When it comes to the harsh winter months of the year, there is one thing that is absolutely critical when it comes to taking care of your grooming routine – and that is moisture.
If you live in one of frigid northern states, you know just how bad it can get during winter time. As the days get colder and dryer (and also shorter), your lips will often begin to crack, knuckles start to bleed, and just generally you will start to experience dry skin as well.
That’s why we wanted to take just a moment to help out all of our northern friends on how to make sure that you look your absolute best no matter the conditions outside.
Guys, it’s ok to use lotion (caution NSFW language):
Here is our list of the top winter grooming essentials that you should start doing today:
1. If You Have A Beard You Should Be Using an Oil Or Balm
While we have talked extensively about beards, almost to an unhealthy obsession, one fact remains clear: a well-maintained beard is WAY more attractive as opposed to one that is unkempt or just generally dry and messy.
To help maintain your beard properly, the one single product that you should invest in will be a beard oil.
Beard oil is formulated from both carrier and essential oils and acts as a conditioning agent that not only keeps your beard feeling soft, but also to prevent your skin from flaking on your face.
The carrier oils found within beard oil are typically jojoba, argan, or sweet almond oils. These well-tempered oils act to compliment your natural sebum oil that is produced by your skin. This complimentary effect helps to keep your skin well-nourished and moisturized.
You can read all about the benefits of beard oil in this in-depth article we recently published.
If you are on a budget, its actually pretty easy to make this stuff yourself – just be sure to follow our in-depth guide.
A common product typically associated with beard oil will be beard balm.
Beard balm is nearly the same in many aspects. A beard balm will contain both the carrier and essential oils found in beard oil, but also contains two additional ingredients:
- Butter (usually shea or cocoa)
The butter found in beard balm is an extra layer of moisture that helps to further repair both your beard and skin. These same ingredients are typically found in the best hand lotions for men as well.
The beeswax within a balm primarily acts as a protectant for your skin. This will help to naturally lock in the moisture to your skin without the feeling that you are wearing a mask or are being suffocated.
Most balms don’t contain a high amount of beeswax, therefore the hold to keep your whiskers is in check is typically light to medium at best. For a stronger hold, check out mustache waxes instead.
These two additional ingredients make beard balm better suited for those living in the harshest conditions (think Minnesota, Buffalo, Canada, etc.).
2. Beard Care Doesn’t End With Beard Oil – Consider A Beard Wash
Beard shampoos (or washes) are a great way to keep your face hydrated between application of an oil or balm.
Oddly enough, a beard shampoo is formulated drastically different from your bargain priced shampoo that you pick up from the grocery store.
Instead, beard shampoos act to gently wash your skin while removing dirt, grime and general pollutants but not to strip away all your sebum oil in an abrasive manner.
This will ensure that your beard gets completely cleaned, but not so much that it will feel dry and crunchy afterwards.
A quality beard shampoo will have many of the same ingredients found in balms and oil (i.e. carrier and essential oils) along with sudsing agents and other surfactants that will get the job done effectively.
3. Shaving Needs Plenty of Moisture – Invest In Pre Shave Oil
Now on the flipside to beard care comes proper care for your face in a wet shaving environment.
The supporting cast of characters when it comes to shaving in the winter and keeping your skin well-nourished and moisturized is going to be heavy reliance on a pre shave oil.
Pre shave oils act as a natural lubricant that rests squarely between your skin and the shaving cream.
Very much like a beard oil, pre shave oils rely on both carrier and essential oils to get the job done. However, oddly enough, you typically can’t use a beard oil as a pre shave oil substitute.
The reason for this is that pre shave oils typically will rely on thinner carrier oils that will complement the razor blade of your choice.
Therefore, when looking on the side of any pre shave oil, one of the most noteworthy ingredients will likely be castor oil.
Ingredients aside, pre shave oil will help to reduce any skipping of the razor blade when passed along your skin. Also, if you have incredibly dry skin, a pre shave oil will help to provide some elasticity to your skin so no tearing/micro abrasions will occur when shaving.
4. Your Shaving Cream Shouldn’t Come From A Can
I get it, going to the grocery store once a month is a convenient way to pick up a can of your favorite shaving cream that should adequately last you another month or so.
But what you miss out on when going to the big box grocery store is all the incredible brands that are just a click away.
When using a boutique shaving cream (or soap) for the very first time, you will be a lifelong user given its ability to provide such a richer lather and simply a much more comfortable shave.
When judging a shaving cream, it boils down to four key factors – its ability to retain heat, moisture, lubrication, and cushion.
Unlike the canned shaving creams, a top rated shaving cream typically comes in a tube or tub form and is a rich blend of ingredients that will get the job done.
Shaving creams like Taylor of Old Bond Street have served men for over 100 years and still does a terrific job at developing a rich lather as we found out in our in-depth review.
A quality shaving cream will have ingredients that help to provide an ample moisture base that will help to reduce post-shave dryness. Contrary, canned shaving creams often contain alcohol based ingredients that will further dry out your skin once you are done shaving!
5. After You Are Done Shaving – Don’t Use Traditional Aftershave Splash
Even if you do use a quality pre shave oil along with a shaving cream, the fact still remains, you just dragged an incredibly sharp razor blade across the surface of your skin.
Whether you used a double edge safety razor or a cartridge razor, your skin has just effectively been exfoliated leaving it open to dryness along with bacteria trying to creep its way into your pores.
To keep your skin well hydrated after your shave, especially in the winter months, an aftershave balm will reduce any sort of ashyness that may appear on your cheeks or neck.
Aftershave balm, unlike an aftershave splash, relies on products that moisturize your skin.
While we outline the differences between an aftershave splash, lotion, and balm in this post – just know this: aftershave splashes and lotions typically contain alcohol as a base ingredient.
This means that when a splash or lotion is applied, if you nicked yourself (even if incredibly small), it will sting when applied to your skin.
But here’s the kicker:
Not only is the sting a literal slap in the face, but the alcohol contained in the product will actually dry out your skin as well.
This spells disaster during the winter months as your cheeks will be dried to a crisp.
Aftershave balm differs in that it not only moisturizes through carrier oils, but its anti-fungal properties are derived from ingredients like tea tree oil along with witch hazel.
Simply put, whether its summer or winter, you can’t go wrong with using an aftershave balm daily.
6. Bloody Knuckles? Solve It With Hand Lotion Designed For Men
When it comes to winter months, cracking and eventual bloody knuckles absolutely suck – especially if you are typing on a keyboard all day long.
Fortunately, over the past couple of years, there has been a surge among manufacturers to create hand lotions geared specifically for men.
As we outlined in a recent post, some of the best hand lotions for men can contain an excellent array of ingredients.
What’s more is that since these products are designed specifically for men, you won’t be smelling like a basket full of fruits or flowers once you are done using it.
For instance, we really loved the Pre de Provence hand lotion as it not only relies on shea butter (also found in beard balm), but also contains glycerin (which is a natural humectant), along with aloe vera that will deliver a nice added layer of relief.
Oh and did we mention that the Pre de Provence hand lotion actually smells like a rich mixture of citrus-cedar wood along with other scents that smells both warm and spicy? How’s that for manly!
7. Lip Balm Can Be Huge In Preventing Cracked Lips
There is no denying the importance of a well-balanced lip balm in the dry winter months.
A carefully constructed lip balm will strike a balance between rich moisturizing agents along with beeswax.
Too much beeswax in a product will lead you to just spreading wax upon your lips time and time again, without ever having your chapped lips fully cured.
Too little beeswax won’t provide the protective layer to help retain in the moisture provided by the other ingredients.
In addition, you don’t want to be using a lip balm that will give you a ‘hint’ of pink or anything that might come off as too feminine.
Therefore, we recently outlined some of the best lip balms for men. From Kheil’s to Burt’s Bees, we go over some of the best names in the lip balm world that will keep you looking fresh.
8. Face Cream Isn’t Just For The Ladies
Whether you have naturally oily skin, dry skin, or somewhere in the middle, a face cream will be essential to keeping your skin completion in check along with keeping your face well moisturized, especially in the winter months.
But check this out:
Just because its winter, that doesn’t mean the sun disappears, that’s why its recommend by dermatologists to always keep a layer of SPF sun protection year-round.
Don’t worry, if it’s your first time ever using a lotion on your skin, many of them come unscented and are incredibly easy to apply.
9. A Bar Of Soap Should Compliment Your Skin Rather Than Fight It
If you are still using the same bar of soap that your wife or girlfriend uses – stop!
As a guy, your skin is a bit more rugged and requires a soap specially made to bring out your best properties.
As we talked about hand lotions above (see #6) – chances are that once you are done with your shower, you likely don’t want to smell like flowers and other aromatic scents.
Instead, a sandalwood scent is often preferred by men as it will leave you smelling like that classic barbershop smell.
From Duke Cannon to Dr. Squatch – you can find some terrific smelling soaps that will leave your skin feeling smooth while still retaining the ability of washing away oil and grease should you be getting your hands dirty throughout the day.
10. Body Wash As An Alternative To The Bar Of Soap
While some men may prefer a bar of soap, others also tend to favor a body wash.
Body washes are a terrific way to get a quicker spread of soap on your body that doesn’t require the work up a lather like a bar of soap.
In addition to ease of use, a body wash paired with a soft sponge will help to release dirt and grime from your skin in a very gentle, yet effective, manner.
Beyond the application, body washes for men, just like bars of soap that are also geared towards men, can have an excellent scent profile like cedarwood, mahogany, along with other ‘fresher’ and ‘cleaner’ scents that you may be accustomed to.
But most importantly, a top-notch body wash will provide moisture that will leave your skin feeling hydrated so you won’t feel itchy all day long.
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