Friday, 15 January 2016

Grooming fever

Apparently men's grooming is booming. Male beauty products are more and more popular, along with visits to beauty salons. Things like moisturisers are now seen as essentials rather than luxuries, and men are primping and preening like never before. Or so we're told.

Well, I wouldn't know if it's true or not. The men of my acquaintance aren't in the habit of confiding their beautifying regimes, if they have any. I have no idea if they merely rinse their face and comb their hair or if they spend hours moisturising, waxing, concealing their eye-bags or changing their hair-colour.

I suspect younger men are keener on grooming and looking good than older men, who're more likely to say, What the hell, people should accept me the way I am, and if they don't like it, tough. Older men with beer bellies, hairy nostrils and comb-overs are still all too common. But who knows in what unexpected places this sudden focus on personal appearance is taking root?

Personally I've always been a minimal groomer. I wash and I shower and I try to look presentable and that's about it. Oh, and I moisturise my inflammation-prone forehead. And I had some laser treatment to reduce my facial hair as I didn't like the permanent five o'clock shadow.

I've never been tempted to do anything else. I'm not bothered by my eye-bags, I still have plenty of hair (which isn't yet grey), I'm too lazy to purge any of my body hair, I don't care for perfume, and there's nothing else that needs moisturising. So I'm a bit of a dead loss to the beauty industry. I prefer to spend my cash on books, music, wine and good food.

So you won't find me semi-naked on a beauty salon couch any time soon. I'm more likely to be scanning the shelves at Waterstones for some tantalising prose.


  1. Yes, I think it's more common among the younger set. Besides a hairless chest, I've never been able to tell the difference, either.

  2. maybe it's part of the kardashian culture so rampant at the moment...
    to be supposedly young and gorgeous forever ... or to TRY to be!
    I hope i'm around long enough to see all those people at an advanced age. it's so shallow somehow. and no. that's not sour grapes.
    I like a CLEAN man. freshly showered. and with short nails... not necessarily manicured. but kept.
    and other than that... I think lines in a man's face simply make him more interesting. give me a book lover over a preener any day.
    well. it underlined preener in red. is that now a word? LOLOL!!

  3. Bijoux: Not much visible difference, I guess. Who's to know if a guy has coloured his hair or moisturised his face? Not to mention the actually invisible things like a waxed bum or a pedicure?

    Tammy: Yes, trying to be young and gorgeous forever is a losing battle! A clean man freshly showered with short nails? I think I could manage that! And I do agree that wrinkles just make someone look more interesting.

    Preener is definitely a valid word. I've just looked it up in two dictionaries!

  4. Two baths per annum and a face wash three times a year whether I needs it or not. Head shaved off during summer months along with a beard trim every month. Winter time I furs up till a week afore Bealtaine.

  5. Heron: Two baths a year and a face wash three times a year? Isn't that a blatant waste of water and the planet's finite resources? I recommend only one bath a year and replacing the face wash with a thorough licking by Fido.

  6. The River Barrow runs a few yards behind me cabin so no water is wasted.
    Jeepers Nick I have seen where our Toby's tongue goes... !
    I do believe in personal hygiene you know :)

  7. It's all in the marketing isn't I? Consumerism, new markets, oh men, they need tidying up. Huge industry. Sad. Superficiality.


  8. The wife waxed my back once - the pain wasn't a problem, the trouble was the hundreds of spots and ingrowing hairs that resulted. Never again!
    I shower every day, I keep my limited amount of rapidly greying hair clipped short, I trim the chest hair just enough to avoid looking like a yeti, and I use a tiny trimmer to keep the ears and nostrils from looking like a badly neglected allotment.
    That's about it really.
    I like to keep tidy, but proper preening would be too much like hard work for my liking.

  9. Heron: Okay, that's the canine option ruled out then.

    www: Marketing indeed. The same message that's aimed at women non-stop - you're inadequate as you are but we can put that right with our miracle products.

    Dave: There are ways of preventing spots and ingrowing hairs. I'm surprised your wife didn't known them! But I agree, serious preening is far too time-consuming - just think how many brilliant novels would have to be sacrificed.

  10. I was never a dedicated follower of the marketing moguls so why should I want a painted doll for a man? I have to say I like a man to be lean, clean, neat and with well polished shoes.

  11. Andy's much too busy working on his various projects to worry about stuff like that. Me too!

  12. Grannymar: I think I fit the bill then! Funny, I never notice if people's shoes are well-polished or totally scuffed. My eyes never get that far down.

    Jean: Very sensible. Not much point in fanatical grooming if you're spending all day clearing snow or rigging up solar panels!

  13. Actually, I think some attention to detail in male grooming is good.

    Dudes, let's have a frank conversation. With age comes hair that sprouts out of the most bizarre places. It's not attractive.

    Those wiry eyebrow hairs, no.

    The hairs that can double as a moustache, oh dear gods no.

    Hairs sprouting from the ears. Please trim. Please, I'm begging you.

    If a guy has dry skin and wants to moisturise, why not?

    Why shouldn't men try and be physically attractive to females? Why should we be grateful that they washed and used a bit of deodorant? Given the amount of time women spend plucking, waxing, spraying, clipping, snipping, colouring and shopping, I think it's about time guys stopped presenting themselves as perfect with a bit of soap and water and if we're lucky a clean shirt.

  14. I don't know many men that moisturise etc. but I do think that it's much more the ' norm ' than it used to be .... and why not ?!! It shouldn't be exclusive to women but, men age so much better than women and I don't want them looking even better so, I'm not telling any men any of my beauty secrets !!!! haha !!!!! XXXX

  15. Rose: I do agree that men should at least be presentable, clean, in decent-looking clothes and free of unsightly hair in nostrils, ears etc. If they want to add other aesthetic refinements, good luck to them but personally I don't see the need. Jenny isn't complaining, at any rate!

    Jacqueline: You're not revealing any of your beauty secrets? That's a bit mean. Mind you, how many men would take any notice if you did? They can get to be rather fond of their comb-overs and nasal hair.

  16. I am particular about the clothes that I wear but not about how I look. I keep my beard trimmed and what little hair that I have left, short and manageable and forget about it once I am bathed and dressed till the next visit to the washroom for perhaps a face wetting exercise to freshen up. I think that it is foppish to go for facials etc like quite a few men do at the saloon that I go regularly to for my hair cut.

  17. Ramana: Your grooming routine sounds quite adequate! Just wondering what makes a man foppish rather than well turned-out and attractive. If a man has a taste for all sorts of fancy beauty treatments, I see no harm in that. Even things like plastic surgery or a hair transplant may seem unnecessary to you and me, but if they make the man feel better about himself, who's to question that?

  18. Happy New year, Nick.

    Husband would be with you on this. He moisturises his bald head but apart from that his personal care is basic.

    I'm not much better although I do have regular hair appointments to colour my hair - I feel old when grey - and I remove the hair on my chin because I have no wish to be the prickly old grandmother.

  19. Liz: Ah, bald-head care is a mystery to me as fortunately I still have plenty of hair. Colouring your hair and de-prickling your chin seem very sensible routines. But don't you think hair-colouring is outrageously expensive?

  20. ". . .spend my cash on books, music, wine and good food". I notice you didn't mention women, wild or otherwise. I think you would have some explaining to do; just before Jenny gives you a good thumping!

  21. Keith: Oh, I take my constant devotion to Jenny as read! And I'm not able to spend my cash on her as we have a joint account and all our money is pooled. Which does make birthday and Christmas presents a bit of a charade!