It’s fair to say that 2020 will go down as the year we all got to take a long, hard look at ourselves – on a computer screen. The video call replaced a multitude of social interactions, the office went virtual and even gym work outs, poker nights, birthday celebrations and the pub quiz migrated online.
As a result, it was hard to miss the areas that didn’t quite look as good as they used to; the eye bags looked saggier and the wrinkles looked deeper. You can blame the poor lighting, you can blame the barber (that was you) and the radical decline in standards (come on, shaving was passé between April and May). You can definitely blame it on the stress of living through unprecedented times, and you can certainly blame the people who keep using the word unprecedented (sorry). At times, it felt like surveying the crumbling façade of a once grand abode, and wincing at the anticipated cost of fixing it up again. And it’s a phenomenon that’s already lead to an increase in patients seeking cosmetic treatments.
Whilst we had high hopes for this year, here we are, still stuck looking at ourselves – but we do have the perfect tools to start the renovations. When the grooming gods were cooking up products, they created all the solutions we need – without a needles, scalpels or recovery time. So, if you require a little help to restore your appearance to its pre-pandemic glory, you’ve come to the right place. This is the definitive edit of the best grooming products in the world right now, so we’ll call it: 2021 you looks better already.
The Moisturiser: Acqua di Parma Barbiere Multi-Action Face Cream
A multi-tasking, high-performance face smoother that absorbs easily. Hyaluronic acid keeps skin moisturised, niacinamide (B3) and Vitamin E defend skin cells from free radicals and, crucially, white horehound extract protect the skin from the blue light emitted from screens to help prevent early signs of ageing – all with Acqua di Parma’s comforting Colonia scent.
The Anti-Ageing Moisturiser: Augustinus Bader The Cream
The instant cult product, Augustinus Bader is the Tesla of face creams. It contains a host of essential vitamins, antioxidants and amino acid with patented TFC8 technology to promote cellular renewal and restore the skin to its optimum condition. The original cream is formulated for oily/combination skin. Take the Rich version for dry/normal types.
The Serum: Vanderohe Mr. Nourishing Face Serum
Face oils can invoke a little suspicion from the uninitiated, perhaps that’s why Vanderohe label Mr as a serum? More accurately, it’s a certified 100% organic, cold-pressed blend of natural oils. People often think oil = grease = spots but it’s a bit of a myth. The wild harvested plant extracts include apricot kernel, grapeseed, rosehip, cedar wood, lavender, Vitamin E and biblical gifts, frankincense and myrrh, in an enriching potion to protect and hydrate the skin.
Multi-functional, you can slap it on after a shave or use it to condition your stubble.
The Face Mask: Heath Shower Mask
This express face mask is easy to add to your shower routine. Activated by steam, it has a creamy texture that tingles with AHAs and azelaic acid to fight acne-causing bacteria as well as aloe vera and ceraphyl to boost moisture and collagen production. Skin looks brighter and feels smoother straight away.
The Eye Gel: The Other Saint Eye Gel
This cooling eye gel contains arnica oil to reduce dark circles and puffiness (arnica is proven to reduce bruising) and aloe vera helps repair the skin from within, improving the appearance of fine lines. We love the packaging from the clever folk at The Other Saint – it’s made from FSC certified wood and plant material so it can be added to your green council bin for industrial compost.
The Cleanser: Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser
This time of year, skin tends to be drier: cold outside, overheated indoors. Aesop’s mildly scented cream cleanser is excellent for dry and normal skin types. It gently cleanses, using white clay to draw out impurities, leaving skin feeling supple and smooth.
The Clear Skin Kit: Zitsticka Patch It Up
Living with breakouts is no picnic. So, give thanks for Zitsticka. Utilising the same tech behind nicotine patches, Zitsticka can help spot sufferers everywhere. Along with Killa, two new additions, Hyperfade and Goo Getter, complete the triumvirate of expert blemish busting.
Goo Getter sucks the gunk from a whitehead; Hyperfade works to mute any scarring or pigmentation left behind; while preventative Killa nips any burgeoning bumps in the bud. Game changing, effective spot treatment.
The Skin Tool: Susanne Kaufmann Obsidian Face Roller
The most effective skin cures can be the most simple. It’s easy to find the time to get into skin massaging – just do it while you watch TV. Boost blood flow and smooth away wrinkles with this serious looking roller from Susanne Kaufmann.
Using a roller will fire up your circulation and increase the benefits from an oil or serum by massaging it deeply into the skin. The cooling stone can rejuvenate and refresh tired, congested and dull skin. It costs more than a pricey cream, you say? Well, unlike a tub of moisturiser, this is one investment that will never run out.
The Supplement: Gallinée Skin & Microbiome
Troubled skin starts within, so fix it by boosting your microbiome. The gut-skin axis is recognised by scientists and by increasing our intake of probiotics we can help tricky conditions like eczema and psoriasis, while reducing redness and inflammation by introducing more good bacteria.
These daily capsules provide a concentrated dose of 25 billion probiotics to rebalance your system and improve the appearance of skin irritations.
The Collection: Maison Francis Kurkdjian The Fragrance Wardrobe
The Fragrance Wardrobe from Maison Francis Kurkdjian is all killer, no filler. For the same price of a full size bottle, the wardrobe features eight of Francis Kurdjian’s greatest hits for men, including the cult Baccarat Rouge 540, Aqua Universalis, Amyris Homme and the latest release, L’Homme À La Rose. You’ll be seriously spoilt for choice.
The Sustainable Scent: Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette Refill
One of our all-time favourite scents just got a lot greener. The Dior Sauvage 300ml refill is served in a lacquered, recyclable aluminium can. The midnight blue finish preserves the contents from the light, while the innovative auto-stop mechanism and screw top connection ensure that not a drop is wasted.
Compatible with both the 100ml and 30ml travel edition bottles, you can hang on to your original glass flaçons for longer.
The Fragrance Innovation: Jo Malone Car Diffuser
Drive thru McDonald’s, wet dog, festering gym kit; our personal transportation can make for an unpleasant assault on the senses. Jo Malone has made it easy to upgrade your auto aroma with this clever car diffuser. The black grill design blends in discreetly with the air conditioning vent, so all you’ll notice is the superior scent filling the vehicle.
Pimp your ride with Wood Sage & Sea Salt or original Lime Basil & Mandarin.
The Shampoo: Harry’s Dry Scalp 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner
Scalps often get neglected until there’s a problem. Harry’s Dry Scalp 2-in-1 helps fix dryness or mild itching, as well as clearing dirt, oil and product residue. It contains aloe, which is recognised for its soothing properties, menthol, tea tree and lavender – all of which purify. Get a happy scalp and extra-clean hair in one.
The One-For-All Hair Hero: Saunders & Long The Long Weekender
Nick Saunders & Jonny Long have created the ultimate multi-functional product: The Long Weekender. Streamline your grooming regime at home, at the gym and away, with this creamy foaming cleanser. It works as a rich shampoo, a light conditioner, a body wash, shaving foam and as a dry styling aid, and it smells incredible.
When the world unlocks, it will be your 5-in-1 insurance policy against forgetting the other essentials in your wash bag, you just have to remember to pack this one.
The Styling Aid: Triumph & Disaster Ponsonby Pomade
How to manage hair in-between cuts? Slick it back with the Ponsonby Pomade. It contains Dragon’s Blood, a natural healing agent from the Amazon to calm the scalp, and Harakeke Flax to hydrate the skin.
It offers a medium hold, with a high-shine finish. Water based, so it rinses out easily.
The Razor: Bulldog Glass Razor
While the big razor makers spend millions on adding blades, they ignore the wider impact of their plastic-heavy products. Hats off to Bulldog, who has been on a mission looking for innovative ways to make more eco-friendly razors.
In 2019, they gave us bamboo; now, fully recycled and recyclable glass handles that are sturdy, tough and make good use of sustainable materials.
The Multi Groomer: Philips 18-in-1 Multi Groomer
It’s all about being self-reliant for our hair cutting needs these days. Philips Multi Groomer has 18 different tools for the job: 2 stubble combs, 2 fade combs, 4 wide hair combs and 2 body combs with a body shaver attachment, precision shaver and detailed trimmers for nose and ear.
It has a 5 year guarantee and is 100% waterproof for wet use. You could probably do the dog at the same time.
The Beard Oil: Lumin Soothing Beard Oil
Wispy facial follicles? Lumin’s Soothing Beard Oil is designed to strengthen the hairs on your chin and prevent strand breakage to create thicker, healthier coverage. A natural blend of oils including argan and tea tree nourish the skin underneath.
The Beard Tamer: JOS Grooming Original Beard Tamer
Jos Gibson knows beards. Not only does he possess an impressive chin forest, but he has also spent his career training up the nation’s barbers at top London academy, Vidal Sassoon, whilst working for style titles like Fantastic Man and GQ Style, and creating looks for brands and designers like A.P.C, YMC, Sunspel and Fred Perry Japan.
Good for body and mind, the original beard tamer conditions dry, unruly hair using a blend of shea butter, nigella seed and Vitamin E. Frankincense, cedar, Japanese Hinoki Cypress, vetiver and thyme, give it a holistic, woody scent.
The Post Shave Soother: Kiehl’s Close Shavers Squadron Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief
The road back to being smooth of cheek needn’t be bumpy or painful with Kiehl’s Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief. This soothing treatment contains aloe vera and willow herb to neutralise the sting and lipo-hydroxy acid works to exfoliate around the roots to prevent ingrown hairs.
The Refillable Shave Soap: Bulldog Original Shave Soap
Cut down on plastic waste with Bulldog’s refillable shave soap. Made from bamboo wood, a fast replenishing resource, this smart-looking bowl houses the original shave soap which contains aloe vera, camelina oil and green tea.
The Easy Flosser: Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser
Whenever the biannual hygiene appointment rolls around, it’s often accompanied by a sense of dread. Time to face the dentist, like a school kid, who’s forgotten his flossing homework again. Flossing feels like a drag – but it needn’t be this way. A Waterpik device makes flossing gentle and effective using nothing but a fast jet of water to blast plaque away, leaving the teeth feeling extra clean and less plaque beneath the gum line.
The charge lasts for ages and you can expect top marks from your hygienist.
The Toothpaste: Horace Watermelon
Lockdown is all about finding ways to liven up the daily grind, so a watermelon flavoured toothpaste is just the ticket. Horace’s natural toothpaste contains iris and lime extract to brighten your pearly whites, anti-bacterial coconut extract to clean the mouth and silica to lift away tartar and plaque – all with the tropical tang of juicy watermelon.
The Hand Sanitiser: Gloved Moisture-Replenish Hand Sanitiser
Our hand care game was pretty weak pre-pandemic. Now, sanitiser is an essential part of the routine but we’ve often paid the price with rough, raw hands. This anti-bacterial, moisture replenishing, expertly scented (by Tom Daxon) cedar wood sanitiser will care for hands while keeping them squeaky clean.
It nourishes the skin with squalane and hyaluronic acid, and looks the business next to the basin.
The Body Wash: Heinrich Barth Nº.07 Mykonos Skin Softening Body Cleanser
Need a holiday? Heinrich Barth’s Nº.07 Mykonos will transport you to hotter, sunnier climes. This gentle body cleanser is inspired by the fig groves of the Aegean Islands and will leave skin feeling soft. Paraben, SLES and Peg free.
The Deodorant: Wild
The deodorant market has its fair share of overpowering teenage junk, rip-off designer offerings and free-from health store versions that sting like hell. So, how would a refillable, natural deodorant that actually works, looks really good and helps reduce your plastic footprint sound to you? Wild? No, really, it’s Wild: the subscription-based deodorant brand has broken the mould in sweat resistance with biodegradable refills sent straight to your door.
Served in a slick, metallic canister, you can customise the colour, slap your name on the front and switch up the scent whenever you like. You’ll never settle for dull, boring deo again.