IN THE PRESS - The Evening Standard


Taming the wilderbeast: grooming for modern men by Samuel Fishwick. 

For a peek into the state of masculinity, the grooming cabinet is always a handy yardstick.

Right now, though, that mirror is travel-sized, as outdoorsy, explorer-inspired products sweep the shelves.

“Underneath it all there is a common thread — nature and curiosity,” says de Rothschild. “What I’m trying to say is, let’s just do things better, let’s try to be better.”

This is part of a wider trend. The dominant David of the decade is usually a good measure of the man, or how he wants to be seen — men’s grooming, like politics, exists downwind of culture. De Rothschild is, therefore, the new man, supplanting the more metrosexual David Gandy and Beckham.  

But why the shift? “Everyone’s trying to get back out to the wilderness, and often that starts at the sink,” says Steve Banks, co-founder of Beast, a men’s grooming shop in Covent Garden. “People spend a lot of time in front of their computers.”

According to Banks, customers say changing attitudes to both packaging and product are driving this primal scene. “People are more conscious about what they’re eating, what they’re putting on their skin, and what happens to the packaging after they’re done with it. It’s the same as in fashion — men are less throwaway, they consume less. Our customers will buy salvaged denim jeans that last a long time. Women, speaking generally, are more acclimatised to fast fashion. Men are brand-loyal, they like the sustainability, and durability.”  

Banks also points to a shift in preferences from established grooming giants to so-called “people’s products”, smaller local labels that can’t bulk-buy pharmaceuticals, and so rely on organic ingredients.

“It’s like craft brewery. People who are starting their own range in their kitchen or spare room rely on natural ingredients, which are more readily available. The brands doing well are those using ingredients people know.”      

Proverb’s skinline, stocked at Beast, is chemical-free and includes a Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud, £30

Proverb Cleanse and Shave Nutrient Mud, £30

“We’re at a tipping point with skincare, as we are with meat in the supermarket,” says Banks. “Price points being even, you’ll always go for the organic meat rather than the processed one.”

Authenticity is key for the men’s market, he says. “Guys now are a little more intelligent and savvy about this stuff than they were in the Noughties, because the younger generation in particular is more comfortable with using self-care products. It comes naturally, it’s less artificial. And the product mirrors that. Your outdoors types — for them this is about life, not just lifestyle. It’s got to feel real.”

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