Look Good For the Ladies: Hygiene for Men
Simply put, no matter what else you have to offer as a man, you will have persistent difficulty in the area of meeting and attracting women if you don't have a reasonable level of hygiene. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there seem to be plenty of men around who have never been introduced to this basic concept.You could regard what follows as a checklist, and dutifully work your way through until you reach some sort of "I-no-longer-repulse-the-opposite-sex Nirvana", or simply check out the parts that you feel apply most specifically to you. Either way, please try to remember where you came from. The point is to become a cleaner, more presentable man; not to become a different person.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
It doesn't get more basic than this: if you look like you can't take care of yourself, beyond the fact that this can be pretty gross on its own, there is sometimes a natural assumption that you can't handle anything (or anyone) else, either. If you ignore everything else in this article, please at least pay some attention here. Do it for the ladies...hell, do it for people who get stuck in elevators with you. Here are some key points:
- The Shower: Body Pay special attention to any part of the body that bends, folds, etc. Use a quality soap with a light, clean scent (no gimmicky or "cologney" stuff). There is certainly plenty of specialized, expensive soap out there, but I recommend you save the money and buy something hypoallergenic with some moisturizer in it. Insist on going fancy-man metro? Here's a link...
- The Shower: Hair Care Choose a decent shampoo and conditioner that are designed for your hair and scalp conditions. Use a dime sized amount of shampoo and rinse thoroughly. When conditioning, leave the stuff in your hair for a couple minutes for better results. When drying pat more than scrub with a towel, and take it easy with the hair-dryer. If you have extremely dry hair or scalp conditions, consider using a little cornstarch or a dry shampoo (just sprinkle on and comb out) every other day. The idea here is just to soak up the excess oils without over-drying. FYI: this is also a nice alternative when camping. More info here...
- Shaving I strongly recommend going clean shaven for most men; bust out your weird devil-goatee fetish after you secure long term companionship. As far as technique goes, shave down on your face, up on your neck, and diagonally over your lip. Use whatever creme you like, but old -school shaving brushes can help make the hair stand up for a cleaner shave. Choose a razor with a moisturizing strip, and rinse it frequently. Moisturize after the deal is done. That's right, men can moisturize. Here's a link to short video on choosing a facial hair style, if you insist on on being furry-faced.
- Nail Care For both hands and feet, try a nail "nipper"; this device (available at most drug stores) has a curved blade that follows something like the natural curve of your nail. Round off sharp corners with a file (not the kind you sharpen lawn mower blades with; ask your mom; she has some extras), and use some kind of moisturizing lotion after cutting, especially if you have problems with nails cracking. To clean under your nails never use sharp objects to "dig". This can damage the nail bed and make you vulnerable to fungal infections; use a soft bristle nail brush instead. For general hand washing regular old soap is fine, but if you work a dirty job, consider some pumice soap. Here's what webMD has to say about the subject...
- Ears Clean them out gently with a wash cloth while in the shower; follow up with cotton swabs. It's not a mining expedition, so take it easy in there. If you have serious wax issues, you can procure ear wax removal kits at most drug stores or through the magic of the internet.
- Eyebrows You are a man; its fine if they look a little bushy. Random hairs that shoot off on their own is out of bounds, though, so trim 'em up. Some better barbers will handle this for you. I would avoid waxing except in the most extreme cases. Female waxers often don't understand "guy-brows"; you could end up looking surprised for a month or so.
- Body Hair Once again, unless you are a woman or a bodybuilder, it's fine for men to rock some body hair. There is, however, a fine line between "man" and "caveman". If you have good muscle definition, hair removal will accentuate it. Especially consider removal of neck and back hair. "Manscaping" is recommended; don't go too short in intimate areas, though. Get some infected, ingrown hairs around the naughty bits and you'll wish you had listened to this advice. The rest is optional.
- Teeth Brush after every meal and floss at least once a day. This is not optional. If you have minor breath issues, consider a tongue scraper(not as scary as it sounds) and/or a mouthwash designed to treat dry mouth conditions. Major breath issues? Mention it during your regular visits to the dentist. You have been going to the dentist, right? If you're a shade or two off of white, try a home whitening kit (Go with the tray, not the cheaper strips. Unless you have perfectly even teeth, strips can miss spots and give you two-tone teeth, which is even worse.). For more serious whitening you might want to save up for a professional treatment. Yellow teeth scare people away.
For night time and "social" engagements.
So now you're all squeaky clean; congratulations, you well-groomed and fine smelling man. There are just a few final considerations, though.
- Deodorant: I personally like to stick with an antiperspirant/deodorant with a light, clean smell (or even unscented). You do have a recognizable, natural scent (I'm not talking about the smell of gin and oregano. If that's what you smell like, get back in the shower and start over); there is no need to completely overwhelm it. If you are prone to heavy sweating, as some men are, consider a clinical strength variety. If that doesn't work out, talk to a doctor about your perspiration issues.
- Cologne: I keep two around at all times. One is a light, "citrusey" or "sport" scent that I use for work and other daytime engagements (especially if that engagement involves being in close quarters with others). The second one is a good evening cologne that will tend to be a little heavier, perhaps spicy or even mildly floral. This is generally the more expensive of the two, for some reason I don't fully understand. Apply cologne to a part of the body that gets warm (upper chest is a good spot) and take it easy with the stuff. There's no prize for cologne use by volume. Try one spray, or even just a half spray for really potent potions.