Emma Bryant's beauty blog on male grooming
The days of male grooming consisting of a quick wash with carbolic soap and a spritz of Old Spice as a special treat are long gone.
These days men's skincare, haircare and anti-ageing is worth billions - the age of the metrosexual male is in full swing and with celeb über groomers such as Joey Essex and Peter Andre leading the way the boys are now taking up just as much bathroom space (and time!!) as the girls!
Tanning, treatments, waxing and even make-up are all fair game as young lads preen and hone their "look".
Taking pride in your appearance is a good thing, but have we lost our rugged, real men in our pursuit for a real life Ken doll to match up to our Barbie dolls?
Are there products out there to keep your man buff but still be a but of rough?
I have been in search of grooming products to keep your other half looking at his best - with the help of some newly recruited "boy beautyhunters" who have been putting my pick of the best through their paces....
First up is L'Oreal's men's range - a commercial favourite but does it actually do what it says on the tin?
*L'Oreal Men Expert Vitalift 5 Anti-ageing moisturiser (Boots, £13.89) claims to target 5 problem areas including wrinkles, dryness, dullness, tightness and loss of firmness - so if your man's face is looking a bit saggy, jowly and grey then this should be the cream you rush out to buy for him! Our 30-something tester trialled this cream and said: "Being a working dad, sometimes the tiredness of being up through the night with the little one then doing a full day's graft can take its toll on my skin, it can look pasty and lifeless. This cream has been a godsend - I can slap it on first thing and within 10 minutes I can feel my face starting to perk up. I could definitely feel if tighten my skin and I felt like I looked 33 not 43 after a disturbed night with the baby. I will be using this every day from now on - it's a keeper."
*Rehab London do a similar anti-fatigue moisturiser called Revive Survive - aimed at a slightly younger customer this cream will help even the most hardcore party animal make it to the after-party without it showing on his face the next day. The menthol and mint fragrance helps to revitalise and the hard-working essential oils re-energise skin - so after an all-night session skin is fresh and youthful- looking (£17.95 www.rehablondon.co.uk).
*Groomed Super 8 Skin Saviour Balm: this more affordable range offers all natural, paraben free products - which will suit the more sensitive men out there and the Super 8 balm is a multi-tasking hero. It aims to soothe razor burn, combat wrinkles, energise dull skin, moisturise, refine pores, fight spots and mattify and smooth and at just £4 (Asda) it is a bargain buy. My "boy beautyhunter" said: "I suffer with breakouts occasionally but also get dry skin patches so it's hard to find a cream that can sort the two things out. This balm did help my spots so I was pleased. I liked it a lot and it was nice and cheap - I don't want to spend a lot on creams and things so it was ideal."
Shaving is the biggest part of most non-bearded men's bathroom routine - boys please note: a full-on beard is a no-no! A little bit of gruff is enough - but a food stuck in your chin-type beard is not what us girls want. So what's the easiest way to get even the laziest of men into a good shaving routine?
The Real Shaving Company has a great 3-step shaving programme. Step 1 - Prepare, Step 2 - Shave, Step 3 - Maintain.
Step 1 is a scrub to prep the face leaving it smooth enough to stop razor blade drag (£4.99 Morrisons), Step 2 is a traditional shaving foam with a creamy lather which lifts bristles away from the skin (£3.99) and Step 3 is a soothing balm (£4.99) this has aloe vera to immediately soothe and calm post-shave skin - but what did my guinea pig think: "I have to be clean shaven every day for my job so it needs to be quick and easy. I liked the 3-step idea as even I remember to do all 3 even on an early start. I have never used a scrub before as I usually leave that kind of stuff to the mrs, but it did make shaving easier actually - so I am converted!"
And for most men their hair usually takes the longest! I know I am left waiting for my beloved to get his hair "right" long after me some days even though my hair is 6 times longer than his!!!
A great shampoo my other half loves is Lush's banana shampoo, Lush says it is for all hair colours but my boy swears it makes the most of his blond locks (£18 Lush). He follows it up with Jack Dean's Styling Paste (£11 www.denmanpro.com) - he likes the strong paste as it gives him the beachy look he loves and it's light enough not to leave any gunky residue that some other waxes or gels can leave. The Jack Dean range is part of the Denman family - and I love the Denman brushes - so I can see why this styling paste would be a winner!
But what if your man is more Geordie Shore than Auf Weidersehen Pet? Well, I would hide your Veet and your eyeliner and make sure you squeeze up to make some room in that spray tanning booth!!
And good luck getting him out of that mirror!
TOP TIP: If you have a tattoo make sure you use the highest SPF sun cream going to stop your ink work colours from fading in the sunshine.