When it comes to men’s grooming there seems to be a generation gap. If you have teenage boys you will know that their attitudes have changed considerably. If you don’t and are one of those guys who feels an urge to resist such preening and primping for fear of been seen as un-masculine or purely vain, then you need to read on. If meanwhile, you feel that you have lead the way whilst others mocked you, it’s all about to change when it comes to men’s grooming and beauty.
18 year old Ethan Allington is an actor and musician. He looks great and his looks matter. According to him it’s very important for all his mates, no matter what their profession, to look after their skin. I met Ethan and chatted about why attitudes to men’s grooming and male beauty are changing and how this is affecting us all, no matter what our age, outlook or sexuality. His answers are insightful, revealing and will make any guy who has shunned a grooming routine in the past, think again.
Why do you think many men of your dad’s generation, he’s currently 46, never really bothered with a men’s grooming regime?
There is almost a certain pride amongst my dad’s generation that they don’t need to look after their skin as much, or they don’t think they need to because that’s something a woman would do. It’s like, I won’t look very masculine if I look after my skin and a little bit of spot scarring is actually quite manly. It’s a mind set, a lot of people of my dad’s generation are afraid of getting judged and as soon as you throw that away, it’s better.
Do you think attitudes are changing amongst your dad’s particular generation?
A lot of men my dad’s age are starting to realise actually my skin is quite damaged and I need to look after that, they notice they are wrinkling really easily at say the age of 45. My dad’s attitude has actually changed and he is prepared to do something about it because he has seen how me and my brother look after ourselves. I’ve got a brother who is 17 and he also is very meticulous about his skin because we want to look good and we really care about how we look. I’m not saying my dad doesn’t care about how he looks but there’s this idea of a natural Adonis and if you’re not that, then men my dad’s age think whatever and give up.
Another reason why a lot of my dad’s generation have started looking after their bodies and their skin. They see of lot of men from the younger generation looking incredibly good because of the way they look after themselves, it may be something to do with being threatened. It’s like Man-scaping, that has no longer got a stigma attached to it.
Why have things changed so quickly for young men?
My generation who are on social media are much more conscious. It’s very, very, very important for a lot of males my age that they look good all the time. Whereas my dad’s generation never had that and they are all a bit blasé about it. I credit looking after myself, working out 2 or 3 times a week and looking after my skin, to having helped me with work. People aren’t afraid to do it, no one is afraid to spend 20 minutes a day on looking after themselves anymore.
What do you think women think of all this attention men are starting to pay to their looks?
My mum finds my dad more attractive when he takes care of his skin definitely. There’s something attractive about making an effort. It’s like when you see your girlfriend really dress up you think ‘wow’. I don’t know many girls who would be bothered about a guy spending that much time on his skin because at the end of the day they have to be a certain level of attractive to you. My mum though, who isn’t used to it, finds it weird that my dad now sits in front of the mirror washes his face and applies eye serum etc.
Some women of your mum’s generation can find a guy who spends too much time on himself less appealing, is that still a thing?
Women have tastes but I’ve never seen a girl have an issue with how a man does his skin routine, never seen that. Also, women of my generation are much more accepting of guys that do that…they just don’t really know any different. It’s not a feminine thing to look after yourself, it’s a natural instinct.
Are you worried your generation may be putting themselves under too much pressure to look good?
Stress plays a big part. Just been an 18 year old it’s very important to look right, there’s girlfriends, it’s life, people are taking photos of you all the time. A lot of people who are self-conscious get really particular about their skin. I am very much for everybody been happy in their own skin but what I would say is that your body changes every single day, you can affect how much it changes very easily.
Stress plays a big role in how men look after themselves, how do you deal with that?
My dad loses weight easily and then work stresses him out and he puts the weight back on again and he feels awful about himself. When he feels awful he makes himself feel more awful by not getting up and going to the gym. It’s like breaking the cycle and setting up a routine. Humans are creatures of habit so if you set up a routine, it becomes natural after a while. Try and start habit forming in regard to how you look after yourself, you’ll be incredibly surprised by how you change and how much better you look. There is pretty much no such thing as too late when it comes to looking after yourself and your body.
Finally I hate that word ‘metrosexual’ that appears to describe guys like yourself, is there something better?
I hate it too! I’d use the word sensible, because your skin is with you forever, why would you not want to look after it. At the end of the day your body is the only thing that is with you forever.
Ethan’s grooming routine.
Cleanser/toner/Anti-ageing under eyes serum by Murdock Barbers-London.
Active moist for daytime from Dermalogica.
Exfoliate using Daily Microfoliant by Dermalogica.
Organic and essential facial oil to providing natural moisturisation by Vanderohe number 1.
Ultra-facial cream for night-time by Keihls.