After living in LA plenty of years, I never thought I’d be into the type of guy that spends a lot of time on his appearance. I guess I never really thought about it, but men care just as much, if not more, than women about how they look. This is fact! I know this because I see my brother checking himself out every time he catches his reflection. (Sorry Nick!)
That being said, I was used to the guys from the south who, for the most part, easily pick out an outfit of jeans and some type of polo or t-shirt, sneakers or boots, and call it a day. They don’t moisturize. Grooming consists of a haircut, a clean shave, and deodorant. And I loved that! I should be the one taking the most time to get ready, not you.
But approaching 5 years in Los Angeles, you get exposed to a variety of men — whether you want to or not. There are those great southern gents who dress and groom exactly as I have listed above. Then there are the men of questionable sexuality. (“Is he gay?” is something I frequently have to ask. And as it turns out, I’m most attracted to gay men. Figures.) They groom themselves impeccably, they care about their skin, they care about how their hair looks; they aren’t into last-season anything. Most of them are total asshats.
And then there are the guys with their own style: the guys that are most attractive. They look effortless, but put in some thought into their outfit. They have gotten a pedicure at some point in their life. But they aren’t trying to keep up with everyone else. They wear what they like, and they look damn good doing so. (Whether it be preppy, grungy, rock-influenced, hipster, corporate, and so on.)
That being said, I don’t really care what category you fit into. Just do you. But I do want you to take care of yourself. And even if you don’t want to run to Kiehl’s and by yourself a decent face wash, there are a few items you can sneak from your girlfriend (boyfriend, wife, fiancé, husband, whatever) to get yourself looking and feeling good. While some of you might think this is weird and you would never borrow any of these things, let me remind you that it’s only weird if it doesn’t work. And these all work. (Thanks Bud Light!)
1. Dry Shampoo
If you have great hair, I love you. The longer, the better. But having a brother with a mop that rivals One Direction’s quiffs (and I say that as a compliment), I have seen the effort that goes into making that bedhead look perfectly imperfect. It requires wetting your hair every other day (when you are not showering) and roughing it up with your hands. That seems like a ton of unnecessary effort, so let me do you a solid by suggesting dry shampoo. Women have been using this for years to add texture and absorb unwanted oil, in order to prolong a blowout that probably cost around $85 ($40 if she’s hitting up Drybar).
I used a little bit of Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray on Nick’s hair the other day and he thought I was nothing short of a genius. “What is that? It smells good.” Instead of having to lean over into the sink or shower to wet his hair, it gave him instant lift and eliminated the matted look — and he didn’t even have to wet his hair.
Oribe’s is nice because it doesn’t look too feminine and doesn’t smell too feminine either. However, any dry shampoo your lady has in her bathroom will do the trick. There are options for men, like Axe’s Defying Dust. Alternatively, if you want something with zero smell, shake a tiny bit of baby powder on your scalp and comb through with a brush. (Don’t go overboard though, or it will look like dandruff.) (Here are a bunch of dry shampoos to choose from.)
I don’t understand men who don’t use moisturizer. My skin would look like a prune without it. Newsflash: if your skin appears to have a white film on it, it’s because IT’S DRY! Grab your girlfriend’s face moisturizer — she should have plenty — and slather that on, especially after you shave. If it says SPF 30 on it, that’s better, because that will help block UVA/UVB rays and keep you looking young and handsome. Which really, what else could you want in life?
I also don’t understand men’s hair washing habits, and I won’t try to. I need both shampoo AND conditioner, and they have to be separate. But this isn’t about washing your hair. It’s about shaving. If you are out of shaving cream, grab your girlfriend’s conditioner and use it to shave your beard. It’s going to leave your skin silky soft and, because it doesn’t lather, will allow you to get a closer shave. I know people go back and forth about lather and how it’s crucial/not crucial, but you can ensure a more even shave without it. Be forewarned though: if the brand of conditioner includes Kérastase, Oribé, Pureology, Bumble and bumble, Alterna, or anything that looks super fancy and not from the drugstore… think twice before using it.
For the love of all things holy, pluck your unibrow. If your eyebrows are a mess, groom the stray hairs. Invest in a small pair of nail scissors — or better yet, stick with the theme of this post and borrow them from you partner — and trim them a bit. You’re not Bert (as in Bert and Ernie, or, Burt Reynolds would be a great example here as well) so keep them under control. I do not need you to wax them or anything of the sort. Perfectly groomed brows on a man? Chances are, you might be a Dawan Radé. (The term my girlfriend Beezus affectionately calls gay men — actually spelled like Duane Reade, as in the drugstore, but she got fancy with it.) Also, don’t avoid your nose hairs.
5. Blemish Cream
Most guys I’ve been in relationships know a few things about me: don’t expect to leave a bar without me performing a full dance routine (incorporating some of my favorite Britney moves), and I’m OCD about my skin. So whenever I’m staying the night, you can bet my face looks like a speckled egg, with dots of pink calamine from Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion strategically put on any blemish I may have — or think may be coming up. (Have I mentioned that I’m ridiculously sexy?) I’m sure other women do this as well. So if you deal with ingrown hairs from shaving, or you have a blemish that won’t quit, borrow those acne creams and slather them on the spot ASAP. Sometimes my brother thinks he’s breaking out, but because he’s in a rush to shave, he actually just caused a few ingrown hairs. All you have to do is put any type of benzoyl peroxide/salicylic acid cream on it overnight to draw the hair to the surface. It gets gross from here, but follow me: once it looks like a bona fide blemish, you can use a needle (WITH CAUTION) to pop it, and then can pluck out the hair out. Fin.
Or, you can use it to bring a blemish to the surface so it’s easier to remove. It’s better to extract the sebum that’s clogging the pore than dealing with it for months on end. Also, do yourself a favor and get a facial with extractions every once and while. Nobody has to know. If your girlfriend is a picker, she’ll probably get joy out of picking your face — it’s free and you can do it while watching Sunday football. I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys that though…
Oh, and if you want, here’s the magical Drying Lotion I speak of. Use a cotton swab, dip it in the bottle — all the way to the pink sediment — then pull it out and apply it to your skin. Do not shake the bottle or you won’t get the most out of the medication.
And that’s your official invitation to get sneaky — by borrowing your girlfriend’s products. That should satiate your need to do anything secretive, and it won’t even ruin your relationship! Unless you use up all her La Mer face cream. That’s grounds for a breakup.