Newsflash: It's not gray hair that makes you look older. It's gray skin!
Yes, men have a tendency as they get older to start to look all one color. I call it the cadaver pallor. And if you look dull and drab, you're perceived as dull and boring as well.
I turned to Cherie Burbach, our LifeGoesStrong resident expert on midlife dating to see if single men's concerns around the holidays might include looking a little better.
Here's what she said: "It's especially important because the holidays are prime time for singles to flirt and connect. Looking their best can help with confidence if they haven't been in the dating world for a while, and also make them stand out from the rest of the guys who might be out and about."
Good to know that they should be thinking about this too, because women certainly are and I have a little secret to share with the men, but first, Cherie continues:
For guys who are online dating, it's even more important to do a beauty tune up this time of year so they can get a few new pictures taken to post on their profile and look good for coffee dates."
Because here's one of the biggest criticisms I hear (and see, if truth be told) – gray men. The pictures of men online look all lumpy and gray. It's not the hair per se, but the whole package – dull, all one color. And this goes for any ethnicity. As I said above —the cadaver pallor. It's like a thin film has covered your whole countenance.
A Lesson from Gandalf the Grey
Remember how Gandalf the Grey in Lord of the Rings (and now The Hobbit) came back all bright and shiny after being dead, or nearly dead? That's an important lesson. He went from a dull all-over pallor to vivid and filled with glowing energy. That's what we need to see!
Tree Bark not Treebeard
That's where Elure comes in. It's been marketed to women but it's a skin brightener and it occurred to me that this would work really well for men. Don't worry, it's not all pink and frou-frou so you can feel fine with it on your sink or in the gym bag. There's solid science behind Elure — the boffo ingredient is an enzyme that turns dark tree bark several shades lighter … and it does the same thing to the pigment in skin.
I hope you're exfoliating, as I have advised (does anyone listen to me?) but Elure is something different. And frankly you'll see a difference just with the face wash if you use it regularly, but it also has a lotion and cream. They both have a two–step process which women have trouble with but men will like because they like following directions (I didn't say asking for them) – and I'm not being reductive, there's research to back this up, so there!
Elure has won all kinds of awards, and I put it in my Best of… list last year, if that holds any sway.
So guys, if you're in the dating fray, lighten up! And even if you're not, why should your wife have to stand next to a cadaver at the punch bowl this holiday season? Seriously, life isn't all one color, why should you be?
More advice on mens grooming and dressing: