Your Man’s Grooming

You shower, blow-dry, flat iron, moisturize and carefully apply makeup. He runs a comb through his hair and calls it a day.

So, how can you suggest your man step up his get-ready routine without offending him? “This is a big manner minefield that needs to be navigated carefully,” says etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley, editor of Modern Manners: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Social Graces and a contributor to “It can’t be that you simply don’t like beards; it needs to be presented more gently, with a little humor, like, ‘I love kissing you, but your beard/stubble is chafing my delicate skin.’”

Read on for some grooming tips to share -- ever so sensitively -- with your man.

Shaving Secrets

A few pre-shaving steps are the secret to a great shave, says celebrity men’s grooming expert Diana Schmidtke, who has styled George Clooney, John Travolta and Jon Hamm.

Step one: Open up the skin’s pores. This will take care of itself if your man shaves in the shower; if he doesn’t, he’ll want to apply a warm washcloth to his face for at least 60 seconds.

Step two: Exfoliate gently to remove dead skin cells that may block the blade. He can do this by using a facial scrub or simply cleansing his face with the same washcloth he used in step one.

Step three: Apply a pre-shave oil to moisten skin and soften the hair before lathering up with shaving cream.

Try to observe your man when he’s shaving to see if his technique needs some tweaking. Schmidtke advises men to shave with the grain, taking two short strokes and then rinsing the blade clean to decrease the risk of nicks, razor burn and ingrown hairs.

His Hair: Handle the Hints with Care

Men can be touchy about their hair, as we all know. One common sticky situation: He wants to work out before dinner, but you’ve seen his grungy gym-to-restaurant look. What to do? Schmidtke suggests investing in some dry shampoo. “It will soak up the grease, so his hair doesn’t look stringy,” she says.

An even stickier situation: He’s starting to experience a thinning mane and not at all happy about it. Although you can’t rewire his genetics, you can recommend ways to slow the process down. “Male pattern baldness is amenable to medical treatments,” explains Dr. John Gray, author of The World of Hair Colour. “Rogaine lotion and Propecia tablets both work, and the earlier you start, the better. There are no other scientifically proven treatments.”

He may be tempted to don a cap day and night to hide this thinning hair, but that will only make things worse, causing hair breakage that will make his mane appear even thinner. Vigorously drying hair with a towel can also cause breakage. Instead, he should gently squeeze out excess moisture post-shower and allow hair to air dry.

The right cut is also important. A blunt cut will give the appearance of a fuller head of hair, while texturized cuts will draw attention to thinning patches. If you love the Bruce Willis bald-is-sexy look, you might want to encourage your man to try shaving his head.

Yours Versus His

Sharing is good, but when it comes to your favorite hair-care products, claim your territorial rights. Most men are all about convenience when it comes to grooming, but we hunt down the products that are perfect for our styling needs. In other words, subtly remind him that you’d prefer he didn’t use your favorite shampoo for color-treated curly hair to wash his entire manly body.

“Men and women can theoretically share shampoo products, but women have very different conditioning needs than men,” adds Gray. “They have longer hair that is more likely to be chemically treated, which means it requires higher levels of conditioning.” Finally, there’s the fragrance factor to take into account. Guys don’t want to smell like lavender, and you definitely don’t need to reek of musk. A better solution: his-and-hers hair products.