There is, of course, enormous diversity and complexity across the population of queer men around the world — culture, geography, identity, and personality all play a key role in defining who we are and how we live.
However, there are a few universal truths that unite us all — how we get ready, prepare ourselves, and present ourselves to the world is a cornerstone of everyone’s day, regardless of who you are or where you live.
That moment when you study your reflection in the mirror, take a deep breath, and think to yourself — Ready. What does it take for you to get to that point?
Because people need to know, we surveyed 100 queer men from around the world and analysed the answers with the help of international beauty and grooming expert Will Fennell.
How long do you spend getting ready before leaving the house in the morning?
- 10 minutes or less: 21% of respondents
- 10–30 minutes: 47% of respondents
- 30 minutes or more: 32% of respondents
One-third of queer men are spending 30 minutes or more getting ready before leaving the house — is that excessive?
Will Fennell: If this includes shaving, then absolutely not. I’ve always said that you can have the best razor money can buy but if you rush shaving you’ll get the same result as a cheap disposable.
How often do you use moisturiser on your face?
- Never: 6% of respondents
- Occasionally: 24% of respondents
- Generally once a day: 52% of respondents
- Generally more than once a day: 18% of respondents
Should moisturiser be an essential part of a queer man’s grooming routine?
Will Fennell: Unless you have dry skin, an old-fashioned thick and greasy moisturiser to put oil back into your skin isn’t necessarily essential. However, moisturisers these days are full of age-fighting, skin-brightening ingredients such as vitamin A, C, E, multi-functional peptides that can stimulate collagen, and remove sun spots, plus hydrating ingredients such as hyularonic acid. You just need to look for moisturisers that say the words ‘Fluid’, ‘Gel’, or ‘Oil Free’ in their name, and remember to just use a small amount if your skin is oily.
Do you generally apply sun-block when going outside?
- Never: 23% of respondents
- Only when it’s sunny: 70% of respondents
- Always: 7% of respondents
Is using sun-block important?
Will Fennell: To beat sun-induced ageing you need to wear a daily moisturiser with a sun-block every day. End of story!
What is the one grooming product you couldn’t do without?
The most common responses were:
- Kiehl’s white clay face wash
- Kiehl’s ultra facial cream
- L’Oreal Men’s Revitalift
- Clarin’s Eye Cream
- Witch Hazel
- Clinique Moisturiser
- Clinique M Protect SPF21
- Dermalogica skin smoothing cream
- Yves Saint Laurent touch eclat
- Dr Le Winn’s Instant Beauty
- Caffeinated under-eye roller
- Boots №7 Intense Moisturiser
Would you recommend any of these products?
Will Fennell: This is a good list, especially the caffeinated eye gel. My rule with skin care is try everything, experiment, you’ll know within four weeks if it’s making any positive difference. However, you’ll know within four hours if its irritating, and within four days if your skin really doesn’t like it.
If you could give your younger self one piece of grooming advice, what would it be?
The most common responses were:
- Drink less alcohol and drink more water.
- Don’t ever smoke or go on a sun-bed.
- Sleep more.
- Start using eye gel now.
- Expensive products work better.
Will Fennell: Definitely the first five are great pieces of advice. I don’t necessarily agree that expensive products work better, as sometimes you’re paying for the name and the model or actor that is the face of the brand. My advice is to look at the back of the product, check the ingredients and then Google like crazy to check the information available on the ingredients that the product contains.
What about home-made grooming products? Claus, one of the survey respondents from Denmark, suggested the following concoctions:
- For an easy body scrub, combine used coffee grounds with honey, mix to a porridge-like paste and then scrub onto your skin, rinsing off with warm water.
- For a hand scrub, mix an organic oil — almond or avocado — with a mineral such as sugar or salt. Make a paste and scrub your hands, nails and cuticles. Let the oil soak into your hands for five minutes and then rinse with warm water.
- For a vodka skin tonic, chop fresh mint and combine with 200ml of vodka. Add the juice and peel of an organic lemon. Store in a glass bottle — use on cotton pads to cleanse your face.
Will Fennell: I love it! This is a great collection of do-it-yourself, and includes some of my favourites. I love making stuff up from the kitchen cupboard.