Grooming Guru: Chris Salgardo of Kiehl’s Since 1851

Chris Salgardo-MANMADE-2

After 15 years of heading up Kiehl’s Since 1851, Chris Salgardo has fielded his fair share of grooming queries from friends and strangers alike who assumed rightly that he learned something from his job. After giving his knowledge away gratis for all that time, Salgardo decided to commit his invaluable advice to a book, MANMADE: The Essential Skincare & Grooming Reference for Every Man, so guys who didn’t happen upon him on the street could still benefit from what he had to say. So who better to spill on grooming rules you can use, regimen every man needs, and famous dudes who get it right.

What was your personal introduction to grooming?


It was a long time ago. I was in my teens and my mother was trying to get my acne under control and we were looking for a lot of over-the-counter stuff at the drugstore. Anything to get my skin under control. And it was interesting because a lot of the same issues I was having then are still prevalent today. So it was really early on that I started thinking about grooming.

Were you aware at the time that this was grooming?

Yeah, big time. My mother was someone who always had a great style and does have a great style and my father was a highway patrolman, a guy’s guy, but loved to look good. So I was probably reading GQ when I was 12-, 13-years old. It was more fashion-y, rather than about grooming. But the hair looked good, the brows looked good, so I wanted to look good, too.

What are your top rules of grooming?

First of all, I would say whether you have facial hair or not, make sure you know what you are growing on your face. Because whether it’s long side burns, moustache, goatee, it all needs maintenance. The hair on your head; the hair on your face, you need to care for it equally. Then, cleansing is something that men just don’t think about it. They’re shaving but still using Dial soap or whatever is in the bathroom and wondering why their face is so dry. Well, it’s because they’re using soap. So proper cleansing is important. Shaving is critical. Find a shaving product that is right for you. Moisturizer is vital. Invest in a good grooming product for your hair, whether that’s gel or pomade. It will just help keep everything looking really neat.

What are the basics every guy should have in his dopp kit?

These days you can find a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cleanser, something you can use to wash you hair, your face, and body and even sometimes shave with it. That’s something to always have in your bag. I believe in sunscreen. That’s my mantra. A moisturizer with sunscreen is very important. And if you are shaving, you should have a good shaving cream. If you have those three things, you’re covered. I’m an eye cream fanatic. That’s something that I’ll always have.

What’s one thing most guys don’t do that they should?

Moisturizing. They forget, they get lazy, they don’t think they need it and they wonder why they’re getting all these fine lines. It’s very simple. Think about your dashboard and what would happen if it just sat in the sun and you never Armor All’d it. Your face is the same situation.

Do you think guys are better educated on sun protection?

I think they’re educated but I don’t think they want to do it. Because everyone still wants this glow. There is this period from 12 to 3 when the sun is at its harshest so you want to avoid that if you can. Stay under the umbrella, reapply SPF because every time you look down, and see that tan, that’s sun damage. So it’s like they know, but they’re still not acting on it. Then it’s about reapplying. Also, it takes 20 minutes to start working so you can’t go running outside immediately after applying it.

Who are your grooming icons?


David Beckham. He is someone who always keeps his skin looking great. His hair is always groomed. He trims his beard really well. He keeps it together in a really polished way. I also have to say Ben Stiller. Ben has really great skin, even when he’s not doing his Zoolander thing. And lastly, George Clooney. The guy always looks great.