I don’t write about grooming and hygiene products that often. This is not because I don’t use grooming and hygiene products, but because I’ve always been more of a “whatever is in the shower” kind of guy. Oh, I’ve tried this or that over the years — single-blade safety razors, shaving oils, even shaving soap — but I don’t usually go out in search of specialty products. When they come looking for me, however, I’m more than ready to take new stuff for a spin. A couple weeks back, I got an email from Mike Gilman, the founder of the Grooming Lounge. He was wondering if I would be interested in trying out any of the products, many of which are proprietary to the brand. I took at look at the website, read up on some of the offerings, and said sure, why not?
As a general rule, I don’t write about things I have not personally used, and if I try out a product that I don’t much care for, I don’t bother writing anything at all. (Unless the product in question is of such poor quality that it will be a public service to critique it, but that’s rare.) As you may have noticed, I’m writing about Grooming Lounge products. Because they are sublime. We’ll get to the specifics; first, some housekeeping.
Grooming Lounge has been in business for almost 20 years (the tagline “Delivering Handsomeness Since 1999” might help with the specifics there) and is primarily a mail-order service with a comprehensive catalog of high quality products designed for men. The company staffs a team of grooming experts, “so if you ever need a resource for men’s grooming advice or products,” they have you covered, according to Gilman. There are also two Grooming Lounge barbershops in the Washington, D.C. area, which I plan to visit on my next trip there.
Now, to the products themselves.
After letting my beard grow out for four days (purely for editorial legitimacy and not because I usually shave once or twice a week anyway), I started my shaving routine with the Beard Master Shave Oil, a “pre-shave whisker lifter” that “provides superior razor glide while helping to eliminate razor burn and rashes.” It also has a clove aroma that reminds me of Christmas.
With the oil rubbed in to my cheeks, chin, and around my philtrum, I applied a layer of the Anthony Shave Gel, a product that the Grooming Lounge stocks, but did not develop. It has a pleasant minty scent, creates a bit of tingle, and is almost disconcertingly thin once applied. Once I began shaving, I was pleased to find my razor moving smoothly over large swaths of my face without a single cut or pulled hair.
After shaving, I grabbed a bottle of The Shavior, a Grooming Lounge product designed as a “razor burn, bump, and ingrown hair remedy.” To be honest, I didn’t really have issues with any of those, but the brief bite and long soothe provided by this cream felt just right. Last, I slathered on a dollop of The Cool Fix, a “targeted gel lotion” by Shaveworks that is constructed to do the exact same thing as The Shavior. I probably didn’t need to use both, but what the hell, I did it anyway. And my face felt smooth, clean, and whisker-free.
Shaving, though, is but one part of a man’s personal hygiene and grooming routine. There’s also the other 92 percent of the body to consider. For the top part, meaning my hair, I used The Best Shampoo. Its manly peppermint scent and slight tingle were both welcome, and if it thickens and strengthens hair as purported, so much the better. Next came Grooming Lounge’s You Need Conditioner. Like it says on the website, this stuff “tingles like a mother,” which is unusual for a conditioner, but was pleasant and invigorating (if you can allow yourself to be invigorated by hair care).
While the You Need Conditioner worked its magic on my scalp, I lathered toes to chin with Our Best Smeller body wash. The scent is derived from peppercorns; it’s spicy, fresh, and masculine. While I also used the Mug Cleaner face wash — which is gentle, moisturizing, and non-scented — it was the Our Best Smeller that left the biggest impression.
In fact, after I got out of the shower and dried off, both my wife and son (who is a bit shy of four at the time of this article) commented on my pleasant odor. My wife has told me I smell good before, and my son has paid my scent a few compliments, but never before have both of them noted it within mere minutes of one another.
If that’s not praise from Caesar, I don’t know what is.