Stylist Matthew Henson Shares his Grooming Secrets

And yes, drinking lots of water is one of them.
Reading time 6 minutes

There's no denying the prevalence of beauty in today's world. Face masks, serums, potions, and lotions have overtaken the world—men's grooming included. Euromonitor estimates that the men's grooming industry will reach $60.7 billion by 2020 and, with self-care and wellness routines increasingly becoming staples for everyone regardless of gender, that figure can only go higher. Take it from Matthew Henson. Also known as "the man who dresses A$AP Rocky and The Weeknd," Henson's been at the top of the fashion game since his late twenties—around the same age, uncoincidentally, that this stylist started his regimented grooming routine. He served as a fashion editor at Complex for over six years before venturing off on his own and, when he's not styling the likes of A$AP Rocky, he's working with brands like Stampd and DL1961. And when he's not doing that, Henson continues to revel his 58K+ followers on Instagram with his streetwear and styling shots. Whatever the fashion or beauty-related task at hand, it seems one modus operandi stands true: it's not about achieving the "right" look, it's about finding the right items to enhance your look. Authenticity. Be it his old school R&B "Get Hyped" playlist, his slight obsession with water or his love for Dior products, Matthew Henson proves that it's never too late nor is one ever too busy to take care of oneself.

We caught up with the stylist to the stars to find out what grooming tips and tricks keep him looking so fresh. 

Tell me about how you start your mornings.

Usually, I wake up, and as boring as it sounds, I drink a ton of water. Because I have no idea what I'm going to encounter during the day, I try to hydrate as much as I can in the morning. Then, I am somebody who substitutes Kind bars for full meals, so I'll have a Kind bar and then hopefully at some point, sometime during the day I'll be able to eat again. Hydrate again, a little food. Then, I am a freak for skin, so I exfoliate my skin and moisturize a lot. I use this booster—a vitamin booster—from Dior. I use it every morning with my moisturizer, I use it as a combo. It keeps my skin super hydrated throughout the day.

Nice. Have you noticed a difference from when you first started using it? 

Yeah. I have combo skin, so I can be either really dry or really oily. Basically, what I think it did is even the texture of my skin out. Now, it's not oily or dry. It's just skin, it's just matte, most of the time. 

Are there any grooming practices you try to avoid? Some guys don't shave, some don't moisturize. Is there anything you might avoid? 

I don't really clean my skin with a facial cleanser, I just use water. I think sometimes when you do too much to your skin, it shows immediately. Even the most organic face wash, there's still too much going on in there. I just use water, like I use cold water. It keeps the pores from going crazy. And then after I wash my face with cold water, I'll scrub it with a loofah or something, nothing too fancy. And then, I'll just moisturize, and that's normally all I need. Since I've been taking care of my skin, which happened admittedly started happening when I turned 30, preparation for the old days starts now. 

When talking to your clients, or your friends who are men, what do you think guys do wrong when it comes to grooming? 

I think when you do too much, in a way that is not your natural self. I know some guys that love to have their beards tapered to a T and it looks like it's drawn on. Same thing with eyebrows. Some guys trim their eyebrows or remove their unibrow, those are the things that are so unique to men that I think they should be maintained and kept. Looking like your authentic self. I think, outside of that, I think that's pretty much it. Facial hair and eyebrows should be left alone.

I agree. I know you mentioned some of the Dior products earlier, but is there another one that might have changed your life? Or one that you're hoping to try out? 

You know what's funny? A mentor of mine wore the fragrance Bois D'argent and he wore it every day, for years. So every day, it's such a familiar scent for me and it has so many memories attached to it, so I want to find a Dior fragrance for me so that I can do the same thing and wear it every day and have it attached to so different points in my life. Bois D'argent is the one I know best, but I'm excited to try more of them. It's light, it's nice and light. I think it's got some fig in there, it's probably got some tobacco in there, a little bit of musk. It's nice and light, it's not aggressive. Do you remember the cartoon, Pepe Le Pew? It's almost like you can see the way it smells and it's so inviting and it's amazing. I love the way it smells. I've worn it a couple times myself and brought back some amazing memories, but I think I could probably find one that's a little more authentically me. And they have so many I need to start trying them out. 

My last question, while you're grooming or just going about your day, do you have a playlist or song you play that gets you in that self-care mode? 

I play a lot of old school R&B when I'm getting ready, like Curtis Mayfield, it kind of puts you in more of a romantic and gentle mood instead of listening to rap where you're attacking the day. When you listen to old school, it sets the tone, you feel a little sexier, you really get into all of your features and stuff like that. 

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