Whenever I’m sitting around with girlfriends, and we catch ourselves jumping down the beauty rabbit hole—talking about haircuts, manicures, complexions, how we react if someone calls us “pretty”—the cap to the conversation is usually: We’re being such girls right now. Not that there's anything wrong with that (though the wording may be a little politically incorrect...). But lately, I’ve been talking beauty pretty heavily with the guys in my life. Their beauty tricks and tips come from the most unexpected places—mob movies, car commercials, Ryan Gosling sightings, grandfathers…And their attention to the details of grooming only confirms what we already know (but often choose not to believe): no one, not even the effortlessly handsome, strategically undone ex-model bartender that you see walking down Bedford every day, wakes up looking that good. What follows is worth learning from:
Matt Mcintyre, Creative Director, Those Like Us
Brooklyn, New York
'I watched The Godfather in High School and figured, if a mob boss cuts his eyebrows, I should probably cut my eyebrows—so now I trim and comb them. I liked The Godfather because everyone was clean-shaven. I can’t grow a beard, but I wish I could. I Rogaine’d my face once, but nothing happened. Another thing is that I think every guy should have long hair at least once in his lifetime. I don’t think my girlfriend would have spoken to me when we first met if I didn’t have a man bun. Girls make it look so easy to put your hair up in a pony tail—but that takes practice. And hair oil. I have to use Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil or Bumble and bumble Surf Spray to really get it looking OK. You know who has great hair? Brad Pitt. He’s the most handsome guy on Earth.
I’m lucky to have decent skin, but when I do get a blemish, I put a drop of Visine on it. One day I just thought, if it takes the redness out of my eyes, it probably does the same for my skin. It’s actually crazy how well it works—but it turns out, Google was way ahead of me—I wasn’t the first to think of it. I also use Aesop Parsley Seed Anit-Oxidant Hydrator, because it smells really masculine and it looks good in my bathroom. Their design aesthetic is great.”
Justin Charles Pinos, Model
'The strangest grooming habit I have is probably trimming the hair on my feet. The hair on my big toe grows really fast. And after I saw Frodo’s feet in Lord of the Rings, I learned to keep that in check. This all makes me sound more hairy than I actually am—but I also never realized the importance of manscaping, until I did a job for Forever 21’s 'Back to School' campaign. I was told my arms were too hairy to resemble the 18-year-old student I was cast as, and it became clear that my werewolf arms weren’t a good look...
I cannot start my day without a shower, but I really dislike having dry skin. That said, you will always find me with a bottle of Le Labo Santal 33 Body Lotion. Actually, my entire life smells of Santal—the solid fragrance, body wash, soap bars and bath oil…not to mention all the scented candles scattered throughout my place. I have a problem…'
Joey Zehr, Co-Founder and President of Mr. Kate, Inc.
'I love Nick from New Girl. I think he's what we all wish we could be and still get laid. His whole sloppy character works on TV but, unfortunately, not in real life. Men groom so we don't smell as bad as we normally would. Now I'm a compulsive shower taker, which is hard for me because of the drought. I was in a band—The Click Five—when I was younger, and we were constantly photographed. Fans can be very blunt, and they'll let you know when you look good and when you don't. So I guess after you read enough people saying your hair looks like shit or that you look weird with a beard, you start to go 'OK, maybe there is some accuracy in there…'
A couple of years ago, I switched to an electric razor and haven't looked back. I have such thick facial hair that shaving with a straight razor was always war with my face. I know we all want to feel like cowboys shaving with a blade, but I can't compromise the results.”
Jai Lennard, Artist & Photographer
New York City
'I travel a lot for business and pleasure. I’m always in-and-out of a suitcase, so it’s nice to have some go-to products with me all the time. No matter where I am in the world, I always moisturize with Shiseido Hydrating Lotion, followed by Shiseido Men Total Revitalizer after washing my face. I've been having various Taiwanese girl friends of mine bring me back a specific face wash from Taipei for eight years now—it contains sulfur and keeps my face really clear. The label is in Chinese, so I don’t know what I’m using, really…but part of it says ' Mentholatum For Men.'
My older sister really set the grooming tone for me early on. She told me to keep my face clean and not to let my pores clog up. I listen to her no matter what. I think skin is really important—I know when I see or photograph a girl with a natural face, who isn’t hiding bad skin behind layers of makeup, it's honest to me. If there’s too much makeup, I actually have a hard time connecting. But in the end, you have to groom for yourself. As should be the case with everything else. Don't do it for them, do it for you.”
Morten Hoi Jensen, Writer & Translator
'I think grooming is in part about respect for yourself and for those around you. There's a cultural element, too, of course. In Denmark personal hygiene is generally thought of as being very important. The men in my family are all obstinately well-groomed. It comes especially from my grandfather, who takes an old-fashioned pride in always looking clean and put-together. There's a certain dignity in that. He still carries a comb in his back pocket.
I unapologetically love using a blow dryer. I was roundly mocked for this when I was younger. A friend even called me Captain Blow Dryer growing up. But really, I just want good hair. I bow down to men with good hair. Ray Milland, Marvin Gaye—and obviously, Ryan Gosling. Thanks to them, I have unwavering loyalty to American Crew Forming Cream. I've used it for over 10 years, and I accept no substitutes.”
Kevin Voegtlin, Surf Photographer & Filmmaker
San Clemente, California
'When my beard gets long I'm habitual with shampoo and conditioner. I actually exclusively use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle line. My beard gets treated better than anything else in my life. I’m not sure where I learned how to take care of it— GQ maybe? I don't think grooming tips tend to get passed down with men like they do with women. I mean, my dad taught me how to shave, and we can see how that’s going...
After years in the sun, surfing, and shooting surfers—I pretty much have a permanent coat of salt water on my hair, so it can really be a pain in the ass to get it to cooperate. That takes time. I’d love to naturally have Ryan Gosling hair, because, I mean…c’mon. But it’s just not the reality I live in.”
** Ryan Young, Fashion Associate at Vanity Fair
'It’s not important that men groom, it’s important for _everyone to groom. Of all the guys I know gay or straight, I can’t think of any that don’t groom. I think we’re way past that 'metrosexual' label. It’s merely another step one takes in respecting oneself and maintaining they way one looks. I was raised in a family of beauty professionals and hair was always a big thing. It’s totally an extension of my personality—if I’m having a manic day, I’ve most likely ran my hands through it several times and look like the Heatmiser.
It’s my night routine that is my strangest grooming habit—if anyone catches me past 8pm in real life—or on Facetime—they know what I’m talking about. My hair is usually pulled back by a bandana with Kate Sommerville’s 24-Hour Pimple Punisher on any trouble spots. It’s not the cutest, but good for a laugh. I have about four skincare products I use daily, though— Caudalie’s Vinosource S.O.S. Morning Eye Rescue being most critical. For me, looking good is definitely something that comes from inner confidence. Someone can give you all the tools to look 'pretty' but unless you exude it, no one is really going to realize it…and world peace. [Laughs]'
Photos via Instagram. Inspired by the boys? Read I Got It From My Boyfriend.