The first area to address in life skills is basic hygiene – it’s not on our list, since the previous author listed that as a skill learned earlier, but that does not minimize its importance. When meeting new people for the first time you get to make only one first impression. You may make a second impression if your first is memorable enough. Take advantage of those opportunities!

Basic hygiene includes bathing, brushing one’s teeth and hair, applying deodorant, nail care, wearing the right amount of scented product, and wearing clean underclothes.

Bathing: Whether one prefers to shower or take a bath, washing the “hot spots” includes the face/neck, behind the ears, underarms, chest area, privates (nether regions), behind the knees and the feet. Here’s a basic tip: work from the top down. Whether home or personal care, work from the top down.

Hair: Brushing and/or styling the hair should be done with care, utilizing the correct brush, oils or other product, hair dryers and curling irons. There are many “experts” in cosmetics and personal care. Speak with a dermatologist for skin care to your own skin type and a stylist for your hair’s care – including which shampoo or conditioner to use and how often to wash.

Scents: Deodorant has directions for use, specifically “apply topically”, which means to the skin and is not for ingestion (to eat). Use a lightly scented body spray, perfume or cologne if really necessary. Apply to the same “hot spots” as in behind the ears, behind the knees and even in the elbows.

Just to reinforce what you may be imagining, here is a picture of the (highlighted in green) “hot spots”:

Face: Facial hair, whether a beard, mustache or nothing at all, should be neatly trimmed and groomed. There are many tips and tricks on grooming one’s face, including eyebrow brushes, eyelash care, and application of makeup. Makeup, like scents, should be lightly applied. In all things, moderation – “A little goes a long way.”

Teeth: Brush for up to 2 minutes, 10 small circles in each area or “zone” of the mouth, hitting the top front sides, front, top back sides, back of the front teeth, bottom front sides, bottom front, bottom backs, the roof of the mouth and the tongue. Follow the dentist’s recommendations for proper mouth care including flossing and mouthwash.

Nails: Nails should be neatly trimmed, filed, clean. Polish should be smooth, with a nice finishing coat. This goes also for one’s toenails.

Female under clothes should be a proper fit; department stores provide free fittings with no obligation to buy their merchandise, though if one can afford to purchase the right equipment now is the time to do so. Camisoles offer an extra layer of protection and fit, as do t-shirts or undershirts. Underwear should be properly sized and not allow for gaps and bunching or pinching of the skin as this can cause circulation problems.

So, just a quick recap: wash your hot spots, brush your teeth, wear minimal makeup and body scents (including cologne, gentlemen), and enjoy properly fitting underclothes. Take care of yourself; people will have a good first impression.

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