The Grooming Lies You Always Thought Were True. If you stop and think about it, men spend an awful lot of time on looking good — we hit the gym, we shop for and plan our outfits and, of course, we take care of the scruff on our faces. While there’s something strangely admirable about men who just don’t care and have ample time to do whatever it is those schlubby guys do, the real tragedy comes when men put in the effort, but still wind up looking bad. A lot of that is caused by misinformation, now free to proliferate across the internet for eternity. That’s why we’ve rounded up 8 style myths you probably believe, but shouldn’t if you want to look your best.
MYTH: SHAVING MAKES HAIR GROW BACK FASTER, THICKER
Let’s be honest — most grown men (hopefully) have no concern for this myth anymore, unless you’re approaching 30 and still can’t grow a full beard. But it’s an excuse that’s used by everyone from hopeful teenagers (to justify shaving), to women (to justify not shaving) and it’s simply not true. The hair on your face (or anywhere, for that matter) lacks the capacity to know whether you’ve shaved it or not. This myth probably gained momentum among teenage boys because by shaving disparate peach fuzz and making it grow in evenly, it looks fuller and thicker. Not so.
MYTH: A STRAIGHT RAZOR PROVIDES THE BEST SHAVE
We live in a time where “old fashioned” and “artisan” are dogwhistles for “quality,” and sometimes that’s true. But when you buy into the idea that a straight razor provides the closest shave, you’re saying that Bronze Age technology is superior and that thousands of years and millions of dollars worth of R&D were for naught. To men who don’t really want to spend a year learning the craft, and subsequently an extra 15 minutes every morning before work, the modern razor is a beautiful thing. The BIC® Flex 5™ is a multi-blade razor featuring a Balancing Sphere™, which adds weight for better shave control, meaning less skin irritation and less wasted time in the morning. The good old days weren’t always good, you know.
MYTH: YOU SHOULDN’T WEAR BROWN WITH A NAVY SUIT
This myth actually cuts both ways. While there are those who swear that black and blue fabrics should never be paired together (obviously false, if you use your head and pick the right tones), plenty of people balk at the idea of brown leather (shoes, belt) with a navy suit. This stems from old British fashion norms dictating that brown shoes were reserved for daytime wear at your country hunting estate, while nighttime city elegance demanded black leather. Black may still be a better choice for the night, but the truth is that navy is a neutral color that pairs equally well with both colors of leather.
MYTH: DARK COLORS ARE ALWAYS SLIMMING
Yes and no. Darker colors do have a slimming effect, but most people have outsized ideas about their mystical properties. In reality, most of the slimming effect is due to the fact that people simply draw less attention in darker colors, while also being less likely to have their silhouette lost in the background. If you want to make dark colors work for you, fit is everything — the darkest suit in the world won’t make you look slimmer if you look like a kid borrowing his dad’s clothes.
MYTH: TO GET BIG, YOU NEED TO LIFT BIG
At first, this seems intuitive — the big beefcake guys are picking up monstrous weights, while the sleek, wiry guys stick to the small stuff. But the obvious correlation disappears when you realize that the body doesn’t work that way, and if anything it works the opposite way. Strength and size are inextricable (to a degree), but the best way to bulk up a muscle is to choose isolating exercises with a weight light enough to force hypertrophy — the opposite of lifting big to get big. Those giant guys lifting giant weights? They’ve simply been at it longer, and are thus stronger.
MYTH: SHAVING CREAM DOESN’T MATTER
Ha. Ha ha ha. Ask anyone who’s tried to shave with only water (or even completely dry, perish the thought) how much shaving cream matters. Its obvious application is to lubricate the skin, which even cheap creams do with aplomb. But it also plays another, more technical role: Water retention. Wet shaving is easier because water literally realigns the molecules in the hairs, making them easier to cut. A good, high-quality shaving cream or gel keeps the water from escaping the hair. Do not skip it.
MYTH: YOU CAN’T PAIR PATTERNS WITH STRIPES, AND VICE VERSA
So many men probably have ensembles in their closets that will never see the light of day because of this myth, and that’s a shame. Unless you want to look like you work for the IRS, it behooves you to play with patterns — just keep in mind the mantra “color, pattern and scale.” The colors in a tie should (subtly) match the primary and secondary colors in your shirt and suit. Pattern-wise, a striped tie actually goes best with a patterned shirt, and vice versa. Pull it all together by keeping the scale in check — your tie and shirt should never compete, and typically the tie carries the stronger, bolder pattern.
MYTH: CALORIES ARE ALL THAT MATTERS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Hardly. You have to keep in mind that the calories on food labels are measures of heat — a calorie is literally the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Our bodies aren’t furnaces, and what they do with the food we eat depends tremendously on the kinds of foods we eat. Yes, when it comes to survival, calories are a semi-accurate measure of the energy in a foodstuff. But if you’re trying to gain muscle or lose fat, the nutrients in your diet matter. A lot.
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