In tandem with spring cleaning, now is as good a time as any to do an audit of your grooming regimen hygiene. Are the products you’re using far past their “Best Used By”? Is your bathroom a cesspool that could wreak havoc on your complexion — in more ways than one? And do you obey proper toothbrush and razor blade replenishment orders? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to having a hygienic regimen, but it’s certainly worth the assessment, especially in current times. Having a clean regimen promises clean and smooth shaves, clear complexion, terrific oral health and more.
So, here are seven of the most important things to do if you want to minimize any bacterial risks and breakouts.
1. Replace expired products
Every product you own has an expiration date, and there’s an industry standard for how brands display each product’s shelf life. Look on the product (typically on the rear) for a little uncapped canister (like a hair product tin that has been opened). Inside that canister it will say something like 6M or 12M, noting how long that product is guaranteed “good and effective” from its open date. So, there’s some extra lifting on your end to recall when you first started using the product — you could also scribble the date with a permanent marker onto the side.
There’s likely some wiggle room on these dates; it’s not like your moisturizer will suddenly separate 6 months after you opened it, and cease providing you with nourishment and sun protection. But if you’ve owned a product for two or three years and it’s still sitting on your shelf—toss it. Get a new one and a smaller one at that. Chances are some of its powers have been neutralized, some of its ingredients have separated, and its efficacy is far from desirable. Don’t even try it, in fact.
2. Get a washable Dopp kit
Dopp kits really run the spectrum in terms of quality and price. You can spend a few bucks for a dorm-friendly shower Dopp, or get a beautiful leather engraved Dopp for your first-class travels. Somewhere down the middle, though, is the practical Dopp. It’s durable, won’t rip, and is also entirely machine washable without pilling around the perimeter.
Considering all the things that go in this Dopp kit — your razor, toothbrush, and any products that have been sitting in tiny pools of water on the hotel sink — it is something you should wash frequently (Plus they often take it out of your bag at TSA, and set it in a bin for scanning. Everyone knows those bins are filthy). So, get a practical Dopp kit, and a washable one at that.
Nylon Dopp Kit by Baggu $30
3. Replace your toothbrush at proper intervals
You need to replace your toothbrush every three months, says the American Dental Association. That’s four times a year. Doing so will ensure your brush head remains durable enough to clean the teeth properly, and it’s also just good hygiene to not keep a toothbrush more than that amount of time. You can sign up for a replenishment program, like Goby, if you want someone else to keep tabs on the replacement heads — it is easy to forget, after all. After you buy their excellent electric/chargeable brush for $60 (including a starter kit), you can get new heads sent every 1, 2 or 3 months for just $6 a pop.
Toothbrush Starter Kit by Goby $60
4. Practice good razor hygiene
We’ve waxed poetic on how to have a safe, hygienic shave. And within those many shave tips are two major notes on razor hygiene: First, store the razor upright in a cool, dry place after the shave, so it can dry without inviting bacterial growth. Then, get a blade cover to shield the blades once they’re dry.
Next, be sure to replace your razors at proper intervals too—every two weeks or after 6-8 shaves, whichever comes first. After this, it’s likely the blade has become dull or has accumulated bacteria and should be replaced to ensure safety for your skin. This is why razor replenishment companies are so popular since you can rely on them to change your razor at proper intervals. Harry’s, in particular, is a one-stop-shop for all of the above.
Blades by Harry’s $16
Travel Cover by Harry’s $1
Razor Stand by Harry’s $15
5. Wash your beard trimmer
In tandem with shaving hygiene is trimming hygiene — and those hair clippings don’t exactly repel bacteria. So, it’s important to rinse your beard trimmer after each use (and for that reason, to buy one that allows both wet and dry usage). Most trimmers come with a tiny brush, too, that a lot of guys just discard immediately. Don’t do this, because that little brush can help extract excess hairs from the blades. Don’t hesitate to drop some liquid soap over the blades either, and then rinse it under hot water.
Oh, and as a side note — oil it up! Your trimmer likely came with a little vial of oil, which you should apply to the trimmer once it’s clean and dry. This will help keep those blades strong, and can even thwart bacterial buildup.
Wet/Dry Beard and Body Trimmer Kit by Wahl $60
6. Rinse each product—and clean the shelf
If you have any dust accumulation in your bathroom, then keep in mind to regularly rinse each product, wash the shelf that they rest on, and wipe down/vacuum/Swiffer any excess dust in the room. That’s because your entire skincare regimen is built around you touching your own face. And one of the best ways to prevent clogging pores is to not apply dust and dirt particles onto the skin. By keeping the products and entire bathroom dust-free, you minimize these odds.
Oh, and by washing your hands before you apply any product, you also minimize transferring bacteria to your pores, which is another recipe for a breakout.
7. Go crazy with a hot-water rinse
Combs, nail clippers, tweezers, toothbrushes, razors — these are just some of the products that sit around in the bathroom and collect dust, germs and more. So, in addition to the routine cleaning you do in the bathroom, give them a weekly hot-water rinse, too, just to kill any bacterial accumulation.
This won’t shorten the intervals of replacing razors or toothbrushes, but it will neutralize the products that you put in, near, and around your eyes, mouth, and nose, as well as the precious scalp and hair follicles. Be sure to dry them quickly — in a cool, dry room—especially to prevent rusting of the nail clippers, razors blades and tweezers.
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