Calling all guys. Yes, you! We know you’re smart, experienced and still a head-turner at 50-, 60- and 70-plus though you claim no interest in grooming and style. But let’s be honest, the way you look and feel plays a big role today in enhancing your social life — online and in person. Think I’m kidding? So why do your celeb, athlete and Facebook peers make polishing up the old self-image such a priority? Because it’s an essential survival skill today. Here are 10 easy tips that work for all:
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PHOTO BY: Target (2); Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
1. Update your sunscreen
Guys 50-plus are often hoarders of expired sunscreens. They figure, “How bad can a 2020 or 2021 date be?” Honestly? Pretty bad since applying daily sunscreen is the one thing standing between you and more sun damage or skin cancer. Last summer’s sunscreen expires just like food and despite the SPF on the label it has lost potency. Toss even borderline tubes of 10 or 11 months if you notice changes in color, texture (watery, clumpy or grainy) or a funky smell. Bacteria can thrive in old sunscreen, contaminating the formula and possibly leading to skin rashes or irritation. Buy a new broad-spectrum formula of at least SPF 30 and choose one for everyday wear, like Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen with SPF 60 ($10, target.com), Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Face Liquid Drops SPF 50 ($15, target.com) or Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive SPF 30+ ($10, target.com), to supplement your heavy-duty beach-going protection. Mineral or chemical? The one you’ll really apply every morning is the right one for you.
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PHOTO BY: Target; Walgreens; Target
2. Face up to sun-weathered skin
If you follow tip number 1, you’re on track to prevent more sun damage. But that won’t improve what you’ve already got going on — namely rough, dry skin adorned with wrinkles and sun spots. The unfortunate truth is most older men don’t apply a moisturizer and that’s frankly the only way to get healthier-looking skin even with all of the above. No need for fancy bells and whistles. A frill-free moisturizer designed for dry skin, like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Extra Dry ($23, walgreens.com), Bulldog Skincare for Men Original Moisturizer ($10, target.com) or Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 ($28, target.com), works day and night. Just look for a basic humectant like glycerin, aloe vera, algae extract or the superpowered hyaluronic acid on the label or ingredient list. All attract and hold water to the skin, so your face looks smoother, firmer and dewier, with plumped-up lines. It’s as easy as brushing your teeth and the responsible thing to do in the a.m. under your mineral sunscreen or over a chemical one.
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PHOTO BY: CVS; Amazon; CVS
3. Corral body hair
Body hair is totally normal, although some guys have more than the usual, with extra sprouting on backs, hands and toes. No need to trim unless you have an issue with back hair on the beach. If so, a one-time wax at a day spa will suffice for the season. Add trimming nose and ear hair to your must-do list since extra tufts appear more rapidly and visibly from nostrils and ear canals after age 50. Use a stick-on magnifying mirror like the Conair Suction Cup Mirror Close Up Magnification ($12, cvs.com) and small, blunt-tipped facial hair scissors (never use tweezers) like the Tweezerman Nose Ear Facial Scissors ($23, amazon.com) to trim, or an electric shaver made for this purpose, like the Goodline Grooming Co. Nose + Ear Hair Trimmer ($10, cvs.com). Or let a barber do the snipping.
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PHOTO BY: Walmart (2); Amazon
4. Sweat proof your underarms, shoes and feet
C’mon, guys, drippy perspiration is fine during workouts and sports but wet underarm stains and a stinky aroma rising from shirts, footwear and tootsies needs tackling. As the season heats up, you do, too, and odors become even more noticeable. Armpits first: As I am sure you know the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant deodorant is that the first only neutralizes smell, while the second combats smell and wetness. Do yourself a favor and choose one or the other. Without help, shoes, sandals and especially sneakers hold unappealing scents hostage. So spray clean, dry feet (between toes, too) with an odor-reducing spray like Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X Probiotic Extract Formula Foot Spray ($8, walmart.com) or Arm & Hammer Invisible Spray Foot Powder ($7, walmart.com) and use freshening inserts like Zorpads Odor Eliminating Shoe Inserts ($24 for five pairs, amazon.com) to keep the reek at bay. Give sweaty sandals, sneakers, deck shoes and loafers a chance to air out and dry between wearings since moisture encourages bacteria buildup. For a quick DIY deodorizer, wipe footbeds of shoes with a little white vinegar or sprinkle baking soda in shoes overnight and shake out in the morning.
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PHOTO BY: Gap; Old Navy; Zappos; Amazon
5. Manage your “mankles” and footwear
A no-sock look is the new normal. However, some mature guys persist in wearing tall crew or dress socks with their shorts and sandals or sneakers. Not a good look. Instead, go sockless when wearing sandals and stick to low-cropped socks like the Old Navy Low-Cut Socks 4-Pack for Men in Basic Multi-Pack ($10, oldnavy.gap.com) or Gap No-Show Socks in True Black ($11 for a two-pack, gap.com) for sneakers and slip-on shoes. One more thing: Flip-flops and neglected toenails can wreck even the coolest look, especially for casual social events. Get a salon pedicure (DIY at home) and a pair of contoured support sandals like the lightweight, waterproof Birkenstock Arizona Essentials for Men ($50, zappos.com) or lightweight ventilated loafers like the Swims Men’s Slip-On Washable Penny Loafers ($82, amazon.com) as airy alternatives to leather before RSVP-ing yes to lunches, dinners and barbecues.
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PHOTO BY: Foster Grant; Privé Revaux; Sunglass Hut
6. Upgrade the sun specs
Your Rx frames are most likely updated but how about your sunglasses? Like sunscreen, men tend to keep wearing old sunglasses way past their flattery date and push them into the “not-so-important” category. Big mistake! Sunnies are one of your key allies in both eye health and looks because UV-protected lenses keep your peepers and the skin around them safe. A new pair of polarized shades in black or tortoise, like the Foster Grant Marli Polarized for Digital ($31, fostergrant.com), Privé Revaux The Bruce 2.0 in Chestnut Brown Tort ($40, priverevaux.com) or Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer Classic in Black/Polarized Green ($201, sunglasshut.com) will do that, prevent glare and make images sharper and easier to read on your cellphone screens.
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PHOTO BY: JCPenney; Banana Republic; Amazon; L.L. Bean
7. Address your hat situation
Plenty of 50-plus guys wear a baseball cap from May to September. It appeals to all but especially those with thinning hair. What you don’t think about is that baseball caps lack an ear- and nape-shielding brim, making those areas targets for UV rays. Wearing the cap backwards doesn’t exactly help things, either. Bucket hats with sloping all-around brims, like the L.L. Bean Men’s Sunday Afternoons Brushline Bucket Hat in Mineral/Timber ($36, llbean.com), are crushable enough to fold up in a pocket and pair well with casual clothes. So do “boonie” hats like the Aenmt Wide Brim Boonie Sun Hat in Army Green or Navy ($16, amazon.com) with a wider brim for even more shade. Dressier times, like outdoor parties when you’re in real pants and a shirt, call for a little more structure. Try a woven paper fedora like the Banana Republic Classic Straw Fedora in Natural ($80, bananarepublic.gap.com) or a panama style like the Dockers Men’s Panama Hat in Tan/Navy ($28, jcpenney.com). Your scalp, neck and ears will be grateful at your next skin cancer checkup.
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PHOTO BY: Ulta Beauty; CVS; Target
8. Multitask head-to-toe
Here’s a truth. Many mature men do not wear fragrance and those who do save it for special evenings out. They also don’t apply multiple skin, hair and body products the way women do and they like spending as few minutes as possible getting ready. But that doesn’t mean give up! Simply put a superpowered juggler like the 18.21 Man Made Spiced Vanilla Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash ($28, ulta.com), Irish Spring 5 in 1 Men’s Body Wash for Hair, Face and Body ($5, cvs.com) and Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Aloe Vera 3-in-1 Body Wash ($6, target.com) on your daily list and get triple benefits. They work as shampoos, conditioners and even shave gels while adding a subtle scent. Make the switch.
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PHOTO BY: Old Navy; J.Crew; Target; Amazon
9. Choose physique-enhancing tops
Put some thought into this, guys, just like women do. Hopefully you’ve tossed or donated any worn-out, stained, baggy or sloppily oversize tees and are ready for a restock. Before you buy, know that classic crew or high-V tee shirts in solid neutrals like navy, gray and black are the most versatile, give your upper body a defined look and won’t show stains the way white and light colors do. Multi-packs like the Hanes Men’s Comfort Wash Short-Sleeve T-Shirt Value 4-Pack in Charcoal Heather ($20, target.com) or Gildan Men’s Crew T-Shirts Multipack in Assorted Black/Grey 4-pack ($32, amazon.com) are the smart way to go for these basics. For a more polished dress-casual effect, opt for a polo style like the J.Crew Classic Piqué Polo Shirt in Raw Indigo ($75, jcrew.com), or for extra sweat-control opt for a moisture-wicking version like the Old Navy Go-Dry Cool Odor-Control Core Polo for Men ($20, oldnavy.gap.com).
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PHOTO BY: Target (3)
10. Plan your summer scruff
Letting go of shaving for a few days has become the new normal for most men. We get it. It’s a low-maintenance, subtly edgy version of a beard. It also gives your lower face more definition, camouflages a saggy jawline or double chin and frames your lips and pearly white smile. Scruff takes about three days to go from a five-o’clock shadow to intentional stubble, with five days being the longest you can go before looking lazy. But that’s not where it ends. Clean shave the area outside your stubble-like your cheeks and lower neck to keep the shape tidy. Use an electric trimmer with guard attachments like the King C. Gillette XT3000 Men’s Style Master Cordless Stubble Trimmer + 3 Attachment Combs ($40, target.com) to adjust your stubble length; a conditioner with shea butter and coconut oil like the Cremo Beard & Scruff Softener in Wild Mint ($15, target.com) to stay itch-free; and be sure to wash your face daily with a moisturizing cleanser like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin with Hyaluronic Acid ($13, target.com) to remove excess oil, dirt and sunscreen.
Lois Joy Johnson is a beauty and style editor who focuses on women 50 and older. She was the beauty and style editor at Ladies’ Home Journal and a founding editor of More magazine. She has written three books: The Makeup Wakeup, The Wardrobe Wakeup and The Woman's Wakeup.