I like to dress well, heck, I helped start a men’s clothing company. One thing that used to be often overlooked was the men’s grooming regiment as part of his overall appearance, but this has changed quickly over the past few years. In the Lumina store in Raleigh, the grooming section grew almost as quickly as our clothing section.
During my time in the shop, I probably answered more questions about grooming products than I did clothes. Over the past few years it has become more and more acceptable for guys to up their game in the men’s grooming world. And with this, comes a lot of confusion and complexity. This is something I think is a) unnecessary, and b) keeps a lot of guys from jumping in to grooming.
I hope to simplify this a little bit by creating a list of some of the items I use on a regular basis. It’s a great starter list of items I keep on hand in my bathroom. This isn’t to say these products are for everyone, but hopefully it gives you an idea of some essential items and brands that you might not have considered until now. But before we start, its important to note that my personal Rule No. 1 of men’s grooming is to try out a lot of products and see what works best for you. Rule No. 2, you don’t have to break the bank to get great men’s grooming products.
For the purposes of this article I am breaking up my shopping list into three distinct categories. First, the essentials, where you should start if you haven’t bought any specialty products before or you need to save a little cash. Second, the good-to-haves, or the items I always buy, but you can get away without having. Finally, the extras, which is where you start spending once your grooming regiment is pretty well solidified. In short, start at the top of the list and work your way down.
Shampoo – Billy Jealousy Mint Tree Monsoon ($12) I don’t like shampoos that are overly scented, and I find mint to be a nice fresh scent that goes with almost anything. Billy Jealousy makes great products and this shampoo is (luckily) one of their lower price point options.
Soap – Sumi Haigou Charcoal Bar Soap 3 Pack ($10) There are a lot of benefits to using charcoal soap. It gets you clean and helps keep your skin balanced and free of toxins because of the charcoal composition. Its a low impact way to keep your skin looking healthier without doing anything extra.
Toothpaste – Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste, 3.8 Ounces ($10) This may be one of the “essentials” that will get questioned because $10 for toothpaste is about double the norm, but I think it is worth it. Marvis isn’t too gritty, still gets your teeth clean, and has a nice flavor that isn’t over powering.
Shave – Fulton and Roark Shave Creme ($16) If you like to be clean shaven, then Fulton and Roark is the way to go. The creme is a concentrate, and it lasts a long time. Your blade glides smoother than you could ever imagine, and the bergamot scent is subtle so it doesn’t interfere with any other scent you have going on.
Beard – Proraso Beard Oil, 1 Ounce ($16) Proraso is about as classic a brand as any. If you keep facial hair, you also need to maintenance this. Their beard oil is a good consistency and good price. I should reiterate, if you have facial hair, its time to invest in the beard oil.
Total Spend – $48
THE ‘GOOD TO HAVES’
Pomade – Mister Pompadour Beeswax Paste or Admiral Fiber Pomade ($20) I know hair product can be controversial for a lot of guys, but it is critical if you don’t want to take that first step towards grooming maturity. Most guys hate it because it makes their mop look greasy, so I graciously recommend Beeswax Paste. Decent enough hold, no shine, and is the most natural looking product I have found. Go for the Admiral if you are in to a little more shine.
Wash – Brickell Charcoal Face Wash ($25) I think I have already said enough about the benefits of charcoal, but this Brickell face wash is another great addition. Your face may be more important than your body, and this again, is another easy addition to your regiment without adding too much hassle.
Lotion – Cremo Face Moisturizer ($7) Lotion may be one of the most under utilized and under rated weapons in your grooming arsenal. Want to look years younger? Lotion. Want to stay looking young? Lotion. Keeping your skin healthy and moisturized is key. Creme is one of the best (and best values) I have found to date. It isn’t greasy, which for me is the biggest bonus a lotion can tout.
Total Spend – $52
Cologne – MCMC Dude No. 1 ($75) Its simple, its classic, its everything a cologne should be in my opinion. Most guys go for something over powering, but I hate anything that you can smell from across the room. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my uncle was after he bought me my first bottle of cologne. He said “a girl should only be able to smell you if you have asked her to dance. Make it a mystery otherwise.” Its advice I follow to this day.
Hand Creme – Bucklers Chapped Skin Remedy ($19) If you are in a dry or cold climate, this one should probably make its way up to the essentials category, but thats up to you. When I moved to Salt Lake City, it was both cold and dry and my hands, feet, and generally body we’re feeling like death. This Chapped Remedy was just that and brought my skin back to life. I literally can not give this one enough credit.
Anti-Aging – Brickell Restoring Eye Balm ($40) This one is a extra extra, but I personally find my eyes are the quickest to show wear and tear (and fatigue). This Brickell product helps combat that better than most others I have found on the market. And it isn’t too overly priced like a lot of other brands that dabble in the eye care market.
Total Spend – $134
So thats pretty much it. A quick snapshot into my grooming routine that hopefully simplifies what men’s grooming can be. I honestly don’t get much out of the essentials day-to-day, but the others are nice to have at the ready. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more men’s fashion or grooming questions.