Now that the brutal days of winter are over, it’s time to put your game face on. Luckily, there’s a whole new wave of men’s grooming brands out there that make your morning routine easy and even downright enjoyable. To help you comb through the options, I tried out dozens of products to find the best tools for your dopp kit. Of course, the first order of business is to get your hair in check. So head to your trusted barber for a good trim, then maintain with these products.
The shampoo: After years of wondering why my hair was always so dry and fluffy, I heard the story of how shampoo became popular: Hair bands in the seventies used it to dry out their hair so they could tease their locks into desired shapes. With its drying effects, shampoo is only necessary about once a week to get rid of build up. Using a more natural, sulfate-free version keeps everything nice and balanced. Barbershops all over the country use Portland General Store’s THICK ($25) on their clients for that reason. Try it. You’ll feel the difference.
The pomade: As a barber, pomades are my weapon of choice. While you should not fight your hair's natural disposition, the majority of men need a little something to give their hair weight, moisture, and a healthy sheen. One of my favorite brands is Imperial Barber Products. Made in the USA, their hand-crafted pomades help maintain your mop. For most hair types, a tiny bit of their FIBER POMADE ($22) will give you just the right amount of control.
The razor: I find so many guys these days wanting to take their morning shave to the next level. While most have the tendency to get overzealous and jump all the way to the straight razor, I advise taking smaller steps with a double-edge safety razor. Prospector Co. ($36) from Savannah, Georgia, makes some of the most beautiful and functional razors I’ve seen. With countless shave-at-home tutorials on YouTube, learning the skills for a better shave is easier than ever.
The shaving cream: Need a better shaving cream than the big-box stores have to offer? Don’t want to spend a fortune? You need less aerosol foam, less gel, and more of an actual light cream. Reach for Harry’s shave cream ($8)—affordable, quick shipping, and easy-to-use. It's a great smelling product that delivers a clean shave.
The beard tamer: Beards are in. Whether it be a full-on Santa beard, or a neatly trimmed five o’clock shadow, men are finding them easier to wear because of the plethora of quality natural products on the market. Newcomer Beardition out of Nashville offers a fantastic line of simple & straightforward shampoos, conditioners & beard oil, all specifically formulated to make your beard more comfortable & healthy. Try their Soft+Sweet Beard Oil ($18) to start.
The cologne: Hailing from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Fulton & Roark operates under the method of making the process of getting ready less complicated and more enjoyable. Check out their solid colognes. You just rub them on and smell great—no spilling, no leaking, no hassles. Pretty cool. Give the Hatteras ($42) scent—named for the Outer Banks island that inspired it—a go for spring/summer.
The face wash: Over the years, I’ve tried more than my fair share of men’s skin care. From the drugstore brand to top of the line scientifically formulated, small-batch, etc.—I’ve tested it. The best I’ve found is Ursa Major. The Face Wash/Tonic Combo Set ($48) make a noticeable difference in skin tone and clarity while providing a healthy glow with a killer fresh scent. Skin care is the area where you get what you pay for. Spend more, feel better.
Have any questions on men's grooming or style? Ask in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org and our men's style contributor might address it in a future post.