By: Ali Sakr
There exists this notion in our generation, perhaps in past ones as well, where we often try to conceive how little we care about our appearance. This is usually more common in males, where you can find a certain kind of person taking pride in the fact that they use a 3-in-1 shampoo, body wash and laundry detergent because a) they get to save a huge amount of money every month and b) their hair, for example, can look the way it does without them putting in any effort, which for some reason makes it at least 10x more impressive.
So, am I telling every guy out there to suddenly devote large portions of their time to grooming? Well, not exactly, but we can at least start to try appreciating that it is very important – if not for how you look – then for your actual health and hygiene. We can also start trying to understand that taking care of yourself – actually giving a shit about your physical and external health, putting in effort in this matter – it’s not a female thing. It’s about time we break away from this form of toxic masculinity that is – yet again – ingrained in our society, and at first glance doesn’t even appear to be there. And with that out of the way, here are some things you can actually do.
First off, let’s get one thing clear. You don’t need to get a haircut very frequently, but what you should be getting every 2-3 weeks is a trim. The difference is that a trim is very mild and looks more like you showered really well than that you paid the barber a visit, while a cut is, well, a cut.
A trim can generally make you look a lot cleaner, giving you a fresh start every once in a while so you don’t fall into the spiral of, for example, exam season, which practically just begs you to grow your (facial) hair out because you’re supposedly too busy to care about anything other than the impending exams, further adding to the already chaotic mood. To add to this, there’s also the fact that regular trimming is bound to make your hair a lot more healthy; it’ll get rid of the occasional split end (which guys do get as well), as well as the added benefit of being a lot more manageable in that you don’t need to put in any effort when you wake up just to make it look completely regular.
When you get a trim every few weeks, you also have the opportunity to change up your style more often than you’d normally be able to which can be very beneficial for 2 reasons. The first, and more important one, is that you’ll be able to quickly fix a mistake of a haircut without deciding to wait it out, trying to convince yourself that it’ll get better when it’s longer (this is sometimes the case, but some other times it really isn’t, and denial isn’t nice bro.) The second reason is that you simply have more freedom to try out new stuff. This isn’t for everyone, but hey, it might be for you.
Moving on to other matters that are not hair-related, hygiene. There are some things we often just talk about because they just feel kind of awkward sometimes, but that really isn’t helping anyone. Let’s start this off with odour. Amongst the tips I just recently discovered is using both antiperspirant and deodorant together; it’ll reduce your perspiration, as well as prevent the bacteria that starts growing on our skin when we sweat from creating any unpleasant smells. And if you’re straight out of a workout and can’t immediately shower, best thing to do is use a shower sheet. This is a kind of wipes you can buy which can basically serve as a temporary saviour if you’ve still got a day to get though before having the opportunity to shower. It’s also quite a no-brainer to change into clean clothes, and make sure whatever bag said clean clothes were put in beforehand doesn’t itself smell. Wash your gym bags.
Moving back to hair-related matters, facial hair. For a healthy beard, it’s necessary to wash it with shampoo at least 2 or 3 times a week as you would your regular hair. Also similar to regular hair, your standard shampoo will do just fine – the only addition will probably be using a beard oil to keep both your hair and the skin underneath moisturized and healthy. How frequently you should use it usually depends on the humidity in the area you live in, and perhaps the product itself, so look more into your specific situation to find that out.
There’s also this thing I think is really important to go over, despite knowing how incredibly basic it is. Brush, Your. Teeth. No like, after every meal, and brush them well. It’s incredibly important for your health, and that’s not to mention how terrible bad breath is in literally any situation. I can remember one time in like 6th grade, when a classmate of mine was surprised that I “still brush my teeth” and proudly explained how the last time he brushed his was around 3 months ago. He then received multiple laughs and giggles, which I’m sure only made him feel this was more of an achievement. Yes, we were incredibly young, and that’s really the point. This kind of thinking just can’t be allowed to propagate to younger generations – children need to be raised knowing that there is no “shame” in taking care of themselves.
Now I could go on and on about more things to do, like using lip balm before you sleep, or keeping your skin healthy, but I think right now, the point I’m trying to make is quite clear. Care about yourself. It doesn’t make you any less “manly.”