All posts in “Grooming”

How to Trim Your Beard, According to an Expert

Trimming and maintaining a beard is an essential grooming skill men learn to master. But unlike shaving, it blends technique and aesthetics. While everyone’s facial hair grows in differently, there are some general rules to follow when trying to achieve certain beard types. We asked the founder of the Grooming Lounge, Mike Gilman, to share his advice for taming your follicles.

How to Trim a Short Beard

Step 1: Use an electric clipper.

“To keep the beard the desired length, trimming with an electric clipper and a guard is definitely the way to go. As with any beard trimming, it’s best to start with a longer guard and move toward a shorter guard — you can’t put hair back on if too much is removed. We’d recommend starting with a #1 guard and moving down to a .5 guard if the hair isn’t trimmed enough the first go around.”

Step 2: Clean up the edges.

“Once completed with the trimming of the length, the bearded one can remove the guards and use the point of the bare clipper to outline and carve out spots around the neck, cheeks and mustache.”

Step 3: Maintain your whiskers.

“Ideal products to use with this length of beard include a targeted face wash to keep the whiskers and the skin below the whiskers clean. A light beard lotion or moisturizer should then be applied to hydrate both beard and skin, soften whiskers and point them in the right direction. This will also help with itching, which is the main reason beard missions are aborted early on.”

How to Trim a Normal-Length Beard

Step 1: Start with clippers.

“Like with the shorter beard above, start with clippers and use a higher setting, like a #3 and move down to a 2.5 or 2, as desired. Similarly use the clipper with no attachment to do detail and line work on the neck, cheeks and ‘stache.

“When trimming a beard of this type, it’s usually best to have the trimmer follow the grain of hair growth — which is usually downward to a degree. Going against the grain and pushing too hard can leave bald patches.”

Step 2: Fine tune with scissors.

“After [clippers], scissors are essential to tame fly-away hairs or the ones clippers just didn’t take care of.”

Step 3: Clean daily.

“These longer beards need a real cleansing, daily, with a targeted beard and face wash. From there, a beard lotion is essential to keep strands soft and styled — and of course, to hydrate the vulnerable skin below the beard. A beard brush or comb can also be helpful.”

How to Trim a Long Beard

Step 1: Use clippers on the cheeks.

“For more intense facial foliage formations, it usually works best to separate the way the beard is handled on the cheeks versus the goatee, chin and upper neck area. Most men look best when the sides or cheeks are tapered a bit more and they can grow out the length below. To that end, using a clipper with a longer #3 or #4 guard on the cheek area is a good bet.”

Step 2: Use scissors for the rest.

“Down below, on the chin and goatee area, it’s more of a comb and scissor situation. Comb the beard down and cut across in small sections, sometimes point cutting into the beard diagonally. If [you] cut straight across at the bottom, it’ll look like the equivalent of a bowl cut for the beard.”

Step 3: Keep it healthy and hydrated.

“Ideal products for longer beards include a beard and face wash, a beard oil for hair health and softness and a beard lotion for styling and skin hydration. A beard brush or comb can also be helpful.”

The Best Beard Trimmers

An electric beard trimmer is a necessity for maintaining facial hair at home. The best ones are intuitive and offer a range of settings for hair trimming and precision touch-ups. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
John Zientek

John Zientek is Gear Patrol’s style editor and in-house guitar authority. He grew up on the West Coast.

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The 6 Best Electric Shavers You Can Buy in 2020

Many men maintain a beard or short stubble to forever avoid an actual shave, myself included. And who can blame us? There are lots of risks that come with a razor, like irritation, bumps, nicks and ingrowns. For this reason, it feels safer and smarter to use a reliable beard trimmer and maintain some semblance of stubble. But, even that gets old. What if we want to showcase our shaved faces, minus all those risks of razors? Or, what about trimming parts of the beard, but shaving the rest—like keeping a clean neckline, or maintaining just a mustache?

That’s where the electric shaver comes in.

Now, not all electric shavers are going to give you an ultra-smooth, bump-free shave. But the best ones will. They have thin foil heads or rotary caps that protect your skin from their sharp blades, and the top models of late consider things like design, portability, battery charge, waterproofing, wet/dry duality, LED displays, warranty, trimming extensions and battery hold (as in, how long a charged device stays charged, when not being used — for this, look for a lithium battery).

These are the factors we considered in naming our favorite electric shavers of the year, in addition to the precision and power with which they actually perform. So, if you’re looking for a new electric shaver, or are converting from bare razors and beard trimmers, then here are your best bets.

Best Baseline Foil Shaver: Gamma+ Italia Absolute Zero

Gamma+ Italia’s lightweight shaver looks beautiful and performs as such, designed for convenience and class. The shaver has hypoallergenic gold titanium foils, stacked staircase-style so that it grooves and flexes comfortably along your neck and face. There’s even a retractable trimmer at the rear, for small detailing around the cheeks, mustache, sideburns and neck. You can charge it in the wall or with a USB, and each shaver comes with two replaceable cutters. While other shavers impress with add-ons, Gamma+ Italia’s excels in all the essential ways.
Top Feature: Lightweight ergonomic design and gold titanium foils
Charge Time: 30 minutes
Charge Lasts: 2 hours
Warranty: 1 year

Best Travel-Size Shaver: Braun MobileShave M-90

Whether you’re cleaning up on a red eye before a business meeting or just minding your whiskers at the gym, Braun’s tote-able shaver is an excellent companion. It comes with an auto-lock swivel cap and is safe to rinse under the faucet. Its catch-all foil head competes well against brawnier models (pun intended), and it also has a retractable trimmer for any detailing around the hedges.
Top Feature: Protective auto-lock twist cap
Charge Time: 2 AA batteries (one set included)
Charge Lasts 1 hour
Warranty: 1 year

Best Wet/Dry Shaver: Wahl Smart Shave

If you made a checklist of the features you’d want in an electric shaver, Wahl’s would check most of the boxes. You can shave wet or dry (since there are some shower shavers among us who demand a waterproof device); it has an LED charge display; its lithium ion battery stay charged, and can generate a 5-minute shave on a 1-minute charge; its flexible foil heads move to each contour; an ergonomic rubber grip ensures you won’t drop the shaver on your shower floor; a stainless-steel retractable shaver pops up from the rear; an travel-lock prevents it from turning on in your gym bag… the list goes on.
Top Feature: Shower-friendly design (rubber grip and waterproof)
Charge Time: 1 hour
Charge Lasts: 90 minutes
Warranty: 5 years

Best Multipurpose Device and Spot-Check Shaver: Philips Norelco Multigroom 9000

The lithium-ion Multigroom is an electric beard trimmer, face shaver, sideburn detailer, chest-hair manager, nose-hair nipper and more. And of all the interchangeable beard trimmers out there, this one is the best for spot-check shaves. Just attach its foil head, and clean up the perimeter of your cheeks, your neck line, or the little bridge between your mustache and beard. It’s a good device to own if you have various needs (beyond different head lengths) but still only want one tool for all those tasks. Lastly, don’t underestimate its 6-hour run time and 10-year warranty.
Top Feature: 25 pieces for all grooming needs, shaving head for spot checks
Charge Time: 2 hours
Charge Lasts: 6 hours
Warranty: 10 years

Best Self-Cleaning Shaver: Panasonic Arc 3

Panasonic’s Arc3 shaver is a powerhouse as a standalone device. It has a flexible triple-blade head, with ultra-thin hypoallergenic foils, wet-dry duality, an ergo-grip body, retractable trimmer and LED display. It also has a shave sensor that gauges facial-hair density and boosts or lessens power accordingly. But it stands on more than just those impressive details: The Arc3 comes with a two-in-one cleaning-charging station; just push the foil head into the station (after adding cleaning solution), and it disinfects the shaver while also lubricating the blades.
Top Feature: Cleaning and blade lubricating station
Charge Time: 1 hour
Charge Lasts: 45 minutes
Warranty: 2 years

Best Rotary Shaver: Remington HyperFlex

If you’ve got thick hair or shave infrequently — routinely managing a five-day stubble instead of a five-o’clock shadow — then you might want a rotary shaver instead of a foil shaver. And Remington’s is your pick: Like our favorite foils, it shaves wet and dry, has a long-lasting lithium battery and flexes to the contours of your face, jaw and neck. You can also switch on its turbo mode for heavy-duty chopping.
Top Feature: Turbo mode for cutting especially thick, wiry hair
Charge Time: 90 minutes
Charge Lasts: 1 hour
Warranty: 2 year

The Best Beard Trimmers

An electric beard trimmer is a necessity for maintaining facial hair at home. The best ones are intuitive and offer a range of settings for hair trimming and precision touch-ups. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Look Your Best for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and first dates all bring out the same stress to impress: You’ve got to clean up your act and look your best for your date. You owe it to that person to present your best, brightest self, and odds are that they’re going to return the favor. (If it’s Date 1, then a lack of effort is a big red flag.)

This readying regimen requires more than a shower and a hasty shave — but it doesn’t demand you go so far out of your way, either. In fact, many of the steps are simply best practices for your overall grooming regimen, too. They’ll help you look great at work, for job interviews and even at the gas pump. (Hey, why not look great pumping gas?)

These are the things you can do on the day of (and in the days leading up) to ensure that you look and feel sharp — and in turn, look and feel confident, too.

Get a haircut 2–3 days before

Even if you get a skin-tight fade, that haircut always takes a couple days to “settle in”. And even if you get the same haircut each and every time, you should take zero gambles on date night. Besides, if you have the freshest fade in the world, it signals that you got this haircut solely for the date itself. And instead, you want to look sharp while flying somewhat under the radar: Your cut should convey that you look great, but that you do so every single day. Plus, if you get a same-day cut, you might risk some clippings falling onto your shoulders or into your G&T. (Please at least take a shower.) The one exception we’d offer is for guys who shave their entire head: A day-prior shave is your best way to have a polished dome minus any nicks and cuts.

Shampoo the day before

Shampoo strips your hair of its buoyancy since it sucks away all the natural oils that nourish and soften your hair. On the one hand, this underscores the importance of conditioner (and that you should always condition your hair separately, and after, a wash). On the other hand, it proves that you need not wash your hair every day, because a simple rinse (or a standalone conditioning) can flush away much of the grime and product buildup without drying out your hairs. Apply this rule of thought on date night: Shampoo the day before, so that your hairs have a full 24 hours to collect natural, nourishing oils. Then, on the day of the date, simply rinse it out, no shampoo, and enjoy a cooperative, voluminous coif.

Oh, and maybe best to pick a dandruff-fighting, scalp-soothing wash, like Davines’ purifying shampoo. It never hurts to fight flakes while washing dirt and grime.

Purifying Shampoo by Davines $32

Shave smarter and safer

Do yourself a favor and review our guidelines for a healthy, hygienic shave. It’s important to apply these rules each and every time you shave — chief among them, using a clean, sharp razor that has properly been stored and dried. Secondly, you should follow a meticulous, slow shave regimen that opens the pores and calms the skin, cuts hairs while preventing friction, irritation, and bumps, as well as closes and cleans the pores at the conclusion. Doing all of this allows you to shave close to the occasion — even in the hours prior, without risk for redness and razor burn.

Check your eye bags

Rarely is your date the first thing on your day’s agenda. And even if it were, we’d still have the same advice: Treat your tired, strained eyes — liven them up with a caffeine-packed eye cream, a depuffing serum, or a firming eye mask. There is no reason to arrive at your date looking downtrodden and poorly rested; it’s the first thing your date will notice. Each of these products takes mere moments to apply (to clean skin, ok?), and the masks can work their wonders in 10–15 minutes. Follow with a moisturizer and, if you’ve still got dark circles, some skin-matching concealer. (See below for more on that.)

We love Kiehl’s caffeinated eye cream, Jack Black’s depuffing gel, and skynICELAND’s firming eye masks.

Eye Fuel by Kiehl’s $24

Eye Balm by Jack Black $25

Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels by skynICELAND $32

Minimize pores, mattify shine

If you’re naturally oily or always sweaty or simply nervous, then you’re right to worry about a shiny forehead. Slowly but surely, a film of oil will form across your face, and you’ll find yourself wiping away at your brow all night. Not a good look. Instead, get ahead of the matter by applying a mattifying, pore-minimizing lotion before the date. It soaks up oil and prevents you from looking like a bike reflector all night — plus the best products go on clear and light. Menaji’s shine eliminator is a prime product for these reasons.

For what it’s worth, date night is a good time to opt for a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer, too. Apply something like Baxter of California’s oil-free moisturizer as a base layer for your anti-shine product.

Liquid Powder Shine Eliminator by Menaji $36

Oil-Free Moisturizer by Baxter of California $26

Spot-check yourself

Every single adult should have a concealer in his or her skin tone. It’s the best way to cover up dark circles and bad blemishes. Plus, if you match your tone properly, nobody will notice the difference. This little stick is your best friend and the last step in your pre-date skincare regimen. Simply blot it onto any red spots or dark circles, and your date will never know the difference. (It’ll take your mind off of the discolorations, too, which is perhaps even more important.)

NARS has more than a dozen skin tone options with its concealer stick, and won’t rinse away until you wash your face.

Concealer Stick by NARS $26

Pick an antiperspirant

Say what you will about antiperspirants — the unknown effects of using aluminum, or the stains some antiperspirants leave on your shirt. These products are lifesavers, and you should keep one on hand for the moments you absolutely need them. For some guys, this is daily. For others, just ad hoc for date night and job interviews. (Heaven forbid the HR director or Hinge date hone in on your sweaty, musty armpits.) Plus, some of the best antiperspirants, like that from Dove Men+Care are engineered to prevent clothing stains. So, there’s yet one less worry.

Stain Defense Antiperspirant by Dove Men+Care $5

Sign off with a signature scent

If you don’t wear a fragrance, your date may not know the difference. And that’s perfectly fine. However, if you wear an incredible scent, your date will not only notice, but s/he will also compliment the cologne and ask its name. That’s a high honor, as it reflects your good taste — not to mention, it gives them a very significant and positive association between you and that brilliant scent.

If you don’t yet have a go-to fragrance, then read our guide to finding a signature scent.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Get the Best Shave of Your Life

Make no haste when it comes to shaving. This is your face after all, and the entire world is watching — thus, you’ve got to prevent things like irritation, ingrown hairs and infection. It’s easy to do if you put the right amount of time and care into your shave regimen. Best of all, a slowed-down shave is both soothing and restorative, so you’ve got no reason to sprint through the steps.

To help us outline the perfect shave, we sought the wisdom of Taylor Brinckerhoff, barber at Baxter of California’s barbershop, Baxter Finley, in West Hollywood, CA. Here are his tips on getting the safest, closest, smoothest and healthiest shave, from start to finish.

Prepare properly

If you want a close shave, free of irritation and ingrown hairs, then you need to dedicate some time to your pre-shave ritual. This will ready the skin and hair for the blade, ensuring the smoothest, soothing-est shave.

Brinckerhoff notes that, if your hair is too long—say, grown out for a week or more—then it’s wise to trim it down to a more shave-able length. This will minimize resistance and prevent hairs from getting clogged in the razor. So, grab a beard trimmer (we like Panasonic’s electric trimmer), and snip everything down to a 1 or 2. It’s good to keep a little length on the whiskers so that you can more easily track your shaving progress — but it’s not necessary, and you can certainly trim it down with a bare guard if you wish.

Next, you need to soften the skin and hair with warm water (while also cleansing it), then follow with a skin-nourishing agent. Brinckerhoff likens this pre-shave routine to a hot-towel treatment at the barbershop. This process opens up the pores, relaxes the skin, and makes the hairs much more receptive to the blade. So, after a warm shower, you should apply some kind of pre-shave product, like an oil or even an initial layer of hydrating, nourishing shaving cream itself. One pre-shave agent we love is Imperial’s Pre-Shave Oil and Beard Conditioner.

You can even mimic the hot-towel method at home if you don’t otherwise take a hot shower first: “Roll up a terry-cloth towel, run it under the faucet and thoroughly saturate it, put it in the microwave for 15 seconds or to your desired heat level,” says Brinckerhoff. “After you remove the hot towel and the first [pre-shave application], a second coat should be applied.”

ER-GB70-S Beard Trimmer by Panasonic $78

Pre-Shave Oil by Imperial $16

Practice good razor hygiene

Before reaching for your razor, you need to ask yourself whether or not you correctly stored it after the previous shave. If not, you can check our guide to good razor hygiene, which outline how frequently you should replace your razors, how to properly air-dry the razor, as well as how to store it between shaves. Then, put that intel to good use when you’re finished shaving this time around.

The Best Habits for a Safe, Smooth Shave

Poor hygiene is one of the main causes of shaving irritations, infections and razor burn. And it’s not your hygiene we’re talking about (though we hope you’re washing your face, at least); instead, it’s the cleanliness with which you store, sanitize, and replenish your razor blades. Read the Story

Shave like the pros

You can apply your shaving agent over top the pre-shave oil, which will now act like an extra shield overtop your precious skin. The kind of cream or gel or oil you use for your shave is entirely up to you, as none of them really outshines the other. But, for good posterity, we can recommend Baxter of California’s Super Close Shave Formula lather, which Brinckerhoff and his teammates use in their barbershop.

Brinckerhoff’s foremost tip on achieving a smooth, close shave is to shave with the grain of your hair. That is, shave it in the direction it bends and moves, as opposed to dragging against the natural fall. However, this is mostly just imperative on the first pass. “If a second pass is needed, you can go against the grain with a bit more ease, although I don’t like to go against the grain with clients almost ever,” he says. In general, this tip will spare you from ingrown hairs getting trapped beneath the skin. (You can be doubly certain of this if the blade is fresh, sharp, and clean, too, hence the tip about proper hygiene.)

As for the kind of razor you use for the shave, this is also up to you. Most guys will use a cartridge razor — GilletteLabs’ heated razor is a top-shelf, fancy, and self-warming favorite of ours—but Brinckerhoff encourages his clients to use a safety razor at home, citing that the weight of the handle gives you better precision with the shave, and for the fact that are so durable and will practically last forever. (The razor blades should be replaced every 1 to 2 shaves, though, especially since they’re so inexpensive.) (And, might we recommend Supply’s single-edge safety razors, as well as Bevel’s double-edged razor.)

Super Close Shave Formula by Baxter of California $22

Heated Razor by GilletteLabs $200

Single-Edge Razor by Supply $79

Safety Razor by Bevel $50

Soothe the skin, post shave

Once you’re done shaving, it’s important to rinse the skin with cold water, in order to close the pores and prevent bacteria from taking up residence in your vulnerable pores. Follow this with a soothing and hydrating agent, like Lab Series post-shave gel, or splash on an alcohol-free astringent/witch-hazel tonic like Herbivore, then follow it with a defensive moisturizer, like Huron. Whichever route you choose, precede it with that cold-water splash, and the entire process should help your skin recover from the strain of the shave.

3-in-1 Post-Shave Gel by Lab Series $36

Post-Shave Elixir by Hervibore $22

Face Lotion by Huron $14
Hwo to Recover from Razor Burn

Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Smell Your Best with Alfred Lane’s New Colognes

Alfred Lane is a brand that combines creative energy, technical expertise and an undying passion for quality in order to create some of the best smelling and best selling men’s colognes out there. Their latest…

Mother Dirt Has the Ingredients for a Great Holiday Gift

Mother Dirt was founded in 2015 by MIT scientists with a patented bacteria and a mission to bring your skin back to a natural state of balance with clinically proven products. Their products tackle problem…

How to Get the Best Shave Ever

Make no haste when it comes to shaving. This is your face after all, and the entire world is watching — thus, you’ve got to prevent things like irritation, ingrown hairs and infection. It’s easy to do if you put the right amount of time and care into your shave regimen. Best of all, a slowed-down shave is both soothing and restorative, so you’ve got no reason to sprint through the steps.

To help us outline the perfect shave, we sought the wisdom of Taylor Brinckerhoff, barber at Baxter of California’s barbershop, Baxter Finley, in West Hollywood, CA. Here are his tips on getting the safest, closest, smoothest and healthiest shave, from start to finish.

Prepare Properly

If you want a close shave, free of irritation and ingrown hairs, then you need to dedicate some time to your pre-shave ritual. This will ready the skin and hair for the blade, ensuring the smoothest, soothing-est shave.

Brinckerhoff notes that, if your hair is too long—say, grown out for a week or more—then it’s wise to trim it down to a more shave-able length. This will minimize resistance and prevent hairs from getting clogged in the razor. So, grab a beard trimmer (we like Panasonic’s electric trimmer), and snip everything down to a 1 or 2. It’s good to keep a little length on the whiskers so that you can more easily track your shaving progress — but it’s not necessary, and you can certainly trim it down with a bare guard if you wish.

Next, you need to soften the skin and hair with warm water (while also cleansing it), then follow with a skin-nourishing agent. Brinckerhoff likens this pre-shave routine to a hot-towel treatment at the barbershop. This process opens up the pores, relaxes the skin, and makes the hairs much more receptive to the blade. So, after a warm shower, you should apply some kind of pre-shave product, like an oil or even an initial layer of hydrating, nourishing shaving cream itself. One pre-shave agent we love is Imperial’s Pre-Shave Oil and Beard Conditioner.

You can even mimic the hot-towel method at home if you don’t otherwise take a hot shower first: “Roll up a terry-cloth towel, run it under the faucet and thoroughly saturate it, put it in the microwave for 15 seconds or to your desired heat level,” says Brinckerhoff. “After you remove the hot towel and the first [pre-shave application], a second coat should be applied.”

ER-GB70-S Beard Trimmer by Panasonic $78

Pre-Shave Oil by Imperial $16

Practice Good Razor Hygiene

Before reaching for your razor, you need to ask yourself whether or not you correctly stored it after the previous shave. If not, you can check our guide to good razor hygiene, which outline how frequently you should replace your razors, how to properly air-dry the razor, as well as how to store it between shaves. Then, put that intel to good use when you’re finished shaving this time around.

The Best Habits for a Safe, Smooth Shave

Poor hygiene is one of the main causes of shaving irritations, infections and razor burn. And it’s not your hygiene we’re talking about (though we hope you’re washing your face, at least); instead, it’s the cleanliness with which you store, sanitize, and replenish your razor blades. Read the Story

Shave Like the Pros

You can apply your shaving agent over top the pre-shave oil, which will now act like an extra shield overtop your precious skin. The kind of cream or gel or oil you use for your shave is entirely up to you, as none of them really outshines the other. But, for good posterity, we can recommend Baxter of California’s Super Close Shave Formula lather, which Brinckerhoff and his teammates use in their barbershop.

Brinckerhoff’s foremost tip on achieving a smooth, close shave is to shave with the grain of your hair. That is, shave it in the direction it bends and moves, as opposed to dragging against the natural fall. However, this is mostly just imperative on the first pass. “If a second pass is needed, you can go against the grain with a bit more ease, although I don’t like to go against the grain with clients almost ever,” he says. In general, this tip will spare you from ingrown hairs getting trapped beneath the skin. (You can be doubly certain of this if the blade is fresh, sharp, and clean, too, hence the tip about proper hygiene.)

As for the kind of razor you use for the shave, this is also up to you. Most guys will use a cartridge razor — GilletteLabs’ heated razor is a top-shelf, fancy, and self-warming favorite of ours—but Brinckerhoff encourages his clients to use a safety razor at home, citing that the weight of the handle gives you better precision with the shave, and for the fact that are so durable and will practically last forever. (The razor blades should be replaced every 1 to 2 shaves, though, especially since they’re so inexpensive.) (And, might we recommend Supply’s single-edge safety razors, as well as Bevel’s double-edged razor.)

Super Close Shave Formula by Baxter of California $22

Heated Razor by GilletteLabs $200

Single-Edge Razor by Supply $79

Safety Razor by Bevel $50

Soothe the Skin, Post Shave

Once you’re done shaving, it’s important to rinse the skin with cold water, in order to close the pores and prevent bacteria from taking up residence in your vulnerable pores. Follow this with a soothing and hydrating agent, like Lab Series post-shave gel, or splash on an alcohol-free astringent/witch-hazel tonic like Herbivore, then follow it with a defensive moisturizer, like Huron. Whichever route you choose, precede it with that cold-water splash, and the entire process should help your skin recover from the strain of the shave.

3-in-1 Post-Shave Gel by Lab Series $36

Post-Shave Elixir by Hervibore $22

Face Lotion by Huron $14
Hwo to Recover from Razor Burn

Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Habits and Products for a Safe, Smooth Shave

Poor hygiene is one of the main causes of shaving irritations, infections and razor burn. And it’s not your hygiene we’re talking about (though we hope you’re washing your face, at least); instead, it’s the cleanliness with which you store, sanitize and replenish your razor blades.

Think of all the gunk that collects in those razors: Dead skin, hair clippings, oils, shave creams — and that’s just from the shave itself. If you store the blade improperly, it’s going to collect dust, dirt and all kinds of nasty germs. The blades become a hotbed for bacteria, and soon you’re dragging that dirty blade across your open-and-vulnerable pores, just begging for them to transfer to the skin and find a home next to your hair follicles. Next thing you know, you’ve got a red, irritated face.

And if you aren’t one to replace razors at proper intervals, imagine how all of this multiples when you’re using a dull, rusty, bacteria-riddled blade. It ain’t pretty.

Or, you could avoid the agony all together and just practice proper razor hygiene. Here’s how to do that.

Blade Replacement

Since we all shave at different intervals, there are two ways to approach razor blade replacement. You need to toss out your cartridge after 2 to 3 weeks of use, or after 6 to 8 shaves, whichever comes first. So, if you shave daily, toss it after a week or so. If you shave once a week, toss it after the second or third week. If you pick a good razor replenishment service, like Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s, those blades cost between $1 to $2 each. And considering how imperative it is that you use sharp, fresh blades on your skin — that’s a low investment with high return.

As for safety razor blades, just toss them out after each use. They’re especially inexpensive—even top-shelf brands like Bevel sell them for less than 50 cents each — and they require ultimate sharpness in order to be precise since there’s just a single blade instead of 3 to 5. We’ll forgive you if you shave daily and reuse it once, but don’t push your luck.

Blades by Dollar Shave Club $7+

Blades by Harry’s $16

Blades by Bevel $10

Blade Cleaning

If you plan to reuse your razor blade, then you need to clean it properly before storing it. First and foremost, run it under hot water (the hotter the better), rinsing it in every possible direction. Don’t soak it in a full sink—don’t even do that mid shave, yuck—but just make sure you get all of the excess gunk out from between the blades. Sometimes I’ll take a tweezer or even a rubbing-alcohol-dipped cotton swab to fish out stubborn pieces, then will rinse again with hot water. There should be no need to disinfect the razor further if it’s cleaned out and has been rinsed under high temps. Some people will run dish soap over the blades or soak them quickly in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before rinsing again, but that’s a little excessive and could tarnish the blades.

Follow this same advice mid-shave, rinsing the blade as thoroughly as possible in warm-hot water to rid of each stroke’s collection. You don’t want to do a second pass over your face with any gunk already in the razor; that’s a surefire way to clog your pores.

Post-Shave Hygiene

One of the best things you can do when buying a razor is to also get a stand for it. Deluxe brands will often sell them alongside their razors; in particular, I love the ones from The Art of Shaving. You can get dual brush-razor stands or even safety razor stands. But it’s also not hard to do yourself: just get a small glass and leave the blade upright in the cup.

Where you store the razor is the next imperative. Because it needs to dry quickly and not invite moisture (which in turn invite bacteria). That means you’ve got to store the razor in a cool, dry place. Yes, that means you shouldn’t store it in the bathroom itself, which is a warm, moist place. I understand how weird it might be to store your razor somewhere that isn’t your bathroom, but it’s for the sake of hygiene. And it’s only overnight or for a few hours until it’s dry.

Store the razor upright in its stand, or upside-down for most safety-razor stands, so long as the blade is in the air. Safety razors should even be dried this way when you’ve tossed the blade because the head needs to be clean just as thoroughly as if the blade were still there. However, standard cartridge razor can usually be packed away after you ross the blade, and only need to be cleaned and dried when the razor is in use.

Shaving Stand by The Art of Shaving $100

Safety Razor Stand by The Art of Shaving $60

Home and Travel Storage

Between shaves and when you’re on the go, you need to shield the clean, dry blades from things like dust, moisture, and germs. So get a plastic case to guard the entire razor, or simply the blade itself.

Harry’s sells blade covers for all of $1. Merkur has an entire travel set, perfect if you’re also buying your first safety razor. I like plastic cases like both of these, since they can be easily washed and disinfected, and since no material will get stuck under any blades.

Travel Blade Cover by Harry’s $1

Safety Razor Travel Set by Merkur $61
How to Recover from Razor Burn

Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Your Hairstyle Could Really Benefit from These New Products

I hope other brands are taking notes on Fellow’s recent relaunch and redesign. The eight-product assortment debuted last month with label-less plastic packaging in Fellow’s signature bright green. Gone is the “Barber” from its former moniker, Fellow Barber. Shave cream and aftershave were swapped out in favor of a hair-centric lineup, with two new stylers brought into the fold, and two distinct shampoos—one for warmer days, one for colder and drier ones.

It’s an indication that Fellow is taking itself more seriously as a player in the hair care and styling space, and is drawing a fine line between its product assortment and its brick-and-mortar barbershops in NYC and San Francisco. Those barbershops are excellent, but until now, the product assortment always felt like something you just bought impulsively after a haircut onsite, like a candy bar at the grocery. This redesign and more considered assortment is for enthusiasts and loyalists, something that you proudly display on your sink ledge. Fellow feels ready to compete against other salon- and barbershop-backed bigshots like V76 and Blind Barber.

Surely you’re curious about the efficacy of these products, too. Because, after all, if you’re going to display it on your vanity, they had better not collect dust in the meantime. You’ll get plenty of mileage from whichever product you need — and the brand’s five-product styler assortment ensures that, in the very least, there’s a product to suit your demands. The one notable omission is a standalone conditioner, which I imagine will be among the next launches. It should also be said that you cannot yet purchase the brand’s winter shampoo—which is part of this relaunch—but as the season changes, so too will the assortment.

Here’s a look at Fellow’s hair-centric relaunch, excellent both on your sink ledge and on your head:

Stylers

Fellow Mineral Spray

New to the assortment, this mineral spray texturizes hair and gives you a medium hold without adding or dulling your natural shine. You can use it on its own as a light styler, or as a finishing spray after applying other products. Just don’t confuse it for your standard-fare hairspray; it’s not going to make you feel flammable on contact.

Fellow Styling Cream

A lightweight, low-hold styler that remains one of Fellow’s strongest products. Wear it in short styles to tame flyaways, or in medium and longer styles for touchable, windsweep-able perfection. It’s loaded with shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, cacao seed oil and Vitamins A, C and E to nourish and soften the hair.

Fellow Hybrid Clay

A new product for Fellow, this clay styler gives medium hold, and no shine. It’s ideal for medium styles and gives definition and body to otherwise lifeless or post-shampooed hair. This clay is water-soluble so that it rinses out clean. And, thanks to the addition of beeswax as well as Vitamins A, C and E, it also nourishes hair and doesn’t leave it clumpy or suffocated.

Fellow Texture Paste

Fellow’s most universal styler, this medium-hold, light-shine paste delivers serious texture and definition, plus the power to restyle throughout the day. (Just wet a comb and toss it back for a business meeting, or muss it up with wet fingertips by day for a choppy, surfer-like finish.) It also rinses clean since it’s water-soluble.

Fellow Strong Pomade

High hold, high shine. Slick your hair back, or go for a short, piecey look. This water-soluble pomade rinses right out, unlike crusty and crunchy pomades of the past.

Washes

Fellow Summer Wash

One of two shampoos to debut in this new assortment, this summer wash addresses the fact that most cleansers strip the hair and scalp of all moisture. This one is sulfate-free, so it doesn’t foam like most shampoos — which is what strips the hair of moisture — and it’s packed with zinc and rosemary lead oil to tone oil production in the scalp (which can often work overtime in hot, humid months). Additionally, meadowfoam oil, mango butter and jojoba oil soften, strengthen and hydrate the hair.

Multipurpose Product

Fellow Everyday Tonic

You might think of tonic as a skincare product — and you’d be correct — but the team at Fellow also engineered this dual-use tonic for the hair. It’s an alcohol-free formula that pulls residue from the face, hair and scalp, giving you a clean canvas for styling, or leaving your skin refreshed and purified. (Bald guys will especially appreciate this.) It contains witch hazel, aloe vera and eucalyptus, to tone and soothe the skin. Then there’s arnica to calm and reduce inflammation, as well as Vitamins A, C and E to condition both skin and hair alike.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Case for Hair Conditioner (In Place of Shampoo)

I wish someone had told me about the wonders of conditioner when I had a full head of hair. I spent so many of my younger years with big, poofy mushroom hair, unaware of the fact that I was overdrying it with every single wash — which I did every single day, no less. Little did I know how damaged my hair was, and how much conditioner could have done to relieve the matter. The few times I attempted using conditioner, mostly out of curiosity, I never understood why it refused to lather. It just plopped into my hair, didn’t move anywhere, so I would rinse it out without getting any of the benefits. “Pointless,” I would think to myself. I was so naive!

Now, I’ve got half the hairs, and my habits have changed dramatically for the better. It’s probably once every two weeks that a drop of shampoo greets my hair, but I’m conditioning daily — if not twice daily. And for many reasons:

Conditioner keeps hair soft, healthy and stylable. Since shampoo strips the hair of all its oils — the excess buildup and the necessary oils that keep hair hydrated — it, in turn, leave the hair brittle and frayed. Conditioner, on the other hand, pumps nutrients and hydrating ingredients back into each strand, reinvigorating and restoring it to a more presentable state.

Conditioner helps rinse out the grime and product buildup. Have you heard the term ‘co-washing’? It’s the idea that using conditioner can often do the main task of shampoo — lifting away the gunk that coats your hair — and help flush it away when you rinse.

In theory, a warm rinse should also suffice most days, especially if you’re using water-soluble products. Your hair will be a little more texturized than if you shampooed it, but that’s a benefit. It gives your hair definition and density — which is also great if your hair isn’t as full as it used to be. Sure, shampoo can give it a little excess volume, but at the expense of stripping your strands of moisture. (Instead, just substitute a dry shampoo spray into your rotation in the mornings, to absorb unwanted grime and plump things up.)

Conditioner soothes your scalp, too. It’s not a remedy for dandruff, but it will calm and nourish your head just as much as the hairs — the opposite effect of sulfate-rich shampoos that overdry everything in the wake.

Conditioner has no real downside. It’s like being addicted to water. Sure, you can poison yourself by drinking too much water, but we’re talking lots of water. You’re never going to get into dangerous territory with conditioner.

To apply it successfully, just use an ample amount — a quarter-sized dollop should suffice — and spread it evenly into your palms, then apply it to your wet hair with more of a pat-down method. Distribute it around the crown as evenly as you can, then massage it in. This should help you get around the fact that it doesn’t lather.

That lack of lather is a good thing, by the way, since it’s the sulfate-rich lather in shampoos that fries your hairs. As a side note, try to buy sulfate-free shampoos that label themselves as ‘hydrating’ to cause the least amount of damage. And, as a final disclaimer, try to avoid 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioners. You can use them as your shampoo (since they’re trying to be the same thing as a hydrating conditioner), but don’t use them more than a couple times per week, and always follow them with a standalone conditioner.

A conditioner should always be the final step in your hair care regimen since it helps to restore hair to its pre-wash state. A 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner negates that. You should use conditioner daily, no matter if you’re shampooing (which I hope you’re only using once or twice a week, or even less than that. Your hair won’t be greasy or grimey if you use the conditioner instead, I promise.)

And with that, here are four conditioners I love, and that I think you will, too.

This one moonlights as aromatherapy, filling your shower with awesomely potent mint.
Revitalizing Conditioner by Mucky Ducks $21

This professional-favorite brand leaves your hair feeling fresh from the salon — lots of texture and body.
Restructuring Conditioner by Hair Rituel by Sisley $75

If you’ve got medium or longer hair, invest in Oribe’s conditioner for a healthy shine and tangle-free styling.
Signature Conditioner by Oribe $44

Grayed or dyed hair is often more rigid than the rest, and any lighter colors run the risk of dulling or discoloration. This conditioner helps brighten and tone these lighter shades while also keeping it soft and stylable.
Brightening Conditioner for White, Gray, Silver or Blonde Hair by V76 by Vaughn $19
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How Topical Melatonin Can Improve Your Complexion

“Did you hear the news about melatonin? The kids are applying it to their faces.”

“Gasp!” (Clutches pearls.) “No! Heavens to Betsy! Are they crazy?”

I can imagine two gossipy seniors chit-chatting about the good ol’ days when all they did with melatonin was ingest it, in order to get better quality sleep. (Or better yet, all they did was produce it naturally in their brains, because they didn’t rely on computer screens and caffeine to get through the day.) But now, people are applying melatonin to their face before bed, in the form of creams and serums. The idea is that they’ll wake up looking fresher and more youthful, in addition to feeling refreshed from a good night of rest. (Which is possibly aided by orally ingested melatonin.)

So, is topical melatonin’s effectiveness a fact, or a fad?

First, let’s consider supplemental melatonin. Even if you haven’t taken melatonin as a sleep aid, you probably know its function: It doesn’t knock you flat like a sleeping pill, but it does aid in your ability to doze off, to stay asleep and even to wake up more readily in the morning. Our bodies produce it naturally, but so many people have wonky sleep schedules or patterns that they need a slight push, without passing out and sleeping for 10 hours. Melatonin, taken orally, is more or less a “natural” sleep aid — when done in moderation, of course.

But what about topically? What is its purpose? I’ve seen it in a few products of late, and have been using one in particular, Zelens Z-Melatonin Night Repair Serum, as a final step before bed. Zelens claims that the product synchronizes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm — that is, on a cellular level, since all your cells are regenerating fastest and most effectively while you sleep — and in turn, it helps you wake with a brighter, firmer, more even complexion.

I ran the idea by one of my most trusted sources on the matter, board-certified dermatologist James Collyer, of Modern Dermatology in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say, which further supported the brand’s claim:

“Melatonin in the skin stimulates your body’s natural production of antioxidant enzymes at night,” Collyer says. “The better and deeper sleep you get, the more production of melatonin may be produced, leading to more antioxidants in the skin. These antioxidants help protect the skin from pollutants, protect collagen and help counteract harmful UV rays, which are a large cause of dark spots and wrinkles. There is evidence that using melatonin in skin care products can increase antioxidant properties in the skin.”

And, because you’re curious, Collyer also notes that, no, melatonin applied to the skin does not work as a sleep aid. It simply boosts the functions that help protect the skin and keep it firm. That being said, it’s not so much that topical melatonin products help you to look younger and have a brighter complexion, like many other serums or night creams. However, as Collyer states, they do fortify your skin to get through the day with a stronger defense against toxins and UV rays. And in doing so, with continued use, they do help you look younger and maintain a brighter, less-blemished complexion.

A month’s use of Zelens has me saying, “So far, so good.” Like most moisturizers and serums, it’s one of those things you don’t always know is working simply because you’re not getting any worse for the wear. And because I’ve got a pretty solid regimen already with some great serums and creams, I have to say that it fits nicely into the fold. In the very least, it’s worth noting that I haven’t substituted it out since I started testing it. (Most products get subbed out after a few uses. So this one is a favorite.)

And of course, melatonin isn’t the only ingredient in the Zelens serum, either. It’s also got peptide complexes, seaweed extract, soothing aloe vera, hydration hero hyaluronic acid and about two dozen other ingredients that work to firm, brighten, calm, moisturize, defend and more. If you want to be more corrective about your anti-aging nighttime regimen (wherein these melatonin products would be more proactive), I would suggest mixing it with your prescription retinol and applying them together.

Gear Patrol also recommends:

A denser option than the serum, this cream also employs retinol, so it provides a full-court press against signs of aging. (Plus it’s got colloidal oatmeal, which soothes and calms the skin, too.)
Green Releaf Therapeutic Sleep Cream Skin Protectant by Peter Thomas Roth $65

This is a rare instance wherein melatonin is used in a daytime product, primarily for its ability to help defend against UV ray damage and environmental toxins. If you’re prone to dark spots on the skin in summer, then this is your primary defense strategy.
Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 by Dr. Dennis Gross $42
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Significantly Improve Your Complexion in 90 Days

If your complexion is looking, uh, complex of late, then you might be in need of a solution. If it’s breaking out, discolored, dull, sprouting dry patches, or is spotty, then you’re a prime candidate for a reset on your regimen. The same goes for sullen or puffy eyes.

And, while there are daily solutions to these problems — namely the miracle product, concealer, which you should have on hand — there are also ways to correct your complexion more permanently. The bad news is that they take a little time for their results to show since skincare is really about building lifelong habits. But the good news is that it only takes a few months to see significant progress and even less time to build the habits that will ensure indefinite improvements.

Here are the steps you should take to significantly improve your complexion in three months. Watch out for comments like “your skin looks so healthy!” and “who is your dermatologist?”

Cleanse, Gently

Some people have genetically dry skin, while other people render their own skin dry by over-cleansing it. Sometimes, this often triggers a pimple or three, too.

The oils in our skin are essential for keeping our complexion clear, firm, youthful and nourished. But they require a delicate balance: Too much oil leaves you looking shiny, or clogs the pores and leads to a breakout. Too much cleansing dries everything out, and in turn signals to the body to produce more oil as a result. Then, the increased oil production again causes breakouts. Suddenly you’re trapped in a cycle.

The best solution is to invest in a gentle cleanser, no matter your skin type. A creamy, sulfate-free cleanser will rid the skin of excess oil and grime without stripping it of moisture. It’s a more soothing type of rinse and one you can do multiple times a day (ideally just morning and night) without worrying about over-drying.

Ocean Cleansing Milk by Osea $54

Try a Chemical Exfoliant

If your complexion looks dull, or if you’re trying to slough away pesky dark spots or lingering red marks, then you should try a chemical exfoliant in place of a physical scrub. These work quickly (and relatively gently) to dissolve dead skin cells, which are otherwise preventing your healthy, bright cells from surfacing. Some should be rinsed away, while others can be used as serums.

Just follow the instructions closely, and only apply to freshly cleansed face, one to two times per week, prior to any other products. Watch for alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), as they are frequent indicators of high-powered exfoliation.

Skin Concentrate BHA by Baxter of California $36

Use a Serum

Many people still take a multivitamin despite having a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s added insurance that your body gets everything it possibly needs each day. A serum is the same for your skin, whereas a regular skincare regimen just focuses on the essential steps, like cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. Serums seep down into all three layers of the skin, unlike moisturizers which sit atop the skin and shield it from toxins.

Serums work more correctively and aggressively to produce a healthy, youthful glow. (This is where you’ll get compliments about your bright complexion.) Best of all, everyone can benefit from hydrating, nourishing serums. Apply them to freshly cleansed skin, before applying moisturizer.

Peptidin Firming Serum by Dr.Jart+ $48

Add a Daily SPF Moisturizer

The sun’s harmful UV rays are doing your skin no favors (note: those suntans are more harmful than good). You should shield your face from the sun every day, to prevent dark spots, overdrying, wrinkling, sunburn and even skin cancer. When you add it to your proactive, skin-firming regimen, it doubles as a defense against environmental toxins, in addition to keeping skin hydrated and supple.

Super Energizer SPF 25 by Clinique for Men $46

More Water, Less Coffee, Sodas and Alcohol

No surprises here: Stay hydrated to keep your skin performing its proper functions. Your complexion reflects your ingestion, and if you dehydrate it with things like caffeine and alcohol, or if you flood it with sugars, then you’re going to experience dry, dull, sullen complexion and possibly some acne. A morning coffee and lunchtime pick-me-up won’t hurt anybody, nor will a couple glasses of wine with dinner. But pay attention to your complexion the next time you binge drink or pound espressos: It’s going to show itself in your face the next day.

Get plenty of Sleep

Another habit you need to instill: seven to eight hours of sleep each night. This is when your entire body restores itself. So, in addition to waking up without sullen raccoon eyes, you also experience rapid cellular regeneration, which allows your skin to rid of inconsistencies like dryness or irritation, and to maximize the benefits of any products you apply to it. This is also why you should add a night cream or serum (or both) to your bedtime regimen, in place of your daytime SPF and serum. Their benefits are magnified while you sleep, and even more so if you get a full nights’ worth.

Brightening Night Cream by Acure $18

Put Retinol in Rotation

In tandem with a night cream, you should also apply retinol before bed. Retinols are topical vitamin-A derivatives, and they work overtime to resurface your healthy skin cells, prevent acne, smooth fine lines and so forth. Dermatologists pretty unanimously agree that this is the single best solution to smooth skin (and the cornerstone of a good anti-aging skincare regimen). But they come in various intensities—some are light and packed into standard skincare products, while others in higher concentrations are available with a prescription.

Either way, it’s smart to speak with your dermatologist to get the right retinol for your skin, and so that they can educate you on proper use (since it’s easy to oxidate and nullify retinols, as well as the fact that they make skin sensitive to the sun, or often cause peeling for the first few days).

Always wash your face in the morning, and use a daily SPF when using retinols. It’s not advised that you use them when you’re experiencing high exposure to sun. They usually take three months of continued to showcase their effects, but those effects are prominent. You need to keep using the product afterward, too.

Intense Night Oil (Rosehip and Retinoid) by Votary $150

Check Your Eye Baggage (with a Cream)

The skin under your eyes is thinner than everywhere else, and when it’s swollen and puffy from a poor night of sleep or a long night of drinking, then the entire world gets to see it reflected in your face. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have an eye cream on hand for these one-off occasions, but also for daily use: The long-term benefit is that the skin around your eyes becomes firmer, shows fewer wrinkles and is as bright as the rest of your skin. Many of your regular skincare products will be sensitive around the eyes, too, which is why it’s wise to invest in a standalone eye product.

Daily Eye Cream by Act of Being $46
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

8 Essential Grooming Products for the Outdoor Athlete

The outdoor athlete is defined by that modifier — outdoor — because his or her sport pits athlete against the elements. Which means that winter, spring, summer or fall, the outdoor athlete braves rain, heat, sun, wind and cold in order to practice or compete.

When you’re up against the elements, comfort is essential. You can’t let things like sunburn or chafing or excessive sweat slow you down. Heck, even body odor is of concern — can you imagine being on mile 6 of a marathon and smelling like last night’s garlic fries?

Here are 8 grooming products that keep the outdoor athlete’s comfort top of mind — and preserve peace of mind meanwhile. You’ve got bigger things to worry about, like setting a new PR.

Happy Nuts Comfort Cream

Whether you’re preventing thigh rub and swamp crotch or recovering from painful chafing, Happy Nuts is a miracle worker on more than just your junk. It dissolves from cream to powder on the skin, creating a barrier that keeps skin dry in the right ways — that is, it preserves the skin’s natural moisture but creates a thin barrier atop the skin, in order to halt everything else. It keeps the area fresh (and fresh-smelling) and is made using aloe and coconut oil to help soothe and calm the skin down there.

Art of Sport Pain Recovery Cream

Indoors or outdoors, if you’re prone to soreness after a workout, then keep an arnica-infused topical lotion ready. When applied over sore muscles and joints, it helps neutralize the agony. Art of Sport’s ultimate-strength recovery cream also adds eucalyptus to the equation, which soothes and refreshes the skin. Not only do you get relief from pain, but you get to feel refreshed in the process.

Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm

If you suffer any scrapes or your skin starts cracking and chafing from cold or dry air, then use Doctor Rogers Restore to form a natural, nourishing barrier over top the skin. It’s made with castor seed oil instead of harmful petroleums, like similar products we commonly relied on up while growing up. This means it helps the skin stay hydrated, and also expedites safe healing. Restore is also good to apply over tattoos (after applying sunscreen) to slow their fading from the sun.

Bare Republic Mineral SPF50 Sport Sunscreen

Obviously, you need an SPF if you’re exercising outdoors. But you specifically need a lightweight sport SPF. It’s got to absorb quickly and invisibly, and it needs to withstand the sweating you’re doing while wearing it. Good mineral SPFs check all these boxes, and they also don’t leave chalky residues like many other sunblocks in the industry. Bare Republic is one such option, and its SPF 50 ensures that you resist sweat and water for up to 80 minutes before you need to reapply.

Coola Fragrance-Free Face Sunscreen SPF50

You also want an SPF-packed moisturizer, specifically engineered for the face. Face and body sunscreens are often categorized separately since body SPFs might be comedogenic. (Meaning, they use pore-clogging ingredients.) Secondly, they aren’t always loaded with nourishing, moisture-preserving ingredients like moisturizers. Coola’s face sunscreen uses SPF50 and it checks all the other boxes: It wears light, nourishes the skin, won’t clog pores and shields you thoroughly from the sun’s photo-aging effects.

Duke Cannon Dry Ice Body Powder Spray

If you want to prevent moisture, discomfort and smelling rank, then a body spray is another way to do this. Duke Cannon’s dry spray creates a powder-like layer over the skin like a powder or powder-cream. Point it at your feet, your chest, your back, if you want to feel and smell fresh all day. It neutralizes moisture with the help of talc and deodorizes thanks to the inclusion of activated charcoal.

Schmidt’s Charcoal and Magnesium Natural Deodorant

Speaking of charcoal, Schmidt’s natural deodorant uses the ingredient (along with magnesium) to keep you smelling fresh. It’s a great alternative to aluminum-packed anti-perspirants. Besides,this is one instance where you probably don’t need an antiperspirant, seeing as you’re going to be showering after your workout and not worrying about perspiring in the meantime. Just focus on your workout, and also on not smelling like an onion.

Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy SPF25 Lip Balm

Don’t neglect to apply a little SPF to your lips either, winter or summer. I speak firsthand as someone who has lathered sunscreen on every square centimeter, only to forget the lips — and they burn fast! Not to mention, you need to use them for eating, talking, kissing, etc. So get a lip balm with SPF, like Jack Black’s; it’s equally useful for healing chapped, cracked lips. (As is Doctor Rogers’ Restore balm, above.)

8 Gym Bag Grooming Essentials

Since you go to the gym often (or you have the best intentions of doing so), you need a thoughtfully and efficiently packed Dopp kit — one that caters to cleaning and freshening up. It’s these products that can transition you from morning or midday workout without having to tote your entire shower caddy, or without needing to compromise on a well-coiffed style. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Product Saved My Hair Style This Summer

I dread summer. Capital-D Dread. Not only do I sweat like a wrung-out sponge for months on end, but it’s also near impossible to have a decent hair day. I can’t trust that whatever styling I do in the morning will survive past lunch. By evening, I look like Toadstool after getting eighth place in the Star Cup.

This summer, however, the tides started to turn. We’ve had a few heatwaves, and while my sweating has been worse than usual, my hair days have been remarkably better. And I owe that to one type of product in particular: heat-shielding, humidity-resistant hair sprays. They are, without embellishment, lifesavers.

Here’s how they work: Tiny silicone molecules wrap themselves around your hair shafts, which shield the hair from moisture loss and fraying (a side effect of blow dryers or the hot sun). Secondly, any heat protectant that is doubly designated as an anti-humidity agent will also prevent the hair from curling, frizzing or poofing, by preventing additional hydrogen in the air from bonding with the atoms in your hair. So, simply put, these sprays ensure that you get the style you intended and that no force of nature (or technology) will stand in your way.

Guys with short hair probably won’t get much benefit from these products; they’re going to help people with longer hair, the type that is grown-out enough to be affected by the weather. (Inch-long hair isn’t going to curl or frizz.) These sprays work well in all textures of hair, too. And it should be noted that not all heat protectants are sprays. Some are lotions, and some are oils — the later of which is essential if you’re using a hair-straightening wand. They all work the same way, while some of the hand-applied ones double as hybrid stylers, too.

These sprays are less of a styler and more of a style preserver. You can apply them prior to your standard hair product, or even as the last step in your styling routine. But it’s imperative to apply them prior to blow-drying your hair — if that’s a part of your routine — to best protect your hair. I usually apply mine first if my hair is already clean and dry, in that it’s already an ideal canvas for styling. This gives it a coat of armor but allows the styling product itself to do most of the directional work. Otherwise, I apply the spray at the end of my regimen if I am applying my styling product to wet hair. This gives it some texture, grit and a little shine — kind of like a hair spray.

Now that you’re well-acquainted with heat-protectants, here are three of my favorites — the ones that have made this heat-blasted summer a lot less insufferable.

Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray by Oribe $42

No-Frizz Humidity Shield by Living Proof $23

Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray by Kérastase $37
9 Essential Grooming Products for the Frequent Flyer

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot, and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode. Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less, so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Recover from Razor Burn

Even the best shavers have stumbled: Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. Maybe there are bumps, maybe just irritated skin. Either way, it’s unsightly, and no more enjoyable to wear.

So what comes next? You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. And how can it be treated immediately, as to minimize agony over the next few days? For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Here is Bauers’ advice on how to treat, calm and even prevent razor burn.

Recovery

First and foremost, if you are recovering from razor burn, you need to avoid shaving the area again, until the skin has fully recovered. It might seem obvious to avoid, but Bauers still sees it done. You need to also avoid harsh ingredients in skin care products and soaps, opting for natural, gentle cleansers and soothing moisturizers. (Aloe and chamomile are good pals of yours for the next few days.)

You should also avoid picking at it, or itching it. And, when picking the products for your recovery plan, the most important thing to note is your skin type, says Bauers. “For example, witch hazel is a great natural astringent and anti-inflammatory if you have excessively oily skin,” he notes. “But may not be as effective if your skin is already dry or flaky. Dry skin calls for a product that moisturizes and hydrates, not one that removes oils.”

Gentle Products for Dry, Irritated Skin

Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser by LaRoche-Posay $15

Camellia Nut Hydrating Cream by Aesop $50

Gentle Products for Oily, Irritated Skin

Redness Relief Cleanser by Paula’s Choice $18

Moisture Cream by Pyunkang Yul $32

While you incorporate the appropriate products into your daily cleansing and hydrating regimen, you should also add a step to your post-shower regimen each day of recovery. “Regularly apply some kind of aftershave lotion or balm after a hot shower,” says Bauers. “The heat will open your pores, which maximizes the effectiveness of the product and helps you heal.”

And there’s one general rule of thumb for picking a balm: It needs to be alcohol-free. “These will feel the most comfortable on your skin as it heals, as it avoids the burning sensation that is often associated with aftershave products,” Bauers says.

After Shave Balm by Proraso $16

Prevention

If you’re wondering what went wrong and why you got razor burn, it could be because you shaved against the grain, or you simply shaved your entire face in one uniform direction. Next time you shave, pay closer attention to the direction your hairs grow—and they often change direction from one part of your face to the next. “Shaving against the grain will get the closest shave, but is also the most irritating, and can lead to ingrown hairs and inflammation if not done carefully,” says Bauers. “Shaving with the grain won’t get quite as close of a shave, but is far less irritating and much easier on your skin.”

Bauers also stresses that you invest in a good razor, and consider even switching to a single-blade safety razor: “They give you the most control as far as following the grain of your facial hair,” he says. “And they have a much more forgiving learning curve than a straight razor (although those can be great too if you are willing to put in some practice).”

6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor by Rockwell Razors $100

He also says to keep warming your face prior to a shave, so as to open the pores and relax both skin and whiskers. And keep applying aftershave lotion or balm once you finish.

Additionally, he says that a pre-shave oil can also make shaving more comfortable and minimize irritation.

Ultra Gliding Shave Oil by American Crew $13

His last advice: Keep your barber close, but your dermatologist closer: “If there is a persistent problem with your skin, it could be something more than a just a result of poor shaving habits, and should be checked out by a dermatologist.”

8 Lightweight Gym Bag Grooming Essentials

Since you go to the gym often (or you have the best intentions of doing so), you need a thoughtfully and efficiently packed Dopp kit — one that caters to cleaning and freshening up. With these products, you can transition from morning or midday workout without having to tote your entire shower caddy, or without needing to compromise on a well-coiffed style.

So, start with a durable Dopp kit, since you’re going to get lots of miles out of it. Then stock it with the following products, most of which are also travel-friendly. You can swap out one or two based on your own grooming needs, but this list should round the bases by cleaning and hydrating everything, and it should keep the entire load light enough for daily toting (or every other day, if you aren’t exactly true to your best intentions).

The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister

Tote It: Even though you’re not hiking the Rockies or setting up a basecamp, this durable Dopp is a great holster for your gym essentials, seeing as you’re going to be toting it to and from the gym frequently. It has a hook inside so that you can hang it in your locker or even the shower, and it comes with a lifetime warranty so that you never have to purchase another kit. It’s also the Dopp that can transition between different types of events, whereas you’ll otherwise need more than one to cover the gym, vacations, outdoor activities, and the likes.

Assuming you pick and choose your essentials from this list and pack efficiently, everything should fit into the 3.5-L volume. (Otherwise you can opt for the larger 5.75-L option.) It also comes with a mirror that you can velcro to the canister, should you be away from the bathroom vanity.

Native Charcoal Deodorant Stick

Stay Fresh: While harnessing the ultra absorbent and detoxifying powers of charcoal, Native’s aluminum-free deodorant stick neutralizes odors and delivers a light, crisp citrus-and-mineral scent to mask any lingering musk. Native’s entire assortment uses clean, never-perplexing ingredients that nourish and protect the skin while fighting odor; this includes probiotics, coconut oil, shea butter, tapioca starch, and milk of magnesia.

Blind Barber Shampoo and Body wash

Scrub Down: Since lightweight is the aim here, you’ve got to consolidate some products. A 2-in-1 shampoo-body wash is one obvious opportunity. (And, it’s far superior to a 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner, which you should never use. We digress, but opt instead for a hydrating shampoo and follow it with a conditioner. Read on.)

Blind Barber’s shampoo-body wash is sulfate-free and combats dandruff with the help of hops — cheers to that — while coconut oil nourishes skin and hair. It’s got a refreshing lemongrass tea scent to lift your spirits and comes in this travel-size container so that it fits easily in your gym bag.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment

Style and Condition: Another opportunity for consolidation is your hair product. Forego packing a conditioner, and instead pick a styler that doubles as a leave-in conditioner. That’s the case with Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day assortment, and this travel-size treatment gives you protection against heat and UV rays, nourishes each strand, and adds healthy shine, all while giving you smooth, touchable style — as if you styled it with a standard hair cream.

Mr. Natty Beard Oil

Prepare for a Shave: If you’re going to shave after you work out, then do so economically by packing a shave oil in place of a larger shave cream canister. Mr. Natty’s beard oil doubles as a pre-shave and a shaving agent; just leave-in on warmed skin for a minute before introducing the razor. It’ll soften and prepare both skin and hair for a smooth, nick-free shave.

Harry’s Winston Razor

Shave Face: Stay subscribed to a razor replenishment service, like Harry’s, which will ensure you swap out your blades at healthy, hygienic intervals. Their engravable Winston razor is heavy enough with its zinc body that you get a thorough, close shave, but it’s still light enough that it glides smoothly down your jawline. Get a travel blade cover as well, to shield your razor from bacteria while still allowing it to dry. (Speaking from experience, it also shields you from hazardous accidents when reaching into your Dopp kit. So stock up, because these razors are sharp!)

Marlowe Face Moisturizer

Hydrate Skin: While we’d normally advise a separate lotion for face and body, there’s no real reason you can’t apply your facial moisturizer to your hands or any other dry patches. That’s why you should tote this lightweight (on skin, that is) moisturizer from Marlowe. They use extracts of passionflower, green tea, algae and willow bark, which work together to boost moisture, stimulate cellular repair and soothe irritation. It’s an effective aftershave agent for that same reason.

Beardbrand Utility Balm

Nourish Beard and Dry Skin: If you aren’t shaving but are instead rocking a beard — or if you need to sooth your hands after a rigorous workout — then Beardbrand’s line of utility balms are an essential pickup. They soften and tame beards on the one hand, but they also double as lightweight hair stylers, triple as dry-skin nourishers, quadruple as tattoo color protectors — the “utility” here is no understatement.

9 Essential Grooming Products for the Frequent Flyer

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot, and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode. Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less, so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 8 Best Antiperspirants for Men

The conversation around deodorant has largely steered itself towards natural products. It’s great to see consumers being so conscious of the ingredients in their grooming regimen, especially since the long-term effects of aluminum — the key ingredient used in antiperspirants — are still somewhat nebulous.

Currently, the various studies on aluminum all contradict and negate one another. Some say excessive exposure causes Alzheimer’s, while others claim this is hullabaloo when considering the light-dose application of deodorants. Without conclusive evidence on the matter, aluminum antiperspirants are still widely sold. And like many products on the market, they are effective at the job they set out to do.

That’s why we still find value in touting antiperspirants. Until there is conclusive evidence that sways us one way or the other, we say this: Buy antiperspirants if you absolutely need them. They work. Some people who experience non-stop sweating (diagnosed as hyperhidrosis) will swear by antiperspirants since they allow these individuals to go about their day without swimming in their own body’s soup.

Here are eight antiperspirants we love, some of which offer 72-hour protection against odor and sweat, and others that are intentionally milder. See which one suits your sweat-stopping needs.

Kiehl’s Body Fuel Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Like the rest of Kiehl’s Body Fuel line, this glide-on antiperspirant and deodorant invigorates thanks to the inclusion of caffeine. It further nourishes and purifies the skin with zinc and vitamin C, and provides a full 48 hours of coverage against both smells and sweats.

Recipe for Men Antiperspirant Deodorant

A 24-hour formula that celebrates its mildness, this antiperspirant neutralizes wetness without stopping the body’s natural sweat cycles. In other words, it works by minimizing bacterial growth, but it doesn’t unnaturally transform your pits into an bone-dry Atacaman abyss.

Jack Black Pit Boss Antiperspirant Deodorant

In addition to all-day coverage against odor and sweat, Jack Black’s roll-on antiperspirant utilizes Vitamin E and aloe juice to keep skin soft, calm and shielded against environmental toxins. You may have to apply this one twice as often as the competition (an extra application in the evening, if you’re hitting the gym or the dance floor), but that doesn’t make it inferior; in fact, it’s a matter of preference for how potent you want your antiperspirant to be.

Anthony Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Aloe and sunflower seed oil combat inflammation and dryness in Anthony’s deodorant and antiperspirant roll-on. Like Jack Black’s formula, it’s less clinical and lasting than the low-cost competition. However, it’s every bit as effective when used daily, sometimes twice. Plus, it ensures a double-down on the deodorizing effects of these products. Don’t forget that an antiperspirant isn’t always a deodorant, and the ones you have to reapply more frequently will do a better job at neutralizing both odor and sweat, as opposed to just sweat.

Sweat Block Antiperspirant Lotion for Hands and Feet

With active ingredient aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, this lotion stops palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis (that is, on hands and feet). This prevents you from soaking in your own sweat all day, or from swapping soggy handshakes at work or over drinks. It’s not a days-long fix like lots of the other antiperspirants on this list; but it’s great to apply as needed, and should last a few hours, assuming you don’t thoroughly wash your hands. It’s also a good way to prevent excessive foot odor if that’s something you’re eager to nix.

Certain Dri Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

If your sweaty situation is exactly that — a full-on situation — then you should talk to your doctor about using clinical-strength antiperspirants. Typically they will recommend one with aluminum chloride, as opposed to the traditional aluminum zirconium. That’s what Certain Dri’s formula includes, and it promises 72-hour sweat coverage for even the most hyperactive hyperhidrosis.

Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport Antiperspirant Deodorant

Though its branding has been updated, this is probably the antiperspirant you used when you went through puberty. And it works just as well today as it did during your awkward years. It gives you 24-hour odor and sweat protection with a light lemon-lime freshness, which pairs well with Old Spice’s similarly scented body wash.

Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Dry Spray Antiperspirant

With 48-hour sweat and deodorizing coverage, this spray-on deodorant also touts Dove’s signature moisturizing powers. A quarter of the formula is designated for keeping skin hydrated and cool, which is reassuring given the sensitivity of the under-arms. The clean scent is subtle enough for that just-showered freshness, but not so overwhelming that it competes with your fragrance of choice. Of the aerosol options and drugstore brands, this is one of your best bets.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.