When it comes to looks, some guys are born starting out on third base, and others aren’t even in the same ballpark. Regardless of where you’re starting off, and what you have to work with, looksmaxing is the practice of making the most of what you’ve got.
Not everyone is going to be able to looksmax their way into being a hard 10, but we’re confident in saying that everyone can make improvements, and this guide is dedicated to exactly that.
One by one, we’re going to tackle every area where most guys can carve out at least some form of improvement. We’ll offer a “bare minimum” in case you’re just looking for the easiest things that can give you the quickest, most noticeable results.
We’ll also go more in-depth if you really want to maximize what you’ve got, but depending on where you’re starting from, even the basic bare minimum changes will make a ridiculously noticeable difference in your life.
There are things you have less control over like balding, genetic dispositions, or anything else you might be physically insecure about it. At the end of the day, none of that is a good reason to ignore the things you can change.
- Men’s Skincare
- Men’s Grooming
- Men’s Hairstyles
- Men’s Beard Styles
- Men’s Fashion
Check Your Mentality
First things first, before we dive into the actionable advice, it’s important to start off with the right mentality.
Forget about any jealousy, envy, or any other negative feelings that might be driving you forward. If you’ve got a chip on your shoulder, use it in a positive way.
This whole process is going to take a lot of hard work, to a varying degree, depending on how deep you plan on going. Resentment or negative emotions can fuel that initially, but in the long run it’s only going to be a strong desire for self-improvement that’ll get you past the finish line.
While the overarching idea here is to improve physically, there are many mental benefits that can come along with that. An increase in confidence, for example.
There’s that certain confidence that can be faked, and it will carry you a certain distance, but earned confidence is the kind that’ll stick around.
Setting his mind to something difficult, sticking to it, and seeing the results he wanted is one of the best things a man can do for himself.
Sometimes, it takes a boost in outward physical appearance in order to unlock these mental benefits.
Let’s set some reasonable expectations here: Some things are quick, like a haircut or trimming an unruly beard. Other things will take time, like building muscle and turning all of these smaller short-term improvements into long-lasting habits.
Some of these will be easy for you, others will be more challenging. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, varying degrees of depression, or just an overall apathetic laziness that you’re looking to shake, it’s all about momentum.
One thing at a time, one day at a time, slow and gradual improvements.
There will be setbacks, there will be obstacles, there will be challenges. You may not have women throwing themselves at you immediately, but don’t get discouraged. This is for you, not for them. When you set yourself on the right path, things have a way of falling into place.
The Philosophy of this Guide
There are different approaches to looksmaxing and improving your life in general. We like to take a practical stance.
You’re not going to completely reinvent yourself overnight. You’ll be more interested in some of the following categories than the other ones. That’s okay.
For everything you’ll do, there’s a point of diminishing returns. For example, the difference between spending 1 hour a week in the gym and 0 hours, compared to spending 12 hours in the gym and 11 hours… the first hour is going to make a much more significant impact than the 12th hour.
First and foremost, we want to help you stack up a few of those easy wins.
Again, it’s a momentum game. You get a few quick fixes under your belt, all of a sudden everything else gets easier.
We want to keep this as simple as possible, and to lay a good foundation.
Then, you can pursue taking everything to the next level whenever you’re ready.
This is a guide to get you started, to cover the basics, and to point you in the right direction.
From there, you can develop your own style, your own priorities, but let’s get your foot through the door first.
Follow all of these basics, and you will be categorically better looking, regardless of what your starting point is.
Remember, it’s all about small incremental improvements. It won’t happen overnight, but you can start making changes right now, tomorrow, next week, and even just doing the absolute basics from each category will have you miles ahead.
Let’s Start With Men’s Skincare
Skincare is such a huge topic that it’s impossible and futile to try and cover every topic.
If you have actual skin problems like eczema, acne, psoriasis, etc, it’s best to see a professional like a dermatologist.
What I will cover here is what I believe the average guy with /OK-to-Below average/ skin can implement to improve their current skincare routine.
The first step of skin care I will always recommend is sunscreen.
Put simply the sun is what ages and damages your skin. If you do nothing else for your skin, at the very least just apply a good facial sunscreen.
And yes sunlight coming through windows can still damage your skin, so even when indoors it’s not a bad idea to have sunscreen on.
Now let’s move onto hydration.
Good skin = Skin that is hydrated and smooth.
Your skin needs to regularly shed the dead cells of the outer layers, and proper hydration is very effective at helping this process. It’s the reason hydrated skin looks healthier and feels smoother.
In order to achieve this you need to first maintain proper hydration in your body.
Now don’t get confused, proper hydration is not simply just drinking more water.
It’s about maintaining the correct electrolyte balance in your body.
When you have correct electrolyte balance, your skin will naturally become hydrated from within your body.
Water from outside of your body is also important. Eg: Humidity.
There’s a reason your skin is a lot dryer during the winter, the relative humidity of the air is very low causing moisture to be pulled out from your skin.
You can compensate for this by using a humidifier which will provide more water into the air, and prevent your skin from becoming too dry.
Similarly, during the summer when you have AC units cranked up, this will cause the air in your home to become very dry, so you can also run a humidifier during this time.
Locking In The Moisture
It’s very important to lock moisture into our skin.
Our body does this naturally by producing sebum (the oil that covers our skin).
Sebum prevents water from evaporating too quickly off our skin, keeping us hydrated for longer periods of time.
Moisturizers are also a great way to lock in moisture.
Most moisturizers contain the following:
- Occlusives: Oily substances that prevent moisture from evaporating. Think Vaseline.
- Humectants: These are substances that pull moisture from the lower layers of your skin to help the surface stay hydrated. Eg: glycerin & honey.
- Emollients: Help make your skin smoother
- Vitamins: Common ones being A and B5. Used more for there physical properties and act as humectants
Dry skin is skin that lacks water, not oil.
That’s why babies don’t produce oil on their skin, yet their skin is very smooth.
Humans start producing sebum during teenage years, which is why so many people start getting pimples and acne at this age. (Pimples are just a buildup of sebum and dead skin cells).
This means the production of sebum is mainly hormone regulated and hard to control. But what we can control is water and hydration, which is why it’s the most important part of skin care.
People have this misconception that washing and scrubbing away with soap often will remove dead skin and give you smooth, pimple-less skin.
But it’s actually on the contrary, because by doing so you’re eliminating the sebum which is your natural layer of protection and lock in for moisture thus making your skin bone dry.
The simplest way to upgrade your skin care routine is to start out with a few simple product, such as a cleanser and a moisturizer.
Most online resources and forums about skincare recommend the brands Cerave and Cetaphil. Both these brands are super affordable and cut a lot of the bullshit out. They’re also available at pretty much every drug store.
Once you got the basics down you can take your skincare to the next level by adding a BHA, AHA, serums, acids, etc etc.
I’m not going to go into all of that here, because there are far better resources on the topics, which I will link below:
Men’s Grooming Routine
If you’re not looking your best, and you’re not feeling your best, there’s a good chance you aren’t taking grooming all that seriously. Again, some of this is going to seem super obvious, but it’s also stuff that can get sidetracked, especially if you’re in a bit of a rut.
Push through, get it done, and everything else will start to get easier.
The Basics (Hygiene)
Shower everyday, keep your nails clean, wash behind your ears, brush your teeth and floss… these are all things that are going to have you feeling better, and ready to take on the world. Or, at the very least, it’s a start. Let’s not spend too much more time on the essentials, let’s get right into some of the most impactful things you can do.
It’s insane how much of a difference a decent haircut can make. Seriously. If you’re used to shaving your own head, or just getting the same haircut you’ve always had, or even letting your hair grow out of control – this might be the single biggest improvement you can make in an afternoon.
The difference between a cheaper haircut for $10 or $15 and getting something done at a slightly higher-end barbershop for $20 or $25 can be night and day. You don’t need to go to fancy salons or spend hundreds.
The difference between having your hair cut by someone at a budget chain who doesn’t really specialize in any style, and someone from an independent shop that takes a ton of pride in their work and cuts a lot of hair for men your age is worth following through with.
A common struggle is not really knowing what to ask for once you’re sitting in the barber’s chair…
We have articles specifically to help you find a men’s hairstyle that suits you.
A side-part hairstyle is timeless, easy to maintain, and looks good enough on most guys. Your barber will be able to work out the details with you as far as length goes, and making sure it suits your face.
Whatever the case may be, a good barber has seen it all before, and they’ve dedicated their lives to finding the perfect haircuts for men. At a certain point, you’ve just got to trust them to take good care of you. Worst case scenario you get a haircut that isn’t great, but even a so-so haircut is better than nothing, plus it can always be fixed and it’ll always grow back.
Men’s Beard Styles
Speaking of suiting your face, your beard needs to do that as well. Even if you’re growing it out and aiming for a long, full beard… you still need to tame it and maintain it along the way. If your beard is going out sideways, there’s a good chance it’s making your face look wider, whereas trimming down the sides a little bit can be super slimming.
Along with the shape of your beard, maintenance is also important. There are a number of beard oils out there starting at around $10 for a little jar, massage a bit of that into your beard every now after a shower and then and it’ll keep its shape better and look a lot healthier. You don’t have to do this everyday, even once or twice a week will have an impact.
A beard can be one of the most attractive features on a man, but only if it’s properly kept. If you have an out of control neckbeard, there’s good news: Learning to trim and style it even a LITTLE BIT better is going to have a profound impact on your overall appearance.
Trimming a beard is important, even if you’re planning on growing it out. Just take off the very tips every now and then because they can start to split and fray. Keeping it trimmed will help you grow a healthier, nicer looking beard.
Don’t forget to shave around your neck area, and actually style your beard a bit, too. You need to find the lines that suit the shape of your face. The good news? Once you find them, it’s just a matter of following them whenever you shave.
Between hair and beards, especially if you’ve been putting this off and it’s gotten a bit out of hand, you can easily put a few points on the board.
Note: Don’t forget about things like your eyebrows (If you have a unibrow – stop), nose hair, ear hair, etc.
Don’t let the world of fashion intimidate you. It’s meant to be that way. It’s meant to seem like some kind of exclusive club for the cool kids, but that’s not really how it is.
By making fashion seem like this exclusive, unattainable thing, big labels are able to gatekeep and trick people into thinking they need to spend a fortune on clothing. It’s not true.
Small things can make big differences when it comes to fashion. Things like size, color, style, and fit can be slightly tweaked to take a below average look and make it incredible.
Find your fit
If you’re a bigger guy and you wear baggy clothes to try and hide it, here’s a wake up call. You aren’t fooling anyone.
In fact, baggy clothes make you look even bigger. They drape over you, when something better-fitting would look much better.
Granted, you’re still going to look like a big guy if you are, but clothes that actually fit are much, much more slimming than swimming around in a giant moomoo.
Slimmer guys also need to keep an eye out for a proper fit, otherwise your clothes can end up looking like they’re still on the hanger, even when you’re wearing them.
If you find some shirts or pants you love, but they don’t fit perfectly, take them to a tailor! This isn’t some luxury thing for the rich and famous, it’s relatively inexpensive to get a few of your favorite clothing items tailored to fit you perfectly.
You can take a $30 or $40 shirt, get it tailored for around the same price, and have a perfect piece of clothing.
Of course, it’s more expensive than just buying off the rack, but it’s an investment. Not every piece of clothing you own has to be perfect, but having a few go-to killers can be clutch.
What Colors work for you?
Matching colors, not having clashing patterns, and just having decent clothes that fit properly is all it really takes.
There are certain principles of color and design that are important to follow and to understand, and at that point you can start bending the rules to really create your own style, but let’s just stick with the basics for now.
Layering is a great tool, like having an over-shirt with a pattern on it and a plain t-shirt underneath. Try to avoid having more than one pattern at a time, and try to stick to relatively similar color palettes, at least at first.
Once you know what you’re doing, you can start to play with the rules and to bend them, but if you’re combining a bunch of different patterns and colors right now, there’s a good chance it isn’t doing you any favors.
You don’t have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe right now, but it’s a good idea to clear out some space. As you sort through your wardrobe, get rid of anything that you just flat out haven’t worn in over a year. If you must, stick it in a rubbermaid box in the corner of the basement, just get it out of the way for now.
Anything that’s too worn out or tattered looking also needs to go. We’re not going to tell you to completely change your personal style, but taking an honest look at what you usually wear, and what kind of message it sends, is some very important self-reflection.
Don’t be afraid to ask a friend for their thoughts on different outfits or articles of clothing, especially when it comes to fit and stuff you might not even notice since you’re so used to it.
Many women love to help guys out with this kind of thing too, so if you’ve got a platonic friendship you can lean on, now’s a good opportunity.
Donate any clothes you’re getting rid of that are still in decent shape, that’s something to feel good about and it can make it easier to get rid of stuff.
Pick a guy whose style you like, who maybe looks a bit like you, has a similar personality, or just someone who has it together. Start to notice subtle things, even just when you’re walking around.
If you see a guy whose style and fashion seems particularly on point to you, start to notice why. Look at what he’s doing, and get inspiration. It’s a new skill if you’ve never done this before, but it can be really helpful if you aren’t even really sure where to start.
The gym can be an intimidating place, especially for guys who are already insecure and might not be super athletic. The important thing to remember is that nobody else at the gym really cares what you’re doing, or what you look like, or has the energy to judge you.
We’ve all seen out of shape people at the gym, that’s why you’re going to the gym. Anyone who would judge someone at the gym needs to give their head a shake, it’s literally the place to go to improve your fitness and get in shape.
If you’re living a sedentary life, just getting up and doing anything each day will get the momentum going. It’s hard to start, but once you get rolling it gets easier and easier.
Literally just start by walking around the block one day, then twice the next day, then go for a twenty minute walk, keep that up for a week or two, then thirty, and so on. Eventually, you can start to jog a bit, and before you know it, you’ll be running miles. That’s really all it takes, you just have to get started.
The same goes for push ups, lifting weights, and every other physical activity. Don’t be embarrassed to start small, or to start at home. Track your progress so that after a month or two, you’ll see how far you’ve come already.
People often make great gains when they first start out, but it’s also possible that your body starts holding onto water more, so even if you don’t lose weight quickly, or you gain a couple pounds, just stick with it and it’ll start to melt away sooner than you think.
If you’re already somewhat fit, or not sedentary, getting into a better routine can still help a lot. The benefits of exercise are losing weight, getting a better physique, improving your overall health, having more energy, and a boost to your confidence, even some additional testosterone.
There’s really not a lot to it. We could give you some detailed, in-depth workout routine, but honestly just start doing some cardio, moving some weights around, and go from there. There are countless different workouts out there. It’s about making that small incremental improvement every day, just like most of the things on this list.
To be blunt, having a good body can make up for a lot in the looks department. Once you’ve got the grooming stuff in check, a good wardrobe, and you’re in at least half-decent if not great shape, you’re going to look good regardless.
But if you’re struggling with weight, exercise is not how you’re going to lose. It helps, but there’s a much more important factor to weight loss….
You can exercise all day and night but if you’re taking in too much food, and not eating at least some of the right foods, you’ll have a really hard time losing weight. So much of weight loss has to do with what you take in, not what you burn.
You probably have a good idea of which foods are good for you and which ones aren’t, give or take. There are different types of diets that you can try out, some of them might make you feel amazing and you’ll stick with them, others might be good just for kicking certain junk food habits temporarily.
If you don’t do anything else as far as diet goes, here are a few things that’ll make a big difference on their own:
Drastically cut down on your sugar intake.
Eat at least one “real” meal everyday.
Don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.
Sugar is so common in so many foods and drinks that many people have raging sugar addictions and don’t even realize it. Getting off sugar can really suck, you might have headaches for the first couple days, and even feel a bit sick.
Seriously. It’s like drug withdrawals. That uncomfortable feeling you get from cutting back on sugar should be all the motivation you need to stick with it, it tells you loud and clear what sugar is doing to your body.
If you do nothing else but cut out sugar or cut back on it significantly, it doesn’t take long for the cravings to disappear. If you want to take it a step further, and lose some weight QUICKLY, consider going all-in on a ketogenic diet, which cuts out sugar and other carbohydrates, too.
You can enter ketosis when you reduce your daily carb intake to around 30 grams or less. It’s not easy to do, but as far as diets go, it’s one of the easier ones because you can still eat a lot of meat, along with cheese and other fats.
After giving yourself that kick-start with keto, you can stick to a lower-carb diet if it makes you feel good. If not, just start counting calories and realizing how many calories are in things. Read the labels, figure out how much a serving is actually supposed to be.
Eating less can be a real challenge, especially if you use food as a crutch to help you deal with other inadequacies you feel in your life. This circles back around to the point we keep making about momentum.
If you feel like a pile of trash, that’s how you’re going to treat your body. If you’ve started exercising, and taking better care of yourself physically, then it’s a lot easier to stick to a healthier diet.
Check out what other health nuts are eating:
Go to the dentist. Go. To. The. Dentist.
Even if your teeth are a mess, and you’ve been putting it off for years, and you have to work extra shifts just to afford the cost of a cleaning and a check-up, this is something you’ve got to do. If your teeth need work, it’s worth going into debt for.
This has such a profound impact on a guy’s self-confidence, not to mention overall health.
That anxiety in the back of your mind about the dentist will go away once you finally get it over with. It’s quite possible that it’s not as bad as you think it will be, but it’s also possible that you have some serious work that needs to be done. In either case, it’s better to know than to not know.
If you can’t afford the extra work, at least getting a basic cleaning will slow things down and prevent any further serious issues from emerging.
Seriously. We can’t stress this enough. Yes, dentistry is expensive, it can be scary, but no matter what you’ve got going on, it’s better to just go. Many dentists will offer financing, but even if you have to put it on your credit card and pay interest, it’s worth it.
You should be brushing your teeth at least two times a day, if nothing else. If you hate flossing, grab some floss sticks – it’s easier. If you want something even easier than that, get a Waterpik.
It’s a device that shoots water in between your teeth to clean them. It’s not better than using real floss, but it’s a heck of a lot easier and a lot better than nothing.
You don’t need to get surgery, you don’t need to do anything drastic. Simple steps make a big difference. If you’re starting off from scratch, perhaps you’re still in a full man-child state and you never really learned any of these skills, you’re going to be able to do a lot right from the get-go.
Look, not everyone starts at the same place, and not everyone has been shown these things before, for a number of reasons. It doesn’t matter. Put the past behind you, start looking ahead, and start making these positive changes today.
Some people will take looksmaxing to the extreme, setting unrealistic goals and actually causing themselves more harm than good. Don’t be one of those people.
Our goal here was to setup realistic expectations, and to offer a relatively quick and easy path towards looking and feeling a lot better. Take this initial momentum and run with it as far as you can, even if you don’t turn into some flawless specimen of male perfection, you’ll still be a lot better off than where you started.