Guys, here are grooming must-haves for a good impression

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Want to make an impression? Then get impeccably groomed.

This month, we put to the test a selection of skincare and body care products that men can use in their daily grooming rituals.

If you're one to go all the way in keeping your skin perfectly healthy, then it's the full grooming care products - cleanser, scrub, mask, pre-shave, after-shave, toner, serum or essence, moisturiser, sunscreen and a worthy deodorant to finish it up immaculately.

Check out if you really need an after-shave or what an all-in-one essence really does for your skin. - Co-ordinated by Sandra Low

Dior Homme Sauvage After-Shave Lotion, RM220

Photo: The Star

I am already a big fan - and user - of Dior Homme Sauvage eau de toilette, so I was beyond thrilled to try out the after-shave lotion. It stays true to the fragrance's sensual, subtle scent, touted as "a radically fresh composition that is raw and noble all at once". Natural ingredients prevail as top notes burst with the freshness of Reggio di Calabria bergamot. Ambroxan, derived from precious ambergris, produces a woody trail. It comes in a convenient splash bottle, that aims to clean and protect skin after shaving. As I'm not naturally hirsute - I only shave once, in the morning - I use this minimally. Because of that, it makes the occasion special, and paired with the fragrance, adds a layered, longer lasting effect. - William K.C. Kee

innisfree Forest for Men Phytoncide All-In-One Essence, RM99

Photo: The Star

It takes commitment to follow the cult-like 10-step Korean skincare routine. But for guys mulling about giving it a try, this all-in-one essence will ease the process. Packing three products - toner, lotion and essence - in one convenient pump bottle, the star ingredient here is the Jeju phytoncide complex, which claims to speed up skin recovery for a smoother complexion. After three weeks of including the essence in both my morning and evening skincare routine, I can't say I saw dramatic difference in my skin texture. What I do like, though, is how convenient the product application is. Right after cleansing in the morning, I apply two pumps of the essence, finish off with sunscreen - and I'm good to go. It also doubles (err, quadruples?) as an aftershave. The product absorbs well into the skin and is moisturising enough for everyday use. In other words, this all-in-one essence is the lazy dude-proof skincare. - Chester Chin

Acca Kappa LiboCedro Cedar Shaving Foam, RM80

Photo: The Star

If you shave as regularly as I do, Acca Kappa's Cedar Shaving Foam is a must have in your arsenal. Many of the shaving foams that I've used before had an airy and soapy feel to them. But Acca Kappa's foam is creamy and dense and you don't even need a generous amount to lather up your face. Another great thing about this shaving foam is the refreshing, wake-me-up fragrance, all thanks to the cedar wood oil. After the shave, you'd feel like you're walking out of an exclusive barbershop. But the winning card is the aftershave moisturisation. Acca Kappa's shaving foam contains Jojoba oil and aloe vera extracts which leaves your skin smooth and well moisturised. At RM80, it may be more expensive than your regular, off-the-shelf shaving foam, but in the long run, Acca Kappa's shaving foam is definitely cost effective. - Dinesh Kumar Maganathan

Biotherm Homme Day Control 72H Anti-Perspirant Roll-On, RM75

Photo: The Star

Full disclosure: While this product claims it offers "antiperspirant protection up to 72 hours", that didn't mean I stilI did not stop showering for three days in the name of research. However, I can tell you this product works wonders. While I have tried many deodorants (one of the things I like to do when I go overseas is to stock up on toiletries), this one works the best. It dries fast - sans the sticky effect - and goes to work immediately, and continues to work right into the evening even after a high intensity workout. The product contains perlite, which absorbs moisture, hence the dry feeling all day long. While RM75 may seem steep for a deodorant, its ability to stop you from perspiring where it matters means goodbye sweat stains, and that's worth the price. So, now when someone says, "throw your hands in the air like you just don't care", you can literally do it with confidence! - Gordon Kho

Nanowhite Men Oil Control Clay Cleanser, RM6.90 to RM21.10

Photo: The Star

The product claims to be able to dissolve oil without drying out skin, as well as visibly remove shine for a matte, healthy look. It does that well enough (the oil removal without dryness part) but the promised effect (anti-shine and matte feeling) doesn't last for long. Either it only works for a short while, or I have stubbornly oily skin. The light scent is pleasant and not overpowering though. My verdict? It isn't remarkable but does the job well enough. "A" for effort and for not being a try-hard. - Bervin Cheong

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