With all the competing grooming advice out there, what’s a poor lad to do when it comes to putting his best face forward? To cut through the clutter, we are going straight to the source, gleaning the grooming essentials and all the best tricks from the experts who know all things face, skin, and hair best.
As general manager of one of London’s most renowned, classic barbershops, Pall Mall Barbers, Daniel Davies knows a thing or two about men’s grooming. He’s been in the hair industry since 2001, and more recently, he’s been leading the charge behind the development of a new set of standards for hairdressing and barbering. It’s all about creating an excellent new generation of barbers, Davies says.
What he loves most about his job, however, is working as part of a great team within Pall Mall Barbers, where he oversees 30 barbers and manages their progression. He was so kind to step away from the barbershop action and give us the scoop on his grooming basics to look your finest — plus a hair care and shaving regimen that you really should follow.
The Cheat Sheet: What are the essential rules for a good hair routine?
Daniel Davies: My three essential rules are: cleanse, treat, style.
- Cleanse: Use the right shampoo to cleanse your hair and scalp. I would recommend Pall Mall Barbers Tea tree shampoo, or a similar shampoo with tea tree oil, to gently remove product while stimulating the scalp.
- Treat: Condition the hair. Use a reliable conditioner that will leave your hair strong and healthy. I use Pall Mall Barbers Argan-enriched conditioner and leave it in the hair for the duration of the shower to strengthen my hair and repair the daily damage.
- Style: I always style dry hair because you don’t have to use as much product and the hair looks more natural as a result.
There are also a few don’ts that you’ll want to be aware of for your best hair.
- Don’t use a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. A shampoo opens the cuticle to cleanse while conditioner closes the cuticle to protect. A two-in-one opens the cuticle and coats the hair in silicone to give the feel of healthy hair, but this will ultimately cause the hair to weaken.
- Don’t use too much styling product. You can always add more if you need it. Less is usually more.
CS: What are the essentials for a good shaving regimen?
DD: When it comes to shaving, the pre- and the post-shave are just as important as the shave itself!
- Pre-shave: Both a close shave and good skin are of equal importance, and preparation prevents poor performance when it comes to shaving. Preparing the skin with an exfoliator, such as a pre-shave scrub, makes the stubble stand up and gives a more comfortable shave. We have a Pall Mall Barbers pre-shave scrub with sandalwood and clove that works wonders in prepping the skin effectively.
- Shave: Use a good single-blade razor. The more blades you have the more likely it is that skin will become sensitive and irritated. There is a misconception that shaving brushes are a bit of an optional accessory. On the contrary, the brush is vitally important; the brush’s small, circular motions assist in making stubble stand up, which gives a closer, more comfortable shave. Also, I always shave twice — the first time always going with the grain and the second going across the grain. I never shave directly against the grain as this is when the skin becomes really sensitive and may break or bleed.
- Post-shave: Rinse the face with cool water to close the skin pores, but do not overly massage the face as this can cause irritation. Make sure to apply a post-shave balm. I recommend our sandalwood and clove balm, as the sandalwood moisturizes with a masculine scent and the clove acts as an antiseptic to prevent any blemishes. Try to keep any clothing, such as your shirt collar, from rubbing against the skin as this can also cause sensitivity. And, when it comes to aftershave, I do not apply it to the face as this reacts negatively with the shaved areas; apply a small amount behind the ears instead.
CS: One grooming product that you cannot live without?
DD: A hairdryer. I always dry my hair before applying a small amount of Pall Mall Barbers pliable clay.
CS: Best grooming advice you ever received?
DD: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
CS: Best grooming tips you can give to other men?
DD: First of all, ask your barber lots of questions; a reputable barber will always know what best suits your lifestyle, hair type, and face shape. Secondly: Research, research, research! Have a look at the reviews of the shop you are entrusting to do your hair. You can always change a dodgy shirt, but a dodgy haircut takes a fair bit of disguising. And, finally, bring in a picture of yourself looking your best. We all have those times when we think we are looking great. So, take a selfie and keep it on your phone. A picture will help your barber much more than a description.
CS: What are your grooming cheats?
DD: Dry your hair before styling; moisturize your face regularly; wash your hair at the beginning of a shower, and leave the conditioner in for the duration before rinsing.