The Grooming Products Every Man Should Own
As someone who writes about male grooming for a living, one of the most common questions I get asked is which products I think men should own. With so many great products on the market now, it’s a particularly difficult question to answer – especially since every man’s skincare needs, not to mention personal tastes, are different.
Having had the privilege of trying out literally thousands of products in the fourteen years I’ve been a grooming writer, though, I’d like to think I have a pretty good perspective on what cuts the mustard in terms of quality, efficacy and value for money.
So here are ten products I think every man should own (or at the very least investigate). It’s by no means a comprehensive list, and it’s more a selection of products I think live up to the hype rather than a roll call of personal favourites, but every product here is one I rate – and I think you will too…
Lab Series Multi-Action Face Wash
Long before multi-function products became a bona fide male grooming trend this excellent face wash was helping cleanse and exfoliate skin at the same time.
Since it aids the removal of razor-clogging dead cells and lifts ingrown hairs it’s also the perfect pre-shave prep and, unlike many dedicated face scrubs, gentle enough for everyday use.
What’s more, it won’t strip skin of its natural oils and lathers up a treat, meaning a little goes a very long way:
Molton Brown Black Peppercorn Body Wash
The shower essential formerly known as ‘Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash’ (I’m not quite sure why they dropped the Re-Charge bit since it certainly does re-charge you), this is the body wash I always point men towards when they ask for a recommendation.
Warm, aromatic and spicy, this now legendary product from Molton Brown is everything you want from a shower gel: it foams up a treat, doesn’t leave skin feeling dry and tight, and smells fantastic.
I’ve yet to meet a man who doesn’t like it and a clutch of ‘Best Product’ awards attest to the fact that, short of a willing partner, it’s probably the best thing a man can take into the shower with him:
Baxter Of California Night Cream AHA
Night creams aren’t even on the radar when it comes to most men’s grooming routines, but that’s a huge mistake because night-time is when the skin regenerates and repairs itself. It also happens to be the time of day when lotions and potions are best absorbed and when your skin needs moisturising the most.
Which is where this night cream from Baxter of California comes in. Not only does it hydrate and nourish skin overnight (just what you need after a hard day facing stress, pollution and the sun’s rays), the alpha hydroxy acids it contains also help improve its texture by dislodging dead skin cells.
All in all, it’s the perfect way to ensure that you wake up with better looking skin than when you went to bed:
Geo. F. Trumper Extract Of Limes Shave Cream
Forget cheap foams and high-tech gels: if you want a truly luxurious shave, opt for a rich shave cream.
This one by Geo. F. Trumper is superbly creamy, creates the perfect cushion between skin and razor and smells heavenly. Although it works best with a badger hair brush, you can still whip up a decent lather with your fingers.
Trumper was favoured by aristocrats and British royalty when the company was established in London back in 1875, but it has since turned into a global brand, offering everyone a slice of gentlemanly grooming and becoming a by-word for elegance in the process:
Dermalogica Total Eye Care SPF15
More and more men are beginning to realise that an eye cream is an essential part of any effective skincare routine, rather than an optional extra – which is good news given that the skin around the eyes needs quite specific care (and products) to look its best.
Unlike some eye products, this cream does it all: as well as helping minimise fine lines and reducing puffiness it also features light-reflecting particles to help disguise under eye shadows and packs a built-in SPF to guard against sun damage, too.
Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of eye creams:
Clinique Post Shave Soother
One of the stars of the Clinique For Men range, this light, quickly absorbed lotion, with its skin-soothing aloe, is the perfect piece of après-shave equipment.
It’s ideal for tackling razor burn and in terms of texture, application and results, it’s one of the best balms I’ve ever come across.
The fact that it’s unscented elevates it above many other highly perfumed balms, too, since it won’t clash with any fragrance you may choose to wear:
Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream
So often have I sung the praises of this inexpensive nappy rash cream that people probably suspect I have shares in the company (I don’t), but the fact is it’s one of the most useful products a man can own.
Ideal for treating skin problems like sunburn, sweat rash and eczema, it’s also great for calming spots, razor bumps and healing shaving cuts.
Containing ingredients to soothe, heal and protect skin, its formula has remained unchanged for eighty years now and you can see why – after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it:
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel SPF15 Sunscreen
With the majority of wrinkles caused by sun damage and the ageing effects of the sun’s UVA rays a threat all year round, having a daily moisturiser that contains a sunscreen is the perfect insurance policy against premature ageing.
There are plenty of good ones out there but this lightweight, non-greasy product goes one step further than many moisturisers by energising tired, dull-looking skin while protecting it from stress and free radical damage.
Call me shallow but I also think Kiehl’s products always look cool on a bathroom shelf too:
Philips Bodygroom Series 5000 Body Groomer
According to one recent survey, 69 per cent of British men trim their body hair – and regardless of whether you’re as smooth as a baby’s bottom or furrier than Chewbacca, chances are there’s some body hair you’d rather you didn’t have.
The Bodygroom was pretty much the gadget that kick-started the whole manscaping trend and this version comes with a handy back shaving attachment so you can reach the parts other trimmers can’t. Clever:
Eau Sauvage By Christian Dior
By suggesting just one fragrance I realise I’m sticking my neck out and in truth, I could have picked twenty. However, I chose Eau Sauvage because whenever I interview perfumers or industry experts about classic fragrances, its name always pops up.
Launched nearly fifty years ago, it’s every bit as impressive today as it was back then. “I think most men agree that there are few more bracing, fresh and (above all) masculine fragrances around,” says author and journalist Christopher Stocks in Quintessentially Perfume, and he’s absolutely right.
No fragrance wardrobe is complete without a bottle:
Do you use a product you think should be in this top ten?
Let us know using the comments box below…