A man’s shelf in the bathroom cabinet is better stocked today than ever before. Where our fathers’ generation graduated from the shit-shower-shave school of personal upkeep, the chap of 2017 has both the choice and the inclination to be meticulously groomed from head to toe.
If anything, the products now available are bewildering in their diversity, with a potion for almost every conceivable problem. Beard dandruff? Try this balm. A bib to catch your stubble debris? Yes, that exists. A penis refresh spray? We wish that one was just a bad joke, to be honest.
So, to make sure your cabinet is stocked with only the essentials, FashionBeans presents our edit of the year’s best scrubs, serums and scents, along with the hairstyle trends, grooming gadgets and trendsetters that (should) have influenced your look this year.
Best Face Product
Lab Series Solid Water Essence
A quick splash of water was once all your mug needed to face the world. And those days could make a legitimate comeback with Lab Series’ Solid Water Essence: a quick-dab hydration gel which quickly perks up your complexion thanks to a mix of caffeine, ginseng (two things guaranteed to wake you up in the morning) and antioxidants to keep wrinkles at bay.
The reason it stands out for us is that it works for everyone. If you’re a dedicated groomsman, use it as part of a comprehensive skincare regime that includes a scrub, moisturiser and serum. If you’re more slap-it-on-and-go, keep this in your drawer at work for an energising pep up before (or after) a night out.
Hairstyle Of The Year
The Peaky Blinder
Its fourth season hit our screens this year and while Peaky Blinders has long been driving the old-school heritage look in menswear, this year it influenced men’s hair trends too. You might quibble about Cillian Murphy’s dodgy midlands accent, but you can’t argue with his mop.
The classic short back and sides gets a twenties remix, with a disconnected step between the closely-clippered sides and lots of length and texture up top. A masculine riposte to the quiffs and slick-backs of the Love Island crowd, the style also made it to the catwalks of men’s fashion week.
Murphy himself revealed that the original twenties cut was designed to prevent the spread of lice, but don’t let that put you off.
Best Grooming Gadget
Oral-B Genius 9000
Despite your grandma’s confusion, Bluetooth has nothing to do with your actual teeth. At least, that was the case until the release of Oral-B’s Genius 9000.
Okay, we can hear a similar geriatric query in your throat: why do we need a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush? Well, the Genius 9000 automatically monitors your routine, gleaning real-time info about your brushing technique to give you the best chance of whiter teeth. Plus, this clever gadget automatically reduces brush speed too, protecting enamel and generally improving gum health.
Best Shaving Product
Ignore the naysayers: there’s no such thing as peak beard. The clean-shaven look is, however, becoming increasingly stylish again, especially if you’re lucky enough to tout a cover-ready jawline.
Giving you more choice (and remarkably good prices) is Harry’s, an American shaving subscription firm. By offering German-engineered blades online, the grooming outfit can reduce costs and undercut the standard supermarket price tag without compromising quality.
As well as advanced, ergonomic razors, Harry’s offers a complementary skincare line-up that’s friendly on the pocket, and even friendlier on the face.
Game-Changer Of The Year
Dry Shampoo For Men
It’s not an innovative new product by any stretch, but 2017 was the year that guys realised dry shampoo is not just for women or festival-going crusties.
In fact, this category of hair product lends itself to far more than Glastonbury grooming. While regular shampooing removes sebum – the stuff more commonly known as ‘grease’ – it can also rid your locks of the essential oils it needs to look its best. A dry shampoo, on the other hand, absorbs sebum without removing the oils your scalp actually needs, resulting in the perfect ancillary treatment for in-between washes or days when you’ve gone a bit hard on the snooze button.
Best Hair Product
Aveda Thickening Paste
According to the American Hair Loss Association, almost 85 per cent of men will encounter thinning hair at some point, making lacklustre locks inevitable for the majority.
Don’t grab the hair clippers just yet, though. Instead, enlist Aveda’s Thickening Paste into your arsenal, a grooming essential that’s specifically designed to expand individual strands. This makes your hair thicker, both to the look and the touch, and even the densest of mops would do well to take full advantage.
Grooming Comeback Of The Year
From sex offenders registers to best-dressed lists, the moustache has to be this year’s unlikeliest comeback. Just think, excluding Crimewatch, top lip topiary was last seen in the eighties and even then, they were a scar on most family photo albums.
Fast forward to today, though, and moustaches are less handlebar, more handsome, with Hollywood’s elite providing plenty of proof that you can wear a moustache without irony or a terrible sense of style.
Two things are key to avoiding a Ron Swanson and making it work: you need a jawline worthy of a 20th Century Fox contract, and you have to balance out the fluff with well-preened stubble elsewhere for a look that is modern and masculine.
Best Everyday Fragrance Launch
Hugo Boss Bottled Tonic
A true contemporary classic, Boss Bottled takes two time-honoured styles of men’s fragrance – oriental and fougère – and fuses them together to form a scent that’s sold over 70 million bottles to date.
The apple, geranium, clove and cinnamon core of the original is still present in the brand’s 2017 Tonic, but with the addition of ginger and bitter orange, it’s much sharper and altogether more effervescent. Perfect for day or night, and great value at under £50 for 100ml.
Best Luxury Fragrance
Acqua Di Parma Note Di Colonia IV
Acqua di Parma is a label for those in the nose. The Italian luxury outfit may not be a household name with celebrity-fronted, nonsensical TV campaigns – but that’s precisely the point. It doesn’t have to rely on all that noise, instead becoming an informed choice through sheer quality.
However, if the fragrance house’s latest release – Note di Colonia IV – is anything to go by, grooming’s best-kept secret is about to go mainstream. An expert blend of green mandarin and bergamot, it’s masculine without smelling like a footballer’s eau de awful, and manages to keep things fresh with sweeter notes of Turkish rose and orange blossom.
If all secrets smell this good, we’re happy to play the loudmouth.
Best Body Product
Brickell Invigorating Mint Body Wash
Several boxes need ticking when it comes to the perfect body wash. You want a product without any chemical nasties; one that caters to most skin types; and minty freshness without the sting of a multipack of Airwaves. In short, you want Brickell’s invigorating body wash.
Pricey, sure. But what you put on your body is almost as important as what goes in it, and Brickell’s foolproof formula is 97 per cent natural and 83 per cent organic, meaning you’d be hard-pressed to find a friendlier scrub for your skin. That, and the fact it leaves you fresher than Will Smith’s early acting career.
L’Oreal Men Expert Shirt Protect
An underarm spray has been a go-to for men since the Lynx-gassed, lie-filled changing rooms of Year 8. But a deodorant is also something that’s been notorious for leaving yellow marks on PE kits, work uniforms and prime time Saturday night threads since grooming began.
Well, consider such patches a thing of the past. L’Oreal’s Shirt Protect spray is engineered specifically to combat the problem, combining anti-sweat, stain and white mark technology for an unrivalled triple threat. It should be as essential as your white button-down.
Groomsman Of The Year
No, not a category for the best mate that downs seven pints on your big day then vomits on a bridesmaid. Instead, our Groomsman of the Year is a fellow to whom we tip our hat on the grooming front (and then proceed to copy on our next barber visit).
Henry Cavill, of Superman fame and kryptonite physique, is our hero this year, and it’s not just because of the immaculate Clark Kent cut (though that definitely helps). Look at the other trends Cavill has pioneered over the past 12 months: the buzz cut for Sand Castle, the perfectly coiffed curl, and even a moustache that, for all our initial panic, actually worked.