It doesn’t take a genius to see why guys want to learn how to look handsome and attractive:
In addition to increased confidence, good-looking guys just seem to have more… well, everything.
“In society, attractive people tend to be more intelligent, better adjusted, and more popular,” explains Stanford University’s Charles Feng in the Journal of Young Investigators.
“Research shows attractive people also have more occupational success and more dating experience than their unattractive counterparts.”
While the benefits of looking handsome and attractive are abundantly clear, the methods that average guys like you and I can use to elevate our looks and join the Handsome Men’s Club aren’t as obvious.
Fortunately, figuring out how to look more handsome isn’t as difficult as you might think. I spent a not-unweird amount of time studying, researching and ogling (errr, I mean, “investigating”) a lot of handsome dudes in order to reverse-engineer what makes a man look handsome and attractive.
And what I found was very good news for guys who don’t consider themselves traditionally handsome. There are actually a number of easy-to-implement moves you, me and any regular-looking dude can use to look more handsome and attractive, even if you don’t have the squarest jaw or the fullest head of hair.
In this post I’ll share 13 of the most effective strategies any guy wondering how to look handsome and attractive can use to step up his style and put his best face forward.
How to Look More Handsome and Attractive
A Helpful Primer on Becoming a More Attractive Man
1. Ditch Your Razor (and Get a Beard Trimmer)
It’s a scientifically proven fact: chicks dig facial hair.
In a study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, women were shown a man’s face in various states of beardedness, from clean shaven all the way up to full Grizzly Adams. The results?
“Stubble was judged as most attractive overall,” according to the study. Interestingly, full beards were judged more attractive for long-term relationships than short-term ones, but in all cases men with clean-shaven faces ranked the lowest.
Stop shaving your face. Instead, use a beard trimmer that will leave the perfect amount of stubble.
I’ve been using the Wahl Lithium Ion for a year now and absolutely swear by it. In addition to looking sleek and sexy itself, it leaves a perfect amount of stubble every time, with no razor burn or bumps.
2. Get Rid of Unsightly Body Hair
On second thought, don’t throw that razor away just yet.
While stubble or a well kept beard might help you land a date, no one has ever said “Wow, look at all his sexy back hair.”
Keep yourself well groomed in the areas of your body that are most likely to peak out from underneath your collar or sleeves.
If you live in a warm climate or are heading on a beach-bound vacation, this rule extends to any body part that will be seen when you pop your shirt off (think shoulders, upper arms, lower back, etc.).
Use a razor and some shaving cream to get rid of unflattering shoulder, back and neck hair. If you prefer to go with something electric, I recommend using a different tool for your body hair than the one you use for your face.
In terms of body hair removal tools, your best is probably the Mandscaped Lawn Mower. GQ called it the “best dedicated pube groomer” on the market, and if it’s good enough to handle your most sensitive areas, it’s likely more than capable of cleaning up your shoulders and back.
3. Go Pluck Yourself
This is one of those things that Hollywood stylists know but the average guy doesn’t often think of: you may not give your eyebrows much thought, but apparently women do.
“Your eyebrows are one of the first things we notice, besides that amazing smile, of course,” writes Huffington Post Fashion And Beauty Editor Dana Oliver.
Our eyebrows? Who knew!?!
Women, apparently. As guys we tend to focus on the more basic grooming measures like brushing our teeth and combing our hair, but as it turns out, the (handsome) devil is in the details.
I’m (a [email protected]¢kin’) Star Lord
Once you become aware of how much eyebrows affect attractiveness, you’ll start noticing how really handsome guys – like, say, Hollywood leading men – almost always have impeccable brow game.
For a case study, look no further than former comic relief and current Guardian of the Galaxy Chris Pratt:
Pratt famously got in superhero shape for his role in Guardians, and there’s no denying that the extra muscle he packed on (and the square jaw that was apparently hiding under Andy Dwyer’s baby fat) are what helped propel him into leading-man status.
But once he was there, Hollywood stylists apparently let him in on the eyebrow secret. Let’s zoom in on the two photos above and take a closer look at those brows:
The goofy Chris Pratt of 2003 didn’t exactly have a unibrow, but his eyebrows are clearly untamed and kind of disheveled. Which is to say, they’re exactly like yours and mine.
But the handsome-ass Chris Pratt who seduces Zoe Saldana and Jennifer Lawrence in blockbuster movies? His eyebrows are clearly better groomed and more controlled than his younger self, as on point as his fitness, style and skin tone (more on that later).
Pick up a grooming kit and use the tweezer and tiny scissors to remove any stray hairs along the edges of your brows – and especially, of course, the ones in the middle above the bridge of your nose. But for the love of god, DO NOT overdo it. You’re going for Chris Pratt, not this guy.
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4. Whiten Your Teeth
Speaking of grooming tricks you might not think of, when was the last time you gave much thought to your chompers?
It’s easy to forget about them, but everybody else sees your teeth every time you open your mouth.
So it’s in your best interest to keep them looking clean, well cared for and at least close to a normal shade of white.
Find the teeth-whitening method that’s right for you. Personally I like to use whitening toothpaste in order to combat the daily deluge of teeth-yellowing coffee I subject my mouth to. I’ve also had good results from the occasional use of Crest White Strips and other at-home whitening kits.
For best results, consult your dentist about which method will work best for you. (You probably shouldn’t go sticking things in your mouth based solely on the advice of a 32-year-old guy who works superheroes into the conversation at every possible turn.)
5. Rock a New Haircut
It’s no secret that men are creatures of habit, and no where is this more plainly evident than on the top of our heads.
Most guys have some variation of the same haircut for years and even decades, giving little thought to one of our most noticeable features. But by ignoring your hair, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to elevate your look.
A well-chosen and well-styled look on top can make an otherwise “meh” visage look put together, refined and handsome.
Save them on your phone and take them into your barber to give them an idea of what you’re going for. They’ll help you adapt the look to your head shape.
6. Use Less Hair Product
Your barber can only do so much. Once you’ve found the hair cut that works for you, it’s up to you to style it properly.
This is a mistake a lot of young guys make, and I have to admit that I was one of the worst culprits back in the day. I who grew up in the ’90s and came of age in the early ’00s, when both the boy band era and TV’s Friends were at their pinnacle.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to look handsome in high school, and I incorrectly assumed the answer was to gob product into my hair by the handful.
At my worst, I was using about as much product as the kid in the photo below. Anytime your hair looks like you could grade parmesan cheese against it, you’ve got a problem.
By contrast, let’s take a closer look at the hair on our handsome friend from this post’s banner image at the top:
Is there some product in there? Almost certainly, yeah – it’s hard to maintain that “windswept” look without actual wind. But did he overdo it? Not at all. His hair looks both stylish and natural, which is generally the right look when you’re dressed casually. No wonder he’s smiling!
Don’t overdo it on the hair product. Try using just one finger when you scoop it out of the jar, then apply it and style it appropriately. This method will help keep you from gobbing on too much. If you do need a little extra, you can always dip back in.
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- Looking for hair care products that will help you look sharp and stand out? Click here to see a few of my favorites.
7. Clip Your Nails
Remember that grooming kit you bought after learning about the magic of maintaining your eyebrows?
It came with a nail clipper, and you need to use it.
Whereas you might have a (totally understandable and perfectly legitimate) argument for why plucking your eyebrows is one step further than you’re willing to travel on the road to handsometown, there’s absolutely no excuse for neglecting your nail-trimming duties.
No one’s saying you have to go get a manicure. (Though if you do, no one’s going to judge you for it, either – you do you, brotha.) But for the love of god, don’t let your claws grow out of control.
Use a nail clipper to trim your nails regularly. For an in-depth look at how to do it right, check out this helpful guide from Real Men Real Style.
8. Don’t Let Your Skin Go to Shit
Most guys don’t spend much time thinking about our skin, much to the chagrin of both our health and our handsomeness.
In terms of your health, your skin is your body’s single largest organ (despite what you may tell women while sexting), so keeping it healthy and happy plays a key role in longevity.
And when it comes to your handsomeness, skin plays a sneakily important role.
Having smooth, healthy and youthful skin definitely contributes to a man’s overall attractiveness, but even when your skin is a perfect 10/10, people might still have a hard time pinpointing why you look so good.
On the flip side, when your skin isn’t a perfect 10, it’s a lot more obvious—and a lot harder to correct. Whether you have acne, sun damage or premature wrinkles, fixing an existing skin problem is a lot harder than preventing it from happening in the first place.
Fortunately, adopting a daily skincare regimen that will keep your skin looking healthy and young is easy.
As long as you choose the right products (and be warned: there are a lot of shitty ones out there), applying them eacd day takes no more than 30 seconds, but could become one of the healthiest and most handsome habits you ever adopt.
Check out Lumin skin care’s Age Management Collection, which features three products that will help keep your skin looking healthy and handsome. I did a full Lumin skin review awhile back and found their products to be really effective.
The other nice thing about Lumin is that they’re confident enough in their products to offer a free trial to new customers. You can take a quick quiz to determine your skincare needs, and then get any of their skincare routine sets for free.
9. Try Self-Tanner
(Yes, seriously. Just hear me out.)
For the final grooming tip on this list, I’ve saved what’s undoubtedly the weirdest for last.
Now before I go any further, let me pause and acknowledge how bat-shit crazy this advice probably sounds. We’re dudes! We don’t bother fretting about our tans, right?
Well, maybe we should. A study done at the University of Toronto examined the skin tone of male and female models. White male models had skin that was 15 percent darker than white female models, while the skin of black male models was 11 percent darker than their female counterparts.
Why do most male models have darker skin? Because women are apparently predisposed to finding darker shades of skin more attractive.
As the Daily Mail wrote in summarizing the study, “Women favour darker, brooding men… [they] pick men with darker complexions… because these are associated with sex, virility, mystery, villainy and danger.”
Admit it: that bottle of Jergens is looking a little less ridiculous right about now, isn’t it?
To see the effects of darker skin in action, let’s re-examine our favorite humble-to-handsome transformation, shall we? This time, ignore Chris Pratt’s eyebrows; instead, look at his skin tone:
Now, it’s possible that leading-man Pratt spends a lot more time in the sun than his goofily disheveled former self.
But if I were a betting man, I’d wager that Star Lord’s highly paid stylists have used self-tanning cream or something similar to help him achieve a darker, more attractive (and less acne-revealing) color.
Pick up some self-tanner and try it for yourself. Use it once a day, and if you’re worried about accidentally going a little too… well, let’s call it “presidential“… try cutting it with some regular sunscreen to dilute the color a bit.
10. Get Your Shirts (and the Rest of Your Shit!) Tailored
The clothes don’t make the man – but they can sure as hell make him look better.
Now that we’ve tackled the question of how to look more handsome from a grooming perspective, let’s look at a few tweaks you can make to your wardrobe to improve your overall look.
By far the most effective thing you can do to upgrade your current wardrobe without buying anything new is get your shirts, pants and other core wardrobe pieces tailored.
The “Secret Weapon” of Menswear
Don’t get me wrong: choosing the right color for your suit is important. (I personally swear by the blue suit and brown shoes combo.) But tailoring is the secret weapon of menswear.
I’d much rather have a $100 suit that fit like a glove than a $10,000 suit that draped off my shoulders, bunched up at the ankles or otherwise didn’t fit my frame.
And since good local tailors are easy to find thanks to review sites like Yelp and Google, this one should be a no-brainer.
First, check out the fit guide at Business Insider to get a better sense of how your clothes should fit.
Next, go through your closet and try on everything you own. Yep, everything. Look in the mirror and compare what you see to the sizing guides linked to above. If it doesn’t look right, set it aside and start a pile of stuff you plan to have tailored.
If you find something in your closet that doesn’t quite fit, but you’re not sure a tailor will do it, check out this guide to clothing alterations from the Art of Manliness. (Or, ya know, just bring it in and ask…)
Over the next week, start bringing in your clothes to have them altered. Bring in as many as you can at one time (while still leaving yourself something to wear, of course) and see if you can get a bulk discount from your tailor because you’ve brought in so much business.
By the time you’re done, you’ll practically have a brand-new wardrobe that fits like a glove, for about a tenth of the price of what a brand new wardrobe would actually cost.
11. Tuck and Roll
Now that your shirt fits properly, it’s time to learn how to wear it with style.
Tucking in your shirt – especially a shirt that’s well cut – immediately makes you look more polished and put together. It conveys the message that you’re conscientious and care about your appearance, both of which contribute to attractiveness.
Rolling up your sleeves, meanwhile, makes you look a little more relaxed, conveying that while you make an effort to look good, you’re not too stuffy.
Tuck in your shirt and roll up your sleeves to simultaneously look more polished, more relaxed and more confident.
You can probably handle this one without any further instruction, but if you feel like doing a deep-dive on this, check out Esquire’s “Definitive Guide to Rolling Up Your Sleeves.”
12. Wear a Tie – Even (and Especially)
When You Don’t Have To
Gone are the days when a man was expected to wear a suit and tie everywhere he went.
Outside of a few scarce professions and social functions, the standard for menswear today has never been more casual – which makes it easier than ever for you to handsomely stand out from the crowd.
In an article for Forbes about why you should dress 25 percent better than everyone else in the office, Carmine Gallo writes, “I asked a military hero the secret to leading a team into battle.”
The military hero’s reply?
“‘That’s a long answer… But I can tell you it all starts with how you’re dressed the first time you meet them.
‘If your pants are whiter, your shoes are shinier and your clothes are better pressed, you’ll communicate confidence, a commanding presence. You’re telegraphing that you’re in charge.'”
Fortunately, you don’t need to wear the navy’s dress whites to dress better than your peers – all you need is about 10 bucks and an Amazon account.
By dressing just slightly better than you have to, you’ll gain handsome points in two ways. First, you’ll look even more put together and better dressed than the guy standing next to you. Second, in so doing you’ll instantly communicate that you’re a cut above the norm, which will make you seem all the more attractive.
As I alluded to above, Amazon has literally thousands of options for ties ranging in price from 2 bucks to 200.
Another great (if a little more on-the-nose) option is Ties.com, which has thousands of stylish, well made and well priced ties aimed at the modern man.
13. Blaze a New Trail
Here’s how to elevate your look with one simple swap.
Not to be confused with its cousin the sports jacket, a blazer is basically a suit jacket with a more relaxed fit. Because it has less structure in the shoulders, it gives off a more casual look and feel than a suit jacket, while still looking a hell of a lot sharper than a hoodie or sweatshirt.
The best part is that you can find these just about everywhere, from suit stores like Suitsupply and Banana Republic to more casual stores like the Gap and even Old Navy, which is where the photo pictured here came from.
Next time you’re tempted to throw on a hoodie or a zip-up sweater, consider ditching them in favor of an unlined, unstructured blazer.
And if you need help finding something to layer under your blazer, check out my post about the nine most stylish types of sweaters, many of which you can wear under your jacket.
14. Step Up Your Shoe Game
If the handsome devil is indeed in the details, then you need to make sure your look is on-point all the way from head to toe.
The right pair of shoes can really make or break your entire look, which is why I highly recommend investing in a couple sharp, well made pairs of shoes from a reputable shoemaker like M.Gemi, Beckett Simonon or Johnston & Murphy.
Keeping Them Sufficiently Shined
Remember what the military hero quoted above said? “If your pants are whiter, your shoes are shinier… you’ll communicate confidence.”
First, upgrade your shoes. If, like a lot of guys, you’ve been pairing the same old sneakers, boat shoes or hiking boots with your jeans for years, try picking up a good pair of brogues or oxfords (like the ones below) to help your shoes stand out.
Then, pick up a shoe shining kit like this one, which will have (pretty much) everything you need to restore the sheen to your shoes.
After a full week or two of wearing your new shoes, break out the shoe shine kit and give ’em a polish. In between, keep an eye out for scuffs, mud or anything else that might make your shoes look less than ideal.
15. Convey Confidence with Your Body Language
Making sure your clothes and grooming are on point will go a long way toward making you look more handsome, but in order to really stand out you have to stand tall – or at least as tall as your frame can muster.
Generally speaking, men who stand up straight, occupy a lot of physical space by adopting a wide stance or spreading their arms, and move slowly and deliberately are considered more dominant, and thus more attractive.
As Amy Cuddy famously noted, adopting a powerful position with your body can actually make you feel more powerful. That effect extends to other people as well – carry yourself like a young George Clooney, and other people will (subconsciously) take notice.
Be more conscious of your body language. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keep your back straight, your chest out and your arms open (rather than crossed) to convey confidence.
Take Your Look to the Next Level
As you can see, there are a ton of ways you can work with what you’ve got to optimize your overall impression and make yourself look more handsome and attractive.
But if you really want to stand out from the crowd and optimize your appearance, you need to know how to out-dress the other guys.
In my post about how to dress better for guys I put together a three-part plan for doing just that, which includes three over-arching strategies you can use to dress better, and 27 specific tips that you can implement into your wardrobe.
The three fundamental strategies I recommend are:
- Sharpening Your Style Instincts
- The underlying element that really allows you to look your best is developing a strong understanding of what men’s style is, and – most importantly – what it is to you.
- Implementing Specific Style Strategies
- Once you understand the fundamentals, you can begin implementing specific, action-oriented tips that will help you dress better. Stack each of these small tips and tricks on top of each other, and they’ll add up to a big impact on your overall look.
- Dressing Better on a Budget
- One of the biggest challenges guys face when trying to dress their best is that clothes can be expensive. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can look like a baller, even if you have a tight budget, so in the third section of the post I reveal my favorite cost-saving strategies for looking sharp.
All of the strategies and tips I recommend to help guys dress better complement and build upon the handsome hacks listed above, so using them in tandem is the best way to really optimize your overall appearance and present the best possible version of yourself to the world.
Click here to read the full post about how to dress better for guys and learn how to take your look to the next level.
Don’t Let the Other Guys Out-Dress You
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- The Best Subscription Boxes for Men – Irreverent Gent
- How to Look Confident All the Time – Irreverent Gent
- The Taper vs Fade Haircut: The Ultimate Guide – Irreverent Gent
- The Best Way to Look Attractive (Guys) – wikiHow
- How to Look More Handsome – Global Seducer
- 10 Easy Steps to Greater Attractiveness – Guy Counselling
Irreverent Gent founder Dave Bowden is a men’s style specialist, an Amazon bestselling author, an unrepentant introvert, a (patient, if long-suffering) Toronto sports fan and the husband of a wonderful (and fortunately much more patient) wife.