It’s a cruel fact of the calendar that self-improvement season happens in early January: we’re all about to wrap up and hunker down and stare at our reflections until the the days get a little longer. Unless you have made a plan to watch more HBO in 2022, the dark and cold makes lots of resolutions an uphill battle. It’s a difficult time to start working out, or go on more dates, or cook better food (the farmer’s market is not exactly hitting in January).
But you know one thing that’s perfect right now? A little at-home pampering. You can’t control the weather or the pandemic, but you can come out of this with some better personal care habits. So here’s are 22 ideas for grooming resolutions—pick and choose the ones that best suit you, and use the new year as an excuse to load up your medicine cabinet and commit some lasting, self-affirming habits that will have you looking and feeling better about things once we crawl out of our omicron bubbles.
1. Get past the retinol uglies
The first week or two on retinol can be rough: there’s sometimes some peeling and flaking that you’ve got to push through. But the vitamin A-derived ingredient is the best thing you can do for your skin by a mile. If you can get an Rx from your dermatologist (along with an overview of how to use it safely), do that, but you can also find smaller doses OTC.
2. Do a foot peel
If you’ve got cracked heels or calloused soles, you’re one foot peel away from totally smooth, rejuvenated feet. It’s painless—as the dead skin falls away a week after application. (You will find this gross, or fascinating, or both.) It’s just the thing when you’re spending some time with your feet up.
3. Prioritize scalp care
A healthy scalp promotes healthy hair growth. This one is no head scratcher.
4. Find the serum(s) for you
There’s a serum for every person and every skin care concern, whether your goal is to stay firm, or hydrated, or blemish free, or all of it. Get a serum—or two or three.
3. Try a new facial hair style
Now’s the time to experiment with a beard or mustache. So, let it grow, then cut it, and let it grow again. Find something that suits you.
6. Try a buzz
The winter is a great time to go Tyler Durden-mode: Here are the best hair clippers for a DIY job, though we suggest going to a barber if at all possible. Either way, you’re also going to want to buy a good warm hat.
7. Figure out your every-day SPF
You need to wear SPF daily, year round. Those UV rays can penetrate clouds and glass, and they significantly “age” your skin. So, even in January, you oughta be covering up—at least your face, which wears those signs of aging most prominently. Whether it’s moisturizer with SPF or facial sunscreen, figure out a product you like enough to wear every day.
8. New year, new scent
Diversify your scent portfolio! Whether you choose a new signature scent or simply pick one that complements the seasons (summer scents are vastly different from winter fragrances). You can shop by note, too, from leather to green to floral. Starting from scratch? See our picks for the very best men’s fragrances.
9. Try a new way to shave
If you’re been loyal to your chosen cartridge for years, it can be tempting to not fix what ain’t broken. But there are lots of ways to skin this particular cat—like a safety razor shave, or even an electric shave—that you might like better. Maybe you end up back with cartridge razors. That’s fine; at least it’s from a more informed place! (And if you’re living with ingrowns or bumps, it’s imperative you make a change.)
10. Wash less, co-wash more
Using conditioner to rinse your hair is a common and reasonable alternative to shampoo. It’s not a permanent replacement, but—depending on your hair’s texture and inherent moisture level—you can shampoo way less (1-2x weekly) if you introduce “co-washing” into your routine on the in-between days.
11. Brush your beard
A beard brush does it all: Exfoliates the skin under your whiskers, distributes oils throughout the hair strands, and helps detangle ling, errant facial hair. They’re essential for proper beard care, so get yourself a beard brush for 2022.
12. Brighten your smile, safely
There’s a right way and a wrong way to whiten your teeth at home: Check out our tips and picks for at-home whiteners.
13. Use a dedicated eye cream
Eye creams aren’t tiny, expensive moisturizers. They’re densely concentrated formulas that deliver firmness, brightness, and fullness to the delicate area around your eyes. Get one already.
14. Heal your fingertips.
Hangnails can be prevented—and they don’t have to stick around until May. The answers are already at your fingertips.
15. Audit your undercarriage
Life’s too short to live with chafing. We’re willing to bet you’ve got some rub-prone underwear you only wear when you really need to do laundry—as in, many days a month. Throw it out and replace it with the good stuff. Then stock up on anti-moisture + anti-rubbing remedies. This can be a life changer, guys.
16. Try hair oil
If you’re on the grow-out or have medium-to-long locks, then it’s worth keeping a hair oil on hand for extra defense against heat, moisture loss, frizzing, and dullness. Done right, it won’t make you greasy.
17. Mix up your hair product
This is the sort of thing most guys settle on in college. But if it’s been a few years since you played the field—and you’re still using a pore clogging, pillow staining, middle-school-smelling goo—it’s probably time to take stock and find a product for your specific hair type and goals this year.
18. Take shorter, cooler showers
Hot water and long showers can do real damage to your hair and skin. Turn down the temp, and try to make it quick. (It’s also friendly to the environment!)
19. Make a pimple plan
Even if you’re not prone to acne, you’ll likely get a pesky, unsightly zit from time to time. Pimple patches can be an overnight miracle, in that they prevent those blemishes from turning real deep-seated and ugly, or they can help disappear the pimple fast after they get big. No popping necessary, and no months-long dark spots in their wake. Stock up now and have your pimple patches ready to deploy—it’s like you’re a rugged skin care prepper.
20. Beef up your brows
There are some easy ways you can make these bushy brows look cared for, while still maximizing their fullness: learn how to get great eyebrows.
21. Banish bad breath
It might take more than twice-daily brushing to keep things fresh.
22. Get current on hair retention
There are now so many ways to keep your hair in place as you age. Hair transplants have gotten unbelievably good, at-home hair loss subscriptions are more accessible than ever. Read up on how to actually prevent hair loss, and put a plan into motion this year.