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The Grooming Routine of a Food Critic

Eater’s own Ryan Sutton tells all.

Danny Mayer’s Union Square Cafe Photo: Daniel Krieger

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I wake up around 10:30 a.m. with moderate-to-severe hat head, which is inevitable because I sleep with a hat on. I haven't yet invested in drapes for my Midtown studio (the $1,200 Wahoo Kickr Trainer was apparently a bigger priority), so I pull a wool cap over my eyes when the sun starts peeing on my face. But this, of course, means I need a sturdy shampooing every day.

I start with Head and Shoulders Green Apple 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo + Conditioner ($8). I've always found green apple to be among the most enticing "fake" fruit flavors; its crisp, tangy overtones translate better to non-edible consumer goods than, say, the noxious fumes of fake papaya or passion fruit. I spend most of the shower massaging my arthritic bones with hot water (I sometimes run my hands under a scalding faucet when things get really bad), but to get the cleaning job done on my dry skin, I use Olay Age Defying Body Wash ($5.35) sans loofah. Immediately post-shower, I use prescription-strength steroidal cream or Aquaphor Healing Skin Ointment ($14.99) on any aggressively dry patches.

Once I'm fully moisturized, I use a fluffy towel to remove about 50 percent of the dampness from my hair. I then apply product — American Crew Fiber ($8) or Paul Mitchell ($17.99) hair wax — for maximum hold and low shine. I use a brush to form a distinct part to the right. At this point I'm looking very 1950s greaser, which is not necessarily what I want, so this is when we bring in the high-heat, high-power hair dryer for volume and suppleness. The goal is to evoke something along the lines of James Spader from Oliver Stone's Wall Street, but I also want the coiffure to look good when it relaxes throughout the day.

After my daily five-mile Citibike commute, I'm looking more Dead Poet's Society. That's what we're going for (though my personal style isn't so much 1980s prep as it is well-dressed bike messenger). One more note: When possible, I only style my hair in natural light, never powder room/bathroom lighting. Too many people give themselves false confidence with soft, warm Hollywood bulbs; it's like they're trying to knock down pins with the pros after a perfect game of bumper bowling. I want the real unvarnished Sutton throughout the grooming process. This way, I know what I'm up against when I go out into the world. No tricks, no cheating, no head starts. That's the Sutton routine; that's the Sutton machine!