Despite supermarket shelves being stacked with throwaway deodorants, gels, and scrubs, the fact is, your granddad was probably better groomed than you. All it takes to be timelessly well turned out, is a little bit of time, a few high quality products, and the sort of attention to detail which would make your old grandpa proud. Here’s how to take care of modern male grooming – the old fashioned way.
Have a bath
People love to pretend they’re too busy to wallow in the bath, but if you limit yourself to showers, you’re short changing yourself. Not only is a hot bath by far the best way to get thoroughly clean, it’s also good for you. Submersion in warm water dilates your blood vessels, increases your pulse rate, and boosts your circulation which – unless you suffer from heart disease – does your cardiovascular system the power of good.
Add a few drops of essential oils to your bath water and you’ll also benefit from the cleansing, healing properties of steam, which when you inhale it, helps clear your chest and sinuses – ideal if you’ve got the winter sniffles.
And just in case you thought the healing properties of the bathtub are confined to hot water, a cold splash may also be beneficial. A chilly dip stimulates and tones your vagus nerve, the nerve which controls your parasympathetic nervous system – helping to shift you from stressed out “fight or flight” mode, into your “rest and digest” setting.
Long known – and feared – for its laxative properties, we’re not suggesting you drink castor oil, but you should consider smearing it onto your head. Castor oil has both anti-dandruff and anti-microbial properties, and nourishes, moisturises, and rejuvenates your hair. It may even help prevent hair loss.
Dampen your barnet, scoop a dollop of castor oil and massage it into your hair and scalp. Now wrap your head in a towel, leaving the oil to do its work for as long as you can – overnight works best. When you’re ready to wash your hair, you may have to rinse and repeat to get all the oil out, but you’ll see right away how much shinier it looks.
The best thing you can do for a good shave is to prepare your skin properly. Hot towels open your pores and soften your hair follicles ready for the razor.
For a genuine barbershop experience, first shake a couple of drops of essential oil onto a dry hand towel or washcloth, then either put the towel under the hot tap, or dampen it before putting it in a pyrex dish in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check the towel isn’t too hot before you wrap around your face.
Break out the badger
Enjoying an old school shave means investing in proper shaving brush and soap. The best brush is tipped with genuine silvertip badger hair, which is renowned for its toughness, pliability and water retaining properties.
Wet your brush and swirl it in the soap, before applying it to your face, then ply the brush in a brisk, circular fashion to build a thick, creamy lather ready for the blade.
It’s time to cast out throwaway razors and multi-blade refills – the original way was best. If you’re too scared to go for a cut throat razor, your best bet is to invest in a safety razor which takes a simple double-sided, single-edged blade. Unlike modern incarnations these blades cut the hair close to the skin, but they don’t pull it up to cut it, so you’re less likely to end up with a sore, blotchy chin and neck.
We all cut ourselves shaving at one time or another. But if you usually reach for the toilet paper to blot, try doing instead, what your grandad almost certainly did – apply your styptic pencil to kill germs and stop the bleeding.
As the guys at Executive Shaving say, “A styptic pencil is a medicated stick generally made of powdered crystal from an alum block and a wax binder.” It’s the best astringent there is – your grandpa knew it, now so do you.
Yes it smarts a bit, but back in the day, an alcohol-based aftershave was vital to prevent infection. Our message is, don’t be such a snowflake, a light splash of Old Spice will well and truly wake you up, and you’ll smell as good as your grandad too.
Do you have any old-time grooming tips to share? We’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line in the comments or Facebook page.