Category Archives: Grooming

The Manly Man’s Guide To Facial Care

Just because men are expected to be manly, macho, and rugged doesn’t mean they have to be filthy as well.

Of course, there is a dangerous sexiness in looking like Jason Statham. Even in photos, he reeks of bourbon, sweat, cigar smoke, and blood, like he spent the night in his clothes after disposing of nine seedy Cuban thugs of Suspect Character. But the degree of difficulty is incredibly high. Most women would toss their guy a gallon jar of Casino-brand rubbing alcohol, a scouring brush, and quite possibly three spray cans of hospital-grade disinfectant if he showed up for Date Night looking like this.

Jason Statham: Filthy but sexy.

But as our ol’ buddy Jase so masterfully demonstrates – rugged dishevelment is acceptable, so long as you balance it off with great skin.

Let’s get this straight, I used to be a die-hard member of the Tunay Na Lalaki (TNL) sub-culture who sorely believed that the only maintenance a dude needed was hilamos-sipilyo-ahit. Even more shockingly – and I know some guys who still do this – I had no problem using the same bar of Safeguard for my ass and my face.

Despite all my posturing, I’ve learned to accept that I’m not exactly the Philippines’ answer to Channing Tatum. When you’re not naturally blessed with Magic Mike-level good looks, you really do have to exert a little bit more effort.

Channing Tatum laughs at you for not looking like him.

And so, in the absence of truly manly skincare products like bacon-flavored lip balm and scotch-scented moisturizer, we have to settle for what’s on the market. Here’s my view on the skincare basics every dude should have to elevate from barbarian to Bublé.

Now, I don’t profess to be a skincare expert. I’m just a rookie, after all. But in four simple steps, I think all a dude has to do is:


1. Cleanse.
Cleansing is something I learned early on to take very seriously, but not to go too overboard on. Basic soap won’t cut it, especially with how oily I get after just a couple of minutes out in the sun. My current favorite facial scrub is L’Oreal Pure & Matte Charcoal Black Foam (P190 at PCX, good for 4-6 weeks).

It isn’t fancy stuff – just your basic salycilic acid to scour your face of oils, and is really awesome in mattifying. I can say so much technical stuff about it, but ultimately, you know what I love most about this stuff? It’s BLACK. As in the stuff itself is a rich, goopy, gunky BLACK. How bad-ass is that?? Batman himself would probably wash his face with his stuff; it’s just that manly. I can’t say enough about how much I love this stuff. It doesn’t just whiten, it brightens!

2. Tone
Back in the old days, we used to use this horrible stinging stuff on our faces called astringent, made from such low-prole brands as Master and Eskinol. Thankfully, it’s evolved over the years into something much more polite and soothing to the face, or what we like to call toner.

I’m a big fan of the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel collection, and their Energizing Tonic for Men (P1,900 at Kiehl’s, good for 6-8 weeks), is quite possibly the best stuff I’ve tried on the market. I’m a big fan of reading labels, and anything that announces itself as containing something as Incredibly Manly as caffeine as an active ingredient is worth a shot. The website says the stuff “instantly fights visible signs of fatigue for smoother, healthier-looking skin… [and is] combined with Bamboo Extract, to help soothe and balance skin for an energized and refreshed appearance.”

To all that, I say: Yes. It does. Damn well.

I use this in the morning and before bedtime, and I’m told that the DPWH has since then stopped using closeups of my face as a pothole repair tutorial.

MDJ’s favorite skincare products, AKA The I-Could-Have-Bought-New-Rims-For-My-Car-Instead collection.

3. Moisturize
Most dudes don’t like slathering gunk on their face after washing. I didn’t use to either, until I met the Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Anti-Wrinkle Cream (P2,200 at Kiehl’s, good for 6-8 weeks), which smells absolutely delightful, rubs down to a non-greasy feel, and leaves a pleasantly tingly menthol-y feeling on my skin. My skin feels so much firmer and – dare I say it – positively dewy ever since I started using it. You might think it’s a joke that you can actually feel your pores get tighter, but trust me, they actually do.

4. Don’t Forget to Smize!
The “smize,” which is short for “smile with your eyes!” is a darling little nugget of wisdom passed down to us by the legendary, So-Awesome-She-Should-Have-Been-Born-A-Dude supermodel, Tyra Banks, in her landmark show, America’s Next Top Model, which is about three nipslips away from being mandatory dude viewing.

Smizing is awesome, and totally dude-approved. But it’s a tricky task to charm the hot nubile Cebuana seated across the bar if you’re sporting crow’s feet so large, even Tommy Lee Jones says, “Dude, you look old.”

And so, I highly recommend Kiehl’s Abyssine Eye Cream (P2,400 at Kiehl’s, good for 8-12 weeks), which the label claims is made from a mysterious super race of algae found 3,000 meters under the ocean, nesting near some undersea volcanic vents in the Galapagos region. That’s just too cool to be made up. All I can say is, I’ve personally never seen algae with crow-footed eyes, so I know the stuff must work. Just a dab under and around each eye at night before I turn in, and all is right with the world. Christian Grey wishes he were me.

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How To Keep Romance Alive In A Gaseous Relationship

Couples in love share everything – secrets, dreams, opinions, and kisses.

One thing they shouldn’t share though? Farts. I mean, seriously. Men are total beasts when it comes to protein. Army Navy’s breakfast burritos are great – how can you go wrong with chorizo, beans, a fried egg, and tons of garlic-fried rice?


They’re not very friendly to one’s fartal dynamics though. My wife loves me unconditionally, but she literally wakes up in tears in the middle of the night from my gaseous whisperings after chowing down on one of these bad boys.

That’s why I am utterly enamored by this magical brand of underwear, Shreddies, which claims to “kill your fart’s smell and be able to neutralize odors up to 200 times the stinky strength of the average fart.”


How do they work? Their website says:

Shreddies flatulence-filtering underwear features a ‘Zorflex’ activated carbon back panel that absorbs all flatulence odours. Due to its highly porous nature, the odour vapours become trapped and neutralised by the cloth, which is then reactivated by simply washing the garment.

Zorflex. How awesome is that? It’s the fartal equivalent of Kevlar, only better!

And the best part is, you can’t tell by looking that a dude is prancing flexing around in a pair of Shreddies. They look completely normal from the outside, and have the exciting side effect of compressing one’s grapefruits into a shapely, aerodynamic, yet intimidatingly imposing package. Trust me.

To all this, I say, “challenge accepted.”

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Blood, Guts, and Other Manly Travails: MDJ Superstar Goes For A Facial

“Facials are for fags,” they say. “Only fruitcakes go for diamond peels.”

And so it goes, in this world of swagger and machismo.

Words like luminous, velvet-smooth, sun-kissed are not supposed to be associated with Real Manly Men of the Schwarzenegger mold. Rugged, chiseled, wind-torn – now those are the words socially mandated for use in the tomes of How Real Men Should Be, and a pox be upon the man who has the misfortune to be discovered by his fellows with vitamin-enriched cucumbers nestled delicately on his eyes, and his feet gently marinating in a peppermint-jasmine foot spa.

So what is it, therefore, that makes a Real Man?

“He must subject himself to trials and tortures,” the classical machismophiles may say.“He must willingly subject himself to pain and suffering, and utter not whimpers but rather manly roars, congruent to those of a cow besotted with intestinal gas.”

To that, I will agree, and it is for that reason that I must say – getting my first ever facial and diamond peel was quite possibly the manliest thing I have ever done in all my life.

If in medieval times, men marched proudly into war to face down dark goblins and be gored through by rusted battle-spears, then the modern male equivalent is the dermatologist’s office. But today’s man faces down a different sort of foe; it is blackheads that besiege him, and it is gleaming silver blackhead removers that thirst vilely for his squeals of pain.

I will be honest in saying that the fear I felt as I stepped into Dermstrata’s Greenbelt branch was fathoms deeper than any I had ever felt before; not even a 700-lb load on the Gold’s Gym leg-press had ever jellied my legs in the manner that the dermatologist did. And for all the distinctly manly pains I have gone through in my life – circumcision, a muscle-tear, an attack of gout brought on by a stray over-indulgence in an incredibly manly plate of roast pork belly – nothing compares to the poking and prodding that my deceptively-harmless facial care specialist submitted me to.

“Zarah,” I remember moaning softly to my girlfriend, as glistening steel implements dug, scraped, and squeezed viciously at my ruggedly handsome face that some have said reminds them of a young Marlon Brando from a certain angle and distance*, “I think I’m going to cry.

And it was true. Every quick jab, poke, thrust at my nose felt like a broadsword through my intestines. Over the course of the hour-long session, I truly, sincerely wanted to curl into a fetal ball and weep myself silently to sleep. As lasers screeched over my ravaged countenance, I felt instead like the White House being blasted by an extra-planetary laser in the movie Independence Day. As the finely-ground diamond peel Blast-O-Master 3000 whirred dangerously over my studly cheeks, visions of slaughterhouse accidents danced manically before my tear-bleared eyes.

“Sir, would you like to see your extracted blackheads?” the attendant murmured.

By Odin, god of all Manly Men and official sponsor of Mr. Olympia 2015, yes!” I roared, eager to see the carnage and entrails I was sure had been spilled over the course of the last hour.

Before me was a saucer lined artfully with tissue paper. “Are those sesame seeds?” my mind wondered disbelievingly, staring at its contents.

Your blackheads, sir,” the attendant whispered, seemingly reading my thoughts. “They’re much larger below than what you see on the surface. Like icebergs.”

“Icebergs,” I parroted back numbly. I literally melted back into a rubbery heap on the trolley. My stomach was churning. I had imagined blackheads to be diminutive little buds, perhaps suggestive of the short-shorn hair you find on your razor after your morning shave. I had not anticipated that they would be of such beastly proportions, roughly the size of sesame seeds, a sickly yellow-green in color, and ever-so-slightly crusty.

“Icebergs,” I whimpered one more time. “Like the ones that sank the Titanic! And killed Leonardo DiCaprio!”

I was catatonic. Nauseated. In shock.

But forty-eight hours later, I find myself radiating like a freshly-bloomed Ecuadorian rose. My skin feels silky-soft, buttercream-smooth. On my nose, where I used to have distressing little black dots, there is now only a pinkish-white luminescence. I feel dashing, debonaire, handsome even.

Artist's rendition of the New & Improved MDJ Superstar

I realize now, that like a sword that must be forged in the hottest of fires and folded in on itself over and over again to achieve its most glorious, finely-honed potential, so too must a man subject himself to the scourges and suffering of a regular facial to reach the mythical pinnacle of studliness. It’s an experience that challenges a man to question his capacity for courage, his tolerance for pain, his ability to soar above the sensation of the now.

People say I seem much kinder these days, more gentle and refined. An air of serenity seems to waft discreetly from my pores, and I glow with the radiance of a summer sun. “Have you found God?” they ask, “or perhaps your higher calling?”

“No,” I say, a beatific grin dancing on the edges of my lips. “I had a facial.”

* – When seen from behind at a distance of 2-kilometers on a slightly overcast day.

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Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: The Shaving Adventures of MDJ Superstar

I think it was Vidal Sassoon who famously once said that “Your hair is your crowning glory.”

And with a coif as masterful as that at age 107, who could argue with him? One only looks as good as one’s hair, and every girl and reasonably self-aware male above the age of 14 understands that all it takes is one bad hair day to ruin an otherwise magnificent ensemble.

So where does this leave bald men, i.e. the scintillatingly heart-stopping MDJ Superstar?

I have defended my skinheaded look by name-dropping countless examples of Beautiful Bald Men – those who have not relied on Bieber-esque locks to cause panties to get damp and brassiers to go flying. Agassi. Statham. Willis. Diesel. Connery. The Rock. Malkovich. These are men who have proven time and again that a shiny pate can be just as sexy as a Rob Pattinson flop-top.

It’s hard not to get jealous sometimes though.

The art of styling one’s hair is therapeutic, it’s a space of zen where masculinity and grace come together in a sensual mesh. I wish I could do it, but I haven’t got hair on my head.

Or… do I?

Facial hair is an underappreciated canvas for men to exhibit a bit of artistic expression. The conventional way is to grow a basic goatee, but I think that’s too safe, even with an occasional soulpatch for added effect.

(Caveat: Facial hair should never be TOO cultivated, lest one look like either a boyband member or Dr. Joel Mendez, neither of which is a good thing.)

There are so many joyous creations that can be sculpted out of facial hair.

Why not rock out with Lemmy Kilmeister-esque Motorhead Handlebar, also gloriously featured on the cover of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”?

Or if one is feeling a bit redneck-ish, throw on a country spin with muttonchop sideburns and a 70s porn star  ‘stache? (Ron Jeremy would be very proud of this one)

For Asian-themed parties, there’s always the classic Fu Manchu.

And what Mexican-inspired outfit wouldn’t be complete without a Mariachi Mustachio?

(At this point, I was feeling very politically-correct, and skipped the organic next step: The Adolf Hitler barcode. I don’t know any Jews, but think they are a wonderful people.)

It’s always emotionally-painful to go back to a completely clean-shaven look, but that’s where all good things must begin.

What’s your favourite facial hair style? Leave me feedback below, and if I like your input strongly enough, I just might carve it out of the beard I’m currently growing. You might not be able to shape the world, but you can shape my facial hair!

Leave a comment and help me decide what groovy shape to carve out of my beard!

How’s that for the first ever Interational MDJ Superstar Manscaping Promo???

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MDJ Says: Dudes Need To Keep Their Balls Clean

Look, every dude needs to have nice, well-cleaned balls.

Nobody likes playing with dirty, scruffy, grimy balls – especially not the ladies! You know that if you want chicks playing with your balls all day, you need to take care of them, and tend to them, and treat ’em right. Scrub ’em thoroughly. Wash them on a regular basis. Keep them nice-smelling and soapy-fresh.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got fuzzy balls or tiny white balls or huge shiny black balls or even old wrinkly balls.

You need to keep them clean. Period.

That’s why I believe this Axe Detailer is the greatest thing since, well, balls.

Man up, dudes. Go out and get yourself one of these bad boys.

Your balls will thank you, and so will your ladies.

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The Greatest Male Antiperspirant On The Planet

I bought a new antiperspirant over the weekend. It’s the new Power Beads variant from Gillette’s line of clear gel antiperspirants, and it’s marvelously effective.

Here’s the thing with mass market underarm products – the majority, which comprise of roll-ons like Rexona, suck. Roll-ons are harsh and pungent-smelling, and to be frank they don’t really work. I once got a rash from Rexona, no joke. Plus, they take ages to dry, and I’m sure 99% of the roll-on plebeians out there have spent significant time airing their armpits in front of the fan trying to get the sticky, gummy goop to dry before pulling on their Penshoppe button-down for a date at Mang Inasal.

Cream-based alternatives like Old Spice on the other hand have wonderful efficacy. I once couldn’t get my underarms to lather up properly in the shower because my cream deo was still hard at work – and this was twenty-four hours after I’d applied it.

However, these creams are murder for diehard fans of black shirts like me. They leave crazy distracting skidmarks down the side of one’s shirt if one isn’t careful, which from my experience are impossible to launder out.

And let’s not even get started with sticks. Fine, they do work reasonably well, but the skidmarks are still a daily villain, and it’s a bitch trying to use the last bit at the bottom without it breaking into chunks of mushed-up crap.

Which brings me to Gillette.

I’ve been a massive fan of their proprietary clear gel technology for a few years now. It’s literally crystal clear, smells nice and crisp and discreetly macho (unlike the all-out obnoxious nasal assault you get from brands like Axe, which one normally sniffs on security guards and taxi drivers), and glides onto one’s armpits like a well-lubricated newborn baby seal sliding down a Teflon waterslide.

I’m not quite sure what the Power Beads actually do – they look like the coloured granules you see in a bottle of Bath & Body Works hand gel, but I imagine they add a bit of zest to the already appetizing aroma that Gillette gives my armpits.

I’m giving my new antiperspirant a test drive at the gym tomorrow; we all know what a bitch it is to wear a gray shirt in high-heat, high-humidity moments despite the fact that the gray shirt is secretly one of the most underrated weapons in every man’s arsenal of Things That Always Amplify One’s Macho Swagger. Those motherfuckers show off sweat like it’s nobody’s business. But with my Gillette Power Beads, I am 97% sure that not only will my pits stay dry and sexy throughout my entire workout, the aerobics instructor will drop down on one knee and propose marriage after getting one whiff of my newly-Gilletted armpits.

(My response will most likely be, “No thanks, dude,” but it’s the thought that counts, right?)

It’s pricey stuff – PhP260 at First Aid in Greenbelt 3, which is the only place I’ve seen it, but gosh, that’s a small price to pay for the crisp dry confidence it will give me, the ability to strut around in gray shirts, and the countless homosexual marriage proposals I’m sure to receive.

Like they say, after all, it’s a man’s shoes that leave a first impression, but it’s his armpits that leave the last one.

Gillette Clear Gel antiperspirant now with Power Beads. The official antiperspirant for sweaty Superstars of the new millennium.

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All Ladies Need A Papa (And All Papas Need A Wash)

All ladies need a papa, and all papas need a wash.

For animal moments like these, thank God for Papawash!

I personally can’t see the added value this would have over a good bar of Safeguard (or, if you prefer, Dove), but I am certain there is a specific consumer segment out there who would go crazy over this.

Two things I would like to point out however.

  1. That is one decidedly creepy looking image model – not quite sure the wispy moustache and gold chain speak to anyone beyond the gay DOM market. Paging Dr. Joel Mendez, would you be interested in a sub-distributorship of this product, sir?
  2. With the exception of Papa Piolo, no dude is allowed to prefix his name with the word “Papa”, which makes the branding for this product quite unfortunate.

Christmas is coming up though, and that means exchange gift season. MDJ Superstar will confess to being slightly intrigued by the thought of a good sudsing up with Papawash.

They say, after all, that if one can’t always be minty-ready for a French kiss, then one must always be squeaky-clean and primed for the more exciting alternative: an Australian kiss.

(Which, of course, refers to a nice little snog Down Under…)

You know what would make Papawash even more pure win? Exciting new meat-flavored variants. Who wouldn’t go gaga over a tasty new Papawash Adobo Flavor, now with real adobo bits?

Follow MDJ Superstar on Twitter, and find out if he gets down with the Papawash experience!

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I Now Resemble Something Quite Undesirable

There’s a branch of Azta down in Eastwood that April and I always go to for our regular Diva Day – getting our toes done, getting a quick blowdry, catching up on FHM/The Economist back issues, indiscreet gossip, etc.

They have excellent customer service. You get to sit in squishy couches, which I love. If a couch isn’t squishy, it doesn’t deserve the name of “couch”. I’d probably give it a pass as a “bench” on a good day.

You get free iced tea or milk tea (or possibly even just water, if that’s more up your alley, you fat unlovable diet freaks). The attendants remember your name, which makes me think they all grew up watching old re-runs of “Cheers”.

But they did a horrible, fatal mistake with my hair.

You see, thinning hair runs in the family. But our stand is, we don’t do embarrassing things like growing painfully obvious comb-overs, tiptoe-ing into Svenson, or investing in a toupee. We just shave our heads. There are attractive bald men out there after all – Bruce Willis, Andre Agassi, Ving Rhames (!!!), etc.

It’s theoretically the easiest thing in the world to do. You take an electric razor, turn it to its “1” setting (or possibly even “0”, for gutsy weeks), dip it in warm Egyptian honey, then give your head a good once-over. I do it myself at home, when I don’t feel like getting dressed for the parlor. But these guys, man, they screwed it up.

The warning bells should have gone off, when the stylist asked if I wanted my shave to be “pa-salungat” or “pababa”. He recommended “pababa”, because apparently my roots won’t get hiwa that way. In my mind, I was just like Whatever dude, it doesn’t matter with an electric razor. Cut to ten seconds later, when I got distracted by Ehla Madrigal’s boobage in her FHM spread, and totally failed to see the guy creeping up behind me with a freaking GILETTE RUBIE razor blade in his hand. It wasn’t til I felt one cold zip against my scalp that I realized that he wasn’t shaving my head – he was Shaving it, with a capital S!

At that point, you really can’t do anything but just let him go at it. That’s why the term “point of no return” exists.

So I am now totally clean-shaven.

I want to imagine that I now look like Stone Cold Steve Austin, but Bajeng says it’s a bit closer to “etits na nakalusot sa condom”.

I can’t disagree with that, because it is generally accurate, in the same way that saying “Zac Efron is gay” or “gray is the new black” is generally accurate.

I’m now sadly limited by my fashion choices. I can no longer buy that black Zara turtleneck I was eyeing, because I fear I would look like a Rexona roll-on.

I have such horrible friends.


Girls’ Night Out: Nail Therapy @ Azta

I spent the whole Saturday sitting in front of my computer staring at 12 months worth of competitor print ads for a strategic review I’m doing for a client next week. I didn’t get to work out, I didn’t get to go out, I didn’t get to finish my “Trainspotting” book, so all in all I was pretty grumpy.

Around 830pm, I staggered upstairs to my room to put on a fresh t-shirt when I saw a missed call about an hour old from April. I called her back, and the first thing she exclaims is, <i>”Do you want to have your nails done??”</i>

Oh boy did I! My paws were looking positively crabby and distinctly un-metrosexual. In a matter of thirty minutes, I managed to shower, shave, poop, get dressed, and drive all the way to April’s house to pick her up for our appointment at Azta. If you know me, you know that’s a phenomenal achievement. I’m famous for two things: 1. hour-long showers, and 2. my terrible aversion to that quaint concept of “punctuality”.

Heaven! We got a quick foot spa, a nice scrubbing, and the maniped to end all manipeds. It was quite nice, sitting in comfort with a glass of cold tea each, having our netherest regions attended to, and chismising about a month’s worth of chismis left un-chismised.

I can’t get over how nice my nails are. I wish I could wear open-toed shoes to work…


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