My fellow editor Melissa Kirsch published an article earlier today about the 10 beauty products she swears by. As a man it was quite educational for me—and it prompted me to inventory my own beauty regimen, and write a similar ode to the products I use every day.
Originally there were only two items on this list. However, of course I have to win, so I thought for a while until I came up with 11. Here we go.
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1. Head and Shoulders
I don’t know if I would have dandruff if I discontinued my use of dandruff shampoo. However, I do not see much upside in running an experiment to find out. Maybe we can ask Grant Stoddard to try it.
2. Irish Spring
My wife and I dated in our early 20s, broke up for 18 years, and then got together and got married. When we were together the first time, I used Irish Spring brand soap; when we got married my wife remembered, and she bought it for us assuming it was my favorite brand. Now I use it again.
3. Nail clipper
There are two things on the grooming front that make me feel very out of sorts if I don’t do them. First, if I need a haircut; second, if I let my nails go a couple of days too long before clipping them. Unfortunately, I seem to lose nail clippers almost every time I use them; fortunately, they sell them for about 99 cents at CVS—but only if you get the ones on display at the checkout counter. The clippers that they sell in the nail care aisle are identical, but they usually cost 2-3 times more.
4. Salicylic acid
When I was younger, I thought that by the time I hit my 40s acne would be a distant memory. It’s not, but thankfully they sell this miracle product over the counter, which pretty much keeps it at bay. I’m partial to the drugstore brand.
5. My fingers
Fun fact: For as long as I can remember, I have never gone to a new barber and not had him or her comment on how thick my hair is and how fast it grows. How thick is it? Let’s just say I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about going bald, and if I ever had to smuggle drugs into a prison I know how I’d do it. After trying a lot of combs and brushes, however, I’ve pretty much learned to take 15 seconds in the morning and get it kinda, sorta not-super-unruly using just my hands.
6. Cheap razors
I buy the cheap disposable ones. This means I use them just a few times and toss them—but I think overall that’s better than buying the more expensive ones, which I’d also probably use and toss. I am thinking about switching to a straight razor, but I haven’t done it yet.
7. $4 suction cup shower mirror
This is an important component of my shaving regimen. I shave in the shower. That requires a fog-free mirror.
8. Brut (sometimes Old Spice)
If you want to know how old-school a guy is, check his deodorant. I’ve been using the same brand since—high school? College at the latest. Both were kind of a long time ago now.
9. Old Spice All-in-One
Notwithstanding #1 and #2, occasionally I’ll go crazy—usually while traveling—and I’ll use this all-in-one liquid man-cleaning product that can be used as both a body wash and a shampoo. (It might also make for a tasty dessert topping.)
10. Hair stuff
I honestly can’t remember what this stuff is called, which is probably why I wind up buying a different brand every time. But I’ve got that thick hair, like I mentioned, so I need something like this to keep it confined to the same zip code as I’m in. I’m not sure exactly what’s in it. I think it might include airplane glue, hemp and probably sludge from the floor of the factory where it’s produced.
11. Nose and ear hair trimmer
You get a little bit older, and all of a sudden you get more hair growing out of your nose and on your ears. So, you need one of these, along with a steady supply of AAA batteries.