You’ve tackled the obvious: clipping your toenails, tweezing your unibrow, and taking care of your man hands. But any guy with a girlfriend, sister, or mother knows that women pay attention to every little detail—way more than you’ll ever notice.
That’s why we polled ladies and doctors alike to create a list of the top hygiene hiccups men make. (Don’t worry. I am giving you the best ways to nix them.)
Blackheads: While these pore plugs aren’t necessarily a product of bad hygiene (your genes may be to blame), letting them go gives off the impression that you haven’t washed your face in days. Though they’re more often found on your nose and cheeks, these buggers can also live in less obvious places, like your chin and ears.
Bad breath: She may give you a get-out-of-jail-free card for morning breath, but any other form of stank mouth is inexcusable. To avoid summoning her gag reflex, combat food decay and bacterial build-up—the biggest causes of nasty halitosis—by sticking to this dentist-approved routine: brush your teeth and tongue twice daily.
Nose hair: Yes, it’s typically a problem your grandpa has to deal with hair starts growing in weird places once you’re old enough to get the senior discount at the movies. But some dudes are born with a furry schnoz, and nothing turns her off more than that tuft poking out of the bat cave. So keep a pair of trimmers handy.
Razor blade: It burns, so you definitely notice when your razor hasn’t given you a clean shave. A dull razor plus shaving against or across the grain of hair growth is what causes ingrown hairs or bumps especially with sensitive skin or thicker beards. Bumps are caused by bacteria, believe it or not, that gets into the tiny cuts caused by friction when you shave whether that’s because of a dull razor, dry skin, or shaving the wrong way. Toss your blade if you spot rust or the indicator strip turns white, and make sure to shave in the right direction. Don’t forget to lotion up afterwards too.
Body odour: You exercise, you sweat. It’s hot out, you sweat. You get worked up arguing your case in the boardroom, you sweat. It happens. But while some studies have shown women are attracted to the smell of their dude’s natural musk, she’s not buying the pheromone excuse—clean pits always trump a whiff from a nasty underarm. In addition to using the basics (you know: soap and deodorant), keep your bed sheets or towels super clean, since they’re typically made of a polyester/cotton blend that tends to trap odour. Toss sheets into the dryer every other time you do laundry, and make sure you hang your towels after showering.
Too much cologne: Sure, she doesn’t want you to smell like you just ran a half-marathon, but covering up with too much cologne is never the solution. The fewer the spritzes the better, or you run the risk of overdoing it. Hold the bottle at least seven inches away from your neck and press once. That should do it, but if you’re worried you need more, add one spritz to the inside of your wrists.
Dandruff: An itchy scalp can be caused by anything from the seasons changing to your DNA. And unless you’re a full-grown towhead, chances are she’ll see the flakes in your head (or on your shoulders). Although many hairdressers tell their clients to avoid washing hair more than two or three times a week, dandruff is best treated by washing every day with a dandruff shampoo.
Yellow teeth: No one expects you to give up the stuff that might give your teeth a nasty tinge over time, like your morning coffee or artificially coloured sports drinks, but there are plenty of ways to counteract the effects.
Cracked lips: Never underestimate the power of a soft pair of lips for kissing and, ahem, everything else you do with them. Cold weather or lip-licking habits can cause your mouth to dry out, leaving you with rough or cracked skin.
Back acne: Back acne is a tough one to tackle—its causes range from genetic predisposition (sorry, guys) to using the wrong type of bath loofah. Your best line of defense, though, is cleansing daily with a body wash that contains acne-zapping ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.