Gents, I’m no young buck.
I mean, I do have them Asian genes. So I tend to look younger than most other guys my age.
Still… I’m 35. When I started Effortless Gent in my 20s, I DEFINITELY wasn’t worried about how to look younger, stay healthy, or take care of myself in general.
Now that I’m older, I understand the importance of self-care. And that it’s better to start good habits while you’re young. That way they carry into your life as you get older and have more responsibilities. But even if you’re older and reading this, it’s never too late to start taking care of your body, skin, and health.
Understand these three things, though:
- It’s not “gay”, or lame, or stupid, or unmanly to want to look good and take care of your body, your skin, your hair, yourself
- It’s never too early to start a basic self-care routine (you’ll build good habits and your older self will thank you)
- It’s never too late to start a basic self-care routine, either… even if you’re my age or older!
In this article, I’m giving you 5 super easy, super actionable self-care tips. And not just self-care in the “You should use under-eye cream to remove those dark circles” kinda way, either.
I’m more interested in helping you build good habits and going after the big wins—the seemingly simple stuff that makes a HUGE difference when practiced over weeks, months, and years.
- Are these tips simple? Yeah, definitely.
- Are they easy? Nope – most of them take effort, persistence, and discipline.
- Are they worth it? You bet.
Let’s get into it.
1. Go to the freakin’ doctor
So you’re on this site to read about style tips. But if you’re sickly and something’s wrong with your health, what good is looking stylish and sharp?
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of not always going to the doctor, even for something as simple as an annual checkup.
It’s kind of a pain in the ass. Doctor’s offices aren’t exactly my favorite place to be. And more often than not, I simply forget to make the appointment.
But obviously, getting a basic checkup really isn’t that difficult. And the minor annoyance of going to a once-a-year appointment is easily eclipsed by the feeling of relief that you’re fully healthy… or, God forbid, if something is wrong, catching it early on.
Look, your health is super important and we only have one life (#yolo). So take the basic steps, at minimum, to ensure you live as long as possible and avoid something bad that could have easily been prevented.
If something doesn’t feel right, or you have a persistent cough or ache that’s stuck around a little too long… just man up and go to the doctor.
That’s right, you’re more manly by seeing a professional, not by ignoring it and hoping it’ll go away on its own.
And, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, you can’t look young and fresh if your insides aren’t right. Know what I mean?
2. Attack the problem before it happens
TL; DR: Be preventative and proactive.
You ever hear this old (supposedly Chinese) proverb?
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
This is similar to tip #1. You want to stay on top of regular checkups in order to catch bad things before they happen (or get worse). Even if you haven’t been doing so, the second best time to start is today.
The same advice applies to physical issues that don’t seem like too big a deal, but still gnaw at you. They drain your mental energy and corrode your self-confidence. Y’know, like hair loss, bad skin, penis problems, all that stuff.
Stuff that guys tend to ignore (or research in private) because we’re too embarrassed to talk about it in public, even with people we trust.
This goes back to overarching idea #1. It’s not lame or stupid to take care of your body, your hair, your skin… to keep up your physical appearance.
Self-care, man! It ain’t just for the ladies.
Here’s an example:
When I first started uploading videos regularly to the Effortless Gent YouTube channel, I got 1 or 2 comments about my hairline, as if I was going bald.
At first, I laughed it off.
“Typical troll YouTube commenters!”, I told myself.
I swear, people can be such dicks sometimes.
But honestly it kept nagging at me. I even asked Kate,
“Wait, am I actually starting to lose my hair? Or is it one of those on-screen things, like how being on camera makes you can look 10 lbs. heavier?”
I’ve been gradually getting more and more gray since my mid-20s, but I don’t mind that too much. My hair FEELS pretty thick. I’m not seeing any baldness. But I do feel like a more-than-normal amount of hair falls out when I shower. So I started to become paranoid haha…
Anyway I’m telling you this because if you’re experiencing the same things when it comes to your hairline, or your skin (maybe you’re in your 30s and still getting acne and you can’t figure out why?), or your wiener (“I’m too young to have ED… right?”), you are not alone.
There are plenty of easily accessible solutions on the market thanks to the magic of the internet. If you want to stay looking young, and you want to build lasting habits, start by attacking the problem before it happens.
One of these easily-accessible solutions is hims. They’re a men’s wellness company that helps you address the issue you’re facing without feeling all weird or embarrassed about it.
And really, there’s no reason to feel weird or embarrassed in the first place. But I think it’s a natural first reaction since we, as guys, don’t talk about this stuff openly.
So when we experience something out of the ordinary and not good, it’s like, “Damn, am I all alone on this one? Is there someone else who’s also going through this?”
hims has partnered with me for this article so I wanted to give them a shout out (and also let you know, dear reader, because #transparency). But ever since I started thinking twice about those YouTube hair-related comments, I’ve considered hims’ hair kit more seriously.
I also thought of the other options currently on the market (like stuff you see at Target) and was like nahhh, I’m good. It’s really different with hims.
For one, those in-store products may have minoxidil, but they don’t contain prescription finasteride, which is more effective than anything you can get off the shelf.
I’m also really drawn to brilliant packaging and marketing (hey, I used to be a graphic designer, and now I’m in men’s fashion, so I care about first impressions and appearance, can you blame me?).
So when it comes to hims vs any other solution, of course I’m going to go with the brand that draws me in, makes me look and feel better, plus delivers a prescription strength hair loss solution directly to my door.
If you’re experiencing hair loss and want to nip it in the bud (do people use that saying still? It’s the first one that came to mind), give hims’ Complete Hair Kit a try.
It’s only $5 for your first month, which is crazy. Why wouldn’t you give it a shot?
Don’t wait until you’re already bald, or experiencing ED, or noticing deep wrinkles in your skin to start doing something about it. Remember, preventative and proactive > everything.
3. Move and lift heavy things
OK, so you’ve locked down that habit #1. Once a year, get a checkup. Done.
#2, you’re determined to attack problems as they arise. Or better yet, take a preventative approach and tackle them before they become problems.
Next, I’d argue that it’s extremely important to get some f’ing exercise.
More specifically, resistance training.
Cardio, yoga, stretching, all that is great… but what builds muscle and bone density is picking up heavy sh*t and putting it back down, repeatedly, a few times a week.
As you (hopefully) know, bone density is a good thing as you get older. So is building and retaining muscle, which is much more difficult to do as you age… all the more reason to resistance train regularly.
I’m no professional powerlifter or bodybuilder, just a guy who prioritizes strength training over every other kind of physical activity.
If you’re a professional athlete playing at the highest levels of your sport, this isn’t directed at you. I’m talking to regular guys like me who work all day and exercise to (hopefully) combat age, weakness, and weight gain.
I know strength training is the best because of a whole lot of reading, as well as plenty of firsthand experience.
I was always a chubby kid growing up, and my senior year of college in 2005, I was 5’9″ and an obese 241 lbs (109 kg), pushed a 40″ waist, and felt incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.
I finally had a lightbulb moment that summer after graduating college: I couldn’t continue being this fat.
Two things kick-started my weight loss:
- drastically changing my diet (eating less food overall) and
- doing a TON of cardio
This worked great in the beginning. I easily lost 30 lbs in 3 months, and 50 lbs total throughout the rest of the year.
But, eventually, I plateaued… and honestly, cardio alone got really boring.
I also had NO clue how to work out, nor what I should do, and all I knew was cardio, so… that’s what I did. A lot of it.
But results bring about the desire to continually do better (as well as the fear of backtracking on all that progress). So I researched, read, and learned as much as I could in order to keep the momentum going.
I slowly realized that eating as little as possible and doing endless amounts of cardio wouldn’t give me the body I wanted, unless I wanted a “skinny fat” physique.
Training with heavy weights has been the best, and yet the most challenging, routine I ever adopted. It’s purely about the journey, because there is no final destination.
I’m no Greek god – I’m not even a fitness junkie – and my physique is far from ideal. But I look at weight training as a process, a habit to master, and a skill to hone.
If you build the habit, you become stronger and more capable. Do it long enough and consistently enough, and you avoid becoming a weak, decrepit senior citizen who can’t lift a jug of milk without breaking a hip. I’d say being a strong old person is a win.
Aesthetically, there are benefits to building muscle as well. You look more masculine (V-taper for the win) and clothes drape better on your body.
Again, what good is dressing sharp if you’re uncomfortable in your own skin?
Get into a regular routine of lifting heavy things and putting them back down, and you’ll start to see positive changes in your body composition. I guarantee it.
If you’re not sure where to get started and you want to avoid getting a hernia or snappin’ your sh*t up, I’d begin with Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. Brett from Art of Manliness put together a great series of videos on YouTube with Mark himself, which you can check out here.
For some inspiration:
- I always appreciated this piece by Henry Rollins, originally published in Details Magazine in the early 90s, but reposted here on Art of Manliness.
- And this article in Men’s Journal is one I come back to at least once a year. It’s a long but great read.
4. Dress sharper than you HAVE to
As we get older, we tend to let ourselves go, little by little.
Demanding work schedules, long commutes, raising little humans… all that stuff gets priority (understandably). We push our own needs to the side.
But listen, if you’re not feeling your best, how can you really bring it with all your other responsibilities and commitments?
You can’t. Because you feel like crap, you look terrible. You have no confidence. You overeat. And now your clothes don’t fit well. And on and on…
This is why it’s important to continue investing in taking care of yourself.
Hopefully these ideas have been useful to you. And this one, #4, should be super obvious – but it’s clutch!
You want to dress sharper than you have to. Why?
Because it’s easy to do the bare minimum. It’s the least expected of you. But you’re better than that. So why not blow it outta the water and step your style game up?
If you’ve been reading Effortless Gent for any amount of time, you’ve seen me talk about a Lean Wardrobe. And if you have an LW, then you have versatile pieces that easily mix and match.
You also have clothes that tend more towards smart, sharp casual. So not streetwear or like, hey-i’m-mowing-the-lawn-today-wear, and not dapper-suit-and-tie either… somewhere in the middle.
This is the PERFECT outfit style. You’re always a step or two above the rest of the guys around you, in like 97% of social situations you may find yourself in.
So if the guys around you are in jeans and T-shirts, you can step it up by simply throwing on a well-fitting sport shirt and a sweater (weather permitting). Now you’re already the best dressed guy in the room.
Sure, that’s a simplified example – but you get what I’m saying.
Don’t let yourself get into the habit of, “Oh I’m just going to the store, I’ll just wear these ratty sweats and holey T-shirt with my slides, no big deal.”
NO. Don’t do that.
I’m not saying you have to wear a suit and tie either. But really, how much extra time does it take to throw on a great fitting pair of jeans, a slim, dark T-shirt, and maybe a light bomber or field jacket with some desert boots?
(I dunno, I just made up that outfit on the spot, but I bet you it looks awesome)
Seriously, how much more time will that take? Like maybe 0.3 seconds longer than it takes to throw on something ugly?
Take the time to present yourself well. It’s always worth it. It shows the world you care. And on a weird subliminal level, you feel better about yourself because you’re so well put-together.
People are used to seeing regular Joes, so dress sharp and give them something to look at 😉
5. Tame all that hair
You ever study old dudes’ grooming habits (or lack thereof)?
I’m not sure what it is – and I don’t wanna call out all old dudes because maybe they just DGAF or they have bigger things to worry about – but their eyebrow situation is always so insane.
Like they’re bushy and huge and long and scraggly. What is that?
There’s always lots of hair in and around the nose and ear area. And if there’s any hair left on the face or on top of the head, it’s all over the place.
Again, I dunno, I’m not 75 so I don’t know if I’ll even care at that point (I probably will). But if you’re my age, or maybe 40, or 50, or hell, whatever age you are – if you want to stay looking young and feeling fresh, a simple “hack” would be to just keep all that hair trimmed down.
Get a regular haircut.
Trim your eyebrows. Take your index finger and gently push the hair in the other direction. They’ll be standing up and anything that extends above your index finger, trim it.
If you have a unibrow, pluck it. Keep that area between the two eyebrows hair free.
Trim your nose hair, either with an electric trimmer, or with ear/nose hair scissors. Make sure to use the right tools; scissors that are designed to trim ear and nose hair are smaller and have rounded points so you don’t accidentally stab yourself while grooming.
When it comes to body hair, I have none (Asian genes, y’all). But if I did, I would use a body trimmer and keep my fur to a minimum.
If you have a lot but you’re not in love with it, keep it trimmed. If you’re hairy as hell and you love it, well, keep it I guess. But if it prevents you from looking neat and clean, consider trimming it. If you have a partner and they prefer you trim it, trim it. Gotta keep your spouse / gf / partner happy, knowwutimsayin.
Point is: You don’t want to look like a Chia Pet. Maintaining all that hair shows you pay attention to the little details.
Again, that’s what it’s all about… paying attention to the details, going above and beyond the bare minimum, and self care.
One body, one life. Take care of it, yo!
How to look and feel younger: Make it a habit to take care of yourself
I hope these guidelines, tips, advice, pointers, whatever you want to call them, helped.
It’s easy to let yourself go, or to prioritize other’s needs before your own, especially when other people depend on you. But if you want to be the best you can truly be, you have to carve out a little time in your day to take care of yourself.
Thanks again to hims for partnering with me for this article. If you guys are starting to see a bit of hair loss, don’t procrastinate. Do something about it.
Sign up with hims and get your first month of the Complete Hair Kit for $5.
They also can help with several other men’s issues you may be facing, so check out the site for more info.