james bond grooming

The A to Z of men’s grooming

Don't know your serum from your shave oil? Allow us to teach you the ABCs of grooming...

Masks are now compulsory in shops and on public transport. Water cooler chats continue to take place over Zoom, rather than in the actual office. Spontaneous Thirsty Thursdays are few and far between, with tiny numbers of people working in the office and advance pub booking the new normal. These are strange times we’re living in, to say the least.

It would be easy to ask, then, what’s the point of maintaining our grooming routines? After all masks hide most of our faces and Zoom covers all manner of sins. We’re less likely to be tanning ourselves on a far-flung beach, with holidays being cancelled left, right and centre; and we’re socialising considerably less than we were, say, six months ago. We’d all be forgiven for thinking, quite simply: why bother?

Well, as Alexander the Great purportedly said: “How should a man be capable of grooming his own horse, or of furbishing his own spear and helmet, if he allows himself to become unaccustomed to tending even his own person, which is his most treasured possession?” Ok, we’re aware most of our readers probably aren’t looking to furbish their own spear and helmet – but the sentiment applies. Our bodies are our most treasured possessions, and we’ve got to look after them before we turn our attention to anything else. So, with that in mind: here’s our A-Z of grooming tips, techniques and terminology that every man should know.

A is for Antioxidant Serum

skinceuticals serum

For those spending more time walking or cycling to work (and let’s face it, we’re all being encouraged to take that healthy option like never before), antioxidant serum is a brilliant way of ensuring protection against elements such as pollution, dust and dirt – those all too pervasive grains that are rife on London’s streets, and that cause havoc with the skin. SkinCeuticals has got you covered with its antioxidant Serum 10 that’s packed with L-Ascorbic acid and Ferulic acid: not only will it rejuvenate tired skin, but it’s guaranteed to keep that London smut at bay.

B is for Beard Oil

bad norwegian

If you’re among those who opted to let facial hair run its natural course over lockdown, and are now equipped with a beard to rival Gandalf himself, then we’ve got you covered with Bad Norwegian’s Oil Beard. It’s wholly natural, packed full of antibacterial properties (which, let’s be honest, are much needed in our current climate), and is sure to leave your new facial adornment looking as pristine as could be.

C is for Cologne

creed aventus

It’s a staple of any gentleman’s toilette, especially now. Exercise levels are on the rise, and walking or cycling around London – whether to work or to a (still novelty-laden, after four months of lockdown) social event – is sure to get a sweat going on these warm, muggy summer days. Creed boasts a rare gem of a product that is described as “perfect for the daring, urban-spirited man”, and comprises scents of ginger, mandarin and patchouli among others. Throw some of this on, and no one will ever guess you’ve just cycled for an hour and a half in 25 degree weather.

D is for Deodorant

molton brown deoderant

Continuing on much the same theme: as wonderful as it is, cologne can’t do the job single-handedly. Prep for a warm, exercise-laden day with Molton Brown’s Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel Deodorant Stick. It’ll keep you covered all day long, and those gentle, wafting scents of cypress trees and ocean breezes might even put you in a holiday mood. (We know, it’s a bit of a stretch; but in a global pandemic, we’ve got to take all the travel experiences we can get.)

molton brown deoderant

Molton Brown Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel Deodorant Stick

£20

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E is for Eye Cream

111skin eye cream

Masks may hide the face, but our eyes are always on show. For anyone looking to reduce the appearance of dark shadows beneath the eyes, this Celestial Black Diamond Eye Cream is sure to reduce signs of exhaustion and ageing with its black diamond particles (yes, really) and infused liquorice root. If all the extra screen time from those plentiful Zoom calls is taking its toll, this eye cream is sure to prove a saviour to anyone in need.

111skin eye cream

111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Cream

£170

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F is for Fragrance

floris

We’ve covered cologne and deodorant, yes; but fragrance really can’t be referenced enough with regard to grooming. Containing a higher concentration of oils than a cologne, every man should also have an eau du parfum and eau du toilette in his arsenal. After all, your fragrance often precedes you before you enter a room, putting your image out there before you’ve even come into view. We recommend this unisex eau de parfum from Floris: with notes of mandarin, orange blossom and ginger, we guarantee your image will always be preceded by one of the most glorious summer fragrances out there.

floris

Floris Bergamotto di Positano Eau de Parfum

£120

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G is for Ginseng

ginseng tea

Good looks start from within and if you’re in need of a detox look no further. This Taiwanese Ginseng Oolong tea is a revitalising powerhouse of nutrients that – while providing a deliciously flavourful morning brew – serves as a tonic for both mind and body. We need to look after our body’s exterior, certainly: but all personal grooming has to start from within. Give your body the boost and care it always needs with this healthful, nurturing serum for the stomach: you won’t regret it.

ginseng tea

The Tea Makers Taiwanese Ginseng Oolong Tea

£29.95

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H is for Hand Moisturiser

dr jart moisturiser

Hand sanitising and washing remains of paramount importance; it can be time consuming, but we all need to keep playing our part in whatever small way we can. There’s no denying, however, that all this scrubbing does leave the skin feeling more than a little worse for wear. If you’re among those of us with cracked, peeling skin on the backs of your hands, we’ve got you covered with Dr. Jart’s Water Drop Hydrating Moisturiser. Comprising lemon gel and bergamot, among other delightful ingredients, it’s sure to bring much-needed moisture to dehydrated skin.

dr jart moisturiser

Dr. Jart Water Drop Hydrating Moisturiser

£27

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I is for Iron

bulk powder iron

Continuing on the theme of internal grooming, iron is one of the most benefit-laden minerals out there. Truthfully, its benefits are too numerous to name but some highlights include boosting the immune system (and has there ever been a better time to keep that particular system going?), improving sleep quality (which, in turn, will leave the face and eyes looking fresher than ever) and improving muscle strength (with gyms gradually reopening, this can only be a bonus). While iron can be found in many foods, we recommend these iron capsules from Bulk Powders if you’re is looking for an extra boost.

bulk powder iron

Bulk Powders iron capsules

£11.99

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J is for Jojoba Oil

aesop face wash

There are few natural oils as effective at keeping skin clear and hydrated as jojoba oil. Similar in structure to the skin’s own oil, it penetrates without clogging leaving you looking fresh. If you’re not quite ready to start experimenting with pure oils just yet, try Aseop’s Parsley Seed face wash, which also contains jojoba oil for the ultimate nourishing cleanse.

aesop face wash

Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser

£41

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K is for Kevin Murphy Night Rider

kevin murphy night rider

If you’ve reached the letter K and are starting to wonder we’re we’re going to get started on hair care: you’re in luck. Well done for getting this far. Kevin Murphy’s Night Rider paste can be applied to hair at any time (although presumably the idea is to apply it at night), and works to simultaneously style and hydrate. Hair will be left in place all day long, complete with that much-sought after luxuriant shine. Start applying this wonder product, and watch the benefits appear in front of your very eyes.

kevin murphy night rider

Kevin Murphy Night Rider paste

£25

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L is for Lint Roller

ikohs lint roller

We need to be caring for our bodies, yes – but caring for our clothes is also vital part of any gentleman’s grooming routine, and can’t be forgotten. If your clothes are starting to show the fluff and dust of too many months spent at home, never fear: this electric lint remover is the most efficient resource out there. Tiny blades shave the surface of the clothes, eliminating all traces of dust, while a tiny hoover absorbs any remaining lint. If you’re thinking this sounds like a miracle piece of kit, you’d be right.

ikohs lint roller

Ikohs Fluzzy lint remover

£22.45

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M is for Magnesium

kiki magnesium

The benefits of magnesium really do seem to be never-ending. It’s a muscle relaxant; it eliminates fatigue; it’s even been known to help anxiety. This particular magnesium, however, is courtesy of Kiki Health and comes in the form of an oil spray to be applied directly to the skin. At its best just before bed, it works to improve sleep quality (which, as we know, leaves the skin glowing and the face much more alert) and soothes any muscle twinges – leaving you ready for those HIIT classes we’re sure you can’t wait to get back to.

kiki magnesium

Kiki Health magnesium oil

£12

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N is for Natural Face Lift

nuface toning

If you’re not ready to go under the knife and the thought of an in-person facial feels a little too intimate right now, a do-it-yourself, home-based facial could be just the thing. This “natural face lift” device from NuFace works by applying (very low) electrical currents that zip and zap any damaged skin, leaving your face looking fresh and ready for when we can (finally!) leave those face coverings at home.

nuface toning

NuFace Facial Toning Device

£167

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O is for Oskia Tanning Mist

oskia tanning

If you’re one of the unlucky souls who’s had to cancel a holiday as a result of this unfortunate year, here’s a way to mimic that post-holiday glow. (We know, we’re slightly clutching at straws – but a tan really can do wonders, both in terms of grooming and style.) This natural tan is formulated with DHA and will deepen over time – as well as being packed full of antioxidants, which means you’ll be reaping in the benefits of health as well as aesthetics.

P is for Posture

backjoy

Yes, this might sound like an odd one, but stay with us. Grooming encapsulates every part of the body, and an upright stance (plus a healthy back and neck) is very much a part of that. If you’ve spent the past few months working from home, in a far-from-ideal improvised office (and subsequent reduced movement), allow us to introduce you to the BackJoy Relief support. Made from memory foam and designed for sitting on hard surfaces, it’s sure to bring some much needed relief to those working from home for the foreseeable future, as well as strengthening the back for that much-sought after posture we’re all striving for.

Q is for QMS Epigen Pollution Detox Serum

qms pollution serum

Pollution levels may have decreased during lockdown but they’re gradually starting to rise again now, alongside lockdown restrictions gradually easing. If your skin previously suffered from pollution-related grievances, of which you’re starting to notice an unwelcome return, this serum works to repair any damage caused by pollutants, as well as environmental stressors such as UV light – and acts as a shield to anything that might further aggravate the skin.

qms pollution serum

QMS Anti-pollution Day Serum

£167

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R is for Retinol

sunday riley retinol

You’ve probably seen the terms ‘retinol’ and ‘retinoids’ floating around your bathroom courtesy of your girlfriend’s skincare products – but it’s about time you got involved with this wonder ingredient too. Derived from vitamin A, it fights fine lines, promotes collagen production and stimulates skin cell turnover. Dip your toe in with Sunday Riley’s high dose serum.

sunday riley retinol

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

£70

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S is for Suncream

heliocare suncream

We may be travelling less than normal, but it’s still summer – and suncream is still of vital importance, even in the UK. This Heliocare Oil Free Gel offers SPF 50 protection and DNA repair, as well as being vegan friendly. Do your skin a favour and lather up. Paired with the tanning mist mentioned previously, this cream is sure to leave your skin healthy and unharmed by those ferocious British rays.

T is for Trimming

manscape razor

If you’ve thrown away all hair removal appliances in the past few months in an attempt to let nature take its course, or if you’re just looking to upgrade your current razor, you could do a lot worse than the Lawn Mower 3.0. If the name isn’t enough to convince you, it’s fully waterproof and can be used on both face and groin. Essentially, it’s efficiency personified: and who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?

manscape razor

Manscape Lawn Mower 3.0

£69.99

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U is for Urea

eucerin urea repair

Okay, you’re going to have to trust us on this one gents because, while incredible for your skin, urea is also a component of urine. Luckily, most skincare products use a synthetic version that still delivers the deeply hydrating and nourishing properties of its natural counterpart. Light and soothing, Eucerin’s Urea Repair instantly relieves very dry skin and can even help reduce rosacea and eczema.

V is for Vitamins

cytoplan multivitamin

Looking good is about more than just having a well trimmed beard and clear skin. It’s about feeling good as well and – if you’ve been a bit lax with your diet during lockdown – chances are you’re not feeling amazing right now. Just like the minerals we’ve suggested above, supplementing your diet with a good multivitamin will have you back in top condition in no time. Cytoplan’s wholefood multi is specially formulated for men and suitable for vegans.

cytoplan multivitamin

Cytoplan Wholefood Multi

£18.10

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W is for Water Flosser Toothbrush

oral b toothbrush

Dental hygiene is a fundamental aspect of grooming that we’d be remiss to forget, and this toothbrush really and truly is one of a kind. Its Oxiget Technology results in water packed full of microbubbles for efficient cleaning, and there is a choice of three water pressure options, and two water stream alternatives. Perhaps we do live in a world with too much choice; but then again, dental hygiene is not to be messed with.

oral b toothbrush

Oral-B Aquacare Pro-Expert Irrigator

£99

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X is for Xfoliate

tom bron exfoliator

All right, we’re taking liberties with the letter X – but you’re just going to have to give us a bit of a break here. And this Exfoliating Energy Scrub from Tom Ford really is a masterpiece. The benefits of exfoliation are myriad, and we couldn’t put together an article on grooming without celebrating one of the most effective (and simple) grooming techniques out there. Give your pores some TLC, and get your hands on this fantastic scrub: you won’t regret it.

tom bron exfoliator

Tom Ford Exfoliating energy scrub

£39

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Y is for Yoga

lululemon yoga mat

You don’t normally hear “yoga” in the same breath as “grooming”, granted. But yoga certainly has its place. Yoga tones the body like few other forms of exercise, making it integral to any self-grooming routine. Plus, it has copious benefits for sleep and stress; and let’s not dismiss the effect that a good night’s sleep and a (relatively) stress free life can have on our skin. We’re aware, though, that many yoga studios remain closed, and you may not yet feel comfortable visiting those that are open. So we’ve found you the perfect yoga mat, with which you can practice those sun salutations from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!

lululemon yoga mat

Lululemon reversible yoga mat

£78

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Z is for Zinc

wild nutrition zinc

We’re finishing up with another of those all-too-important minerals: and zinc really does have its part to play in caring for every element of the body. Immune protection: check; cognition: check; bone health; check. Plus, we hear erectile dysfunction has been linked to levels of zinc deficiency. Do we need to say any more? If you’re looking to get started on a pathway to improve your zinc levels, this Wild Nutrition product is the perfect place to start.

wild nutrition zinc

Wild Nutrition Plus Zinc

£12

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Now for your etiquette. Here’s the A to Z of being a gentleman…

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Further Reading