The beauty industry is mainly geared towards female consumers but more skincare labs are beginning to cotton on to men who are clued up to their hair and skincare needs. With more skincare ranges being made exclusively for men's needs, guys are taking an active interest in their daily upkeep; leaving behind the notion that self-care is largely a waste of time and money. Be that as it may, grooming can be time-consuming, pricey and confusing so here are some basic tips to get you started.
While most men have suffered from ingrown hairs (razor burn), black men are especially prone to this condition because of their tightly coiled body hairs. This is has a greater chance of curving and growing back into the skin after shaving. This causes painful shaving bumps and irritation on the face and neck, and can only become more aggravated with further shaving.
Although it’s a common problem, you needn't accept it as a natural part of shaving.
- Keep skin exfoliated,
- Change or sharpen your razor after 4-5 uses and
- Follow shaving with an alcohol-free shaving balm to greatly reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs. Witch-hazel is a great aftershave balm that's mild and inexpensive.
- Run half a lemon with a large dollop of pure, natural honey over the affected area to soothe and gently fade marks.
- Don't press too hard on your skin and always follow the direction of the hair growth.
- Use a soft-bristled facial brush and liquid cleanser in a circular motion on your beard to dislodge the tips of ingrown hairs, which also removes dead skin cells and clear follicles to allow hairs to surface unimpeded.
- Use a shaving oil with your shaving cream to provide a soothing barrier for your skin.
If you find yourself suffering a great deal from these skin irritations, consider cutting down on the amount of times you shave.
Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation.
Dark patches can often appear on black skin when scarring occurs, whether from cuts, acne or burns. These dark spots and uneven skin tone (hyperpigmentation) will usually fade over time, but some ingredients can definitively help even skin colour and promote a smoother surface. Retinol, kojic acid and Vitamin C are frequently used by dermatologists and estheticians to fade dark areas and balance skin tone. These products often take 4 to 8 weeks of consistent use to yield maximum results.
Regular, gentle exfoliation is also a good way to improve skin tone because it removes the top layer of dead skin cells and allows new, healthier cells to appear. By removing the upper layer, it also allows ingredients such as Retinol to more effectively treat the skin. When using a product such as this, make sure you protect your skin well from the sun’s rays, since sun exposure stimulates pigment production and cause further uneven darkening of the skin.
Dry, Ashy Skin.
Black men with very dry skin often have an ashy or gray appearance when skin is not thoroughly moisturised. This is an important and sometimes overlooked step which promotes a smoother, healthier look. Hot water dries out the skin’s surface, so the first step is avoiding long, hot showers and baths. Wash with a gentle liquid cleanser instead of bar soap (since bar soap can actually dry out skin), and apply moisturiser within five minutes of stepping out of the bath. This will lock moisture into your pores, promoting a smoother, more even appearance. Skip lotion and look for a "cream" instead. The only difference between the two is that a cream is a richer, thicker lotion which offers greater moisture sealing for longer. Or try an emollient.
A common misconception about darker-toned skin is that it cannot burn or be damaged by the sun. Although darker skin contains more pigment (melanin) which offers greater protection against the sun’s rays, it is still at risk for a number of sun-related diseases. Darker men are often at a higher risk because it is often harder to detect changes in skin marks or discolouration.
Protecting your skin from the sun is important, but it can be as easy as using a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher that offers broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays, as long as it applied well and often.
Teeth Whitening and Odour Control
We all know the rules - brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day. Floss and use mouth wash. Brush your tongue and gums. Drink more water. Sometimes you can follow all these steps and still be stuck with yellowing teeth.
There are many methods you can use to safely and effectively whiten your teeth. I prefer the peroxide method as peroxide is a key ingredient in many teeth whiteners and doubles up as a breath freshener. I seldom use any concentrate above 2% which you can easily find in most pharmacies.
Put a generous squeeze of toothpaste into a small cup, mix in one teaspoon of baking soda plus one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and half a teaspoon of water. Thoroughly mix then brush your teeth for two minutes. Remember to do it once a week until you have reached the results you want. Once your teeth are the shade you're happy with, limit yourself to using the whitening treatment once every month or two.
- Select the food you eat carefully. Crunchy and crispy fruits and veg are like a natural "toothbrush". They have an abrasiveness that can lift stains from your teeth without harming the enamel. Try carrots, apples and celery.
- If you have berries, red wine, strong tea or coffee, swish water around your mouth after a meal. As soon as you can; brush your teeth as those foods can stain teeth.