Mastering the manly morning ritual

Men like routine. It's important to us. And no, we're not stuck in a rut. It's just that we know a good thing and we stick to it.

According to beauty therapists and hairdressers, women like to experiment. When it comes to beauty routines, they'll try a little bit of this and a little but of that.

Men are different. It's not that we're not smart. Far from it. But once something is working - both on the grooming front and in other areas of our lives - we tend to make a habit of it. And that, mostly, is a good thing.

Nathan Armanacq thrives on a strict morning routine. A quarter of an hour is all it takes him. "That's all - 15 minutes. Two shampoos. Conditioner. Shave. Moisturiser. Done." And Nathan has to look good - he runs a high-end hair salon in an upmarket Melbourne shopping centre.

A survey carried out by Galaxy for skin care giant Nivea found most Australian men also have a daily grooming strategy.

Unsurprisingly, 97 per cent of us clean our teeth in the morning. Well done to almost everyone, but one does have to wonder about that 3 per cent – that's 270,000 Australian men, stats fans - who prefer to leave their teeth untainted by minty gelness. Yeuch.

And with summer upon us with a vengeance, the survey also reveals that 89 per cent of us use deodorants as part of our routine. Again, guys, what's going on with that 11 per cent …

But what of more complex things, of treatments and other grooming habits that are perhaps less acknowledged?

According to Nivea's research, three-quarters of us are, these days, prepared to do more than the basics to make ourselves look as good as we can. Many, though, remain a bit shy about talking it over with our mates.

Spray tans, teeth whitening, eyebrow waxing - lots of us are doing it, and doing it regularly - but many of us are keeping it to ourselves. Fully 40 per cent of us won't even fess up about using moisturiser. But that might be changing.

Nivea spokesman and Cronulla Sharks rugby league player Beau Ryan proclaims even the craggiest of his teammates are happy to use skin creams and shave balm - and, what's more, talk about it with each other.

It's a big change, Ryan says, from even a few years ago, when such topics of changeroom banter were definitely off-limits.

Nivea – who, it must be noted, has a vested interest in talking it up – reckons that "kicking off the day with a regular grooming routine will leave you feeling empowered to achieve more in the day ahead".

Looking past the spin, perhaps there's something in that. Maybe it's more to do with not having to think too hard about it. The three S's used to suffice for most of us. Things are slightly more complex now, but the thought process is the same - get it done quick and get out.

What's your routine? How much time does it take you each morning?