The 20th century was like the dark ages for men’s grooming products. Men were only exposed to the bare essentials like a shave soap, after shave, hair gel and a comb to get through the day. Some went the extra step and used Vaseline to complement their hair product or used it as a general healing tool for chapped lips and razor cuts. Any other male cosmetic products were basically unpopular.
The modern man has many products at his disposal. From exfoliating scrubs and SPF moisturisers, to concealers and anti-puff eye rollers, we can pamper ourselves as much as Patrick Bateman with minimal judgement from our brothers. With the enormous amount of new male cosmetics in the market today, some brands are differentiating themselves by reviving traditional grooming products you would only see your dad or your grandad use in his daily routine. This is a list of products that we believe are re-emerging or will soon make a comeback in many of our lives.
Pomades have come a long way since the traditional Brylcreem or Dapper Dan. These old school pomades were heavy on the petroleum jelly, beeswax and lard, making them a nightmare to work with and to wash out, usually sticking around for days. Nowadays, most pomades are water based, which are much more malleable and light. However, with the recent comeback of the ‘greaser’ style amongst men, with it came a re-emergence of oil pomades. Today’s oil based pomades have slightly changed though. Modern formulations have far less beeswax, which has been substituted for cutting edge ingredients such as C12-15 alkyl benzoate or bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2. These tongue twisting ingredients have made oil pomades a much more desirable product because they are now less greasy, are easily applicable and give a better hold.
Solid cologne stems from a very old tradition where cultures would burn scented waxes and use them for incense. Ancient Egyptians were then known to use solid ointments as unguents, and eventually as a perfume. The solid base is usually a mixture of beeswax and shea butter, while the fragrance is made from a complex combination of essential oils which smell amazing. The reason behind the renaissance of solid colognes is due to their subtlety and ease of transportation (usually because they are packaged in palm sized containers). Compared to alcohol spray colognes, solid colognes have a less offensive smell and last longer due to the heavy wax molecules. These wax molecules are also able to uniquely react to your skin temperature and chemistry throughout the day, and therefore the same solid cologne may smell slightly different on various people. Lastly, they are usually cheaper than spray colognes making them great value for money.
Traditional Shaving Kits
A traditional shaving kit includes a double edge safety razor, shave brush and shave soap. These three iconic products have been around for decades, but new technology in multi-blade razors, aerosol shaving creams and liquid shave soaps have paved a new way in modern shaving. However, traditional shaving tools still have their advantages and are slowly regaining ground on 21st century shave tools. There’s something fun and refreshing about mixing hot, steamy water and a shave soap together with a brush, lathering it up on your face and having a good old fashion clean shave. This whole process gives a mundane task more excitement and transforms shaving from a chore to a rewarding grooming experience. A double edge safety razor is able to cut hair along the skin at a very comfortable angle. Compared to a multi-blade razor, it doesn’t pull or tug the hairs which causes itch and irritation. The gaps between the blades in multi-blade razors can pull the stubble out of your skin which causes this sensation. A safety razor also gives you more control which is especially good news for those you want to clean up the edges of their beard. These are just some of the many reasons why men a slowly rewinding the clock and using traditional shaving kits.
Hair tonic is pretty much what it is – tonic for your hair. It makes your hair look healthier and thicker while rehydrating the scalp. Usually, hair tonics are packed full of active ingredients such as glycerine and vitamin B5, and natural oils such as coconut oil and argan oil. These ingredients have a high affinity for the hair and scalp which help strengthen hair proteins and reduce dandruff. They also coat the hair and protect it from the natural elements. The ease and convenience of hair tonic is starting to attract men, especially in a day and age where we hardly have any time to get ready in the morning. After combing some tonic through your hair, you’ll be channelling your inner James Dean.
Combs have not necessarily gone out of fashion, but not many men whip out a comb to restyle their hair like it’s the 1950s – that has definitely gone out of fashion. Full sized combs are hard to carry around these days, especially with your phone, wallet and keys occupying all of the space. So when you’re caught in the wind or someone rubs your hair, you’ve got nothing to comb it back down. However, with the pocket comb, you’ll never have to suffer the evils of messed up hair again. Its small size allows you to put it in your front pocket or your wallet. When you want a quick touch up, you can pull it out at the office or in the car and reshape that beautiful head of hair (or your beard) with ease.
What's more, with the moustache coming back into vogue, these combs are only going to become more popular. They are the perfect tache styling tool, capable of creating all kinds of styles in addition to simply helping to keep that top lip hair from getting into your mouth when you eat or drink.
The cyclical nature of fashion and cosmetic trends is bringing back these classic products. So get your hands on some before they go out again!
Other articles that might interest you: