Get a Sharper Image: Grooming Tips for Guys

Medically Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein, MD on June 04, 2015
4 min read

You still feel as young and active as you did during college. Wouldn't it be great to look more like you did in your 20s, too?

You can’t take the years off, but you can get a little bit of the old you back.

“There are more options for men today than there ever have been,” says San Diego-based dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio, MD.Plus, you can make a big change with a fairly small impact on your budget.

If you’re not ready for a trip to the salon, you can do it at home. Millions of men are, says David E. Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, N.Y.                                                                    

Skip the dye most women use. It bleaches all your hair first and then adds color.

Choose a product for men. Look for one that says it covers gray. That means it adds only an extra tint to those strands. Your darker hairs won’t pick up any color at all. And it washes out over time.

Use a gray-only color for your beard, too. “Beard hair tends not to be one solid color,” Benabio says. Having a beard that's all one shade would stand out.

Your skin gets drier with age. That's one reason all those wrinkles you didn’t have before suddenly show up. But you may already be using a product that can help. And if you're not? Start today.

“Everybody should be using sunscreen,” Bank says. Not only will it cut your skin cancer risk, it can help hold off those lines that let everyone know you're no spring chicken anymore.

Again, look for products made for men. Find one that combines SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with moisturizer.

About those wrinkles? Take a cue from the ladies. Try a night cream with a product called retinol, which comes from vitamin A. Doctors prescribe the heavy-duty ones, but you can find a zillion of them on the drugstore shelves. If you haven't spent a lot of time in the cosmetic section of the pharmacy or supermarket lately, you'll find they make products like this for men, too.

What does it do? Retinol zaps those fine lines that make a road map out of your face. It also lightens dark spots, keeps your skin supple, and gives you a healthy glow, says Marc Glashofer, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in West Orange, N.J.

You don’t have to go under the knife to take years off anymore. Botox and fillers are popular and don't require surgery.

“There's been a rise in men seeking care with a plastic surgeon,” says Michael Edwards, MD, past president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “It's becoming more acceptable.”

Botox can erase frown lines, forehead furrows, and crow's feet. Fillers can flesh out wrinkles, sunken areas, and acne scars. But it takes upkeep: You'll need to get treated every few months to maintain the look.

See a board-certified plastic surgeon to get the best results. “Go to somebody who's trained and knows the anatomy, knows how to recognize potential complications,” Edwards says.

Do you smoke? Drink coffee, tea, or dark colas? Your teeth may not be their brightest, but there are ways to get some of your sparkle back.

Start with a whitening toothpaste. Most have a mild abrasive that scrubs off surface stains. Products with hydrogen peroxide lighten teeth more.

At-home whiteners are cheaper than those from the dentist's office but they don't work as fast.

That's OK, says Harald O. Heymann, DDS, professor of operative dentistry at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry. Some methods may take longer than others, but they all work.

Be careful: The process can make your teeth react more to heat and cold. It can also make your gums hurt. It depends on how strong the bleach is and how long it stays on your teeth, Heymann says.            

Get your dentist’s go-ahead before you start to whiten your teeth if you have bondings, fillings, or crowns. They don't brighten the way your teeth do.

Skin is in and bald has never been sexier. If your hair is on its way out, why not shave your head?

To get the look, trim your hair to stubble length, apply shaving gel or cream, and use a razor or electric shaver.

“Shaving with the hairs is the safest way to do it,” Benabio says. Start from the crown down in the back and then do the sides.

Make one pass in the opposite direction for a close shave. Afterward, Bank says, use a moisturizer to seal and soothe your skin. Pick an oil-free product. It won’t block your pores. That can cause ingrown hairs and pimples.

Follow the same shaving guidelines above to remove chest or back hair or sculpt your pubic hair. Trim long hairs first, shave in the direction that hair grows, and moisturize when you’re done.

You probably don’t need a reminder, but be extra careful when you shave down there. “Go slowly and carefully. A nick or cut there could lead to an infection,” Benabio says.

And think before you wax. You create trauma when you rip the hairs out, Bank says. Waxing can burn you, irritate your skin, or cause problems like ingrown hairs.