August 16, 2014 / Makeovers for Men: Hair and Grooming
Scruffy and balding is no way to go through life.
"My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself and a balanced diet and rigorous exercise routine. In the morning if my face is a little puffy I’ll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now. After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub. Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion."
— American Psycho (2000)
In our initial entry into the Makeovers for Men series, we discussed various tips regarding fitness to make yourself look more attractive. Our next subject in the series in Hair and Grooming. This isn’t something we’ve written a lot about on JoshSway.com, but small decisions you make with your haircut or other "grooming" can make a big difference in how you’re perceived by women. They may not make you look "hot," but they can definitely make you look clean and professional.
So with that said, here are our tips, all of which should add up to only take a fraction of your time…
Bald is a Choice; Balding Isn’t
Josh covered this extensively in his article about going bald. He makes a very key point at the end: "The key lies in the stereotypes associated with baldness: strength, aggression, and power. You aren’t going to attract the girl who wants the A&F model look with your appearance, so you need to attract her with power, strength, and aggression."
If you have a receding hairline, just cut bait and buzz your hair down. The worst thing you can do is look like you’re clinging on to hair you don’t even have anymore! Ditch the comb-over and embrace your new look.
No Unibrows Allowed
Groom your eyebrows.
Let me repeat that again: for fuck’s sake, groom your fucking eyebrows.
This doesn’t mean waxing them so you look like a drag queen, it means plucking between your eyebrows and plucking lightly under and above them to get rid of those stray freakish hairs. There’s no need to "shape" your eyebrows. Just clean around the natural shape of your eyebrows so that they look sharp and defined and not like a caterpillar slowly melting into your face.
Every time you shave, give your eyebrows a look. Getting a little fuzzy in between there? A few plucks will take care of it. If it’s especially hairy, you may want to look into laser hair removal. Just going to one appointment a month, for 6 to 12 months, will be able to deal with all those unwanted hairs for good. If you have the disposable income, I’d strongly recommend it.
Take Care of Your Hair
If you do anything with your hair besides a single length buzzcut, then there are exactly two kinds of places you should be going to get your haircut:
- A good "old school" barber.
- A salon.
That’s it. That’s the list. If you go to a commercial chain for men’s haircuts, you’re getting a bad haircut and getting ripped off for the price. It’s well worth it to spend $30 or $40 at a good barber at a salon than $17 at Supercuts. Over a year, the difference between shitty haircuts and good haircuts is about $200 or so a year. $200 a year is a small price to pay to not look like you were raped by a Flowbee.
On that note, purchase a good shampoo and conditioner suited for your hair style. This is another plus for going to a good barber or salon, as they’ll know what to recommend. They’ll probably suggest you buy the products they carry, and you may feel they’re a rip-off if you’re used to spending $4 on a bottle of whatever Axe-scented shampoo is on sale at the supermarket. They are overpriced, but just buy them once and if you like them, buy them from somewhere else afterwards.
To Beard or Not to Beard
If you have a "weak" chin or prominent mouth "lines," grow a beard. The key is making sure you trim it right, and doing this is simple. Buy a beard trimmer, and every couple days do an upward pass through the beard with a #2 guard (1/4″) and then a downward pass with a #1 guard (1/8″). If you’re looking for a good beard trimmer (and general hair grooming kit), I personally recommend the Conair Lithium Ion Haircut Kit.
Also, regardless of your other facial hair, make sure you shave your neck. Avoiding a "neckbeard" should be pretty obvious, but shave the back of your neck too. Don’t wait four weeks to go back to your barber to deal with that that is slowly growing down from your hairline to your shoulders. Once a week, when you’re shaving, do a quick pass on the back of your neck with your razor. You can get a small bathroom hand mirror, but you probably don’t even need to do that.
You probably have dry hands, and if you’re following Josh’s workouts, you’ll probably develop some gnarly calluses on top of that. Some women think rough hands are "manly," and others will be grossed out. I don’t personally use moisturizer, but I know some guys do. So I leave that up to you.
Regardless of the roughness of your hands, there’s no reason to have gross nails. Don’t use clippers, use nail scissors, so your nails have a smooth curve that won’t trap whatever cesspool of bacteria and dirt you’ll inevitable be in contact with. Rough hands may not be a turn off to women, but gross nails definitely are.
You don’t have to get manicures or pedicures. Just cut your nails often, and clean underneath them, so girls don’t have to worry whether you’re going to fingerbang them into a horrible vaginal infection.
I’m in my 30s, but I still basically use the same skin cleansing routine I’ve had since I was a teenager. Use good cleansers, use alpha-hydroxy wipes to break down sebaceous filaments (those look-like-tiny-black heads-but-aren’t things on your nose and upper cheeks).
Also, if you’re younger than me, heed this advice: use sunscreen. I have friends with darker complexions who "never need sunscreen" because they don’t get sunburned. Great, except now their skin looks like an old shoe and they have the crows feet and mouth lines of a 45 year old. Clint Eastwood can pull the "leathery skin" look off, but you probably can’t.
"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction."
If you read this far, this could seem overwhelming. If you consider yourself practical-minded, doing all this in your bathroom may sound exhausting. You may think, "I like being able to shower and head out the door in the 15 minutes — this is going to take hours!" This may all sound as overwhelming as Christian Bale’s monologue in "American Psycho" that I quoted at the beginning of this article.
But, it won’t. Everything I described here will likely take two hours a month, if not less. Most of these things are replacing the things you already do. You already cut your nails, I hope? It doesn’t take any extra time to use a nail scissor instead of nail clippers. And dealing with your eyebrows or the hair on your back of your neck should literally take a couple minutes on top of whatever time you’ve already spent shaving. Overall, this is not a huge time (or money) investment.
So don’t worry about being Patrick Bateman (which is probably undesirable anyway, given that he’s a delusional and narcissistic murderous psychopath). Just worry about being a guy who keeps a clean and fresh look, and having a haircut and facial hair that fits your appearance.