August 19 is National Men’s Grooming Day. We know, we know, you’ve had it circled on your calendar for months and have a slew of different moisturizing-themed celebrations already planned. But just in case you, you know, had a life and weren’t aware of National Men’s Grooming Day, it is a totally made-up holiday that falls on the third Friday of August each year. This year, it is sandwiched between other bullshit holidays like Mail Order Catalog Day on August 18 and Chocolate Pecan Pie Day on the 20th. (Actually that one is legit. Have you ever had chocolate pecan pie? It is delicious.)
As artificial as Men’s Grooming Day is, its purpose isn’t all bad. Most guys could use a little refresher course on the benefits of good grooming habits. Picking up whatever you find while you’re buying groceries may be the path of the least resistance, but it rarely is what’s best for your skin or hair. At the same time, an effective grooming routine doesn’t have to be some 47-step plan, complete with appendices, that has you applying layers and layers of products. Leave that to complicated agenda to your significant other so you can preserve the moral high ground in arguments about running late, because at least you weren’t the one who spent two hours in the bathroom getting ready.
Today, establishing a solid grooming routine for a guy comes down to making some smarter choices about the products you use, and coming to terms with the fact that they may not all be for sale at your corner bodega. These nine new products will help the long-term health of your hair and skin, improve your appearance—and, not to be overlooked, they also smell nice.
1. MAVERICKS SHAVE
Like many startups, Mavericks grew out of an idea one of its founders had at MIT and then developed in Silicon Valley. But instead of a new Facebook, Mavericks is focused on just your face. Its new shaving product is focused less on providing lubrication for the razor and more on the skin that lies beneath your facial hair. It softens the hair follicles making them easier to cut and moisturizes the skin, eliminating the need for an aftershave.
2. BYRD SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
Byrd has slowly evolved its line of grooming products from surf-inspired pomades into body washes and now shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo and conditioner are designed for guys who spend a lot of time outdoors, where their hair can take a beating in the salt water and sand. Both products feature a mixture of sea kelp, green tea, and aloe vera to clean and strengthen the hair, leaving it with a full and bright look.
3. BEARDBRAND TEA TREE SOLID COLOGNE
Cologne is one of those things that you hate to travel with because of the danger of the bottle breaking. But you always wish you had some when you arrive at your destination. Solid cologne eases the worry you have with spray colognes. Beardbrand’s new tea tree solid cologne comes in a half-ounce container that’s easy to throw into a dopp kit and has a bracing peppermint and vanilla scent that will make you feel refreshed and smelling sharp throughout the day.
4. MARLEY NATURAL HEMP SEED BODY LOTION
Instead of being some kind of cheap licensing play looking to capitalize on the name of the reggae legend, Marley Natural is run by Bob’s children and is committed to creating body care products that are paraben and sulfate free. All of the items, including this body lotion, contain hemp seed oil, which won’t get you high but will leave your skin feeling smooth.
5. L'OREAL MEN EXPERT EXTREME CLEANSER
When you first squeeze this out of the tube, it’s a little off-putting because of the cleanser’s black color. But once you scrub it in your face and rinse it off, you instantly notice the difference in how much cleaner your skin feels.
6. LAB SERIES MAX LS WATER LOTION
You don’t have to worry about your moisturizer being too goopy with this. Lab Series’ Water Lotion feels like just that, water. Even though it’s so light you hardly know it’s there, the moisturizer does plenty of work. It removes dead skin cells and leaves your face feeling incredibly refreshed.
7. JUNIPER RIDGE BIG SUR TRAIL SOAP
Anyone who went to sleepaway camp will remember Dr. Bronner’s soap. Juniper Ridge’s Big Sur Trail Soap has a similar vibe but is more elevated. Utilizing wild sage harvested from the Central California coast, the concentrated liquid soap is petrochemical free and has a brisk scent that will make you feel like you’re on an epic nature hike without having to do all that walking.
8. IMPERIAL FIBER POMADE
For guys who want their hair to look pulled together without it feeling like an immovable object, Imperial’s Fiber Pomade offers a medium hold and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. It is also re-stylable so if you put it in your hair in the morning and then throw on a hat or a bike helmet to get to work, it’s easy to quickly put your look back together.
9. HARRY’S TRUMAN RAZOR
Harry’s was already one of the best online grooming brands, but the company figured out a way to innovate on its successful razor blades and handles. The new blade cartridges are more flexible and feature a precision trimmer that makes shaving sideburns more exact. The handle on the Truman was redesigned to make it more grippy even when it (or your hand) is wet. Perhaps the best part of the upgrade is that it comes at no additional cost.