The first step to great grooming is in your (drinks) cabinet
Five of the best, tried and trusted tips for stemming the booze, so your grooming products don’t need to work so hard.
Dec 03, 2022
About Tom Ford
Tom spent 3 years as the Editor of MR PORTER and is now a consultant and editorial contributor for Humanery, Esquire, Soho House, Futsol, Eater, Rosewood Hotels and other publications. His main areas of interest are mental health, food, fitness and travel. Tom has completed one year of a psychotherapy training course.
Open your bathroom cabinet, what do you see? You are an avid Humanery customer and reader of The Grooming Journal, so we imagine you will find a vast array of exotic bottles with weird and wonderful labels designed to bestow the slatherer with the secret of youth and glow.
But what about the other cabinet of yours? The one downstairs. The place where you store bottles containing similarly mysterious elixirs that will, too, give you a youthful glow (but one of a different kind.)
We’ll cut to the chase. Alcohol (not the one in your toner, mind) may be something you’re overlooking in your grooming routine. The facts are simple. The diuretic nature of booze dehydrates your body, meaning your skin loses fluid and nutrients, causing it to appear wrinkled, dull and grey.
So, the less you drink, the better you look (and the more bang for your buck you get from that expensive moisturiser of yours.) But quitting or cutting back is easier said than done.
So below are five of the best, tried and trusted tips for stemming the booze, so your grooming products don’t need to work so hard.
1. Download the Drinkaware app
Most apps bring joy to your life. They fill your room with every single example of music ever recorded, bring Thai food to your door in minutes, or make the bill split at the end of meal a harmonious rather than a murderous affair.
But this app is a little different. It shows you the cold hard truths that often get lost in our culture of exaggeration (“a barrel full”) or minimisation (“a couple”) when we drink. Truths like how “just finishing off this last bit of the bottle” every few days could be enough units to damage your vital organs (including the largest organ, your skin).
If hearing a faint whimper from your liver isn’t motivation enough to cut back – knowing you could be looking ten times lovelier will be.
2. Learn to say 'No'
You can talk about terroir, hops and flavour profiles all you like, but you drink to combat social anxiety. Think about it. When was the last time you hung out with your friends without booze? It was in 1999. You were a teenager.
Now, ironically, you are trying to undo damage you have done to your skin in the adjoining years and gain the facial elasticity of a younger man. Get there quicker by saying ‘no’. Some of your friends will cajole you to ‘just have one’. Others will try and make you attend social events that you do not wish to attend. No. No. And another no for good measure. It’s a short but powerful word that, for all its negative connotations, might just start bringing new positivity to your life.
And getting to know yourself better will make you a superior friend, anyway.
3. Take up a group activity
Exercise is good for you. Who knew?
But it is specifically good for people who are drinking less than they usually do. Exercise changes your brain chemistry and increases the availability of anti-anxiety neurochemicals such as serotonin and activates the frontal regions of our brain, helping to control the amygdala (which assesses threats).
TLDR? Exercising gives you what you’re looking for in a pint – relaxation and security. So go for a run or hit the gym before a night out. Better than that, try doing exercise in a group setting.
After all, there is nothing more powerful than community and connection in your bid to decrease the need for booze.
4. (Don’t) tell all your friends
Yes, you are giving up or cutting back on alcohol. This makes you the most important and heroic person in the room you are in, full of your friends, all of whom are stupid enough to be still drinking. The idiots!
You should probably mention, at every opportunity, that you are not drinking tonight. It makes you feel so good. And look, look at my skin! Look how healthy it is! You should stop, too, you know. Did you know that just one gin and tonic contains 2 units of alcohol? I’ve got this great app, and it… See how annoying this sounds?
This is the sound of you slowly, methodically liberating yourself and your friends.
5. Reward yourself
You are not putting your body into toxic shock every Saturday morning. You do not need to consume a mixture of Lucozade, aspirin and fried chicken to be able to make your friend’s baby shower. This is good. You deserve a reward.
Drinking less? Put the (considerable amounts of) money you are saving to one side and spend it on yourself. It’s basic carrot and stick psychology, but it absolutely works. Now, you might say that the resolution to this feature is a little too convenient. But it’s so obvious that we can’t help but say it. Here it comes. There would be nothing like spending your extra cash on grooming items to really illustrate how good not drinking is for your precious looks.
Sorry (not sorry).