Have you looked in the mirror lately? Do you like what you see? Aging and “life lines” are a fact of life but that doesn’t mean us guys can’t fight back. A few face, skin and mouth basics will go a long way toward not only looking better but feeling better as well. The  rewards far outweigh the extra minutes of a new grooming routine. Here are some must haves for your face time.

A Decent Face Wash
That dirty old bar of soap might look like it does the job but in reality, most soaps are highly alkaline, altering your skin’s pH balance, stripping it of essential oils and leaving it tight, sore and dry. And the drier the skin, the more prone it is to premature aging. To make sure your skin doesn’t end up feeling like the Arizona desert, trade in your soap for a glycerin-based face wash. Apply a small blob to the palm of your hands, then apply to damp skin using circular motions. Finish off by rinsing thoroughly with plenty of cold water. Ahhhhh!

A Good Face Scrub
When it comes to transforming the appearance of your skin nothing is as effective as a face scrub. Using one is a bit like sanding down old hardwood floors to reveal the gorgeous, clean wood beneath. Not only will exfoliating the skin remove dead cells and speed up its natural renewal process but it also removes razor-clogging grease and grime and helps prevent ingrown hairs . The secret to effective exfoliation, is to avoid overdoing it. The same as with a face wash, apply the scrub with gentle circular motions, but avoid the delicate eye area and use no more than twice a week.

Moisturizer with a Built-In Sunscreen
I spend a lot of time outside and sun screen is always in my bag. If you don’t wax your car, the paint is vulnerable to damage and skin is pretty much the same if you don’t moisturize, wind, sun and sand can all rob skin of essential moisture (not to mention the indoor drying out problems with central air and heat). When skin is dry it’s defenses are down and it’s prone to premature aging. So unless you want a wrinkled mug like a shar-pei, apply a moisturizer daily and opt for one with a built in sunscreen. Did you know that more the 75% of wrinkles are caused by sun damage?

A Decent Razor
Like women, antiques and expensive cars, razors need to be taken care of and handled gently. To get the most out of yours, use light, short and easy strokes, letting the razor do the work and always follow the direction the hair grows. Go against the grain and the result will be razor burn. Rinse your razor regularly to avoid clogging and never wipe the blade with a towel or clean it with an old toothbrush, you’ll damage the fine shaving edge.

An Old-Fashioned Shaving Brush
There’s a reason your dad, and his dad before him, had a shaving brush in their kit. Not only are brushes the best way to create a lather from your shaving cream but they’re also great for lifting stubble in preparation for shaving  and for getting rid of  dead skin cells that can clog up your razor. The best brushes should last for years if cared for correctly. To use yours the right way,  dip the moistened brush in shaving cream and apply to the face with gentle back and forth motions (don’t use a circular movement which can damage the brush). When you’ve finished, rinse the brush and store upside down to prevent the hairs from rotting at the base.

An Electric Toothbrush
What a wonderful, modern invention to make your pearly whites even pearl-ier! Electric toothbrushes might seem like a costly investment but they are worth every penny. Far better than regular brushes at removing plaque and preventing gum disease. Especially effective brushes have round heads that ‘hug’ the teeth. Remember, they might do all the work but they only deliver results if you use them correctly. You don’t actually “brush” with them. Instead, place the head against each tooth for a few seconds and then move on to the next tooth until all the teeth are clean. Most brushes alert you when you’ve spent the recommended two minutes brushing.

Toothpaste and Mouthwash
You can be the best-looking man around with the best skin in town but if a close encounter reveals some foul-smelling breath, and yellow teeth, then  all bets are off. Find a great all in one whitening and tooth care paste to use with that new electric brush and then stick with it. You will be amazed at how good some of the new products are at removing stains. Also, it’s an essential part of starting each day. Not only will it promote a healthy mouth and kill germs but it will also save those around you from having to smell what you had for breakfast.