“Good grooming” used to be easy for guys: A quick scrape with a razor, a stinging splash of after-shave, a couple of strokes with a comb…DONE. There are still times when you can squeak by with that — but not on your wedding day.
Brittany Decheine, a master stylist at American Male, a full-service men’s salon in Bethlehem, gave me plenty of tips for the man to look his best.
The first step
Decheine suggested starting by consulting your stylist at least a month in advance. You’ll have a chance to discuss you plans and desires — and whether they are practical. You can also discuss stylistic changes and skin/hair care products — maybe even test some different approaches before your big day.
The proper time for a pre-nuptial haircut varies by individuals. “Some grooms like the fresh-cut look, so they’ll do it the morning of the ceremony. Other guys prefer a less formal hairstyle; for them, a week ahead would be better,” she said. You’d still look well-groomed, but the “newness” would be gone.
Clean your face daily — especially after workouts or other sweat-inducing activities. Choose your products based on your skin type: oily normal or combination (dry-to-normal except in your “T-zone” — forehead and nose.)
Follow that with an all-natural toner, especially one with antimicrobial properties. “Even after cleansing, a lot of dirt will remain,” she said. “A deep-cleaning toner will help keep your pores unclogged.”
Decheine also recommends looking for alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in the ingredients list for skin care products. “AHA comes from milk, fruit and sugar cane,” she said. “It helps reduce signs of aging, and can be good for acne.” And stay away from alcohol-based products — they’re too drying.
Make friends with coconut oil, too. As a hair treatment, it moisturizes your scalp and helps prevent dandruff. “It also provides a light shine and a bit of hold,” Decheine said. Work any excess into your hands, and you’ll help avoid unsightly — and sometimes painful — hangnails.
Shaving (or not)
If you plan on an ultra-manly straight-razor shave, your best bet is to get one a couple of weeks in advance — especially if it’s your first. “Straight-razors cut closer than other razors do,” Decheine pointed out. “And your skin might have a poor reaction to that.” If your face does get badly irritated, there will be time to let it heal.
On the other hand, beards need attention, too. Talk to your stylist early about potential trimming and shaping; maybe even try it then. And a little beard oil can keep your chin-cover soft and flake-free. Decheine says her fiancée uses Manscaper with great results. It also doubles as tat oil; she applied a bit to her own ink, and the colors really popped.
If they’re badly stained, see a dentist. But if you want to go just a shade or two brighter, try Rembrandt toothpaste. Decheine said, “Be sure to start four-to-six weeks in advance. It will whiten your teeth, but you must give it time to work.”
Putting it all together
Making these processes part of our routine doesn’t have to be a struggle. “You’ll use them more regularly when they’re handy, so keep everything you need in a basket in the bathroom,” Decheine said.
It may seem like a lot of effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
American Male, Bethlehem
316 E. 3rd Street