As part Bio-Oil’s #HardKnockLife Campaign, Danny Care, England rugby and Harlequins scrum half chats about skin care, scrums and running off to Moscow
You’ve certainly experienced some hard knocks during your career. What’s your secret to keeping in tip top condition, both mentally and physically?
It’s a brilliant job but can be very tough and stressful at times. You are away from your family a lot, and putting your body through a lot, so the emotional side of it is massive.
Mindset wise, I think that’s something that people don’t talk about enough, a lot of people struggle with the mental side of things. It can be a very taxing sport as there is continuous pressure on you to perform. We are incredibly lucky to do a job that we love but with it comes all sorts of scrutiny from selection to form and armchair experts. I try to switch off from rugby whenever I can. I want to get home and having a young family helps as it makes you think about other things – as soon as I get home I’m playing hide and seek with my son or building stuff.
It’s important to have outside things to do, whether it’s family, a university course or another hobby, I think it’s key for sportsman to have something to do outside their sport because it can drive you mad at times and be a dark and lonely place.
Being an England scrum half is a pretty tough role. Do you find this takes a toll on your looks/skin/body?
Yes, it definitely does. Your body gets taken to some dark places and there’s barely a day when you don’t feel sore or achy. But it’s all part and parcel of you job, you just get on with it and then at the weekend on match day you don’t care how much pain you are in. I think I’m one of the lucky ones! Some of the big boys, who run into brick wall after brick wall all game have it pretty tough; as backs, us little lads have it a bit easier.
Has your grooming routine changed since becoming a rugby player?
Yeah, definitely. I was a ‘get up and go’ type person. I always like to make sure my hair is alright so throw a little bit of product in my hair each morning. As we train so much we are sweating all the time and it takes a toll on your skin so it’s good to moisturise afterwards.
The eyebrow injury was about a year ago. It was Mike Brown, one of my best friends, kneed me in the head in a tackle during training. It’s one of those things where you don’t know what’s happening but I just saw blood literally flying out of my eye. Because it was the middle of a session you can’t really just jump out and get it sorted straight away so I carried on for a bit and then I couldn’t see anything because there was so much blood in my eye. Luckily, touch wood, I’ve only had one big cut on my face – I know some lads have had 100s but I try and keep my face away from it as much as I can.”
I had seven stitches on my eyebrow. The doctor used to be a boxing doctor so he was used to those cuts and did really well with the scar. And using a bit of Bio-Oil, over time, means you can’t see it any more, to be honest!”
Your role means you have to make quick decisions on the pitch! What made you decide to start using Bio-Oil and how has it supported you with your own skincare?
Obviously with the cuts and bruises we get it’s good to look after them, so Bio-Oil was massive for me with my eye scar. I also got stamped on a while ago, on my chest, but with some Bio-Oil it sorts it out. I think a lot of the lads I know choose it as the thing to go for.
What’s been your biggest hurdle, outside of rugby, and how has it changed your outlook on life?
Becoming a Dad, it’s something I didn’t have a clue about. I’d been around kids before but didn’t know what it would be like as a professional sportsman and dad. It’s something completely new to myself and my wife, Jodie especially being away quite a lot with England, sometimes five or six weeks on the trot, with my wife dealing with it on her own. A lot of lads say the same thing, going away from your families is hard and they change so quickly.
Lack of sleep! I love a lie in but I definitely don’t get them anymore… You have to train your body and mind to get used to having less sleep. Being a rugby player means you need to reserve some energy. Sometimes I go into training and see the new dads that have kids are absolutely shattered for the first few months.
Next year’s Rugby World Cup is being hosted in Japan. Where was your favourite World Cup tournament?
I played in the home World Cup in 2015 – it didn’t go the way we wanted but it was cool to take part in a home World Cup as I missed out four years before when I got injured a week before New Zealand. I’m really looking forward to – hopefully – being on that plane, and in Japan. The dream is to come back as a World Cup Winner. We have a lot of hard work to do but, hopefully, you never know!
Do you like to travel, what are the key essentials you take with you and why?
An iPad. We have to keep Blake entertained so the iPad is a saviour. Always take a good pair of shades. I’m pretty chilled when I go away on holiday so don’t take an awful lot – a few pairs of t-shirts and shorts.
We also take a lot of toys to keep Blake entertained. He is getting to an age where he’s a bit sporty so last holiday we took a little football and a bat and ball for the beach. I don’t know how my wife got the suitcase shut with all our different cosmetic products though… Hers seem to be nicer than mine but then, she has been known to borrow my Bio-Oil on occasion! Especially when she was pregnant with the little one.
What other hobbies do you love to do to switch off?
The Football World Cup. It was amazing, a dream come true to watch your home team in the semi-final. I only booked it the day before when an opportunity came up for a ticket and there was one seat on a flight left. My mate had already booked so I jumped on a flight out there – Jodie wasn’t happy in the slightest! I’m a big Liverpool fan and like to play a bit of golf with the lads when we can.
As a Dad and husband, what advice do you give to your loved ones when life’s knocks happen?
I always think I’m a positive person. Littles things and big things will always happen but I try to put things in to perspective now, having a kid definitely does that to you. I’ll have a bad day at training or a bad game and my son doesn’t care, he just wants me to read him a story. Everything happens for a reason, if you have a happy outlook on life, then good things will happen to you. Try not to take yourself too seriously and enjoy yourself.
With nearly 400,000 fans following your social media, do you feel a responsibility to be a role model for the next generation of rugby players?
You have to be a role model for young people growing up, those who want to be sportsmen or rugby players, and hopefully set a good example. I don’t post many posed photos or that sort of stuff – just try to give a glimpse of what my life is like and what I’m proud of.
It’s mad how there is that reach for people. Back in the day you wouldn’t care what you tweeted or took a picture of as no one cared. But now, as athletes or people you’re in the spotlight, so there is a duty of care to be respectful, if that makes sense.
I get a lot of questions and direct messages from people asking for tips, so I try to reply to as many as I can. You get the odd bit of abuse which is always funny to read – I mean it’s generally quite nice (messages) – unless you’ve beaten Wales or Ireland then you normally get a bit of stick off them…
Danny Care is an ambassador for Bio-Oil #HardKnockLife campaign. Bio-Oil® is the world’s leading scar and stretch mark product