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How To Up Your Grooming Game

Look (and smell) like a hero – the MR PORTER team select the 21 products you need to update your daily routine

When it comes to clothes, men have a tendency to be extremely picky. We stay loyal to a select few brands we consider to be objectively “good”, and, on the whole, remain within the parameters of a relatively limited colour palette. Our relationship with grooming products, however, tends to be slightly more carefree. We give new things a go all the time. And we often form random attachments to certain products based on habit and ease. That fragrance you consistently wear because your mother-in-law buys it for you for Christmas? It smells of citrus Febreze.

One ought to remember that clothes can only do so much to your appearance. They can only improve what is already there. The right moisturiser, however, can enliven a tired, grey face, and a good hair product could help stem that ever-receding hairline. So maybe it’s worth investing a little bit more when it comes to the items that sit in your bathroom cabinet.

Below, we have selected our own personal favourite grooming products, and discussed why we like them. From Aēsop to Tom Ford Beauty – here are 21 lotions and potions that actually work. Trust us.

01.
Richard James Savile Row Eau De Toilette

When this Richard James fragrance first came out, Mr James gave me a bottle to try and I immediately fell in love with the crisp, fresh, slightly sporty smell. I’ve had a bottle on my bathroom shelf ever since.

02.
Baxter Of California Invigorating Body Wash – Bergamot/Pear 

I try to exercise quite a lot and after a good workout I like a strong shower gel that leaves a good scent on the body. This Baxter Of California one does just that. 

03.
Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Lotion SPF15 

After I exercise, I can continue to sweat for a while and a heavy facial moisturiser is really uncomfortable. I like a lighter one that allows the skin to keep breathing.

01.
Pankhurst London Head To Toe Shampoo

Multipurpose products that work overtime are essential to my grooming routine. They streamline the process, and save room in my washbag. Pankhurst London’s Head To Toe Shampoo, for example, doubles up as a body cleanser and a shampoo. What’s more, the rum and lime fragrance will leave you feeling fresh.

02.
Perricone MD SPF30 Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint 

This works in three ways: signs of ageing are reduced, thanks to the hydrating nutrient-rich formula; the skin is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays with an SPF30; and it provides a natural tint that develops over time.

03.
Tom Ford Beauty Neroli Portofino Eau De Parfum

In my book, Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino is the only cologne a man needs. It has a fragrance that is fresh enough to take you through a working day, while offering a rich scent that works on an evening out.

01.
Aēsop Classic Shampoo
One of the most common questions I am asked about my beard is how I take care of it. My usual answer is a smug, “I don’t do anything. It naturally looks good.” Well, that’s a lie. First, just like my hair, I shampoo my beard regularly.

02.
Tom Ford Beauty Tobacco Vanille Conditioning Beard Oil 

After I’ve patted it dry with a soft towel, I usually apply a beard conditioner such as Tom Ford’s Vanille Conditioning Beard Oil. Rich in vitamin E, almond oil and jojoba, it will soften your hair.

03.
Tom Ford Beauty Tortoiseshell Beard Comb

Last, you should comb it. For everyday upkeep, I use Tom Ford’s wide-tooth Tortoiseshell Beard Comb – plus I keep a D R Harris Boar Bristle Brush in my gym bag for quick touch-ups.

01.
Patricks M2 Matte Finish Medium Hold Pomade

Six years ago when I lived in Sydney, I used to have my hair cut at a place in Bondi Junction called Patricks. This is from the owner’s own line. The formula has hair-retention properties for those who are thinning on top. And on a packed commuter train a while back, a random person asked me what hair product I used because it smelt so good.
 
02.
Dr Sebagh Supreme Eye Serum

Tired of being told you look tired? Too much coffee, alcohol and late-night carousing take their toll. This roll-on eye serum from Dr Sebagh helps reduce tell-tale dark circles and puffiness.

03.
Byredo Mister Marvelous Eau De Parfum – Neroli, Green Lavender

I’m often on a plane, so I have a transparent washbag of sub-100ml products pre-packed and ready to go at all times. This 50ml Byredo Mister Marvelous fragrance is always in it and I associate its cedarwood scent with travel.

01.
Aēsop Deodorant Spray

Until Aēsop came along, I felt I had to choose between a deodorant that blocked the pores with chemicals, or a “green” one that didn’t work at all. This one, however, is as skin-friendly as any “green” deodorant, while still doing the job asked of it.

02.
Aēsop Mouthwash

This represents a reimagining of what mouthwash can be. Aēsop’s version bears scant resemblance to normal mouthwashes, which leave the mouth scalded with alcohol and industrially produced “mint” flavours. Instead, this relies on herbal ingredients and aromas to sweeten the breath.

03.
Pankhurst London Leave-In Styling Conditioner

I’ve never really understood hair wax because it makes no sense to wash one’s hair and then immediately clog it with sticky “product”. Luckily, Mr Brent Pankhurst, one of London’s best barbers, has the answer in the form of this light styling cream.

01.
Blind Barber 90 Proof Pomade

This is one of the only pomades that I can trust to hold my thick hair in place from morning until night. The guys over at Blind Barber won’t give away what makes this stuff smell so good, but ever since I caught a whiff of it in their East Village shop, I’ve been a devoted user.

02.
Byredo Sunday Cologne Eau De Parfum – Vetiver Bergamot

The name alone draws my old soul in. Every time I see the bottle on my dresser, it makes me think about sitting around reading the newspaper on a Sunday, listening to jazz and drinking coffee. I always go for fragrances with vetiver, so this has become my everyday scent.

03.
Dr Sebagh Serum Repair

It’s never too early to start using anti-ageing products. Dr Sebagh is reliable, effective and the perfect choice post-shave.

01.
Clinique For Men Charcoal Face Wash

I’m a little bit agnostic when it comes to grooming products – let’s be honest, half the fun is trying new stuff all the time. But there are a few things I always have in the cupboard. Clinique Charcoal Face Wash not only has the slightly rock ’n’ roll benefit of being tarry black in colour, it has a very nice toning effect on the skin, leaving it smooth and matt without drying it out too much.

02.
Lavett & Chin Sea Salt Texturising Mist


This salt spray is essential if you do any exercise before work in the morning, and want to hide the resulting fluffy, newly washed hair from your colleagues.

03.
Dr Jackson’s 02 Night Skin Cream 


A good night cream, meanwhile, like this one from Dr Jackson’s, is the perfect way for a lazy person like me to get maximum results with minimum effort. Waking up after eight solid hours of sleep with this slathered on your face is a revelation – suddenly, you no longer look like a corpse at 7.00am. What’s up with that?