10 Tips You Need to Know About the Art of Men’s Grooming
From facial hair to pedicures, grooming connoisseur, John Allan tells us what it takes to be a barbered and buffed gentleman
By Sarah Emily Gilbert
Fashioned after an exclusive club where men can kick back with a cold drink while getting a new hairstyle, John Allan’s Premiere Men’s Grooming Clubs cater to the modern man. Built on John Allan’s desire to help men refine their style while enjoying male camaraderie, he’s revolutionized men’s grooming. The result is an old school-style NYC barbershop with high-end touches.
“My upbringing was composed of strong men who were established characters and definitely influenced me with style. I was always intrigued by that brotherhood, so it kind of took me into the direction of [men’s grooming].”
John Allan’s mission empowers men in an industry where they are often neglected consumers. A former apprentice to French hairstyling great, Jean Louis David, John Allan combines his formal training as a stylist with his male intuition to create a place where men can receive premiere grooming services in a comfortable environment. And while the grooming industry’s evolution into a unisex arena seems relatively new, John Allan is actually reviving old traditions with his male-centered services.
“I took the things from my grandfather’s day when they used to go to the barbershops, which often had a manicurist in them. I didn’t create the idea of the head to toe grooming experience, I just brought it back into a system that I felt would be more conducive to men so that at the most basic level of grooming, their hair was cut, their hands were clean, and their shoes were shined after leaving [John Allan’s].”
With thousands of memberships and seven clubs located in New York City, California, and Toronto, it’s clear that John Allan has brought men far beyond the basic level of grooming, and eased them into a lifestyle of style-consciousness. From manicures to shoes shining, John Allan’s offers a range of optimum services and products to its clients, but it’s their “Signature Full Service” that has really tempted men to relax and get pampered for the past 27 years. Entailing a scalp massage, shampoo, conditioning treatment, hot towel wrap, haircut, nail detailing, and shoe shine, man-oh-man does it make guys feel like they’ve found their grooming niche.
Below, the grooming expert offers tips on how men can look their best:
- Let your stylist be your guru: “When it comes to hairstyling, it’s the job of a professional to get you where you need to go. The first thing is getting a consultation so that your stylist can determine what works for you, what your limitations are, and where you can go in the future. My thing is to get a guy comfortable and confident with himself first, and then we can open up the door to new haircuts and styles little by little.”
- Stay in your comfort zone – for now: “If you’re not mentally ready, no matter how great your haircut is, it won’t look great because you’re not wearing the style, the style is wearing you, and it’s not going to come across the way it should.”
- Rinse, don’t wash: “I don’t think a man has to shampoo his hair everyday because it strips the hair of its natural oils, which actually makes the hair produce even more of them. Instead, try rinsing hair with water daily.”
- If it’s over the lip, it’s time for a snip: “Facial hair is really personal for guys, even more so than their hair, but my stock in trimming moustaches is to always make sure that hair is not coming over their lip. That’s my personal preference.”
- Buy the tools of the trade: “Getting a beard trimmed every two weeks can be pretty costly and time consuming for some. If that’s the case, you can buy tools to do it yourself. Watch what your stylist does and ask questions so that you can maintain it at home.”
- Don’t get yourself into a hairy situation: “There are men who take body hair very seriously and prefer to look like a newborn baby as far as hair removal goes. Then, there are guys who embrace their body hair, but there’s a medium out there. Don’t let things get too out of hand. You don’t have to go to painful extremes like waxing, but there are tools out there to help you stay groomed so that things don’t get too out of whack.”
- Face the facial: “For most guys facials aren’t part of their regiments, but what they need to know is this – skin can become pretty unsightly, and if you think people don’t notice dead skin, dry skin, or blackheads, you’re wrong. Getting a facial four times a year by a professional gets your skin ready each season with some deep cleansing. In between facials, all you need is a scrub and a moisturizer for your at-home regiment for healthy looking skin.”
- Put the “man” in manicure: “Anybody can buy a custom suit, but the reality is that people, especially woman, pay most attention to the details, so manicures? Absolutely! If you can’t pick up a dime on a table, your nails are too short. I like a little white to show, but some men prefer to cut their nails right to the tip of their fingers. Anything shorter than that is too short and can cause infections. If your cuticles aren’t in terrible shape, don’t have your manicurist cut them because once you start cutting your cuticle, you have to keep cutting your cuticle. It’s best for men to take a towel and push back his cuticles after he gets out of the shower.”
- Discover true bliss in the pedicure: “There’s nothing more disgusting than gnarly feet. I think the pedicure is a place where most men haven’t traveled, but they should because it’s incredible! The calf-massage alone if worth getting one, and you will definitely notice the difference in your feet if you get a pedicure every three or four months.”
- Be a product pro: “In choosing a product, listen to the stylist on what products you need to use for your style.” John Allan’s makes product selection fool-proof with their straightforward names like, “Tough Paste” for hair that needs dramatic hold, “Smoothe” for hair that needs a little boost in appearance, or “Matte” for a pomade that provides lightweight hold with a nonglossy finish.