Northern Male’s Old School, New Man skincare regime

Like Border Belle I’ve spend a good deal of time achieving nothing recently. I can recommend it. A quote from Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” comes to mind. “I love work. It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours”.

My favourite way of not getting stuff done is watching films. Clint Eastwood has made many in his long career so I decided to avoid painting the fence by watching some I’d missed.

His films have a common theme. A lone male is challenged, rejects authority, gets into fights, loses, wins and along the way has relationships with women. Ultimately he achieves his goal despite all around him being something of a distraction.

The lone underdog winning through is a furrow he’s ploughed with much success for over 60 years.  

Today aged 90 Clint has directed, produced and starred in over 50 films, made some stinkers, lost a lot of money through divorce but, along the way, created a body of work unrivalled by his peers – and lived a remarkable life.

His success has a lot to do with alpha male machismo which may not be as fashionable today as it was when he first climbed into the saddle. But being alert to injustice certainly remains a key theme today – which his characters exemplified decades ago.

But here’s a little side issue I’ve pondered. Knowing he would be seen by millions did Clint the actor moisturise or exfoliate? I can see him chewing on a cheroot and giving me that look from underneath his Stetson.

Despite skin being the largest organ of the body, older men don’t tend to give it much consideration. The only time most mature males think about it is when scraping our chins daily with blades. We cut, bleed, cuss and need tissues. I still go through this process despite often spending days without being seen by anyone other than the guy I buy my morning paper from. Would he be surprised if he knew I moisturised afterwards?

Men over 40 where I live generally consider skin care something YOU do. If you’re a bloke building a dry-stone wall in Nidderdale, your worn, craggy hands are a sign of working manliness. Hand cream? On yer bike, sunshine.

In truth, I’ve been applying it daily for many years and am sure the Q10 element has kept the tell-tale liver spots at bay even if my wall building skill are a tad rusty these days.

Women go to enormous lengths to look attractive and youthful. The concept we should do this in reverse does not generally compute in the North of England. You might think this is surprising in C21 but it remains the case.

Men are now aware they die younger than you. So, quietly and carefully we’re asking ourselves how we can stay outwardly uncaring about ourselves in a Clint Eastwood macho way whilst, er, staying alive.

Alone in my bathroom I have a daily morning procedure. I thought you might be interested.

My shower is where I wake myself up as you do but unlike you I’m not that bothered about what cleans my hair as long as it does the job. For the record I’m currently using TresSemme to wash and then condition it which I leave in my hair to work as I shave.

Scraping sharp blades across your skin daily can and does cause damage if you don’t use the proper kit. Apparently this is an £8 billion market. Who knew?

For environmental reasons I don’t employ shaving gel or foam in cans. Instead I use a bar of soap. My go-to maker is Kate from Penlanlas Cymru Soaps in West Wales. I found her whilst re-ordering Lou’s Poo for my olive tree. Lou farms Alpacas in Shropshire but her website also promotes Kate and her wonderful soap that starts my day. 3 bars? Free postage.  

My chrome-plated razor handle is by a UK start-up called Cornerstone and it has my initials on. Their German-engineered, UK-made razor blades last months.

Being old school I use Imperial Leather as a body wash. Still the best.

Once out of the shower and towelled down I address my face in the mirror. The lower half generally looks red.

I use Cornerstone’s aftershave balm first before applying aftershave as this removes the unpleasant sting. My daily go-to smelly is Allure Homme Sport but if it’s a special occasion then it’s Creed Aventus.  

Hair on older men is difficult. It grows everywhere it shouldn’t and not where it should. I might like being a Northern Male but I’m not a caveman, so I address nose and ear hair with tweezers. Always pluck never trim so it doesn’t re-grow. Painful but necessary.

I’m lucky as I’ve a full head of hair aged 64. This means it needs control. I apply a small dollop of Sainsbury’s extra-firm styling gel. Cheap, effective and stops my hair from falling in my eyes. With the exception of the razor and aftershave I’m not that precious about brands. Only what works.

Then it’s into the spare room with the hairdryer and without a mirror I massage my scalp with my fingertips to encourage blood flow. Then I wash the gel from my hands before sweeping my dry hair back with a Kent hairbrush and comb {a gift from a former amour}.

I generally use hairspray. Name me a man you know who does that. But I’m not bothered as if I don’t, with its current length, I quickly look like Oscar Wilde dragged through a hedge after a night on the opium. Not a good look.

So essentially it’s about getting the job done and whatever it takes to do that. You might call it the Harry Callaghan method.

Did Clint ever let the make-up lady talk him into a facial scrub? Through a very long pause I can feel those steely blue eyes weighing me up again.

“Reckon so”.

More posts from Northern Male can be found here.