The silver lining to frozen gym memberships, deferred holidays and fewer entertainment options is that, if you’re lucky, you might be sitting on a bit more cash than usual. Investing in some of the world’s finer grooming products currently provides a bit of respite from the groundhog days we’ve been experiencing. And it’s a way get a personal boost without access to barbers, salons and spas.
Luxury is, by definition, not a necessity, but once you’ve tried steak, it’s hard returning to hamburger. The good news? Well, there’s filet mignon and châteaubriand in our choices, but also bavette – not all steaks will break the bank. There’s also an entry level to high-end grooming that’s more accessible.
So, prime your credit card for gold-flecked eye masks, electro current skin tools, gourmet toothpaste and designer hand sanitiser, or score a sought-after face cream before it sells out – the Ape to Gentleman edit of need-to-know luxury grooming brands is here. We call it self-care, and trust us, you’ve earned it.
Saunders & Long
Saunders & Long is an ultra-slick line of grooming products created by Nick Saunders and seasoned hair stylist Jonny Long, owner of Lockonego, London, in conjunction with former Kiehl’s bigwig Klaus Heidegger and Stephen Musumeci, former chief chemist at Kiehl’s and Bumble and Bumble.
With such an A-team, expect great things from the shampoos, conditioners, styling aids and skincare – they are absolutely bang on – and scented by master perfumer François Robert. This stuff smells so good, and works so well, we are completely hooked.
Oribe (pronounced “OR-bay”) invented the luxury haircare category when it launched in 2009. Before then, the haircare market was largely salon-only or mass brands in supermarkets and chemists. Founded by the late, legendary hair stylist, Oribe Canales, its dramatic black packaging means the collection looks as impressive as it smells.
High-performance formulas with high-quality ingredients, most products contain the signature blend of watermelon, lychee and edelweiss flower extracts. Firm favourites are the superlative styling aids: cult Dry Texturizing Spray can add grip to freshly washed hair, or sub for dry shampoo in-between washes, while the Rock Hard Gel is a soft paste that gives superior hold with a sleek sheen.
Superior skincare starts with superior research and there’s no-one more qualified than Professor Augustinus Bader. A leading stem cell and biomedical scientist and pioneer in regenerative medicine, Bader’s cult skin products contain patented technology originally developed by the man himself to treat burn victims.
Trigger Factor Complex 8 – or TFC8 – contains a complex of natural amino acids, vitamins and synthesised molecules that support cellular renewal for serious anti-ageing protection. The 15ml size of The Cream is a gateway drug to an expensive habit.
London-based perfumery Miller Harris, around for over two decades, is known for its modern approach to traditional scent. From the mainline, Feuille de Tabac is worthy of investigation, but new for now is the Private Collection: four unique scents produced in limited quantities, where the perfumer has been given free rein to use perfumery’s most sought-after essences.
Le Cèdre, Leather Rouge, La Feuille and La Fumée Alexandrie are served in simple, square, dark glass bottles with an engraved gold cap and gold name plate, exuding luxury. Le Cèdre uses Moroccan cedarwood from the Atlas Mountains, black and pink pepper, incense, Texas cedarwood, cashmere wood and musk with floral notes of rose, black orchid and mimosa, capturing exotic, spicy, wood smoke – it’s a welcome escape from the norm.
Created by renowned Harley Street plastic surgeon, Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, 111Skin is a name to know in world of pro skin care. At the top of the range, you can drop big money on the Lunar28 set, a potent 28-day skin-correcting system that retails for a cool £1,000. Thankfully, the sheet masks get real results for a fraction of the price. A sheet mask is a 20-minute weekly boost for the skin and mind – if you use the time to chill, instead of scroll.
The gold-flecked Rose Gold Illuminating eye mask is a targeted treatment that promises to brighten the under-eye zone, while the Sub-Zero mask is an energising kick for fatigued skin – just the ticket after a day of Zoom calls.
Like a HIIT workout for the face, FaceGym make tools to kick your saggy jowls, extra chins and baggy under eyes into shape, using electric pulses and old-fashioned elbow grease. The FaceGym Pro by Xtreem Pulse is a handheld device that uses advanced triple wave micro currents to stimulate flagging muscles to lift, tone and tighten – way beyond the powers of your average face cream.
If that blows the budget, there are more affordable options like the Face Ball. Alternatively, for £10 you can join an online Power Lift workout and learn how to prime, pinch and pull your skin into shape like a pro.
With ultra-exclusive destinations and unparalleled service, there’s a good reason that the luxurious Āman resorts have a tribe of ‘Amanjunkies’ – faithful fans who are happy to shell out over £1,000 for a single night’s stay.
Can’t leave your post code? You don’t have to go anywhere to indulge in an Āman style holistic spa ritual. Elevate your humble bath soak into a world-class hammam; mist the air with a few spritzes of Zuac, light a sandal wood candle, slather yourself in the clay mask and sink into a hot, salted tub.
The French have always excelled at luxury skin care, and EISENBERG Paris is no exception. The Homme collection is a tight edit of essentials that contain a patented Trio-Molecular® Formula – a result of 13 years of scientific research by José Eisenberg which repairs the skin cells to prevent and correct ageing.
It’s no-nonsense, high-tech skincare.
We tend to think of Zenatti as the Bugatti of hand hygiene. In a first of its kind, Zenatti has combined haute perfumery with 99.999% protection against bacteria and viruses in a premium hand cleanser. The unique formula contains 70% organic, plant-derived alcohol with organic argan, tamanu and kukui oils to replenish the skin and an exceptional fragrance by perfumer Tristan Badard, of Quintessence (under François Robert).
Now, trust us when we say you’re going to want to take a bath in the stuff. The scent, Jardin Aux Herbes, is a brilliantly fresh combination of bergamot, mandarin, rosemary, thyme, lavender, petitgrain, lemon, grapefruit, patchouli and lemongrass that will give your best summer cologne a run for its money. Housed in a refillable, slim line, matt black aluminium dispenser with a faux leather sleeve for on-the-go hand protection, it will blend in nicely with your designer wallet too. After trying Zenatti, Carex just won’t cut it.
Why spend your life brushing with the same, humdrum toothpaste, when there’s a world of exotic flavour to explore? Lebon is a French oral care company that specialise in gourmet toothpaste made with high-quality, organic ingredients that are composed and formulated in Grasse, the home of perfume.
Vegan, cruelty and paraben-free, the toothpastes sound like expensive cocktails or desserts: Back To Pampelonne, a tropical mango; Le White, a whitening combination of sweet moroccan mint, green tea and papaya extract; and Fearless Freedom, an intense blackcurrant. The gift sets make for an alternative tasting menu.