Illustration by Sam Woolley

Your bathroom cabinet doesn’t have to look like a shelf at Walgreens, but it should have the basics—or at the very least, you should know what the basics are. (Necessary hygienic items aside, of course.) Guys ask me about beauty products all the time: These are usually the kind of dudes who think face wash and lotion is enough, and that beard oil makes you a bit snazzier. On the other end of the spectrum of self-grooming awareness is my friend Victor, one of the most beautiful men I know. His skin poppeth severely, his teeth are immaculately white, and his eyebrows are flawless. His personal regimen of fancy elixirs and creams are impressive, but might be a bit much for the average soap-and-water kind of guy. Here are a half-dozen staples that will get you to somewhere in the middle.

1. Body/Facial Scrub. Sure, cleansers leave your skin feeling clean—this is what cleansers do. But you can take your mug to the next level with some exfoliation. Facial scrubs remove blackheads, dead skin, and deep impurities that regular cleansers can’t reach. They can be a bit abrasive if you use them too frequently, so it’s best to scrub your face one to three times a week. Too complicated? There are many gentle cleanser/scrub hybrids out there for safe, everyday use. Same goes for body scrubs, too. Your crusty feet—or whoever has to regularly deal with your crusty feet—will thank you.

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2. Moisturizer. No matter your outfit, your face will always get the most attention. You don’t want to be known as “that ashy guy,” now do you? When it comes to moisturizing, one does not simply apply just any lotion—be particular. Read labels, check ingredients, research reviews. Good, affordable moisturizers are non-greasy and loaded with good stuff like antioxidants (such as vitamins, A, C, and E), SPF, and soothers (such as aloe or coconut oil). It can be tricky figuring out which combination works best for you, especially if you have a complicated skin type. If your skin is drier, go for natural moisturizers like shea or cocoa butter. If you have oily skin, go the oil-free route.

3. Hair Thickener. This is not just for your father; thinning hair is more common than not, alas. Rogaine and the like thicken hair and prevent further loss. Be proactive about this. If you want to go the au naturale route, you can incorporate castor oil into your regime instead. Whatever you do, keep the mane game strong.

4. Eye Cream. Sure, most guys get better with age, and those little fine lines around the eyes can add a little sexy to your look. But as Blac Chyna will tell you, there’s a fine line between looking like Zaddy and looking like someone’s grandaddy. The skin around the eye is super sensitive, so it’s prone to discoloration, fine lines, and puffiness; factors like stress, drinking, and exhaustion—you know, adult stuff—can lead to even wearier eyes. Rejuvenate them with a hydrating eye cream.

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5. Facial Mask. Right, I know, but every dude deserves to be pampered every now and then. There are plenty of amazing options out there: some facial masks tighten your skin, while others minimize pores and clear blemishes. You don’t even have to get the top-shelf Sephora stuff: hunt down a $3.99 five-pack at Marshalls and you’re good to go.

6. Coconut Oil. I am an unofficial ambassador for this stuff. Coconut oil is the answer to all things. Need a little SPF in your life? Need to moisturize your hair? Need to whiten your teeth? Need to keep your beard soft? Need a good aftershave for your face? Need a good aftershave for places other than your face? You guessed it.

Don’t limit your shopping to hyper-masculinized products, either: you don’t have to stick to dark-blue square bottles with “MEN” plastered all over it. And It’s fine to opt for “Fresh Scent” over “Heavy-Duty Mountain Storm” or whatever. It’s all perfume, anyway.

Kadia Blagrove is an NYC writer on all things life and culture. Catch her tweets at @KazzleDazz and her work on KadiaB.com.

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