If there's one thing you can learn from having to pile on a ton of makeup night after night, it's that we've all got to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. Few people know that better than former Glee star Darren Criss, now playing the lead in Broadway's Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
For some women, it might be a favorite eye liner that they refuse to leave home without. For guys, that could be a bit more tricky, unless you're just really attached to that particular hand lotion. But there is something well all know -- guys want to leave home good looking and when your skin looks good, you feel good.
"You've got to have a routine," he says. "Everyone loves their routine."
Criss isn't just an actor and a musician but a bit of a grooming and skincare guru in his own right, having partnered and invested in men's grooming brand The Motley. From a guy, that is dressing in drag for a living, applying and washing off makeup everyday, there was no better person to ask for some grooming tips and skin care advice.
Christopher Hunt: What is it about grooming and skincare that guys just still aren't getting?
Darren Criss: First of all, I think the main thing is guys typically don't know much about grooming or skin care at all. That's the first thing. There are guys, like your readers that are a little more educated and invested, but that's a very niche group. There are guys that are in their 60's that have products and they've been using the same shit since they were 14. If they can find it in the same store in the same aisle, they will go back to it. And if that's your bag, more power to you.
But if you're interested in branching out and making your routine something more individualized and personal - we're in an age where those two words are a huge part of our culture and there's been a pendulum swing in terms of finding things that are more natural where you can pronounce the ingredients in our products and our foods. We want everything to be organic and we want to know where it's from. They're a real story behind things. If you want to live in that world, that's who we cater to.
Now to answer your question, guys don't' know that that's out there. It's a simple way to enhance your masculinity and be the best man you can be.
CH: So what are the basic things that we should always be doing to take care of our skin?
DC: My mom is from the Philippines so she making me wash my face every day with an old school bar (of soap). There's simple things, start with washing your face at night and moisturizing. But it's not just that, it's not just a bar of soap and some lotion, it's about finding things that are more natural. Now, here's where I plug our products. We pride ourselves in being all-natural. There's not going to be over 50,000 ingredients and things that look like they're in languages from out of space. For the most part, it's things that are really accessible and elegant. Our Port Products is our skin care line. We have our face wash which is a daily cleanser, our shaving cream and our moisturizer. That's basically a skincare start-up kit.
CH: What are some of your favorite products to use?
DC: You know, it's no secret that the Earth hooks us up. Big time. This planet has hooked us up for years, hardcore. There's a lot of natural oils that really help us out because guess who else comes from the Earth? We do. So for example we have a beard oil, nowadays guys are walking around with these big beards and there's this common misunderstanding that you're just kind of scrunching it up and it smells nice. But it's much more than that. It happens to smell nice but it's really more about helping your skin out because your hair comes from your skin.
CH: What's your daily grooming ritual?
DC: There's a really great company called Herbivore Botanicals. For your skin they make this great argan and rosehip oil. I stopped using moisturizer at night because I sweat a lot at night. I've just gone to using two or three tiny pumps of that as my moisturizer and my skin has never been better. It's amazing.
CH: What about shaving? What are the rules?
DC: Shaving can be a big pain in the ass for guys. But always wash your face before you shave. Even better a nice exfoliant. Exfoliants are really great because your invigorating your whiskers and your hair and you're opening up your pores to be shaved. The biggest problem with guys that break out or get in grown hairs is they are just shaving with water and shaving cream. I'm telling you it's the worst thing you can possibly do. You're taking tiny shovels and just digging it in dirty ground.
Another of my favorite products if Urth. They make a lot of really great products, great face scrub, great moisturizer. My favorite product is they have a post-shave elixir that is really fantastic. Even if you have a little cut it just tightens up your skin and moisturizes it.
CH: A big part of grooming is smelling good? What's your advice for wearing cologne? Do you have a rule?
DC: I do have a rule. Don't spray it on your fucking clothes dude. Don't do that. Just don't do it. It's bad for your clothes, it's bad for the scent. It's bad for everybody around you.
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