Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Guy's Grooming

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Skin care has become one of the most important daily activities and is receiving more attention now more than ever. While it is a common concern for women, it is just as important that men properly care for their skin as well. Because of this, a variety of products is available made just for men and their skin.

When it comes to skincare, men are a different breed. It turns out that men are the lucky ones in that their skin ages more slowly than women’s skin. Men naturally have more collagen and elastin, which makes for firmer and thicker skin overall. In fact, their skin is approximately 25% thicker than women’s skin! Studies have also shown that men’s skin tends to be less acidic on the pH scale than women’s. When aging signs do appear, they start around the eyes with dark circles, bags and wrinkles. To fight this problem, there are various eye creams on the market that are specially formulated for men.

A man's skin is different from a woman's in texture, but not in make-up. There are three general skin types and men are not exempt from any of them. They are: oily, dry, and combination. While some people are said to have normal skin, thus not forced to deal with the extremes caused by oily or dry, that can be somewhat misleading. Someone with a normal skin type simply does not have skin that is more oily or drier than normal and, therefore, does not need the special attention given to these conditions.

A regular cleansing routine is very important, since men have larger pores than can clog easily. Men should be sure to use the proper cleanser for their skin type, which is typically oilier due to having high levels of the androgen hormone levels. Vitamin E can also help to heal cuts and redness experienced from shaving. As men age and their testosterone levels drop, their skin tends to become drier and they will have to switch up their cleansing products accordingly. Men should use a good moisturizer and might also want to consider a hydrating mask for a deep clean and added hydration.
One final fact that men shouldn’t ignore is that males over 50 are at the highest risk of developing melanoma. The most important thing that a man can do for his skin is to use a sunscreen early and often!

Someone with an oily skin type will often be plagued with too much oil on and below the surface of the skin. This, in turn, can cause various types of acne because the oil builds up. While the skin is supposed to produce needed oils, it is advisable to cleanse this type of skin with a soap or gel that will wipe away excess oils, but still keep those that are essential to healthy skin.

Likewise, dry skin must be cleansed with a soap or gel that provides necessary oils to the skin. It is important, however, to remember not to over cleanse the skin, as doing so will take away or add too much oil and can cause further problems to occur.

Combination skin often means that one has oily skin in some places and dry skin in others. Some people with combination skin have more normal spots than troubled ones, so caring for this skin type generally isn't too difficult.

While there are no particular benefits to have one skin type over the other, it is important to note that those with oily skin are less likely to wrinkle as quickly as others with another skin type. Still, it is important to properly care for your skin and do so on a regular basis.

While many skin care products will work for both men and women, some men prefer to use those manufactured just for them. This is, in part, because many skin care products used by women can contain softer fragrances. Also, because a man's skin is made up somewhat differently from that of a woman, certain it may be preferable to use products better suited to its texture. Another aggravating factor can occur when a man shaves. If you shave everyday, you may want to use something that is more gentle to your face, especially if you cut yourself often or your skin tends to be sensitive. 

Guy's Grooming Guide: Skin Care

Face wash
Twenty years ago, it was a miracle if men’s grooming including anything more than washing the face with a bar of soap. Unfortunately, using a simple soap is about as bad as doing nothing at all: It can leave your skin taut and thirsty. Instead, use a cleanser that strikes a delicate balance between tough and tender. Look for a fragrance-free gel face wash suitable for all skin types that is strong enough to cut through those overactive male sebaceous glands yet gentle enough to be used every day.

Face scrub
A face wash is just the opening act for facial cleansing. Men’s skin is naturally thicker than women's, with larger pores that roll out the red carpet for nasty debris. A granular scrub should be used two to three times a week to exfoliate and dislodge dirt deep down. No one likes to look at bumps and blackheads, and scrubbing will help smooth your complexion for a clearer, cleaner appearance. It also softens the skin as a first step toward a less gruesome shaving experience.

Even the mildest facial cleansers can leave your skin feeling just plain parched. And don’t think you can cheat the system by using one fortified with a laundry list of special moisturizing agents. The truth is that every guy, even those with oily skin, needs to replenish the moisture content of their skin. Something as routine as showering or washing your face with hot water can open pores and allow valuable water to escape. A basic moisturizer with SPF will restore moisture, protect your skin from the sun, reduce razor burn, and even prevent against premature aging.

Eye cream
Almost every man neglects to treat the skin around his eyes; the soft, thin layer of skin there is prone to developing fine lines, and it’s where men first start to show visible signs of aging. That’s why everyone — even twentysomethings without a care or wrinkle in the world — should be using something specially formulated for this fickle facial region. Try an eye cream with Q10 (a coenzyme used to fight fine lines) and swelling reducers like caffeine and cucumber.

Clay mask
Despite the air of mystique and femininity surrounding a clay mask, it can be an important part of a man’s skin care regimen. This isn’t an intense spa facial, but rather a quick 10-minute commitment once a week to deep-clean your face. The clay removes dead skin and promotes cellular regeneration. It also unclogs pores while reducing excess oil and shine.

Lip balm
Like the skin around the eyes, lips also tend to get forgotten in a sea of sloughing and scrubbing. Skin on the lips is thin and lacks oil glands to regulate moisture content as well as melanin to shield the sun — this makes them particularly prone to dryness, burning and subsequent cracking and bleeding. All these problems can lead to occasional sores and the development of fine lines over time. With all the challenges here, it’s a wonder how anyone arrives in lip-lock land; simply use a balm with SPF on a regular basis and you'll be provided supple safety.

Shaving cream
Shaving cream is the only way to get a razor close enough to wipe away a five o'clock shadow. But not all shaving creams are created equal. A cooling gel that develops into a thick lather is best for almost all skin types. Gel-based formulas tend to be denser and provide better cushion and glide for a pain-free shave. If your skin irritates easily, shave during or after a shower while pores are wide open. Also, learn to give your skin a few days rest between shaving sessions.

Aftershaves have come a long way from the burning alcohol-based concoctions splashed on by grandfather. Today’s post-shaving balms actually provide soothing relief. Most formulas use a hint of menthol to cool the skin, but if you’re prone to irritation, make sure to steer clear: Menthol can sometimes aggravate super sensitive skin. An aftershave should also have a light consistency for faster, more efficient absorption. Extras like aloe and vitamin E are also helpful to promote healing.

Regular use of a toner can help dissolve skin impurities and cut through dirt. Male skin tends to produce excess sebum — the oily, waxy matter produced by the sebaceous glands — primarily on the face and scalp. Toner washes away the oil, prevents blackheads, tightens pores, and reduces shine. One with salicylic acid will also help treat acne breakouts.

Scalp scrub
The scalp is just skin covered — in most cases, at least partially — by hair. Yet, that small barrier of hair prevents men from ever dedicating the necessary time to clean it properly. The scalp excretes pore-clogging sebum just like the skin on the face and is likewise susceptible to the development of nasty blemishes. A scrubbing shampoo that exfoliates the scalp will prevent oil buildup and even protect against hair loss.

Body wash
So much attention is given to the complex skin on your face that it’s easy to forget about the other 90% of your body — a bar soap won’t do here, either. A shower gel is both more effective and sanitary than a cracked, germ-laden bar of soap. Granular scrubs are also important to use (in place of a basic gel) one to two times a week for exfoliation and deep-cleaning. Go for one enriched with menthol or caffeine to leave your skin feeling fresh and tingly.

As summer fades along with your tan, it’s important to maintain a healthy — but not orangey — glow. And don’t think that membership to your local cancer-inducing tanning bed studio is the answer. A self-tanner that is impossible to apply evenly and stains your hand for a week isn’t the answer, either. There are now moisturizers with a hint of color that gradually darken the skin with increased use. It’s a simple and safe way to keep the fun of the summer sun blazing on into early winter.

more than skin deep

Skin care is a constant battle, but it doesn’t have to be all-out war. Armed with a stockpile of some key products and the knowledge of how to use them, you’ll be well on your way to a clean and clear victory. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How to Know if a Guy Likes You

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Have a crush on a guy but not sure if the feeling is mutual? Or maybe you're curious as to whether that guy checking you out is doing so out of interest in you or he's just staring at the poster behind your head? Whatever the reason for your need to know, there are a few fairly certain ways of working out that a guy's definitely interested in you––or not!

1 Examine his body language. Body language can be the "big tell" when it comes to discerning if that guy fancies you enough to date you. Interestingly, body language experts believe that while females have around 52 body language tells to show a guy that they're interested, guys show around only 10. If you subscribe to this theory, this should make your guessing a little easier! All the same, you still need to know what to look for, as well as being sure that you're not mistaking innocent gestures for calls of love––the latter mistake could prove embarrassing. Some of the signs of body language to watch for include:
  • He looks at you a lot. His eyebrow may even lift as he watches you ("the eyebrow flash" that lasts a fifth of a second). He might not even be really conscious he is watching you as much as he is.
  • Notice how much he looks at your face and makes eye contact.
  • He leans towards you a lot. Personal space invasion is a sign of major interest.
  • Check the direction of his hands, feet, legs, toes, etc. If they're pointed toward you, it's a subconscious indicator of his interest in you.
  • He starts grooming himself. He pulls at his tie to straighten it or he readjusts the fit of his sweater. Perhaps he runs his hands through his hair in attempt to tidy it or he reaches down to tie his shoelaces. Doing this repeatedly is similar to the actions of a male bird preening up his feathers for a display!
  • Check out how he's sitting. If you see rather manly gestures, such as sitting with open legs or placing his hands on his hips, he's trying to impress.
  • If he likes you, you may see that he rarely turns his back to you, often leans towards you, and also looks at you a lot. If he slouches his shoulders when near you, he's romantic and cares about what you have to say. If he points his shoulders and pelvis towards you while sitting, he is definitely feeling something for you.

2 Notice his eye contact. As already noted, a guy who is interested in you will look at you a lot, even if covertly. He may try to catch your eye or, if he's shy, he may suddenly turn his head away if you catch him checking you out. To test his interest, scan his face for four seconds, then look away (don't look any longer or it becomes awkward). Then look back––if he maintains or increases eye contact with you, he's interested. If his eyes wander to your mouth, he's definitely interested. If you feel like you have held eye contact just a fraction of a second longer than you would with anyone else, or if he looks away quickly, then there is something there. On the other hand, if he breaks eye contact with you and starts looking around the room, he's not interested in you.
  • A gaze that has him looking left, then sweeping over your face, then looking right is a sign he's very attracted to you.
  • Be careful not to confuse a shy guy's darting retreat from eye contact with a guy who is clearly disinterested. A shy guy who is interested will continue to steal glances at you. Be patient!
  • If you don't like the guy, it can be uncomfortable to maintain eye contact; break it off quickly and scan the room yourself, as if looking for someone else.
  • When he's around you and he says or does something funny and everyone around laughs, his eyes will flicker towards you for a second to see if you laughed too––this means he's keen to make a good impression on you.
  • His pupils may dilate if he likes you, but this is quite hard to pick up on, and you might come across as acting strangely by looking that closely into his eyes. If you're around him for a long time, it could be easier to pick up on gradually.

3 Listen to what he's saying. If he likes you, and he's nervous or anticipating the chance to get closer to you, he'll probably start talking about himself. Many times, guys feel the need to prove themselves, especially if you talk about another guy in his company.
  • Gauge his interest in what you have to say. It really doesn't matter what you say, it's how you say it that can tell you a lot about his level of interest. So, try this: Lean in and whisper, with your shoulder barely touching his and say something softly. To heighten the impact, steady yourself gently by brushing your arm across his back. If he moves his head closer toward you and either touches you back or maintains eye contact, he's interested in you. If he isn't interested, he'll probably step back or be very unresponsive. A really disinterested guy might even try to shoo you out of his personal space!

4 Notice his interest in touching and being touched. Touch is an important sign of interest in a developing relationship and you can assess interest both by observing how he touches you and how he reacts to you touching him. If he's keen on you, he might put his hand on yours when he laughs, he might gently brush his leg against yours but won't move it away again, or he may hug you for small things, such as greeting you, expressing emotions when telling a story or just because you "look like you need a hug." On the other hand, consider touching him to see what happens––a gentle brush of your hand against his neck, a hold of his forearm with your hand, or running your fingers across his hand after joking with him about something. He's interested in you if he responds to it and doesn't flinch away or if he moves his hand to stay on yours or on your arm or leg. On the other hand, if he tenses up or moves his hand away, he's not interested.
  • If he is a shy guy, he may jump a little because he wasn't prepared for you to touch him. That doesn't necessarily mean that he doesn't like you, watch his actions carefully afterwards.
  • Obviously, playboy guys (bad boys) might be very keen to spread their touching gestures around; be sure that he has more substance than this by observing how he interacts with other women in your group.
  • See if he uses any of the tricks in How to touch a girl, and see if he uses them more with you than with anyone else.

5 Watch his actions to see if he treats you differently from the rest of your group. If he's really interested in you, he may start to behave protectively toward you, or in a "gentlemanly" fashion (at least to the extent that he interprets his behavior as such). Look for signs like shifting his chair closer to yours, putting his arm around the back of your chair, leaving his jacket on the back of your chair or even going so far as to place the jacket around you to ward off your complaints of being cold.
  • Be aware that some guys flirt with other girls to get your attention. It gives him a chance to see your reaction, and helps him know if you really do like him or not. (Yes, it's an odd sort of logic, especially since you might end up so offended or confused that you just give up on him!) However, you can usually spot a "get-your-attention" flirt if, in the middle of his flirting scenario, he keeps taking the chance to look at you, seeking out your response. You can also try a quick trip to the bathroom and find yourself a sneaky observation point to check out how the flirting is proceeding. If he stops the moment you've left, it's you he's serious about, not her. Alternatively, ask a friend to do some observing for you while you're away.

6 Watch for him showing a sudden, previously unexpressed interest in things that you like and do. For example, if you like a certain genre of music that he doesn't know as well, he may ask you to suggest bands or artists for him to listen to. Or, he may have gone to the trouble of finding out that a favorite band of yours is playing next weekend and mention to this, with or without a request to go and listen together. And, if you introduce him to a TV show that he didn't really know about and that becomes his new favorite thing, that can potentially be a sign that he likes you, especially if he goes out of his way to catch up with you to discuss the show's unfolding plot.

7 Check for signs of nervousness. Signs of nervous laughter, sweaty palms, deep breaths, fidgeting, or possibly even looking away quickly when you notice he is watching you, can all be signs of an attraction towards you. If he is nervous about making an impression on you, it means he's trying hard and you are probably very close to being able to start making moves.

8 Pay attention to his friends. If they know he's interested in you, they might tease him subtly when you're around, hint to you that he likes you, or even try to find out if you like him. Study their reactions to your presence––do they smile? Do they turn to him? Do they smirk in a way that suggests they know something that you don't?
  • Be careful if a friend of his makes suggestions that a guy likes you but all of the other indications tell you otherwise. Sometimes friends have reasons of their own for ensuring that any chances of you getting together are ruined, including catapulting you into making a fool of yourself.

9 Look to see if he imitates you. Mirroring each other's actions is a sign of mutual like and generally, it's subconscious. If you notice that he has been copying your gestures frequently, there is a high probability that he fancies you. You can test this by mirroring his actions too, for example, touch your hair when he touches his, brush your face when he brushes his, sit the way he is sitting, etc. The subconscious signals will be screaming "I like you too!"
  • Following you can be another sign; for example, if you buy lunch and sit at a table and he edges as near to, or even on the same, table as you, he is probably trying to get closer to you. Just be sure you're not confusing this action with there being a lack of space to sit anywhere else!

10 Pay attention to gentle, friendly teasing. If a guy teases you in a friendly and fun manner, it could indicate his interest, especially if he's young. Provided this isn't his modus operandi with every girl he flirts with, it's a sign that he's singled you out for attention and is trying to use his wit to charm you, in that awkward way of using humor to cover up true intentions. Of course, if he says something unkind or unfortunate, don't feel you have to excuse it––point it out if he offends you; it's best he knows now that you won't take nonsense than to discover it later.

11 If he hits you or playfully punches you on your arm, this may mean he likes you. A guy may gently hit or punch you on the arm as a covert, "manly" way of getting to touch you without making it too obvious what his intention is. If he finds that you don't pull away too much when he does this, he might find the courage to proceed to more gentle ways of touching you. Of course, this doesn't mean you need to sit there in pain if he actually hurts you––be assertive enough to point out that it hurt! You can salve his pride by saying something about not minding him touching you but to please watch out for your sensitive bony bits! And if you're the kind of girl who finds the play punching a bit of fun, give him a playful knock right back.
  • Play punching can send mixed signals. It could mean "I treat you like one of the boys" and signal friendzone antics only. Check out whether he does this to other girls in your mutual group. Moreover, if he continues to think that play punching you is a fun way to hang out, you might be dealing with someone who is never going to get past this immature display of affection; don't let it go on indefinitely.
  • If you don't like it, say so immediately. You are entitled to ask someone not to harm you, even if the gesture is well intentioned.

12 Acknowledge any compliments that come your way. If you do your hair or makeup differently one day, and the guy notices, that's a very good sign that he likes you. Most guys won't notice, or if they do, they won't be bothered to say anything unless they're totally into you. Anything like, "You look nice today," "I like that shirt," or even "Did you do your hair differently today? It looks nice," are all indicators that he could be interested in you.
  • Note: If this guy is a good friend of yours, compliments won't necessarily be indicators of romantic interest. It could just be him being a truly good friend.
  • Not all guys are this straightforward about compliments, so don't be worried if he doesn't compliment you.

13 Watch for him noticing 'masculine things' on you. For example, some of your dad's aftershave rubbed off on you when you hugged him. Your crush may say "is that aftershave on you?" Noticing this can indicate that he thinks the scent comes from another guy (and not your dad!), revealing some vulnerability about losing you out to someone else. This could also apply to having, carrying or wearing things that he might think belong to another guy.

14 If he chats to you often on a social networking site, it may mean that he likes you. After all, when online there are many things competing for his time, like games, connecting with mates and checking out sites that might not be so interesting to you… Of course, he could also just be talkative, friendly, or even bored, so don't assume he's into you just for chatting––this should be treated as one extra indicator along with some of the others outlined above.
  • If he puts an 'x' sign on the end of everything he says to you, don't assume it means he likes you. It could just mean that he perceives you both as good friends or that he's just used to ending his chats that way.
  • If he says, "I know something you don't know," then this could mean that he likes you and is playing a little guessing game. Or it could just mean he's doing the usual social media thing of spreading information for fun, like the discovery of a new planet or finding the cure to cancer, etc. Use the context to judge the import of any such online personal game playing.

15 Watch to see if he has suddenly developed a habit of turning up where you happen to be. If he suddenly seems to be in certain places at certain times of the day where you wouldn't necessarily expect to see him, it may be that he's taken to deliberately "finding" opportunities to bump into you. If it happens a lot in a short space of time, it's probably no coincidence but a concerted effort to catch up with you as much as possible.

16 Be receptive to his signals. If he shows genuine interest in you, (for example, he smiles at you a lot whenever the two of you pass each other or he goes out of his way to say hello to you), be friendly and polite back. If you've already decided that he's someone you'd like to date, don't let it go too long before facilitating an opportunity for the two of you to get together to talk in a quiet place. On the other hand, if he's not your type or you've changed your mind about flirting any further, be honest and let him know that you're flattered but you're not available.

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