At The Gentlemen’s Lounge, we constantly write about how important it is to be clean, hygienic, and well-groomed, and if you have ready my other articles, you understand just how meticulous I am about looking and feeling good. However, following such an intense routine can require a lot of time, and sometimes a lot of money. A weekly grooming routine is essential to any guy who wants to really look good all the time and maintain a consistently well-groomed appeal, without having to expend the daily effort required by my Ultimate Guide to Men’s Skincare.
Think about the person (or persons) you know that always look good. Whether they are a celebrity, a friend or someone you are only acquainted with, chances are they have something in common with regards to their grooming. It could be that their skin is even and clean, their hair is always trimmed, their beard looks neat and combed, or even that they have that intentional ruggedness that just looks great. The thing is, despite the differences in appearance, these people typically have similar routines that keep them looking so good. We’re going to dive into a few things you can do in a few minutes every week that will keep you looking your best day in and day out, without having to spend a bunch of time or money.
Keep Your Nails Trimmed and Clean
While this may seem like an obvious point, there are a lot of men who just don’t take care of their nails the way that they should. A man with well-kempt nails gives off the impression that he takes care of himself and focuses on the small details. Even if you work a relatively dirty job, you should keep your nails clean because that will show that your standards are higher than being dirty from your job. Not only does this apply to your fingernails, it also applies to your toenails. The good news is it’s really simple to keep your nails maintained and chances are you already have the tools to do it.
Nail Scissors or Clippers
Nail brush or clean toothbrush
In order to really make your fingernails and toenails look great, all it takes is a few minutes a week. You should make it a habit to trim your nails every week, even if you don’t think they’ll need it yet. Actively taking care of them will prevent you from ignoring them until you realize they’ve grown into full-blown talons. To care for your nails, there are a few simple steps you should take to make sure you’re doing it right.
Clean under your nail beds
The first step is to get the packed in dirt out from underneath your nails. You should do this under well-lit conditions to make sure you’re seeing everything you should be scraping out. Start with the scraping tool on the inside of your nail clippers and begin to scrape out anything visible that is lying under your nail beds. Once you have gotten a majority of the dirt out, you can soak your fingertips (not your whole hand) in warm soapy water for 3 minutes to break up any more dirt that could be in there.
Using a nail brush or a clean toothbrush (dedicated only to cleaning your nails), begin to scrub underneath your nail beds to remove any remaining dirt that is hiding in the small spaces. Gently but firmly scrub, starting from the top of your nails by the cuticles, up to your fingertips. Scrub in the sides and underneath the nails to make sure you’ve gotten everything you can. Repeat any of these steps as necessary until your nails look nice and clean.
Trim and File Your Nails
Trimming your nails is something we’ve all done our whole lives, so I’m not going to tell you all of the steps involved. However, I will offer some tips to promote nail health and strength. When you cut your nails, you should try and cut straight across, with a small curve towards the edges. This will help prevent ingrown nails, and will keep them in a strong shape. If your nails are very round like mine are, you shouldn’t stress about cutting a straight line; just follow what is natural. Make a lot of small cuts rather than trying to cut the entire nail in one go. This will allow you to shape them better and keep you from cutting too much.
Once you have finished trimming your nails, file them with a nail file or emery board. Make long, fluid strokes and make sure they all go in the same direction. This will allow you to shape your nails the way you want and keep them a nice length without having to cut them all the time.
Keep Your Hair Trimmed
Keeping your hair trimmed will not only keep you looking consistently well-groomed, it will also help you save some money. The longer you can last between haircuts the more money you’ll save. With my style, I can trim the sides every week or two and last months without having to pay for a cut (I’ve gotten one professional hair cut since November).
Decent set of hair clippers
Hair cutting shears
A friend who can help (optional)
While cutting your own hair can be a daunting task, remember that you’re not trying to restyle or reshape your hair. All you are doing is following the lines already created by a professional stylist or barber. Make small adjustments until you’re happy with it, but don’t overdo it! (Trust me, you’ll regret it.)
If you have a haircut that requires clippers, such as a buzzcut or faded sides, this job is way easier for you. All you have to do is pick your guard, and cut away at the buzzed areas of your head. If you have longer hair, you may need a friend to help you out. Just grab some nice shears, pull up sections of hair and start cutting off small amounts following the same lines as your barber did, until you reach a desired length. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, maybe bump up your scheduled appointments to every other week or 3 weeks depending on the speed of your hair growth.
Keep Your Facial and Body Hair in Check
Once every week or so, you should do some maintenance on your facial and body hair, unless you sport the clean shaven face, in which case you should shave daily. This is really easy to do, and fairly easy to fix if you do manage to screw something up. Even though not everyone sees your body hair, it’s the same reason you should wear nice underwear. If you know it looks good, you feel good, and that is reflected in your mood and your actions throughout your day.
Decent set of clippers
Hair cutting shears
Trim your Facial Hair
If you have a beard of any length, you should do some work on it each week to make sure it doesn’t start looking scraggly. There are a few ways to do this, based on how long your beard is and how you like it styled. Since there is so much variability in beard styles and lengths, I recommend you look on YouTube for a how-to video that applies to your length and style. To put it simply, if you have a short beard you have the option of just throwing on whichever guard length you like and using the clippers to get it to a uniform length. For longer beards, you should use scissors or a guard on the sideburns, and trim the rest with a pair of shears.
You should always follow up each trimming with a shave to edge it up and get your lines looking really sharp and clean. Even if you skip the beard trim and choose just to edge it up one week, it will make a world of difference, so don’t overlook this crucial step.
Trim your Body Hair
This step is not for everyone, but it will definitely make a difference for men that take their shirt off and still look like they’re wearing a sweater. A nice trim can really help you sport your body hair neatly and make it look intentional rather than something you live with. And fortunately, it’s really simple to manage! All you need is a set of clippers and whichever guard length you prefer, and you just need to go over everything until it’s the same length. You may need a friend to help you with your back and other hard to reach areas.
Keep Your Skin Healthy and Clean
If you read my Ultimate Guide to Men’s Skin Care, you should know these steps already, but I’m going to include them here because they’re so important. Taking care of your skin has been shown to help fight signs of aging, and can even help reverse them. Additionally, people who take care of their skin are generally perceived to be much healthier than those that don’t. So I think every week there are 2 things you should do at a minimum that will help keep your skin looking and feeling great.
Exfoliate Your Face
Exfoliation has a number of benefits for your skin. It helps clear away blemishes, gets rid of dead skin cells, and makes your face have a cleaner, more even complexion. It helps fight signs of aging, makes your skin softer, prevents break outs and give your skin a more radiant look. Used once a week, exfoliators can give your skin the boost it needs to look much healthier.
Use a Clay Mask
A clay mask is an excellent way to rejuvenate your skin. You may see your wife, girlfriend, sister, or friend using clay masks and think it's weird or not for you, but I encourage you to give it a shot. A clay mask, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a muddy substance you apply to your face and let dry. Once it dries you peel or wash it off and it pulls out impurities from your pores. Clay masks can really put your skin care routine over the top, and will definitely be worth the investment.
A weekly grooming routine can make your style improve tenfold if you stick to it religiously and make it work for you. The above is only an outline, so tweak it as you see fit and make it custom to your needs to keep yourself looking at your best all the time. The tools above should cost you no more than $50, and will boost your appearance well beyond where it is if you don’t do these things on a regular basis. Committing to a weekly routine will cost you very little money, and very little time, but will make a noticeable change over the long run, so make the investment in yourself and don’t make excuses about a lack of time! You can always find a few minutes every week to invest in yourself and keep your looks up.