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Grooming

The Guy's Grooming Guide for Your 40s

It's all in the upkeep

Dive into the grooming must-haves for your 20s30s, 40’s and 50’s. Below, the grooming guide for guys in their forties…

The good news first. Guys today have cast off most Mad Men-style vices that can age a person prematurely. Except for bourbon. Always say yes to bourbon. If you’ve been exercising, eating right, and yes, looking after your skin, your forties should be pretty smooth sailing for your face and body. To keep it that way, follow the pointers below.

Below, the guide to grooming for your 40s to stay looking your best:

Whiten Up

You could swear off wine, coffee and cigarettes and still have yellow teeth by now. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest cosmetic problems to fix. You’ve even got your choice of two paths: at-home remedies, or professional care.

If you’re going the at-home route, be sure to also invest in whitening toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss (how else are you going to whiten the nooks and crannies?). That will help with upkeep, but your biggest allies are whitening strips — just don’t fall asleep with them on, and don’t use them more than once a year.

The professional route is faster, pricier (around $400-600, depending where you live), and gives better results. The peroxide gel most dentists use is similar, but more powerful than the stuff you’ll find on drugstore strips, and while it may take more than one session to get the desired look, you get what you pay for.

If you do see a professional, make sure you talk about what kind of white you’re looking for — no one wants to end up with glow-in-the-dark fluorescent choppers. Leave that to Ross on Friends.

Hold On To Your Hair

It’s time to take stock of what’s still up top. If you’re one of those blessed dudes with a full head of hair in his forties, go ahead and skip this section. Just know you dodged a bullet.

If your hair’s thinning at the crown or receding at the hairline, there are some steps you can take now. 

Rogaine, which uses minoxidil to increase blood circulation around the follicle, is the most popular option on the market. Rub it into your hair twice daily and cross your fingers, as 40% of guys see regrowth after six months. Another option, Bosley, uses a DHT blocker to keep testosterone (the hormone responsible from hair loss) from hitting your hairline — it’s available as a shampoo, mousse, or supplement. 

The most effective treatment is a Propecia prescription, but that comes with some drawbacks. It’s rarely covered by insurance, so will run you about $100 a month, and 1.5% of guys have complained about ED as a side effect. It’s a small percentage, but a full head of hair only gets you so far if the plumbing’s not working downstairs, so check with your doctor before you start popping pills.

The Eyes Have It

If circles and puffiness were big eye issues in your thirties, by your forties you’re probably going to contend with wrinkles. That includes crow’s feet (the squinchy wrinkles at the corners of your eyes) as well as folds directly under the eye.

Instead of lighter gels and sticks, this is the time to start using a heavier eye cream. You’ll get a serious dose of moisture, sealed in to keep wrinkles in check. Clinique and Jack Black both have solid treatments in this department. When you’re putting it on, dab it under the eye and on the eyelid, and work it in gently, since the skin around the eye is some of the thinnest on your body, handle with care.

Tone It Down

As guys age, their skin tends to get thinner, dryer, and more sensitive. This means the rigorous cleansing regimen you took up in your oily, acne-prone 20s may not be doing you any favors today. If your skin looks flaky or red, cut down on exfoliation and wash your face only once a day.

In the morning, your face shouldn’t be all that dirty (you switch out your pillows regularly, right?!), so it’s better to do this in the evening. You’d be surprised how much grime attaches itself to your skin during a day.

In the AM, then, just wash up with warm water and a washcloth. Or try using a gentle toner, which is less intense than a normal cleanser but still clears away dirt and oil. Paula’s Choice is especially good for sensitive skin.

Drop Some Acid

No, not that kind of acid (didn’t you get that phase out of your system in your twenties?) We’re talking about hyaluronic acid, the difficult to pronounce, easy to procure skin-saver that guys pushing forty should all keep close.

This ingredient works wonders in two ways. First, it delivers moisture like nobody’s business: one gram of HA can hold up to six liters of water, which is great for guys whose aging skin is drying out. Second, it helps to strengthen the barrier between the outer layers of your epidermis and the environment. That way your skin retains moisture longer, while looking smoother and less craggy.

Hyaluronic acid is one of the hottest products in the grooming market today, so now that you know the phrase, you’ll probably start spotting it everywhere. Look for it in a serum or a moisturizer, and make sure it’s not listed at the end of the ingredients. If it is, it’s probably just a nominal amount, and not actually all that helpful.

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