The mornings have become darker, the skies are turning grey, and there’s a definite chill in the air. With Autumn descending upon us, now is the time to give your grooming routine a serious rethink in order to ensure that your skin, hair and everything else are well-prepared for the change in climate.
The wind, central heating and low humidity that come hand in hand with the cooler months can wreak all manner of havoc on your complexion, stripping skin of its natural moisture and leaving it dry, dehydrated and prone to itching. Sauntering about your daily business with dead skin flaking from your forehead is never going to do you any favours in the manly department, and neither is dry, lacklustre hair, so it’s about time you switched up your daily routine – or in the case of many men, established one in the first place!
Don’t think you’re exempt if you’re of the oilier skinned variety, as dryness and dehydration are not beyond you. In fact, the skin often attempts to overcompensate for a lack of moisture by producing excess sebum, which is a common cause of oily skin in the first place. You might not see those dreaded flaky patches developing, but it doesn’t mean your skin isn’t crying out for some TLC.
In terms of your daily staples, let’ start with your face. Three things that every man should have in their A/W skincare arsenal are an exfoliator, cleanser, and hydrating moisturiser.
A gentle facial scrub, used once or twice a week, is one of your most powerful weapons when it comes to keeping dry areas at bay. Sloughing aw3ay dead skin cells, skin is left altogether smoother and brighter, making grey complexions a thing of the past.
For the normal, dry or sensitive-skinned, you might want to consider swapping to a cream cleanser in the colder weather, as these tend to contain more hydrating oils (and not the pore-clogging kind, either). If you’re acne-prone, ensure that your gel cleanser is free of chemical irritants such as Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS), as these can strip skin of the natural oils it actually needs, resulting in a higher frequency of breakouts.
Moisturiser is the key to keeping your skin looking alive and healthy, so apply morning and night, following your cleanse, for best results. Oily or sensitive-skinned guys are usually best off keeping it light with a cooling lotion such as The Bluebeards Revenge Cooling Moisturiser. If you’re normal-dry-skinned, go for the same thing in the mornings so as to avoid having to face the day with a somewhat greasy residue on your face, but follow up at night with a thicker cream and you will reap the nourishing and replenishing benefits while you sleep.
Aside from essentials, if you’re serious about skincare then Winter is a great time to introduce a chemical toner to your routine – and can also be a great alternative to facial scrubs for those of you with sensitive skin. Soak a cotton pad in the solution and sweep over the face in place of your night-time moisturiser 2-3 times a week and your skin will be soft and smooth in no time. The AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) these contain work to gently resurface the skin, revealing a brand new layer and a healthy-looking complexion.
Many well-groomed men look forward to the arrival of Autumn, as it’s a chance to wear that perfect hair style without the fear of your holding products melting, resulting in limp and greasy locks and leaving you wishing you hadn’t bothered.
It’s important to lay the foundations before going wild with the pomades and pastes, so wash hair thoroughly as often as required with a good quality shampoo, following up with a small amount of conditioner through the ends of hair. If you’re a stranger to conditioner, then be aware that less is very much more. While your ladyfriend might require a 10p-sized dollop, your hair is likely to be much shorter and often finer, meaning a fraction of the amount will suffice. Avoid applying to the roots or scalp, as this can result in greasy hair – spread sparingly through the lengths, and leave for 2-3 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.
To create volume, blasting with a hair dryer is advisable, starting at the roots to add lift. Once dried, you’re ready for your styling product of choice, so go wild with pomade for a slick look or reach for a matt paste for barely visible hold and a rough and ready style.
Autumn is a great time to be experimental with every aspect of your grooming routine, so try that new hairstyle, spritz on a fragrance you haven’t tried before, and get to grips with skincare – you’ll be thanking yourself for it when winter descends.