I am not into "product." But I'm not your average bum, either. When it comes to my basic grooming philosophy, I fall somewhere between a GQ model and Jack Black. I think I speak for most guys when I say that anything more complicated and high-tech than shaving and shampooing is time better spent finding the right shortstop for our fantasy baseball teams. And wandering the drugstore or department store aisles trying to sort out the difference between "triton" and "phoenix" or "woodsy" and "earthy" scents is my idea of hell on earth. Let alone trying to analyze whether I need both the cologne and the aftershave.
Obviously, it's different for women. When my girlfriend, Trish, moved in about a year ago, my once decidedly dude bathroom changed: Now the counters are crammed with creams, the drawers packed with tools, the shower lined with pink, blue, and orange concoctions that look as if they came straight out of the Hogwarts spellbook. But after Trish complained that my scaly feet sliced her legs in bed at night, I decided I needed to clean up my act. Call it Operation: Exfoliate. Here's what I learnedÃ¢â‚¬”and how you can use it to coax some metro-lite behavior out of your guy.
No scent is better than the wrong scent
Let's start by saying this: Guys just don't get the concept of body washes. Squeezing papaya goop onto a poufy thing and trying to lather it up seems unnecessary. And why would anyone want to smell like a smoothie? But Paul Mitchell Lemon Sage Energizing body wash has a citrusy zing that won't leave him feeling like he bathes at Jamba Juice. The total lack of scent, however, is what makes C.O. Bigelow's All-in-One Protective Day Lotion so great. The lotion sinks into the skin right away and makes it feel a lot smoother. Even better: the sunscreen will keep his face from going all Keith Richards before he hits 40.
We're suckers for a good gimmick
Read the fine print on the tube of Bliss Thermal Shaving Cream and you can't help but be intrigued: Warming sensation? Oh yeah. And trust me, this stuff will make his cheeks heat up like he's just finished a 15-K. Makes traditional shaving creams seem wimpy by comparison.
And if your guy has never filed his nails, gift him with the Ace Nail File Pick. It looks like a giant guitar pick or some kind of ninja weapon (definitely more respectable than an emery board), and you know what that means: no more sweater-snagging, girl-parts-jabbing fingernails.
A product needs to feel like it's doing something
Most guys require shampoo to do two things: clean their hair and rinse down the drain. But John Frieda Root Awakening shampoo takes the experience up a notch. His scalp won't exactly feel an awakening, but he'll definitely enjoy the prolific suds, which make this shampoo look like it's working hard.
Of all the items in the product spectrum, exfoliants sync up most with the male need to handle problems with brute force. The BiorÃƒÂ© Even Smoother Microderm Exfoliator will scour his face smooth, but the little particles won't leave his skin raw. Another totally satisfying guy experience: swiping a Phisoderm anti-blemish cleansing pad over his skin before bed. Nothing says "mission accomplished" better than brown residue on a white pad.
One grooming area that doesn't appeal to most men: anti-aging. Your guy thinks, "I'm going to get older, and old faces have wrinkles." But Sircuit anti-aging serum is pretty impressive. A few drops make skin feel smooth and moisturized. And even if he's still not sold on the whole wrinkle angle, feeling better is enough, right?
It can't come with a user's manual
Most guys pride themselves on the ability to get ready for anything—from a game of pick-up basketball to a black-tie wedding—in 20 minutes or less. It's the closest they'll ever get to having a superpower. That's why time—or the lack thereof—is why they don't use lotions. Eucerin Plus Soothing Essentials lotion, however, could make believers of us all. It comes in a pump bottle—easy application!—and it disappears into skin immediately. And last, a product that may become his new best friend: Barielle Heel and Callus Treatment Cream officially qualifies as a miracle cure. Before bed, have him layer on the stuff like cake frosting, then pull on thick socks (they help it sink in and keep it from messing up your sheets). He'll wake up with his feet transformed—no scales, no rough patches, no Nosferatu's talons. Who knows? His soles may end up so soft that you'll be tempted to offer nightly foot massages. Or not...