It’s easy enough to write off any guy with a meticulous grooming routine as a princess. Nobody wants to fit that stereotype, right? But a few minutes in MenEssentials will convince you that grooming can be one of the manliest of pursuits.
Let’s start with shaving. MenEssentials brings us back a century or so to a time when men used straight- and double-edge razors to keep their facial hair in check. Both shaving tools have seen a major resurgence in popularity recently. “There’s the nostalgia factor,” says managing director Seth Harman. “We have people in all the time who talk about how their grandfather shaved with a straight razor. This is about as traditional as it gets.” And then there was that scene in Skyfall when James Bond gets a shave from Moneypenny. “Straight razor sales leapt by something like 400 per cent in two days after the movie came out,” says Harman.
Speaking of the Brits, MenEssentials carries products from a number of companies that have supplied the Royal Family. “These are full-blown apothecaries that have operated stores since the turn of the century in the UK,” explains Harman. Who wouldn’t want to shave like a king?
If you’re ever in doubt about the importance of skincare, Harman doesn’t hesitate to tap into his wellspring of grooming knowledge. “Since the skin is on the front lines, protecting you from the sun, pollution and dirt, your body is constantly doing things to your skin to keep it going,” says Harman. “By using skincare products, you’re helping your body be able to perform its best.” A tough case to argue against.
Beyond the shaving kit, the shop’s exposed brick walls, glass shelves, and wood cabinets are peppered with the manliest of primping products like sandalwood soap, beard conditioner and stainless steel manicure sets in rugged leather cases.
And for that final touch, a little eau de something fancy? You won’t find Acqua Di Gio here. Only traditional fragrance companies like Penhaligon’s, an English perfume house that’s been concocting scents since the 1860s.
But if you don’t want to spend an hour in the bathroom every morning, here are the essentials from MenEssentials: “You need a good cleanser. You need a good exfoliator. You need a good moisturizer.”
See? No cucumber facial masks here.