Can a man ever be over-primped, plucked and preened? Grooming expert Lee Kynaston thinks so. Here's the proof and how to avoid falling victim yourself.
The transformation of Shane Warne from uncomplicated man's man to fake-tanned, uber-primped metrosexual has created headlines worldwide. There's nothing wrong with trying to look your best, but he wouldn't be the only bloke to arguably take the grooming thing 'a bit too far'.
Here's a catalogue of male grooming horrors from fake-tan faux pas and cosmetic surgery catastrophes to the generally over-preened and over-plucked. Of course, we're here to help, not to cast judgment, so we also have some expert advice on how you can avoid some of the more common grooming mistakes.
A growing trend among men, eyebrow shaping can bring a lot to the party, grooming-wise. Taking hair from below the eyebrow line, for example, is the nearest thing to a non-surgical facelift, opening up the entire eye area, giving you a more youthful look. It goes without saying that plucking can help the no-no that is the monobrow.
According to eyebrow aficionado Shavata, you don't have to end up looking like Mr Spock though. "I personally think that men look better with manicured eyebrows but shaped eyebrows don't have to have a high distinctive arch," she says. "Done well, male brow shaping can look really natural so people won't even know if you have had it done. In fact, the more natural they look the better."
To avoid mistakes, she suggests consulting a professional for a first shaping, rather than taking the situation into your own hands. "They will give you a good starting shape, which you can then pluck and maintain yourself." Never pluck above the brow either. "This is your natural shape and it will never grow back the same," she says. You have been warned.
Darryn Lyons and his 'abdomination'
When barrel-chested paparazzo Darryn Lyons unbuttoned his shirt on UK's Celebrity Big Brother to reveal a set of perfectly sculpted cosmetic abs he became, not a figure of envy, but an object of more than a little ridicule.
On paper it must have seemed a great idea. You hand over $6000 or so and in return you get instant abs no pesky sit-ups to contend with, no rigorous dieting and no annoying gym visits. Just a rock hard six-pack. Easy. But that's not quite how things turned out.
The procedure itself involves having fat sucked out of specific areas of the torso to give the appearance of super-toned muscles. What Lyons forgot to factor in, though, is that we expect to see six-packs on lean, athletic body shapes.
According to Dr Dennis Wolf, a cosmetic doctor who specialises in vaser contouring, this kind of procedure works best on people who at least have some kind of definition to begin with and who are willing to maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise programme.
"I don't know what Darryn Lyons looked like before Big Brother so it's difficult to say if he was the right candidate for the procedure in the first place," says Wolf. "He may have put on weight in the interim or not maintained a healthy exercise programme. But certainly, not maintaining these important aspects may make the results look fake."
Vaser contouring is still a great way to get some definition and it's minimally invasive too but, as Dr Wolf himself says, expecting it to perform magic is unrealistic.
We all know that unkempt tombstones aren't going to do you any favours in the smile stakes and cosmetic dentistry is one of the easiest ways to improve your look. But when all that people see when you open your mouth is a blinding Steinway, you know something's gone wrong. You'll appear the victim of a slight case of over-whitening.
"Ideally, the colour of your teeth should match the whites of your eyes," explains Dr Uchenna Okoye, a leading expert in cosmetic dentistry. That is the most natural, youthful look. Any whiter and you start looking fake. It works great for some large personalities but for most of us, we want to look like ourselves...just better."
It's also worth considering your skintone before having your teeth bleached. "Generally speaking, the lighter your skin the whiter you can get away with, which is why your teeth look so much whiter after you have a tan." She also has some sound advice for anyone going for veneers to achieve a truly sparkling smile.
"Take pictures of what you like, insist your dentist fits prototype veneers first so you can make sure their shape, size, colour are what you're expecting and if not, ask them to modify them until they're right, before bonding on the real thing."
The somewhat dubious dye job
According to L'Oréal's recent male-grooming report, 17 percent of men have or are currently using home colourants, with nearly a third saying the reason they dye their hair is to make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex. This is a huge leap compared to past figures.
So where are men going wrong? Well, for starters by using permanent dyes, which tend not to look as natural as semi-permanent ones, especially in strong lighting. For the best results opt for one the same colour, or slightly lighter, than your existing colour, and if you only have a few greys to disguise don't dye your whole head, but use a fine comb to subtly blend colour into areas for the hairs that are greying, instead. Alternatively, if you only have the odd stray grey, try a product like the unisex Hair Mascara.
Too much fake tan
A host of male celebrities appear to have dabbled with fake tan with some mixed results. Many overdo it once and recant, but for others, such as actor Hugh Jackman, it seems to be a recurring theme.
So how do you make sure that if you opt for a self-tan (and more and more men are, especially for big occasions like weddings), you don't end up the same hue as Hugh? "If you're visiting a professional do your research, find a reputable place, ask for a patch test to see how it'll look and start with a subtle tan," says James Read, a leading self-tanning expert.
Alternatively, you can ask for highlighting, where certain areas are treated to give you a natural look, or for 'layering', where the tan is built up gradually and gives more natural results.
And if you're having a go at home? "If you're new to it, I'd recommend a gradual tan where you can build the colour up slowly and where you have total control over the results," he says. Try a product like St Tropez Gradual tan Everyday Spray, making sure you exfoliate your skin with a body scrub before applying to ensure even results.