First off, congratulations: The fact that you have a date planned means you must be doing something right. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though—if you want to be your best possible (hopefully naked later on) you, you need to make sure that whatever your pre-date ritual is, you’re doing it correctly. Here’s what the experts told us.
Brushing Your Teeth (and Your Tongue)
Few things can end a date as quickly as bad breath, so it’s vital that you give your entire mouth a wash and detail—and don’t forget to brush your tongue. A dirty tongue is most often the culprit behind stank-mouth, according to dentist Michelle Ashcraft, who previously explained to us that this is because it’s covered in cracks and crevices that provide a home to odor-causing bacteria. Sexy!
Washing Your Hard-To-Reach Parts
Taking a pre-date shower to ward off body odor may sound obvious, but it’s easy to skip the more secluded nooks and crannies in the process. The spot between your hairline and the back of your ear, for instance, is home to a large population of sebaceous glands which produce a mix of oil and wax called sebum. As bacteria feed on that sebum, they release a rank odor, which is the last thing you want your date to smell if (or when) they go to nibble on your ear. Make sure not to miss any other hard-to-reach areas with the help of our full-body washing guide.
Clipping (and Cleaning) Your Nails
Chances are, your date doesn’t want to be pawed at by a wolverine, so clipping and cleaning your nails is a must. The easiest way to keep them in check, according to Hollywood manicurist Kelly Bannon, is to start by taking a warm shower. This will soften the nails, making them easier to clip. Once you’re out of the shower, wait three minutes before clipping—water expands the nails, so you might end up cutting them too short if they’re too wet. When they’re ready to be clipped, leave just a sliver (½ mm) of white on the tips, and shape them like crescent moons. Finally, clean out any remaining gunk using the small tool on the back of the clippers.
Dry and flaky are adjectives that should never be used to describe a date, which is why it’s imperative that you moisturize your visible parts at the very least. Dermatologist Anthony Rossi has previously recommended moisturizing both the hands and face directly after taking a shower—before towelling off—since the moisturizer traps water in the skin. “That extra water will prevent wrinkles and tired-looking skin,” he said. Which means moisturizing won’t only keep you looking good for this date—it will also keep you looking youthful for dates to come.
Cleaning up Your Facial Hair
If you wear a full beard, this means trimming your neckline, and Michael Kontos, Artistic Director of the London School of Barbering in Britain, previously showed us how it’s done. “If you look in the mirror, you can see where your neck hair ends,” he told us. “The line goes down from the point of the ear, straps underneath your jaw, then goes back up to meet the other ear.” Once you’ve located your neckline, know that how you decide to shape it should be determined by your head hairstyle. If you have messy, long hair, you probably only want to clean it up a little bit using electric clippers. If you have clean, short hair, however, giving yourself a neat, straight neckline with a razor probably isn’t the worst idea.
If you’re more of a clean-shaven kind of guy, you probably already know how to properly shave. But hey, you may just pick up a helpful tip or two from our 15-step face shaving guide.
Wet Shaving (or Trimming) Your…Y’Know
You never want to get caught with your pants down, especially if it’s looking unruly down there. Start by trimming any patches of unwieldy hair, including your bush and the area between your sack and your butt. Then, hop in a hot shower—the warm water will soften the coarse pubic hair and cause the skin on your danglies to loosen, making them easier to shave (the razor can’t get to the hairs in the nooks and crannies when they’re shriveled up, y’know). From there, lather everything with shave butter and get to shaving. Melanie Mari, owner and trained manscaper at Bare Skin Studio, has previously explained that, “If you’re one of those guys with hair growing on his shaft […] it might be easier to shave that area with a boner.” That way, the skin will be taut—as opposed shriveled—which will keep you from accidentally nicking yourself. For that same reason, it’s also important to stretch your balls while shaving them.
Putting on Your Good Underwear
LA-based stylist Meg Gallagher and menswear blogger Jessica Chance previously spoke with us about better underwear options, and they concluded that boxer briefs are the ultimate underwear. They’re not bulky like boxers, won’t cause you to overheat like briefs, and they prevent chafing and bunching thanks to a snug fit that keeps them from riding up your thighs and in between your cheeks. Chance particularly recommends wearing black boxer briefs when going on a date: “Black underwear […] is slimming and more sleek—it has the same effect as a woman in black lingerie,” she says. Which is exactly what you want if your date doesn’t end when dinner’s done.
Now that you know how to look and smell your best, all that’s left is the easy stuff—like, you know, actually being an awesome date. That’s on you, big guy.