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How to Look Better: 7 Simple Steps Any Guy Can Take to Boost His Appearance

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Tiege Hanley and contains affiliate links. Learn more.

William Barton

Style, Grooming, Fitness, Boots, Workwear

William has been covering men's style, grooming, and fitness topics for The Adult Man since 2018 as both a writer and photographer. Based in North Carolina, he's also the face of premier men's boots website BootSpy.com and the popular BootSpy YouTube channel. If William could only wear one outfit for the rest of his life, it'd be slim blue jeans, a green fitted oxford shirt, Chelsea boots, and a nice watch. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Feb 23, 2024
18 min read
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Key Takeaways

Any man can take these seven steps to look better, starting today:
1. Drink a gallon of water throughout the day
2. Apply a skin care routine
3. Start (or fine tune) your exercise routine
4. Cut down on booze
5. Improve your style
6. Start a hobby
7. Groom properly and often
8. Wake up earlier to maintain your new healthy habits (bonus)

Not all of us are fortunate enough to be born with Brad Pitt’s jawline. But that’s hardly an excuse to throw in the towel and bemoan your bad luck.

In fact, most people don’t even want to date someone super chiseled—a recent survey pointed out that the majority of women actually prefer dudes with self-professed dad-bods.

There are so many levers you can pull to start looking better today, and the most effective strategies will also give you a confidence boost like you’ve never felt before. 

So if you’re into improving your appearance with a side of life-changing confidence, it’s time to start now. And you’re in the right place at the right time. 

What You’ll Need to Improve Your Looks

Most of the tools you’ll need to improve your looks are mental. But in the following steps, I’m outlining a few specific strategies that are much easier to tackle with some basic items.

  • A stainless steel water bottle
  • Face wash and moisturizer (we recommend Tiege Hanley)
  • Exercise equipment (gym membership, running shoes, resistance bands, yoga mat—whatever you prefer and can stick to long term)
  • A modest budget for a few wardrobe staples ($100 is a good place to start and can get you far)
  • A grooming set, with nail clippers, tweezers, razor, etc.

As you’ll notice, there are a few things to buy to make sticking to your new habits a little easier, but these basics reach beyond just improving your looks—with each rep, you’re building more confidence. And when you’re confident, it’s hard to find someone better looking. 

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How to Look Better in 7 Simple Steps

The key to looking better is really in stacking several subtle details on top of each other. Each one of these steps will nudge you one point in the positive column. And when you put them all together, the difference is obvious. 

Step 1: Hydrate. Start drinking a gallon (~ four liters) of water a day

four liter bottles of water on a kitchen counter

Have you ever heard of the “gallon challenge”? It’s a pretty basic concept: drink a gallon of water every day for 30 days and see what happens. And take pics. 

I did this a few years ago and was surprised at the results. Probably the biggest change I saw was in the circles under my eyes. While I’ve never had excessively dark rings under my eyes, I found that drinking at least a gallon of water every day smoothed out some of the wrinkles on my face and reduced the darkness under my eyes. 

Beyond that, I felt fantastic. 

Still, several years later, I’m a hydration-evangelist. I love water, and you should, too.

Hydrated skin has improved elasticity, and you’ll produce less oil, which is key if you struggle with acne or have irregular coloring on your face.  

But even more important than that is the added boost of energy you get from proper hydration. And trust me, you’re going to want that pep in your step throughout the day so you can tackle the other steps on this list. 

However, the first week is strange. I remember needing to pee about every 20 minutes, which can be super distracting and come with some self-consciousness if you work in an office. Also, a lot of people report breaking out with acne during the first week. 

The reason is a bit counter-intuitive: if you’ve been dehydrated for a long time, you’ve likely been building a backlog of impurities in your body. When you start drinking a lot of water, your liver and kidneys have ample material to start breaking down and filtering anything toxic in your system. 

That new breakdown will cause a bit of what’s called a “healing crisis,” which basically means you may look a little worse before you look better. Your body will react differently than mine to a gallon of water a day, and you might not go through a week of breakouts—you may just float on through.

Step 2: Start a skincare routine

Tiege Hanley using AM Moisturizer

Once you’ve nailed your hydration, the next best thing you can do is implement a simple skin care routine.

You honestly don’t need that much, just four products. A face wash, exfoliant, morning moisturizer with SPF, and evening moisturizer. And you can get away with just those four things for the most part.

I really like Tiege Hanley for my skin care.

Their face wash and moisturizer have been really effective for me, and their price is right. I’ve tried several other brands that I’ve really liked, but I’ve always struggled to justify the added expense when I get the same results with Tiege Hanley.

And Tiege Hanley offers more than just the four products I previously mentioned, which come in their Level 1 system. They also have a couple other products that help with more specific problems.

If you’re dealing with dark circles, crow’s feet, or puffiness around your eyes, their Level 2 system has you covered because they add an eye cream. I’ve tried it and I noticed an improvement around my eyes. Their Level 3 system adds a serum to help with deep fine lines and wrinkles.

Tiege Hanley level 3 system on mirror

I love that the AM moisturizer has SPF in it because I know I should be wearing sunscreen, but I just never do. But having some built into my everyday face moisturizer means I get some of the UV-blocking benefits without an extra step.

If you’ve never tried a skin care routine, you’ll be amazed at the difference just a tiny bit of effort can make. They’re even throwing in a free gift for TAM readers right now.

If I’m perfectly honest, I sometimes miss a morning or nighttime application like any normal human. I’ve still seen a noticeable difference though. My wife has even said there’s a big improvement in my skin, so I’m hooked. Give skin care a try, you won’t regret it.

Tiege Hanley

Often hawked by YouTube superstar Aaron Marino, Tiege Hanley offers varying levels of skin care systems based on how much care and attention you're willing to give your face. Despite the hype, the brand lives up to their word with an uncomplicated skin care system that offers surprising value.

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Step 3: Get some exercise

model flipping tire wearing kore workout shorts from vuori

Part of my job here is to write a lot about fashion and style. But as much as I love finding the perfect fit and well-built clothes, there’s no escaping this essential truth: all clothes just look better on me when I’m in better shape. 

Sure, I know how to match certain styles and colors, but I can guarantee that the $5 t-shirt from Target looked better on me when I was at my peak physical condition than my most expensive “best fitting” outfit when I was too stressed and overworked to hit the gym and prepare healthy meals for myself.

But it’s not just an improved body shape that’s going to boost your looks. Regular exercise has a massive impact on your self-esteem. And there have been loads of studies that link a higher self-esteem to a higher perceived attractiveness. 

So what does that mean? 

Sure, getting six-pack abs can take months, if not years, of dedicated effort. But you don’t even need to get close to that to have a transformation in your perceived attractiveness (meaning how attractive other people find you). 

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed a little toning and thought: I’m the friggen man! I know I certainly have. And while casting directors certainly wouldn’t ever put me in a role for 300, I still get the attractiveness boost from an improved self-esteem. 

You can expect to see minor results from regular exercise in two weeks. Again, this change won’t be huge, or even noticeable to anyone else but yourself. That comes later at months two, six, twelve, and so on. But you will get that boost of confidence, and hence the boost of attractiveness.

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A post shared by Jeff Nippard (@jeffnippard)

It doesn’t matter what exercise you do. I personally prefer weight-lifting, though I throw in some running because I’ve found that helps sharpen my focus a bit more. But you can get the same body-toning, sexy-building benefits from dozens of different methods, and you can even combine your exercise with your hobby (more on that in step six) to kill two birds with one stone.

Great exercise options are: running, weight lifting, swimming, rock climbing, bicycling, resistance bands, calisthenics, yoga, martial arts, and hiking. 

If one of those sounds badass to you and you have easy access to a gym or trail, start doing it tomorrow. 

Think of regular exercise as a multiplier: if every other step on this list gets you one point, regular exercise will multiply those combined points by a factor of two or three. So it’s really not an option.

Step 4: Cut down on the booze

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I recently took a break from grandpa’s old cough medicine. For me, drinking several beers was a common Friday and Saturday ritual. And while I don’t think that’s necessarily problematic, I would commonly proceed through four, five, and sometimes six in an evening. 

And usually wake up the next day feeling less than optimal

So I took a step back, and after a few weeks, I noticed my skin looked much better, my eyes were clearer, and I had more energy to be consistent with my workouts, diet, etc. So it worked in a sort of positive loop—I had more time to get into better shape, which boosted my confidence further, which led to more consistency, and so on. 

I made a deal with myself to never suggest going out for drinks, and that I’d drink only if I was invited out to do so. 

So the other day I was invited to a cool outdoor park for a few beers after staying dry for about three weeks. I had three beers, which didn’t really feel like a ton at the time. But I was shocked at how bush-league I looked the next day. 

Dark rings under my eyes, deep forehead wrinkles, chapped lips. Damn.

And if that’s a regular part of your life as it was for me, every weekend, it’s going to have the same draining effect. 

In the short term, regular alcohol consumption (even just on the weekends) causes your pores to dilate, which can lead to an increase of whiteheads and blackheads. Over time, increased acne can lead to scarring or more persistent cystic acne. 

Booze also decreases your skin-cell turnover, so you’re hanging on to dead skin for longer and are sacrificing that natural glow that accompanies healthy looking skin. 

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A post shared by Tiege Hanley (@tiegehanley)

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the sauce also disrupts your sleep and hydration levels, which further impacts your natural good-looks.

Now, I’m not a prohibitionist. I love a locally-crafted beer, a fine wine, and a smoky Scotch just as much as the next guy. And I believe it has a place in a healthy lifestyle. But it’s a small place.

Alcohol is also a multiplier. But unlike regular exercise, it doesn’t add points to your overall attractiveness. Instead, it’ll reduce the effectiveness of every other step you take. So even if you do everything else on this list like clockwork, you’re not going to get very far if you’re knocking back five beers every Friday night. 

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A post shared by Wise Man Brewing (@wisemanbeer)

If you keep it in limits, you can enjoy a drink or two without much consequence. But if you’re not sure where you fall on the spectrum ranging from over-indulgence to abstinence, try cutting it out altogether for just a few weeks and see what difference the dry life makes.

Bonus Reading: Alcohol and Testosterone. Once I found out the sauce was coming for my gonads, taking a break for a few weeks was pretty easy. 

Step 5: Improve your style

J.Crew Ludlow suit review

Can you think of that one friend that’s a pretty good looking dude, but he just refuses to wear anything other than baggy jeans, flip flops, and graphic tees? 

If you want to look better, most things require either putting in a ton of effort or building great habits. But one of the quickest ways to look better is to boost your style. 

Now admittedly, building out a killer wardrobe can cost a lot of coin, but if you’re strapped for cash, you don’t need to spend thousands to make a noticeable improvement in your appearance. 

The Jacket Maker 4

There’s one big issue though: how many of us actually think we make poor style choices? If you’re willing to admit it, kudos to you. I know I made tons of silly style mistakes and I never would’ve caught on had I never met my very fashion-conscious wife. 

But even then, my style is always evolving, and the best way I’ve found to transform my personal style based on my preferences is through fashion bloggers and Instagram. 

We have a massive bank of style information for you here, with everything from the best brands to shop, style guides, and fit guides, but we also have a few other favorites that we draw inspiration from, too. 

One of my top recommendations for classic style advice is Real Men Real Style.

Instagram influencers like Tim Dessaint have a really unique take on fashion-forward streetwear, while Brian Sacawa at HeSpokeStyle rocks a suit like a total boss. And guys like Brynn at denimdork take the traditionally masculine edge with workwear inspired mountain-man clothes that fit well and look incredible. 

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A post shared by He Spoke Style (@hespokestyle)

With these three accounts there’s a massive variety, and there are so many shades in between. The more you look, the more you’ll find what you like and what fits your personality.

For my favorite brands, I start with Everlane, L’Estrange London, Taylor Stitch, Public Rec, and Vuori. I have a pretty basic, classic take on style, though I’m leaning more and more toward American Heritage type clothes like work shirts and raw denim. But I also like to keep it casual with more athleisure clothes in the warmer months. 

walking in frank and oak style plan outfit

So those are a few of the brands I’ve found that usually fit me well and I know the quality is superb. But start by finding some stylish guys on IG and see what brands they recommend most often, and then don’t be afraid to invest a little chunk of money into high-quality pieces. You’ll have more confidence and you’ll wear them so often that you’ll get your money’s worth, no doubt. 

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Step 6: Find a hobby

playing pool on the weekend

Pursuing a hobby can elevate your look on a few different levels: if it’s an active hobby, like biking, climbing, or hiking, your body is going to be shaping up and that extra work will show through. You’ll be looking more and more like a stud.

But hobbies also create more confidence. I know guys who brew their own beer, and I love seeing the joy on their face when they get to share a homemade brew with their buds. 

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A post shared by Sparrow Furniture (@sparrowfurniture)

My brother is a wood-worker in his spare time, and the satisfaction he gets from eating his nightly dinner on a beautiful table he built is constant. 

I’m going to share a HOT tip with you right now, but if you don’t mind, please keep it between us. 

If you want a hobby that’s going to put you into close contact with many good looking women, take a six-week pottery class. You’ll likely be the only guy, and it’s an amazing low pressure environment where you can freely give compliments and help those around you (which tend to be really good looking 26-32 year old women, if that’s what you’re into). 

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A post shared by 𓎵 (@backusceramics)

Plus you can make a few sweet coffee mugs while you’re spitting mad game. 

Ultimately, the focus of your hobby should be on something creative or active—anything that moves your mind out of its usual rut and into something more interesting. The added passion and excitement you’ll feel from a new hobby will instantly add a point of attractiveness in your column. 

Step 7: Groom properly and often

Handsome man in suit shaving with electric shaver

Answer yes or no: do you have a neck beard? 

If you said yes, there’s a lot of work to do. 

If you said no, there’s definitely less work to do, but you still may need a tune up on the basics. 

Getting a simple set of tweezers, nail clippers, and an electric trimmer can take care of most of the basics. Especially watch around your nails and cuticles, too: women notice when guys are nail-biters, or just can’t take care of their hands—and they don’t like it. 

I get righteous nose hairs, so I’m often close up in the mirror with my handy tweezers, hacking away with tears in my eyes. 

But every guy has a different issue—yours might be a unibrow, hairy back, or indefatigable sideburns (sorry, Steve).

You likely already know which grooming areas you can improve upon, so read up on the options you have. 

And while you’re at it, you might as well look better naked. Go ahead and read our full guide to Manscaping for the breakdown on body grooming. 

Bonus: Wake up early to maintain your new healthy habits

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You might be reading this and thinking: I’d love to do this stuff, but I don’t have enough time. 

I totally get you, and I’ve said that phrase myself more times than I can count.

That’s why I recommend making enough time by waking up a half-hour to an hour earlier every day. If you think an hour isn’t a lot of time, let me demonstrate what you can do with an hour:

In 60 minutes, you can run a mile, wash your face, drink two giant glasses of water, spend 10 minutes learning about how to improve your style, and get ready for the day. That’s not every single item on the list, but it covers most of them. 

Suddenly, an overwhelming amount of self-improvement tasks can be boiled down into a hour. And you don’t have to sacrifice time from your normal life—you just have to make an extra hour by waking up an hour earlier than you normally would. 

Looks Good, Huh?

Any one of these items, when made into a routine, is going to help you look better. The key is consistency. 

A great skincare routine like Tiege Hanley is going to brighten and smooth out your skin in just a few weeks of consistent use. 

Tiege Hanley

Often hawked by YouTube superstar Aaron Marino, Tiege Hanley offers varying levels of skin care systems based on how much care and attention you're willing to give your face. Despite the hype, the brand lives up to their word with an uncomplicated skin care system that offers surprising value.

Sign Up Now Read Our Review

Other things, like finding a hobby won’t have such an immediate impact, but they’ll boost your confidence, and hence your looks over the course of months and years. 

And remember the two multipliers: exercise, and alcohol. Regular exercise multiplies the benefits of everything you do, and alcohol and drug use both diminish the benefits of every healthy habit you form. 

The power is in your hands, and I’m excited to see what you do with it. 


How can I make my face look more attractive?

You can improve the look of your face through a regular skincare routine with face wash and moisturizer. Staying hydrated will improve your looks, as will getting regular exercise and sleep.

Do girls like ripped guys?

Girls like confident guys. Most ripped guys are confident because they’re ripped, and women pick up on the confidence. You don’t need to be ripped to be confident, so you don’t need to be ripped for women to like you. Confidence is going to get your banana split, and being ripped is just the cherry on top.

How can I look better naturally?

The best way to naturally look better is through proper hydration, a regular skincare routine, and daily exercise. The amount these three habits can change your physical appearance is staggering. If you regularly drink alcohol, cutting it out, or even dialing consumption back a bit can also make a massive difference and help you look better naturally.