Grooming

Don't Skip These Steps in Your Daily Bathroom Ritual

Minimal effort, maximum payoff.
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Chances are, your grooming routine is likely on autopilot: You brush, shave, and cleanse your way to the same level of presentability, day in and day out. But this routine is something every man should hold up and occasionally reevaluate. A little attention to detail goes a long way—and to paraphrase our well-bearded Greek friend Socrates, you don't know what you don't know. So pay attention: These are the five grooming tips you're probably sleeping on.

ACTUALLY CLEAN YOUR CONTACT LENSES

It's tempting to slack on cleaning your lenses when it's late and you're tired (or you've had a few too many bourbons), but it's a step you shouldn't gloss over: If your contacts aren't cleaned and stored properly, you could get an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly a million reported cases of keratitis (corneal inflammation) a year, most caused by bacterial infection. (Ahem, those who sleep in their contacts.) So make sure your lenses are actually clean before popping them back in. 

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ELECTRIFY YOUR TOOTHBRUSH GAME

If you've still got an anachronistic plastic brush sitting in a cup on the sink, your oral hygiene could benefit from some modernization. Studies have compared the effectiveness of manual versus power toothbrushes, and the evidence is conclusive: A 2014 review of more than 2,000 studies found that electric brushes remove more plaque. And battery-powered brushes have another benefit: Most models run for the suggested two-minute brushing time before shutting off, meaning there's no excuse for not hitting every pearly white. Be sure to replace the brush head every three to four months for maximum cleanliness—everyone you speak to in close range will thank you.

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RETHINK YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SHAMPOO

Showering might be part of your daily routine, but surprisingly, washing your hair shouldn't be. Erik Whalen of the Blind Barber in New York's East Village suggests lathering up once or twice a week. Shampoos strip your hair and scalp of natural oils, he says; removing these oils too often can leave you with frizzy, unfortunate hair and a dry, itchy scalp. But, since everyone produces a different amount of oil and the effect it has varies by hair type, you should check how often you should shampoo with the person who knows your hair best: your barber.

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ADD SOME BESPOKE SKIN HYDRATION

A quick hit of lotion after cleansing in the morning actually makes your skin more elastic and prevents premature aging, which, let's face it, we could all use. A 2013 study found that 63 percent of men aged 25 to 34 use a daily moisturizer, but skincare products aren't one-size-fits-all. To get the most out of a moisturizer, pick one that's suited for your skin type. There are plenty of variables to consider (age, climate, and lifestyle), but you should start with whether your skin is dry, oily, or combination. Not sure of your skin type? Wash your face and wait an hour or two. If your skin feels tight or itchy, you're on the dry side. If you see a shine, especially on your nose or forehead, you've got oily skin. Somewhere in the middle? You're combination.

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DON'T NEGLECT YOUR NAILS

It's the detail people notice most. And while trimming your nails might seem like the kind of thing you can take care of once they start feeling too long, by then it's likely that someone has already noticed. Keep your nails trimmed and healthy by cutting them on the same day each week. You'll need a proper set of nail clippers. Instead of the drugstore bargain ones that will go dull—leading to an imprecise and jagged cut—pick up a high-end carbon steel set. Next, keep your tools clean and rust-free to prevent infection. Lastly, take an extra minute après-trim for some detailing. Filing the edges of your nails prevents snags and breaks while giving your hands a more polished look. Definitely worth the (minor) effort.

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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