It’s almost Valentine’s Day and no matter where you stand on the holiday—for it, against it, indifferent—there is one thing that is irrevocably true: it’s the perfect time to up your grooming game. At Men’s Health, we don’t believe you need an excuse to practice good grooming habits or participate in a little self-care for that matter, but if you need a little push, February 14th is ideal for lighting that fire.
Think about it: if you’re taking someone new out on a fancy date, showing up well-groomed is not only a sign that you respect yourself, but it shows that you respect them, too. Plus, it increases your chances that the date will end…amorously. If you’ve been with someone for a while, putting in a little more effort than usual shows them that they’re in for a special night and you’re thinking of their experience, not just dialing it in. If you’re alone, pampering yourself can be a great way to show yourself the self-love you deserve and could take a solo Valentine’s Day from humdrum to actually exciting.
Whatever your reason is for a Valentine’s Day grooming game change, you can’t go wrong with any or all of these steps. Bonus points if you keep it going way past V-Day.
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1 Upgrade Your Hair Product
Fellow Styling Cream
Pomade may be your best friend when you’re shellacking your part for a board meeting, but on Valentine’s Day, it’s time to loosen up. Switch your pomade for a styling cream, which still has plenty of hold to keep your style in place, but gives a more natural finish that invites them to run their hands through your hair. Work a dime sized amount into towel-dried hair, use your hands to shape your style, and let it air dry for a casual, modern look.
2 Look Rested (and Attentive)
Patchology Travel Size FlashPatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels
No one likes to be sitting across from someone who looks like they’re about to fall asleep. Using an under eye mask for 15 minutes before you leave the house can de-puff under-eye bags, brighten dark circles, and make your eye look more alert. Keep them in the refrigerator for added value—if they’re cold, they’ll squelch your bags faster and easier. Get a multi-pack so you can use the morning after, too.
3 Soften Your Hands
Caswell-Massey Dr. Hunter’s Hand Cream
You may not think they notice your hands, but trust us, they do. It doesn’t matter if you push a pencil or a wheelbarrow all day—beat up, dry, cracked hands are a major turn off. Smear some quick-absorbing hand cream on your mitts as often as you want, but definitely before you pick them up for your date. First impressions are everything and smooth hands go a long way.
4 Get A Pedicure
EIR NYC Minty Conditions Foot Soak
Getting a pedicure is about the long game, because no one wants to lay in bed and feel sharp toenails cut into their legs. A good pedicure will ensure your toenails are clipped and clean, your feet are free from rough calluses, and that they’re well-moisturized and smooth. You should get one even if no one’s going to see your feet, because they instantly make you feel better with minimal effort. If you don’t have time to get a professional pedicure, you can DIY it and the first step is to get a good foot soak.
5 Light Up Your Smile
Colgate Optic White At Home Teeth Whitening Kit
The eyes might be the window to your soul, but your smile says just as much about you. A white smile can speak volumes about your hygiene practices and some even say can make you look younger and more attractive. A few days before V-Day, start using an LED-assisted whitening system, which can speed up whitening time, so your smile is nice and bright by the time the big night rolls around.
6 Make Sure to Manscape
Manscaped Lawnmower 3.0
According to our own Men’s Health survey, 62% of women prefer a guy who trims down there. And that same survey showed that 46% of men who manscape do it occasionally. If you’re one of those guys, this is the occasion to do it. If you’re not one of those guys, it’s the perfect occasion to try it out. Use a trimmer that’s specifically designed for the body (to help avoid possible mishaps) and follow these steps to ensure you do it properly and without hurting yourself.
7 Smooth Your Beard
Beardbrand Stone Mason Beard Oil
Anyone with even a whisper of a beard knows that nothing can prevent a post-date smooch faster than scraggly, dry facial hair. Short facial hair can feel like sandpaper on another person’s face and longer beard can feel like making out with a broom. No matter how long your facial hair is, use a beard oil to help smooth and hydrate your whiskers. Use a small amount and work your way up if you need more to prevent it from getting too greasy (which is just as much of a turnoff).
8 Apply a Subtle Scent
Fulton & Roark Shackleford Solid Cologne
Wearing a fragrance is good, wearing too much fragrance is very, very bad. Nothing sends a partner running the other way faster than smelling like you just walked through a cloud of department store fragrance spritzers. The trick with wearing cologne is putting on just the right amount as to invite someone to lean in closer but not leave your scent all over them after they go in for a hug. To do this, try a solid cologne and rub a bit on your wrists and on your neck. It’s much harder to go overboard with a solid than with a spray.
9 Use a Face Mask
HETIME Revitalizing & Hydrating Face Mask
Not all V-Day fun has to take place on a date. Instead, planning a relaxing night in can be just as exciting. Start with a DIY spa moment to help you and your partner chill out. A multi-pack of sheet masks—like Garnier SkinActive Super Hydrating Sheet Masks—are your best friend in this scenario. A sheet mask will turn your apartment in a Valentine’s Day retreat—whether you’re with someone else or by yourself. And if you have facial hair or a beard, look for a mask that is specifically designed for guys with facial hair, like HeTime Revitalizing and Hydrating Sheet Mask.
10 Set the Mood At Home With an Oil Diffuser
Vitruvi Stone Diffuser
When you bring someone home, the quickest way to kill the mood is walking into a stinky room. Turning on an oil diffuser in your bedroom (or any other room of your house) instantly changes the vibe of any space. Choose an oil blend that’s energetic or relaxing, depending on how you want the night to go, and let the diffuser do all the work. A good smell can cover up myriad evils, like that hamper full of dirty gym clothes in the corner.
11 Get A Fancy Deodorant
Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Smelling like you just came from the locker room is fine any other day of the year, but this is Valentine’s Day for god’s sake—you need to up the ante. Think of a good-smelling natural deodorant as an extension of your cologne. It shouldn’t over power everything else, but enhance your overall vibe with a clean scent. Reserve it for special occasions and use it only when you need to feel especially put together.
12 Tweeze Your Eyebrows
Tweezerman Slant Tweezers
Notice we didn’t say “shape” or “wax” your eyebrows. You don’t want to show up on V-Day with overly sculpted brows or worse, red irritated skin that screams “I just came from the waxing parlor.” But you still may need a little cleanup. In that case, a day or two before V-Day, tweeze individual hairs around and between your brows. Only go for the hairs that lie outside the overall shape. Cleaning them up just a little bit can go a long way.
13 Exfoliate Your Mug…
OneKind Pore-fectionist Refining Facial
You want to show up on Valentine’s Day with a bright, shining mug, not looking like you’ve never washed your face before. Exfoliation is your answer. It gets rid of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin that can make it look dull and tired and leaves your face with a healthy glow. Use a mask that contains alpha hydroxy acids as well as a gentle clay to deep clean and slough away dead skin, without leaving you red and irritated. Use this the night before, not the day of your date.
14 …And Your Body
Necessaire Body Scrub
If you’re planning (or hoping) to get busy on V-Day, exfoliating your body can make your partner’s experience way pleasurable. Using a body scrub will help get rid of the dead cells hanging around on your arms and legs (and anywhere else) and leave every inch of your body feeling smoother than ever. Look for a scrub with smaller particles if you have body hair and make sure to rinse thoroughly, so particles don’t stick around and make your chest hair feel sandy.
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