Different Strokes: Comedian Aaron Heels on Morning Routines, Bald Empowerment and How Grooming Can Help Mental Health.
To celebrate the launch of our curated men’s grooming range, we spoke with men from diverse walks of life to discuss how their personal experiences shape the way they groom.
Funny man Aaron Heels is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more of. The Toronto-based actor and comedian was recently named one of the country’s top 10 amateur stand-up comedians by the CBC and featured on the Canadian broadcaster’s Next Up showcase series. His comedic pedigree is strong as Second City alumni, which has produced some of Canada’s biggest comedy exports from Eugene Levy to Mike Myers.
The budding comedic talent sat down with us to talk about becoming a newly bald man, the importance of grooming for mental health, and how his morning routine helps him set the tone for the day.
How does your morning grooming routine set the tone for the rest of your day?
A lot of the things I do each day start in my mornings and how I'm putting myself together. And if I'm not feeling a certain way, I know that I have the power to change it. It’s why I've put such an importance and priority on self-care and grooming. It's the one time in a day where I know that I can just be with myself. It’s just very Zen and meditative.
Grooming and self-care in the mornings just skyrockets me into such a good mood for the rest of the day. I absolutely love it.
You recently decided to shave your head. What drove you to that decision and how has it changed you?
I shaved my head after a huge fit of depression. I just felt lost. I had been losing my hair for years and I was like, “you know what? I'm going to take agency over this”, and I just shaved my head. And the moment I was done, I felt like a brand-new person. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking ‘that's the guy I know I am inside’. It was just like, a youthful kind of electricity flowing through my body again. Had you seen me with my long hair, you’d think “that guy probably sells coconuts under a bridge.” After shaving my head, I just felt healthier and looked healthier. It was a very incredible shift in tone.
What kind of products have you added to your routine to keep your scalp and skin looking and feeling good?
You quickly learn how sensitive the skin on your scalp is compared to the rest of your face, and what products are going to work on your head.
Soaps are important for me personally. A lot of people don't have different products and use one bar of soap for their whole body, and I find that insane.
I use products that help with the pH balance of my scalp. I use exfoliating soap on my head, face and body because people don't understand how dirty or flaky your skin can get. A lot of people don't know that the pores up there get clogged too.
How do you find the actual process of shaving your head? Any tips you can share?
When I started, I used to have like nine different mirrors setup so I could see all around my head while I was shaving. Then you get the feel for it. You learn the shape of your head and how to shave around it and it becomes muscle memory. It's like driving where after a certain amount of time behind the wheel you learn all the roads you don't need maps anymore. Anyone who shaves their head learns what works for them and what doesn’t. Recently, I've learned how to kind of fade my beard into my baldness and it looks great.
How do you choose the right soap for the right body part?
Scents are a big thing in soaps for me. I need a very plain scented soap for my hands because after a while the scent can just be very irritating to have on my hands constantly. But for my body I like a nice fresh, woodsy, or even fruity kind of scent.
How do you choose the right fragrance for the right moment?
For me personally, I stick with two different scents depending on what I'm doing. If I'm going out to a bar for drinks with friends, I'll use a musky scent. And then post-shower I use a rich fruity scent. It's a nice little cherry on my ritual every morning, and it carries me through the day.
How has the conversation about men’s grooming been changing?
In the past there was this stigma where ‘manly men’ wouldn’t have a grooming routine or admit to it. But it's important. And I love that the paradigm is shifting in a way where it’s good to take care of yourself. It just makes more sense.