Ruth Griffin: beauty and the boys
Is it goodbye to the hipster beard for 2016?
Manity (male vanity) and mooming (male grooming) is big business. In 2015, the men's style retail destination Mr Porter reported a 300pc spike in sales of male grooming products, and it predicts a further increase this year. There appears to be a paradigm shift in men's overall perception of grooming and self-care. More and more Irish men are taking pride in and playing with their appearance, and wholeheartedly enjoying the pampering process.
As a result, manicures and pedicures - rebranded in specialist male salons as hand and foot 'detailing' to spare some macho blushes - are tipped to grow in popularity throughout 2016. Men are also starting to get more facials and massages, according to Joe Glynn from Dublin men's salon GMALE, who says that eyebrow tinting and shaping are also slowly beginning to take hold with his clients.
Perhaps the biggest question for 2016 is not what we're taking on but what we're giving up. So, is it finally time to say goodbye to the beard? Yes and no, it seems.
"Peak beard" was confidently declared by The Guardian newspaper three years ago, but the popularity of facial hair shows no sign of diminishing on the high street. However, the male grooming experts that I consulted do agree that the lengthy and elaborate hipster beard has decreased in popularity and has been replaced with a shorter neater "man beard" for 2016.
Jenny McSweeney, of The Modern Gent salon in Cork, predicts that this year this pared down beard will be teamed with a layered undercut, or high/ low fade, and a pompadour hairstyle (think mid-length hair swept up and back in the style of Elvis). According to Jenny, the hard or permanent parting is also set to become the hair trend of the year.
The hipsters have been replaced by, or evolved into, clean shaven YUCCIES (Young Urban Creatives). But did you know that many Middle Eastern and Indian cultures associate wisdom and power with facial hair? I have to admit, I have a soft spot for a bearded man - the old-school, no-nonsense man beard.
3 of the best grooming products
Tweezerman Men's Essential Grooming Kit, €42.50, Boots
A one-stop-shop for any hair issues, these wonder tools will assist in de-fuzzing and trimming nose, ear, eyebrow, head, beard and body hair.
Acqua di Parma Shaving Cream, €54, selected department stores
GQ voted this product best shaving product in 2015. Using a blend of eudermic oils and hyaluronic acid means this product does not dry the skin and prevents the appearance of redness and stress caused by the razor blade. Perfect for sensitive skin.
Sisley for Men Dry Skin Moisturiser, €192, selected department stores
For the man serious about his manity, check out this seriously hydrating cream from Sisley. Perfect for dehydrated, flaking or ageing skin - a little drop of this morning and night will inject luminosity into a dull complexion.
Ruth recommends: salons for men’s treatments
Offers eyebrow tinting and shaping, manicures, pedicures, facials, massage, waxing, hair care and hot towel shavings.
See: 73 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6; (01) 496-9954; gmale.ie
The Modern Gent
Hot towel shaves, barber services and beard trimming, in addition to male waxing, facials, massage and manicures.
See: 7/8 Winthrop St, Cork; (021) 427-8740; themoderngentcork.net
Changing room grooming with Malcolm O'Kelly
Malcolm O'Kelly is a retired Leinster and Irish rugby player. The father-of-three is a qualified engineer and currently works in Business Development for medical device supplier Sisk Healthcare Tekno-Surgical.
What is your favourite aftershave?
Do you use sunscreen?
Yes, I'm a sunscreen fan, especially when I'm out all day playing golf.
What are your top three grooming essentials?
A razor, my Oral B Smart Series Pro 600 electric toothbrush and dental floss.
What is your shaving routine?
Nothing fancy - I have a wet shave, using a Gillette blade and foam. I only tend to shave every other day.
Do you ever go for treatments?
I do love a hot towel shave from The Grafton Barber. I especially like the glass of Hennessey on offer with the treatment before an evening out on the town! I get a monthly haircut with Dean in Churchtown Barbers. I tend not to get massages but I do have a powerful shower. I like to have my shower in the morning before facing the day.
Do you use hair products?
Yes, I use molding clay. I am currently using L'Oreal Studio Line Dry Hair Putty.
Which celebrity do you think has the best-groomed look?
I tend to base my look Monday-to-Friday on Ron Burgundy from Anchorman! On the weekends I like to look more like Clint Eastwood.
Do you use a moisturiser?
After shaving I like to use Bottega Veneta Pour Homme Aftershave Balm (€51 /200ml).
Are you a fan of beards?
I have one or two photographs of my scary red beard from my rugby days! Nowadays, if I grew a beard I would look more suited to Game of Thrones than the streets of Dublin, so personally I'm not a fan.
Why: Fresh faced at (almost) 40
Having left behind his hell-raising days, Colin has taken up hiking, yoga and a healthy diet and as a result looks healthy, groomed and stylish both on and off the red carpet.
Why: Keeping it classic
The 63-year-old keeps his look simple yet polished, always sporting a clean-shaven face and short, slicked back hair. A true classic, it’s a look that’s stood the test of time for him.
Why: The relaxed approach
The Oscar-nominated actor has a slightly unruly style — not to mention a decidedly red beard — when he’s away from the restrictions of the red carpet.