Finding the Right Beard Shape and Style

Identifying the most flattering beard shape and style for your face is essential. Consider your facial features, such as jawline and cheekbones, and match your beard style accordingly. For instance, a round face benefits from a beard that adds length and angles, while a square face does well with a beard that softens the jawline. If you're a tall, skinny guy with a somewhat tall, long face, stay away from excessive length under your chin and jaw, letting the beard grow longer along the cheeks and jaw to add width to your facial shape.

Next time you visit your barber, consult with a professional for personalized advice and grooming tips. Not only can most barbers trim your beard for you, but they can also recommend styling tips, trimming suggestions, and great products to use in the weeks (or months) to come.

Beard Maintenance Basics

Regular maintenance is crucial in keeping a well-groomed beard. First, it's best to wash your beard every day; simply scrub it with warm water in the shower or sink using a soft or medium-bristle brush. Scrub with a gentle cleanser, if needed, to keep the hair clean and free from dirt and excess oil.

More frequent scrubbing might be needed if you have a long beard or mustache that frequently comes in contact with your food and drinks. Gently scrubbing with warm water or cleanser each day also prevents acne or other skin issues from forming under your beard.

Once your beard's been scrubbed and cleaned, moisturize the skin underneath with a lightweight moisturizer, then apply a beard oil, balm, or heavier moisturizer that clings to the hair. Moisturizing the skin under your beard is most important, but conditioning the hair itself lends a softer feel to your beard and staves off itching and discomfort.

Maintenance Through Trimming

Trim your beard every few weeks (or every few days if you want a carefully-trimmed profile) to keep it looking neat and uniform. Use an electric trimmer with a guard on it, or go old-school and use a comb, scissors, and a mirror to carefully shape it as you wish. If you're looking for some wild-man appeal, skip the trim and see how it goes!

Top Beard Care Products and Tools

Invest in high-quality beard care products to maintain and nourish your beard. A beard oil or face balm conditions your beard while taming frizz and adding a healthy shine. Hudson Made is an American brand producing extremely high-quality stuff, and I've used their Cedar Clove Oil for years, but I also love Kiehl's classic Facial Fuel.

For more of a matte look to your beard (and a nice cooling effect), try a simple heavyweight moisturizer or night cream like Nivea. I have a full beard and use it twice a day, every single day. Typically, I apply mine shortly after I shower in the morning, and then I reapply after my post-workout shower in the evening or right before bed. It's a very thick cream that takes a while to rub in, but it keeps the skin under your beard happy and helps you avoid the dry, thatchy feeling that makes you want to shave it all off.

Grooming tools like beard trimmers, scissors, and brushes are essential for maintaining a sharp and tidy beard. Choose tools you can easily take with you when you travel, like a small electric trimmer, a small comb, and short stainless grooming scissors.

Exfoliating Shower Towel


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2. Body Care

Sure, water running across your skin does a pretty fair job of removing the stink of living. However, it takes a bit more attention to maintain an even skin tone, soothe dry patches and redness, treat damage, and slow down skin aging. Here are a few things to consider adding to your daily routine.

Body Wash and Scrub

Choose the right body wash or scrub based on your skin type and needs. For those with dry skin, a moisturizing shower gel is ideal, while those with oily skin should opt for a body wash that removes excess oil without stripping the skin down completely. Incorporate a more aggressive body scrub or exfoliating soap once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and promote healthy skin renewal.

If adding more products to your daily routine isn't appealing, use a better scrubber or cloth in the shower instead. I love the Goshi Shower Towel. The branding is funny enough to give it a try, but inside that nifty yellow package, you'll find a pleasantly-abrasive scrubber that leaves your skin feeling fresh and new after a single use.

Fair warning: When you first start exfoliating your skin, it can cause some initial skin breakouts or irritation before things smooth out. Stick with a new exfoliating regimen and you'll see clearer skin than ever before, though it may take a few weeks of Clearasil dabbing and some extra moisturizing in between.

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Daily Moisturizing and Skin Treatment

Hydration is essential for healthy skin, so apply a daily body moisturizer after showering to lock in moisture and keep your skin looking its best. This doesn't need to be expensive. If you find that coconut oil works well, it's usually downright cheap. Most major brands like Nivea, Gold Bond, and Lubriderm sell large bottles you'll only need to replace once or twice a year.

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$32.00 ($2.00 / Fl Oz)

by Jack Black 

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Opt for a fragrance-free product if you have sensitive skin, or choose something like Jack Black's Cool Moisture Lotion to add a subtle, refreshing scent. The Jack Black lotion smells so good you won't need to add cologne on top of it, and it meets every requirement of a great body lotion.

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Remember to address needs specific to your skin, such as acne or razor bumps, with targeted treatments to ensure overall skin health. That might mean some uncomfortable plucking, squeezing, or a few acne patches, but that's showbiz, baby.

Stainless Steel Lithium-Ion Cordless Beard Trimmer

by Wahl 

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Managing Body Hair

Keep body hair in check by incorporating a routine for grooming and trimming. For hairy guys, it might get a little more involved.

For most men, a weekly self-check appointment usually does the trick — say, before your Sunday shower. Depending on your preference, either trim body hair to a suitable length or opt for complete hair removal. Pay close attention to hair-prone areas like your chest, upper back, belly, and underarms to maintain a well-kempt appearance. For a trimmer that works head to toe, I strongly recommend the rechargeable and reliable Wahl Model 9818A.

3. Fragrance

Some say the perfect perfume or cologne should be discovered, not announced; others say there's nothing as wonderful as a guy who smells distinctly good. Either way, the cologne or scent you wear every day is a calling card — people will remember it, and they'll remember you by association. Make that association a great one.

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$292.56 ($88.65 / Fl Oz)

by YSL 

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Choosing the Right Scent for You

When selecting a fragrance, consider factors like personal preferences, your natural body chemistry, and even your lifestyle. Opt for light, fresh scents during the daytime or warmer months, and choose rich, bold fragrances for evening events or colder seasons. Summer usually calls for floral or citrusy scents like YSL L'Homme Sport, while fall and winter have you reaching for Montblanc Legend or Ralph Lauren's original Polo, one of the most classic scents in the game.

Legend eau de parfum
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Test fragrances on your skin to see how they interact with your natural scent and develop over time. Some will smell downright awful when you first spray or dab them on, only to develop and bloom into something wonderful after a minute or two of contact with your warm skin.

Polo Red - Eau de Toilette
$61.60 ($24.64 / Fl Oz)

by Ralph Lauren

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Application Tips for Maximum Effect

For maximum impact, apply fragrances to the base of your throat or chest, as well as your inner wrists if desired. These warm areas of the body allow the scent to diffuse and last longer throughout the day.

Avoid spraying fragrances directly onto your clothes, as certain fragrances may stain or damage fabrics. That being said, spraying a fragrance onto a note card or tester strip and storing that in your closet or dresser drawer infuses the scent into your clothing, which makes it easier to smell good day in and day out.

Building a Fragrance Wardrobe

Develop a small but versatile fragrance collection to suit various occasions. Include options such as a signature everyday scent, a "home" fragrance you spray indoors as well as on yourself, and a special-occasion perfume. Having multiple options allows you to experiment and adapt your scent according to the weather or seasons.

A Note on Deodorant

If you're reading this, you probably use deodorant every day and are conscious of hygienic best practices. However, you may not realize that some deodorants have overpowering scents and fragrances of their own that compete with your cologne, perfume, or other scented products of choice.

The number-one reason to wear deodorant is to eliminate (or at least conceal) unpleasant natural body odors. By picking a deodorant with a strong, bold fragrance of its own, you could be overpowering that expensive cologne. To avoid this, stick to neutrally-scented or minimal-fragrance options. Find something that blends nicely with the cologne you wear in case someone wants to get up close and personal.

For example: If your cologne of choice is Montblanc Legend or Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, look for hints of tobacco, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, or musk in the deodorant you choose. A bright citrusy deodorant shouldn't be paired with deep, musky notes in cologne.

4. Hair Removal

Sometimes you have more hair than you want in places where it does no good. Do you trim it, shave it, pluck it, or wax it right off? Depending on your hair, your skin, and the tools you have at home, there's a whole range of options available these days. Don't forget that most salons take care of men, too.

Options for Hair Removal (Waxing, Trimming, Shaving)

Select the hair removal method that best suits your preferences, needs, and pain tolerance. Choose waxing for longer-lasting results, trimming for tidying up longer hair, or shaving for a short-term solution. Each method has its pros and cons, so consider factors like cost, duration of results, and potential side effects before embarking on a hair removal regimen.

Pre and Post-Hair Removal Care

Before hair removal, cleanse and exfoliate the targeted area for smoother results. For waxing and shaving, use warm water to open up the pores and soften the hair. A long hot shower usually loosens hair quite a bit before plucking or waxing. This prep work makes the process less painful and leads to less redness and swelling.

Post-hair removal, apply a cooling gel or soothing lotion to minimize irritation and redness. A cold pack or frozen washcloth can be a lifesaver. Additionally, keep the area clean (read: avoid breaking a sweat for 12-24 hours) to prevent bacteria buildup and infections, which often lead to ingrown hairs and acne issues.

Professional Hair Removal Services

If at-home hair removal isn't for you, explore professional services for a more precise and comfortable experience. Professional salons and spas offer options such as waxing, threading, and laser hair removal at a wide range of costs. Research local providers and read reviews to determine the best fit for your needs and preferences.

5. Haircare

If you have it, you have to take care of it. Better haircare doesn't only mean better hairstyles or a great haircut, it means a healthier scalp and a better life for the hair growing out of it.

Washing and Conditioning

Select a shampoo and conditioner that cater to your hair type and concerns, such as dryness or dandruff. Depending on your hair type, you may find it's best to wash your hair every two to three days, as over-washing can strip natural oils and lead to dryness or breakage. Other people find they need daily washing and conditioning, so experiment when possible to see what feels and looks best.

While shampooing, concentrate on cleansing your scalp first. Focus your conditioner on the mid-lengths and ends (not necessarily your scalp) to nourish and protect your hair.

Styling and Grooming Products

Invest in suitable styling products to maintain and enhance your hair's natural texture and manageability. Choose from products such as pomades, hair gels, and styling creams depending on your desired finish and hold. Remember to use styling products sparingly to prevent buildup and greasiness.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Scalp

A healthy scalp promotes overall hair health and growth. Keep your scalp clean by using haircare products targeted to your specific scalp concerns. Additionally, consider incorporating a scalp massage into your routine to stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair growth. Avoid tight hairstyles (such as tight ponytails and buns), wearing tight hats or caps all day without a break, and chemical products or treatments that may cause strain or damage to your scalp.

6. Nail Care

Guys, clip your nails — but don't stop there! Believe it or not, you can file those things, making them smooth and even. Paint on therapeutic products that stave off hangnails and strengthen the nails themselves, or even add colored nail polish if you feel like it.

Bottom line: You can and should be taking care of those digits.

Keeping Your Nails Clean and Trim

Regularly trim your nails using nail clippers or scissors, maintaining a relatively smooth line across the tips and slightly rounding the corners to prevent ingrown nails. Keep your nails clean by washing regularly and practicing good hygiene in general.

Remember to trim your toenails as well, paying close attention to cleaning and shaping the corners to avoid ingrown toenails or other issues.

A nail brush is a good tool to have on hand to keep nails clean from all angles. It also removes dirt or grease that gets trapped in the skin creases around your knuckles. Simply soap up and start scrubbing.

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by Mario Badescu 

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Nail Health and Maintenance

Nourish and maintain your nails by applying cuticle oil or cream, which treats the base of your nails and supports healthy nails overall. You can buy high-end products, but basic options like Mario Badescu's cuticle cream work well to maintain hydration and prevent hangnails.

It's also important to minimize exposure to harsh chemicals by wearing gloves when cleaning or handling chemicals, like paint or solvents. Even if you wash dishes at home, the hot water and dish soap can dry out your hands and cuticles. Wearing dish gloves, using slightly cooler water, and applying the right balms and moisturizers afterward are all great ways to take care of working hands.

Additionally, avoid biting your nails or picking at your cuticles, which can lead to infections and damage to the nail bed.

Professional Manicure Services for Men

For an indulgent grooming experience, consider a professional manicure tailored to men's nail care needs. This isn't just for soft city guys, either — plenty of construction workers and tradesmen get manicures and pedicures to keep their hands and feet healthy despite long, hard workdays.

Many salons offer services that include nail shaping, cuticle care, and a hand or foot massage for overall health and relaxation.

7. Oral Hygiene

"Smile, you're on camera!" This catchphrase has never been more true. Even if you're not posting selfies all the time, you want a smile that's worth sharing. Just like everything else on this list, it feels as good as it looks to have healthy teeth and gums.

Oral health is closely linked to everything else in the body, from heart health to digestion and even your brain. Taking good care of your mouth is crucial for your overall health.

The Massachusetts Dental Society shares a scary bit of information: "People with periodontal (gum) disease are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology." They also cited a study that found that "people who are missing some or all of their teeth due to periodontal disease are at an increased risk for having a stroke."

Yikes. It's time to make clean teeth an unbreakable habit.

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by Sensodyne 

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Daily Brushing and Flossing

This is the most important habit to work into your daily regimen.

Brush your teeth twice daily using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove plaque buildup and prevent cavities. One of the best all-around toothpaste options is Sensodyne, which is available with whitening and repair/protection factors as well as the sensitivity treatment the brand is known for.

Pro tip: If you drink coffee every morning, wait to brush until after you're done with the coffee. If you have to brush before you get your coffee (if you wait until you get to work to drink your first cup, for instance) avoid staining and tooth discoloration by drinking or swishing with water immediately after your coffee.

Follow up after brushing with dental floss to clean the areas between your teeth that your toothbrush can't reach. Most dentists recommend traditional floss that you get by the spool, but individual floss picks are often easier to use if you have difficult spots to reach.

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Regular brushing and flossing are essential to achieving and maintaining a healthy smile. If you've always hated flossing, stick with it for one full week, then try skipping the floss for a few nights in a row. Feel the difference?

Other Preventive Measures: Mouthwash and Tongue Scraping

Consider incorporating a mouthwash into your routine to reduce oral bacteria and freshen your breath. Select a mouthwash that addresses your specific oral concerns, such as cavity protection or gum disease prevention. Use a tongue scraper to remove bacteria buildup on your tongue, which contributes to bad breath and overall oral hygiene issues.

Regular Dental Checkups and Treatments

Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and checkup to ensure optimal oral health. Pro tip: The better you stick to your flossing, brushing, and mouthwash routine between visits, the less you have to fear on cleaning day. After flossing every single night without fail, my dental checkups have become much more of a pleasure than a pain (they're still a bit of a pain, but it's the dentist, after all).

Regular dental visits identify and address any issues early on, preventing potentially costly and invasive treatments in the future. Discuss any concerns or changes in your oral health with your dentist to maintain a confident and healthy smile.

Safety Razor Double Edge


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8. Shaving

If you're not a beard guy or a stubble enthusiast, you're probably going for a clean shave. In this case, you need either a great electric shaver or a nice sharp blade to do the job. Read on to get recommendations for both electric and acoustic options, and step up your shave game ASAP.

Choosing the Right Razor and Shaving Accessories

Select a razor or electric shaver that suits your skin type, beard thickness, and personal preferences. This might take a little trial and error, but despite all the marketing, the best products are often the most simple and easy to use day after day. You might enjoy a heated razor or think six blades are necessary, but in the end, you should use whatever works for you.

For example, one electric trimmer has served me from head to toe for the past five years: the cordless Wahl Model 9818A. There are certainly higher-end options available, but why fix something that refuses to break?

Otherwise, consider options like cartridge razors, safety razors, or electric foil shavers, each offering different pros and cons. Pair your razor with high-quality shaving accessories like a shaving brush and shaving cream, soap, or gel to achieve a smooth and comfortable shave.

Using an old-school brush and cake soap or cream instead of the more common cans of shave foam helps with cleaning and exfoliating your skin. It also smells great, is gentler on your skin, and adds a nice ritual to your shave routine.

Luxury Shaving Set

by Van Der Hagen®

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These items don't have to be expensive; brands like Van Der Hagen offer great starter sets for as cheap as $20. What's more, the double-edge razor blades that fit into safety razors are dirt cheap compared to name-brand shave cartridge blades. You can always pick up the nice badger-fur brush and upgrade to a hefty Merkur razor later on.

Double Edge Razor

by Merkur 

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Pre-Shave Preparation

Hydrate and soften your facial hair by washing it with warm water before shaving. Some men with especially thick facial hair get better results by soaking a washcloth in hot water, then wrapping it around the lower half of their face.

Next, exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells and help the razor glide more smoothly. If you're so inclined, apply pre-shave oil to moisturize and further prepare your skin for a comfortable and close shave.

After Shave Gel for Men
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by Gillette 

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Post-Shave Soothing and Protection

After shaving, rinse your face with cool water to calm and soothe the skin. Apply an alcohol-free aftershave balm, lotion, or gel to freshly shaved skin, which has a cooling effect and provides essential hydration. Classic brands offer great products: Gilette Sensitive After Shave Balm and Clinique for Men Post-Shave Soother are easy wins here. Additionally, consider using a post-shave product or moisturizer that includes SPF to protect your skin from sun damage and prevent irritation.

Skin Supplies Post-shave Soother
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by Clinique 

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9. Skincare

You have to care for your own hide — you won't get another one. Not only is your skin the largest organ on (or in) your body, it's closely tied to other systems and can quickly paint a picture of good or bad health. Routine moisturizing is a great start, but you can do better than that.

Identifying Your Skin Type

Determine your skin type (dry, oily, combination, or sensitive) to select the most effective skincare products for your needs. Pay close attention to how your skin feels and reacts to different products, and consult a dermatologist or skincare professional for further guidance if necessary.

Daily Skincare Routines for Men

Develop a daily skincare routine that includes cleansing, toning, and moisturizing to maintain your skin's health and appearance. You might use multiple cleansers for different areas of your skin but just one moisturizer for everything, depending on what your skin needs.

In the morning, cleanse your skin, apply a toner to balance pH levels if needed, and use a lightweight moisturizer, ideally one with SPF to protect from sun damage. In the evening, repeat the routine but opt for a richer, hydrating moisturizer like the Nivea product mentioned in the beard care section above.

Specialized Skincare Treatments and Products for Various Concerns

Address unique skincare concerns, such as acne, sensitivity, or aging, with targeted treatments and products. Seek out active ingredients and formulations that cater to your concerns and incorporate them into your skincare routine. Whenever you feel lost or overwhelmed, consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized advice to find your skin nirvana.

Head-to-Toe Grooming: A Starting Point for a Better Life

Developing and maintaining a comprehensive grooming routine is essential for presenting your best self to the world. From beard grooming to nail care, this Ultimate Men's Grooming Guide provides the tools and knowledge you need to establish a consistent and effective regimen. Embrace the power and confidence that comes from looking and feeling your best, and enjoy the journey of self-discovery and self-care.

For more grooming content, including guides like this one as well as product recommendations and insights from grooming experts, subscribe to Men's Lifestyle.

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