Men get off on looking good

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

The introduction of the metrosexual phenomenon in 2000 put the focus on male grooming and the use of skin-care products.

Nowadays male grooming goes full steam ahead and shows no signs of stopping.

According to Chris Williams, a Johannesburg male groomer, the advent of BEE in South Africa has seen a rise in the number of black men who want to look as good as their white male counterparts.

Williams says the need for men to look preened has had an effect on the grooming industry.

"Most black men realise there is nothing more powerful and sexy than a well-groomed, manicured and confident man," Williams says.

"This phenomenon has prompted a rise in the number of men who visit spas and salons to shave, cleanse, remove nose hair, shape eyebrows, wax body hair and exfoliate, to mention just a few of the processes.

"Though many black men still find it embarrassing to go to a spa, I get calls from very prominent and macho guys asking me which aftershave to wear and where to go for a facial."

What should a well-groomedman look like?

Chest hair - "Remove all hair on your chest. An unkempt chest is completely out of the question."

Skin - "The days of soap and water are long over. These days most men cleanse, tone and moisturise. Cleanse your face before you sleep and use a night cream."

Nails - "Most men love long nails but a well-groomed man should have cuticles kept clean and short. The same applies to toenails.

"Go for a pedicure and have your talons clipped."

Facial hair - Williams says a well-groomed man is cleanshaven, with a smooth face.

"A clean-shaven man is better but shaving is the area where men typically have the most problems, especially guys with heavy facial hair. This causes a lot of problems, including rough skin and skin reaction."

How to achieve the smoothest shave

For best results follow this seven-step guide to shaving from

l Shower before you shave. Stubble is as tough as copper wire but water causes the hairs to expand and become softer, making them easier to cut.

After a two-minute shower, the force required to slice the hairs will be reduced by about 70 percent. The steam is also great for opening pores and ridding skin of impurities.

Before shaving, use a facial cleanser to remove oil and sweat which prevent the hair shafts from absorbing water.

l Lather up. Shaving creams and soaps not only help lubricate the skin and hair, improving razor glide, they also prevent stubble from drying out (and becoming tough) as you shave.

You should experiment to find which type of shaving preparation suits you best, but shaving creams tend to be best for normal-to-dry and sensitive skin types, which benefit from extra moisture, whereas shaving soaps are best for oily and blemish-prone skin as they help to remove excess oil.

l Use a light touch. To get the best out of your razor use light, gentle strokes and let the razor do the work.

Follow the direction of hair growth as going against the grain can lead to snagging and razor burn.

But hair on the neck can grow upwards and the correct shaving direction for this area may be upwards.

l Rinse regularly. Preventing a build-up of hair and suds on the blade edges will improve their performance.

Leave the toughest bits until last. The toughest whiskers grow on the chin and around the lips, so if you leave these bits until last they will have more time to soften up.

l Check while wet. Use your fingertips to check if you have missed any areas - it is easier to feel for patches of hair when the skin is wet.

l Soothe and protect. Finish off by rinsing thoroughly to remove any shaving residues which can dry out skin and then pat dry. Immediately afterwards, apply a good aftershave balm or product to soothe and moisturise skin.