The effect of excellent outward appearance is immeasurable. Personal image is a chief concern for many people around the world, including African men and in my humble opinion, a clean, professional look can take you to the moon and back.
In most African cultures, many men over the age of 20 have not been raised to think of elements such as nail and skin care as very important for one’s social appearance; at least not to the extent that women do.
Grooming essentials for the African man consist of washing and taking good care of hair and manscaping, which involves trimming one’s beard, nose hair, ear hair, and armpits, in addition to the chest, stomach, and back. African men are also trained on how to care for their feet and how to use deodorants, antiperspirants, and cologne to keep body odor at bay.
Notably, African hair and skin sets men apart from members of other races. These two facets of grooming must be handled uniquely. Below are some guidelines for grooming the modern African gentleman.
One golden rule for African men as far as hair essentials goes is to know one’s hair type. Many African men have nappy hair that coils or is made up of tightly coiled curls which are sometimes wavy. This hair type is often described as kinky and stems from hair follicles that are oval in shape.
Once hair type has been established, one can manage it very for a clean and neat look. Hair management involves choosing the right products and having a regimen or routine that keeps hair looking healthy. A Black man’s hair regimen encompasses washing every two or so days with a conditioner, keeping it adequately moisturized by shampooing and conditioning every week, and cutting it every few weeks.
How regularly one cuts hair may vary given hairstyle, growth rate, and budget. For men with braided hair and dreadlocks, grooming is even more important. Besides washing and styling, men with dreads or braids can use a sheen spray each morning and wrap their hair while taking a nap or sleeping at night to curb shedding.
Manscaping is also very vital to hair care. A visit to the barber every two weeks will help ensure perfect trimming of one’s hair and beard. Good trimming or shaving can add a lot of oomph to one’s facial appearance.
African men can get rid of ingrown hair by utilizing an exfoliating face scrub before shaving, helping eliminate dead skin and dirt which hinders beard growth. Shaving against the grain is also important in this regard.
Another aspect of manscaping is trimming one’s nose, ears, armpits, chest, stomach, and back hair with a small pair of scissors or clippers. Besides filtering dirt, these hairs are not essential and should not be overgrown. A hairy body is not attractive, nor does it have any appeal as far as machismo.
Like hair, understanding one’s skin color, type, and tone will help in the selection of the right skin products. An African man will likely have skin color that falls under type 4, 5, and 6 of the Fitzpatrick scale.
A good bath or shower is the foremost and simplest way to take care of one’s skin. African men should cleanse and moisturize their faces and bodies using products that work with their skin type.
Many African men are susceptible to hyperpigmentation, which results in patches of dark skin becoming scarred, getting sunburned, or experiencing acne. Although African skin is rich in melanin, which naturally offers protection from sunburns, they should still wear sunscreen to protect their skin as recommended by dermatologists. Products with plant-based components are also good for pigmentation.
Both finger and toenails should be cut on a weekly basis. While this can be done at home, the modern African man should also invest in an occasional manicure and pedicure. Nails appear best when they’re cut short, but not too short so that the nail bed (the formative layer of cells underlying the fingernail or toenail) is exposed.
Hands and Feet
Callused or rough hands are not an attractive sight or a sign of masculinity. A man’s hands should always be well moisturized with lotion. A pumice stone or callus shaver will also help to achieve smooth skin by eliminating calluses.
Feet can also become dry and rough, especially at the heels. A pumice stone, good lotion, and Vaseline are all excellent remedies for cracked feet.
Lip care involves maintaining soft and clean lips. Dry, chapped lips are a sign of a poor lip care routine. A natural way to hydrate one’s lips is to drink plenty of water and fresh juices and eat vegetables and fruits. One can also exfoliate one’s lips every few weeks to remove dead cells using Vaseline, honey, or brown sugar and by brushing them gently.
A good quality lip balm can also restore dry and peeling skin around the lip area. For smokers, rubbing lemon juice on one’s lips will improve their appearance given the dark or black hue that smoking causes. Lastly, avoid spicy food, too much coffee, and consume less alcohol to keep your lips in mint condition.
Body odor can be very repulsive. To avoid body odor, apply some deodorant and cologne after a thorough bath, but make sure that the cologne is not too strong. A light but effusive fragrance sprayed twice or three times will do.
Grooming requires discipline. It’s not just about using great products; African men must commit themselves to eating healthy and making exercise a habit. A good workout, a daily dose of vitamins, and plenty of water will go a long way in helping develop a healthy body and mind. Most importantly, other people will be more attracted to you when you are well groomed and you never know where that could lead.