Party season is well and truly upon us, which means the next few weeks are set to be packed with food, drinks, and dressing up for big occasions. Showing up looking your best is high on people’s list of priorities, but cold nights, working long hours in the run up to Christmas, and a battery of confectionery temptations conspire together to make this reality a near-impossibility. Luckily for you, this is precisely where Mankind comes to the rescue.
The fact is, pulling out all the stops and taking your look up a notch when the time calls is not difficult, but a matter of having a few simple grooming tricks at your disposal. Check out our essential grooming ingredients in a Party Season Grooming Survival Kit.
We’ve covered the shift of what is and is not acceptable in facial hair in extensive detail on the blog over the last year. The official Mankind stance is that the relaxation of standards about stubble is a great thing, for which soft-edged jawlines and sensitive skins across the country have reason to give thanks. However, we’re going to make a controversial statement: when it comes to formal occasions, the old methods are king. For those who are not able to turn up with a neatly groomed beard, clean-shaven is the only way to go.
If you are baulking at the idea of parting with your designer stubble, then you need not despair. 2-3 weeks of growth should be all that’s necessary to have full enough facial hair for a formal party, provided it’s shampooed clean, brushed, and you use a light application of beard oil to sort out the shape, texture, and scent.
One potential danger of keeping your facial fuzz is looking as though you lack access to basic grooming facilities. Avoid this by removing straggles on the cheeks and shaving in a neckline. A neckline should be U-shaped, and should begin somewhere within the grey area between your neck and chin. Shaving too high a neckline is a trap many men fall into: like the pencil beard, this appears to be an all-too-obvious attempt to create the illusion of a jaw. Instead, you should aim to keep some thickness on the bottom of the chin, which will outline the face and square off the jawline.
If you do shave, avoid unsightly razor bumps and irritated, flushed skin by employing traditional methods. Use a traditional badger brush, shaving cream, and safety razor to achieve the closest shave you can without causing ingrown hairs. Read more about the techniques you need for avoiding razor bumps here.
If you’re an avowed fan of the short back and sides, as is the case with most men, then timing your haircut for the big occasion is the number one trick to making sure you look your best on the big night. You may not have the months at your disposal required to do this, but all good haircuts start from a good relationship with your barber. Know what to ask for, and know that they know how to deliver it. A fresh haircut rarely looks its best the second you step out of the barber’s chair, but rather grows into its full potential. So time how long it takes for you to feel most comfortable with how it looks, and plan in your haircut for that number of days ahead of the event. It’s basically foolproof.
For the style, a neat classic look, like slicked-back hair, or a swept back quiff is the way to go for most straight-haired guys. For the former, use a pomade, or if your hair is difficult to manage, a gel, and comb back the hair into place. Lock this style in with a hairspray to ensure it won’t loose its shape throughout your night.
With a more voluminous style, the 3-step method we’ve talked about plenty of times before on the Mankind blog would be our official line. Apply pre-styler to wet hair, apply a strong hold styling product after blow drying, and lock in place with a hairspray for an unbeatable quiff which will be perfect for your Christmas or New Year’s Eve party.
Here at Mankind Headquarters in the cold and blustery North West of England, there were rumours that a single ray of sunlight was spotted at some point in mid-September, but beyond this, it’s been nothing but cloudy days for some time. A quick look around at the pasty faces behind computer screens in the office is a dead giveaway that the team is in need of some sun, or at least some colour in their cheeks.
In times such as this, the sunbed is always a temptation, but we’d have to caution against it. The safest way to tan is slowly, with proper protection, and with great care taken to ensure you’re not damaging your skin or becoming overexposed. These are precautions you cannot take on a tanning bed, which works by delivering the maximum amount of UV radiation your skin can handle in a short period of time without it blistering (most of the time).
If you’re after a quick fix for pasty skin, fake tanning might be the best option. Done properly, fake tan can look incredibly natural. Increasing numbers of men are experimenting with fake tanning, learning to do so in such a way that it’s virtually undetectable, but ensures you look your best in the many pictures that will no doubt be in circulation for years to come.
When it comes to the broader topic of party season skincare, the smartest approach is to build a proper skincare routine months earlier. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be consistent to be effective. This close to the party season, the right attitude should be damage control. In case you have any outbreaks in the run up to the big night, use an anti-blemish cream or spot treatment to keep it under wraps. If disaster strikes and you don’t have time to treat the spot away, keep a colour-matched concealer on hand and nobody will be the wiser.