Grooming Boxes – specially curated sets of grooming products that give a chance to sample brands at a discount price – are, at the best of times, somewhat hit and miss. Trust Mr Porter to come up with probably the best one that’s appeared though. It’s luxurious Grooming Kit features a raft of full-sized and sample-sized products including brands like Escentric Molecules, Penhaligon’s, REN, Perricone MD and some of my personal favorites like Czech & Speake and Malin + Goetz. Beautifully edited and costing £50 it’s also that rarest of things – a true bargain (the Escentric Molecules Body Wash and Bamford Grooming Department’s Exfoliating Face Wash alone cost more than that). Which may explain why the kit sold out within a week of its launch at the end of October. I am reliably informed, however, that new stock will be available next week so keep an eye out for it here!
Despite being founded in 1870 British perfumer Penhaligon’s are a brand that’s always on the move – literally, as the opening of their New York store proves and creatively, as evidenced by their recent partnership with BA – but their latest project sees them returning to their roots to certain extent. Not only does their dazzling new store in London’s Canary Wharf look the biz (thanks to architects Al-Jawad Pike) it also features Penhaligon’s first in-house barbers since their very first Jermyn Street store opened all those years ago. Result? A quick lunchtime visit and you’ll look just as good as you smell. Recommended.
It’s strange, but criticising Movember now seems to be a national sport in my industry. Every year at least one of my colleagues breaks ranks and has a pop at the fact that Movember has become too commercialised, has too many official partners, or that success has ruined it and that – like an indie band who come up with a multi-platinum album – it has somehow ‘sold out’. Others complain it has become a joke (wasn’t it always meant to be fun?) whilst some funsters suggest that it would simply be better to forgo the whole moustache growing part and just hand over some money charity.
It is, of course, easy to criticise a cause for not being perfect. It makes good copy and it has the allure of being controversial. It’s also fantastically mean-spittited and rather symptomatic of an industry that sees anything to do with women’s charities as worthy of praise and anything to do with men’s as either daft or cynical.
The male grooming industry has a quite pitiful record when it comes to giving anything back to the men who buy its products. Come to think of it men have a pretty pitiful track record when it comes to giving anything back to men. And this is why I’m an ardent defender of Movember. Sure, it’s not perfect – and there are brands that rub up against it for a little of its feel-good sparkle – but at the end of the day it’s one time of year when men actually get of their sorry asses and do something that helps other men. For this alone it should be celebrated rather than knocked.
So what if companies like Penhaligons, Gillette* and Kent get on board with their products? Who cares if Byron are getting bums on seats with their (rather tasty) Mo’Shroom burgers? Yes, they’re getting publicity. They may be even making a profit for themselves whilst raising funds for others (to be shocked by this is to not fully understand the mechanics of modern charity) but, hey, they’re supporting a great cause and their contribution generates a huge amount of press and publicity – and we all know that charities rely on the oxygen of publicity. On a more basic level, for me, our industry is proactively helping men, in a way that the beauty industry has been helping women for years. Whether the companies involved are doing it selflessly or selfishly, who cares? They’re doing it.
The cynicism about Movember comes into sharpest focus when compared with the industry’s attitude to Breast Cancer Awareness. Whilst sitting in the lobby of Estee Lauder’s London HQ a few weeks ago I was struck, not just by the effort that they go to in supporting that particular cause (even re-painting their front doors pink) but by their “We’re stronger together” call to arms. One of the beauty industry’s real successes is how it has united to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities (and by industry I mean cosmetic houses, beauty journalists, magazines etc working together to shine a light on the cause). Certainly, my industry could take a leaf out of the beauty world’s book and get behind men’s charities but it won’t if, every time it tries, scorn is instantly poured over its efforts. Just as women are ‘stronger together’ when united to combat cancer so are men. But we’re also weaker when we’re torn apart.
For more information on Movember click here.
*Last year Gillette donated over £100,000 to Movember via on pack promotions.
A Moustache is a beautiful thing, especially if you’re growing one for charity as part of this year’s Movember, but they do need a little TLC if they’re to look their best. Which is where these three useful pieces of grooming kit come in…
Kent Movember Moustache Comb, £4.50 from kentbrushes.com
With £2 from every sale going directly to Movember this dinky comb is the perfect way to keep your ‘tache neat and tidy and free of food. It makes trimming easier too. But apart from all that combing a moustache is fun and therapeutic. Fact.
Penhaligons Moustache Wax, £5 from penhaligons.com
Lightly scented with Penhaligon’s Satorial fragrance this moustache wax is the perfect way to keep your Mo looking and smelling great and is great for creating definition and taming unruly hairs. What’s more, Penhaligons will give £2 to Movember for each one you buy.
A razor and a facial hair trimmer combined this cool tool is great for mo maintenance and features three detachable combs to help you trim hair to just the right length and a precision edging blade to ensure your ‘tache always looks tip top.
For more information about Movember click here.
Joining Movember’s charity initiative to raise vital money for awareness into prostate cancer? Then why not treat yourself to a complementary ‘tache trim, courtesy of Penhaligon’s Pop-Up Barbershop at their flagship boutique store in Covent Garden?
Available throughout November (sorry Movember) you can simply pop into the Covent Garden boutique in Wellington St (availability permitting), ring for an appointment on 0203 040 6120 or book online here. Throughout November Penhaligons will also be donating a whopping 20% from sales of their shaving products to the cause too.
Remember fellas, a tidy ‘tache is a tip-top ‘tache!
For more information about Movember and for details how you can get involved click here.
Come on, who wouldn’t want to wear a fragrance called Juniper Sling?
For more information check out the Penhalagon’s site, here.