We may spend most of our time talking about designer garms and fresh kicks, but we know there’s a whole lot more to looking good than what you’re packing in your closet. Groom Service is your no-BS guide in how to look, smell, and feel better. This week, we’re laying out five bad grooming habits you need to stop in 2019.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to keep them reasonable. Sure, you might get those six-pack abs once and for all, or even a new job if you stay focused on it. But if you’re looking to build some lifetime habits — in this case, ones that align to your self-care regimen — the New Year is a good time to audit the bad habits that you first need to quit.

So, draw a line in the sand, and leave behind those things that are only going to hold you back, be it laziness or indifference or fear of change. Here are five habits to kick and why, as well as some input on how to correct each matter in the New Year.

Stop ignoring signs of aging

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

No matter your age, you’re getting older. And while so many guys have the eyes set on a certain virile age — let’s arbitrarily say it’s 25 — you’re going to realize some short time after that there’s a tipping point on the “looks better with age” scale. Your hairline will recede and your hair will thin. The wrinkles in your forehead and around your eyes and mouth, the ones that now only form when you smile or laugh, start to become ever-present features.

I don’t say all of this to scare you, but rather to tell you that you can slow the progression of these things by getting a start on your anti-aging regimen now. And it’s also not to say that aging isn’t great. In fact, one of the best parts about being on the other side of 25 is that you realize it’s nice to look older. But even those of us in our late 20s or 30s are being proactive about it, because we’ve seen the signs ourselves, in our own reflection.

So, take a page from our book, well before you start losing your hair and gaining wrinkles. Sign up for a hair loss prevention plan, like with hims, and use moisturizers that have sunscreens to shield yourself from the sun’s harmful, age-accelerating UV rays, like Tom Ford’s SPF 50 moisturizer. Lastly, see your dermatologist about a retinol prescription for nighttime. It’ll brighten your complexion, shrink pores, and fight acne, as well as prevent and reverse signs of aging, fine lines, dark spots, wrinkles, etc.

Face Protect SPF 50

Tom Ford

$76

Stop settling for weak fragrance

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

If you’re curious why your scent doesn’t last past noon, it might be because it’s an EDT. That is, an Eau de Toilette. The concentration of fragrance oils is much less in an EDT than it is in an EDP — an Eau de Parfum — and a switch to an EDP should quickly solve your problem. This is often why some fragrances are significantly cheaper than others: because they use way less fragrance. For colder months, might we suggest Heeley Parfums Agarwoud, with deep notes like rose, amber, incense and agarwood?

Agarwoud

Heeley

$210

Stop over-washing your face and hair

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

Sometimes when you try to solve one problem — like having a greasy face or scalp — you cause another problem altogether. In this case, if you overwash your face or hair, you can first and foremost dry out the skin, hair, and scalp, which leads to irritation, acne, unstylable and lifeless hair, and dandruff.

On top of that, the other side effect of overwashing is an increase in oil production, to compensate for the dryness that the body notices. So you’re left with an even bigger problem than before. Instead, you should dial back on the washing, as counterintuitive as it seems, in order to train your skin’s oil production. Never cleanse more than twice a day (morning and night, followed by a moisturizer) and never shampoo more than 2 or 3 times in a week (always followed by a conditioner, which itself you should use daily).

For a while, you may have to endure some excess oil, since the body is still compensating for your excessive over-washing habits of yore. But within a couple weeks, the problem should resolve itself. You’ll notice that, even if your skin and scalp are still oily, at least you aren’t experiencing dryness, dandruff, fried hair, and the likes.

Stop shaving too quickly

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

Why make haste when there’s a razor blade against your face and neck? Slow down your shave regimen, guy. It’s supposed to be enjoyed, and looked forward to, just as it used to be so appreciated in barbershops. Besides, if you take your time with the shave, you’re less likely to experience irritation, bumps, and ingrown hairs. That’s because a full shave regimen allows the pores to slowly open prior to the blade’s arrival, and to properly close once it’s all done.

Start by washing your face with warm water and a cleanser. This will open the pores and soften the hairs. It’s a good time to take a shower if you want to kill two birds with one stone. Then, apply a pre-shave oil to further condition the whiskers and to create a nourishing film atop the skin. Next comes the shave cream, then the (clean and fresh) razor shave. After you finish (slowly) shaving, rinse your face clean with warm water to remove any debris, and then pat it dry. Next, splash some cold water on the face to close the pores, before applying a post-shave lotion or balm to protect the skin and help it recover from all that strain. Whew! Did you get all that?

Stop wearing the same damn hair or beard style

Highsnobiety / Stephen Cheetham

It’s nice that you feel so comfortable with the one hairstyle or facial hair style, but why not change it up every so often? (Emphasis on often.) For one, you may not have that hair forever (see tip #1), and secondly, there might be another style out there that flatters you better. You don’t have to grow it to your shoulders or anything, but you can try something bulkier up top and shaved on the sides, or tapered cleanly up the sides and close-cropped up top.

Ditto for your beard and mustache: you should treat them like their own canvas, with as many options as the hair on your head. You could trim the mustache short with a clipper, but keep the beard fuller and heavier. Or vice versa. You can snip the bridge that connects your mustache to your beard, to really disconnect from the status quo, or something. Just mix it up, and let it be an excuse to express a different side of yourself in the new year.

Next up, these are the best fragrances for winter.

Words by Adam Hurly

Grooming and travel writer from the US, based in Berlin.

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