Unless you prefer the Grizzly Adams look, now is the time to reassess your grooming and hair care routine and make adjustments for the winter season. Looking for some easy tips for keeping your look polished while still low-maintenance? Need help keeping your beard and eyebrows under control or rejuvenating dry, dull hair? Read on for a simple guide to men’s hair care and grooming that can help you look and feel your best all season long.
Winter is upon is, which for many men signals the perfect time to change up their appearance with a beard or longer locks. Many men love to take advantage of the cold months by growing their scruff into the kind of full, luxurious whiskers a Viking would envy. But with the chilly, dry weather comes a host of hair concerns that can affect more than just beards - so you can’t afford to neglect your grooming routine this season. The hair on your head, cheeks, eyebrows, and yes, even your ears and nose, all deserve special attention. Here’s how to keep your hair healthy from head to toe, plus look polished and effortlessly well-groomed, throughout the cold weather season.
Keep hair healthy and hydrated
If you neglect your hair during the winter months, it can suffer some unfortunate consequences. Dry air sucks the moisture from your scalp, which can turn your hair into a frizzy, brittle mess. Dry hair tends to look dull as well, making you appear washed out. Fortunately, with a little extra TLC, there are ways to keep your hair looking as fresh and wonderful as it does in the spring and summer.
- Wash and condition. Contrary to popular opinion, most men don’t need to wash their hair every day. As dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, MD, explains to WebMD, “Hair is a fiber… The more you wash it, the worse it's going to look. “Depending on your hair type and daily routine, shampooing three or four times a week should be enough to maintain a clean scalp and healthy locks. When you do wash, use a gentle shampoo without harsh ingredients, followed by a conditioner that helps your hair retain moisture and vibrancy in cold weather.
- Wear natural-fiber hats. Winter is a great time to break out the hats you’ve stashed away in your closet all year, since they can complement many types of looks. However, many hats are made of man-made materials which, according to Men’s Fitness, can make your scalp hot and sweaty – a recipe for dandruff-causing fungi. Another byproduct of the wrong hat choice is the dreaded hat hair. To counter these potential problems, stick to hats made from natural fibers, such as wool.
- Eat a hair-healthy diet. Yes, your diet affects even your hair. As WebMD states, hair is mostly protein. Protein-rich foods are therefore essential in maintaining a healthy scalp. Poultry and salmon are great options, as are walnuts, eggs and Greek yogurt. Watch what you eat and your hair will thank you.
Tame your beard
This is the part many men look forward to in winter: now that scruff you’ve been sporting all year can now reach its full beard potential. However, there’s more to growing a beard than picking a shape and letting it go. Choosing a beard shape that suits your face is essential, and so is taking care of both the hair and the skin underneath it.
- Find the right shape. No two faces are alike, which means no two beards are alike either. Pick a shape that suits your face shape and appearance. AskMen suggests a goatee for round faces and a styled five o’clock shadow for angular faces. Ask your barber’s opinion and consider enlisting his or her help for the intial styling, then keep up the maintenance with clippers and a razor. Different styles require varying levels of attention and upkeep, so make sure you pick one you can manage.
- Use quality grooming products. Beard hair needs just as much attention as the hair on your head. Use shampoo and conditioner if you’re growing a thick beard. If you want minimum fuss in your haircare routine, try a leave-in conditioner like the Philip B Lovin’ Leave-In Conditioner Creme, which helps detangle and refresh your beard hair.
- Moisturize. If you remember nothing else about winter grooming, remember this: moisturizing is a must. Hydration keeps the skin under your beard happy, which in turn promotes healthy hair growth. For a DIY option, The Examiner recommends a simple combination of grapeseed oil and lime essential oil, to keep your beard healthy and soft through winter’s harshest months.
Manage unruly eyebrows
As men get older, their eyebrows tend to go awry. The majority of eyebrow-grooming products are marketed toward women, leaving men in the dark. The good news is that men don’t need to worry too much about shaping and sculpting; an overly-manicured brow is not the goal. Instead, you want a trim, put-together look that doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. This can be achieved with a few easy steps.
- Measure the space between. Esquire suggests a simple eyebrow plucking technique: Put the pad of your thumb between your brows, and pluck any hair that your thumb covers. When plucking, use a warm washcloth to soften the hair and skin. Be sure to step away from the mirror from time to time for perspective, to make sure you’re not going overboard.
- Use lotion. Plucking can redden and irritate your skin, especially in the winter when conditions are already dry. Menscience Advanced Face Lotion will keep your skin smooth and supple after your work is done.
- Don’t go overboard. Men don’t need meticulously shaped eyebrows, just eyebrows that are groomed and presentable. To achieve this, brush your brows up and trim errant hairs with a pair of snub-nosed scissors, as advised by Esquire. This will keep your brows in place without being fussy or meticulous. You can also visit a salon that specializes in servicing men’s brows, since a more traditional salon may overstyle your eyebrows.
Trim unwanted hair in the nose and ears
Nose and ear hair is unfortunate but inevitable. This type of hair is hard to see yourself but can be obvious to your friends, family, colleagues and romantic interests. While errant hair in these regions is all too common, it’s not insurmountable. With a little time and effort, you can be free of this nuisance. Just be careful not to hurt yourself - the nose and ears are delicate areas.
- Invest in quality trimmers. A lot of technological ingenuity has gone into the development of nose trimmers. AskMen suggests trimmers with rotating or oscillating blades and suction devices to catch loose hairs, many of which can also be used on ears. Some trimmers even have lights mounted to the head. Whatever you choose, use a mirror to find the hard-to-see places.
- Know when to trim. A common misconception is that if men trim their nose and ear hair, it will grow back faster and thicker. As AskMen points out, this isn’t the case. Trim when you start noticing the hair becoming a problem, or better yet, ask someone you’re close with if they notice. You will soon get a sense of how often you need to trim.
- Don’t forget to moisturize. Your ears can easily get dried out after trimming, especially during the dry winter months. Dab some lotion on your fingertip and rub it around the external part of your ear, taking care not to go too far into the ear canal.
Hair can either be a source of pride or irritation for a man. You may sport an enviable beard while stray ear bristles have you scurrying for the trimmer. The reality is, healthy hair requires some special attention, whether that means keeping the hair you want or removing the hair you don’t want. The goal is to look professional and put together, especially when cold weather strikes. Fortunately, you can look your best this winter without breaking the bank or dramatically changing your routine.
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