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Lookin’ Good: A Man's Guide

What to look for in male grooming products, from skin and hair care to shaving and razor burn.

Men’s shampoo and hair-styling products continued...

Once a man is out of the shower, he has a choice of dozens of hair styling products. American Crew, a leading maker of men’s hair care products, offers several hair styling creams, gels, and sprays, including classic pomades. According to David Cannell, PhD, senior vice president of R&D at Redken NYC, gels typically contain polymers that coat individual hairs. The more polymers, the firmer the hold. Gels are water-based, so they also can be diluted simply by applying them to wet hair, softening their effect. Hair waxes, which have been around for years, clump strands of hair together so they stay in place. Pomade, another perennial men’s hair product now making a comeback, is traditionally made of oils such as castor oil or petrolatum. Creams and pastes are hybrids - mixtures of gel, oil, or wax designed to combine their qualities.

With all the new men’s hair styling products, the advice of the old Bryllcream jingle - “a little dab’ll do ya” - still holds true. “Too many guys end up looking like a Ken doll,” says Eric Roos, founder of Nancy Boy, which manufactures a range of men’s grooming products.

Men’s shaving products

Shaving is the area where men typically have the most problems, especially guys with heavy facial hair. Not surprisingly, a number of blogs have sprung up devoted entirely to conversations about various men’s shaving products. One of the most popular,, offers lively reviews of new and old men’s shaving products.

The biggest complaint is razor burn. Glaser’s advice: “If you have problem with razor burn, take the time to wash your face with warm water. Warming smoothes the skin and makes the blade less likely to scrape.”

Experiment with different shaving creams and lotions to find one that works best for you. The same advice goes for razors. Some men like razors with multiple blades. Others find that those extra blades just offer more chances to scrape and irritate the skin. Glaser’s male patients generally like razors with glide strips. Schick Quattro, for example, has a glide strip with aloe that is positioned just in front of the blade.

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