Just as there are baseline skincare and haircare products that every man needs, there are also essential grooming devices that should be in each’s arsenal. That beard trimmer can’t cut it all—try as you might—and your hangnails will be a thing of the past if you get the right clippers.
Think of your dopp kit as a grooming toolbox: What are the most essential devices that you need in there?
Here is a list of the 10 core essentials that we think most guys need. If anything, you can audit the list and see which ones you yourself would benefit from owning. Some of them will seem extremely obvious, like a comb and a toothbrush, but even then, we’ll suggest which type of these devices you should have.
Noticeably absent is a hair clipper. We figure you’ll own a particular and reliable device if you regularly buzz your head. And if it’s a one-off shearing, then you probably don’t need to own a clipper; just pay the barber 20 bones to shave it off and fade the sides.
A double-sided comb
Don’t just get any old comb. Have one that has a wide end and a fine end, so that you can customize your styling for different hair lengths or situations.
The wide end is better for longer lengths and looser styles, as well as for thick and coarse hair (it makes for a great detangler too). The finer end is better for taut, crisp styles. You might even find that you use different ends between morning and night—perhaps you wear a locked-in side part by day (so, use the fine end), but in the evening after a shower, you just want to tame your hair out of your face while it dries (use the wide end).
You can also use both ends on your beard, depending on how bulky it is. (Otherwise, consider a dedicated, smaller beard comb.)
An electric toothbrush
These days, the best electric toothbrushes come with automated replacement heads, arriving in the mail just as it’s time to swap out your head (every 3 months, per the ADA recommendation). But that’s just one perk, since anyone can set a calendar reminder to toss their toothbrush quarterly.
The true advantage of electric picks is the other things they automate, like the intensity and duration of brushing for each part of your mouth. Because, let’s be honest: Most of us are brushing for 30 or 60 seconds in the entire mouth, and calling it good. That’s not good enough, though, and electric brushes make sure we get a gum-fortifying, plaque-busting, brightness-enhancing clean.
Try: Goby Electric Toothbrush, $60
An electric shaver
You’ll find razors later on this list—yeah, they’re essential, but not more than this shaver. An electric shaver’s advantage is clear: You can get a near-perfect shave without breaking the surface of the skin, and thus without risking ingrown hairs, redness, razor bumps, and the likes. In fact, it might even encourage you to go bare-faced more often, especially since these devices are typically able to be used in the shower, too.
You can maintain that smoothness every day or two without ever having to put a sharp blade on your skin, ever again. And while frequent users should invest in a heavy-duty option, you can still find a reliable low-cost pick while you try out the practice (or if you’re going to use it just a few times a year).
Try: Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 2300, $40
A multi-functional beard trimmer
In an ideal situation, you’re only using your beard trimmer on your face and neck, and leaving anything else to a body groomer. But, you’re also not using the same trimmer head for every single above-the-shoulders job. You need a trimmer that can draw clean lines in addition to offering dozens of length options for the various grades and lengths around your mug—or if you want a blended beard neckline or cheek lines.
So, when you choose a beard trimmer, choose one that emphasizes customization, especially since the facial hair you want tomorrow might be worlds apart from what you want in a year.
A nail clipper set
A handful of devices, found in a single kit: Simply put, you need a small, curved clipper for your fingernails. You need a large, straight one for your toes. You can benefit from a cuticle pusher and dirt cleaner, a file, as well as a dedicated and angled cuticle clipper. All of this will keep nails clean and smooth, while preventing infection at the nail beds and hangnails at the sides.
Try: Tseoa Manicure and Pedicure Kit (12 pieces), $7
A body groomer
Don’t use your beard trimmer on your pits and pubes. Or your chest and back, for that matter. Use a dedicated body groomer that tucks into these awkward nooks and crannies without so much as a nip on the skin, but which can deliver smooth or short-haired results, however you like to wear it. Your best bet is one with a vertical, v-shaped tip, to simplify those self-administered behind-the back shaves, and to nuzzle its way into your most sensitive spots.
Try: Panasonic Body Groomer GK60, $50
For unibrows. For eyebrow cleanups. For those weird hairs that pop out of weird moles. Heck, even for splinters.
Try: TWEEZERMAN Guru Tweezers, $6
An ionic + ceramic blow dryer
Even if you don’t have long enough hair, or if you like air drying, then hear us out: You should have a blow dryer in your home for your guests who do prefer using one. It’s like having a supply of coffee or a bottle of wine on hand, for the if and when: Common courtesy, let’s call it.
That aside, a hair dryer can lock any hairstyle and product into place, and ensure that your hair looks the way you intended it, until the end of the day. We suggest getting an ionic and ceramic dryer, too, so that it dries the hairs more safely—from the inside out of each shaft, and with infrared heat—which in turn seals off the cuticle of the hair shaft, and prevents moisture loss. This then prolongs the health of the hair, whereas low-grade driers will fry and break the hairs over time.
A callous grinder
Some of us wear our calluses as a trophy for the miles we ran or the weights we lifted. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give them a buffing down every few days, either—especially if you cuddle up next to someone in bed or merely hold their hands. Nobody needs to feel the roughness of your hands or get scratched by your cracked heels.
So, buff away the dead skin with a rechargeable or battery-powered callus buffer to smooth things out. If you want to rid of the callus entirely, then you can combine this with a urea cream. Or, if you know that the calluses are here to stay, just keep ‘em smooth every few days.
Try: PRITECH Electric Callus Remover, $26
A razor of choice
Not every guy shaves with a razor, but we still wanted this one to round out the list. Should every guy own a razor? Probably. Whether he shaves clean or just minds the details of his beard, or whether he takes the razor out of the dopp but once a year for that family wedding—it’s there, waiting.
Those blades, on the other hand… make sure they’re fresh if you shave as infrequently as that. The rule is: Toss ’em out after 6-8 shaves, or 2-3 weeks of use. In other words, just have a supply of unused blades ready, at all times, regardless of your preference for cartridge or safety razors.
Now that these are in place, check out our predictions for the 5 grooming trends of this year.
Photo via Bellroy