Barry Alford, co-founder of cult US grooming brand Alford & Hoff isn’t just someone who’s clearly managed to avoid the ugly stick, he’s also a man who could teach our jaded politicians a thing or two about conviction. His enthusiasm for the Alford & Hoff luxury skincare brand is truly infectious, though as an ex-athlete there is no way you’d want to argue with him anyway. A big guy physically, he has equally big ambitions for the brand and so I was thrilled to eek out a few insights from him for this week’s insider interview…
GG: What’s men’s biggest mistake when it comes to grooming?
BA: Education. Typically, most men only understand the basics. Washing your face and shaving alone is not enough to fight off the harsh affects of the environment and ultimately aging. Showing signs of aging is becoming a major concern among business professionals in any field as they are realizing that they need every little tool to compete and that includes looking your best. Men must incorporate a healthy, daily grooming regimen into their busy schedules and stay consistent with it. They need to learn more than the basics. Men must understand how to “treat” their skin. This includes learning how to exfoliate and when. Also, what nutrients are good for the skin and why. What products work well together etc.
What are your all-time favourite fragrances?
BA: I have three. 1. Creed – Millesime Imperial. Beautiful fragrance from the opening thru the bottom notes. Puts me in a good mood.. 2. Gaultier’s Le Male – very interesting for its time. First fragrance to introduce oriental spices with vanilla infusions. 3. Tom Ford – fragrances from the pachuli collection and black orchid. Tom Ford takes chances in his fragrances and are his personality. I like his taste.
Biggest change in male grooming in the last five years?
BA: The biggest change in male grooming is that the word “metrosexual” has finally gone away. Men do not need a term to take care of themselves. I think male grooming is out in the open and it is accepted that men take care of their skin. Many big companies have since developed products specifically for men and are starting to engineer the products products to specifically have anti-aging benefits. Now the education must start because the customer is now there that wasn’t there before.
Desert island grooming product?
Probably a nutrient-packed super charged serum with a nice fragrance and finished off with a light SPF. This way I could get a lot in one. A serum that could hydrate the skin…serve as an eye treatment…protect the skin and have a nice scent but not too strong. Is this possible!?
GG: Next big thing in male grooming?
BA: I think eventually everything that is offered in women’s beauty products will also be offered in the men’s category as well. Self tanners…make-up lines, high tech skin treatment…As a result we will probably see the shelf space in department stores and perfumeries consist of more men’s lines with a broader offering. We are already starting to see the shift now…
How influential is the internet when it comes to male grooming?
The internet is huge for men’s grooming. One thing we won’t change about most men is that they do not like to shop. The internet offers a great tool for men to educate themselves and buy product in the comfort of their own home. The “macho” man who uses products but too proud to admit is a big advocate of this tool. Some men do not like to go into the store and ask question about grooming? The internet is a great source to learn, read blogs about the latest grooming trends, purchase products etc.
Alford & Hoff is exclusively available at Space NK. The Grooming Guru’s favourite product from the range is Microdermabrasion
Oh, and look out for their own – rather fine – signature fragrance later in the year.