Archive for the ‘Grooming’ Category

Smooth Operator

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Much of what winds up in my medicine cabinet earns its spot on the shelf due either to its pretty packaging, or being paraben-free, or being decidedly cheap or, alternately, indulgently spendy.

My Proraso shaving cream is none of the above, per se but I wouldn’t dare shave without it. (And haven’t, for the past five years.)


When it comes to other toiletries, toothpastes and hair gunk, bar soaps or spray cologne, staying Brand Loyal for too long inevitably becomes boring – the once invigorating flavors or scents that were once so attractive fade over time into numbing nothingness.

But shaving is serious, manly business!

(Even) I can’t care if my shaving cream is a bargain, or Boysenberry Jojoba-scented, or crammed in a cool Helvetica-decorated can if my neck’s gonna end up bumped and bloodied after use.

The thick, oily paste of Proraso tingles with eucalyptus and smooths the face into a slick, slippery surface that renders the razor a tool rather than a weapon. It’s men’s grooming magic and I’m a customer for life.

Originally I found it at Target for 5 bucks a box, now I usually track it down at Bath & Body Works for twice as much in a C.O. Bigelow-branded version. Wherever you can find it, you’ll be doing your face a favor.

Color Story

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

On white and off-white. Alright?


by Canoe 2




Case Closed

Monday, August 10th, 2009

There’s a year-old shop in town called Martin Patrick 3 that stocks men’s personal and home accessories with a great-grandfatherly twist. It’s where the walking cane I requested for Christmas came from.

On a recent visit to the shop I noticed a bowl of lovely little coin pouches (not pictured) in oblong pucks of brown tanned leather. They were hard though, like a Vuitton travel case, and their sturdy flying-saucer shape and structure was really intriguing.


I stopped back a month later to pick one up and they were still lovely, but somehow, less so. So I went for a less revolutionary business-card case in navy blue instead. (But am gonna collect coins not cards in it nonetheless.)


The slimmer profile and blue color would better fit and contrast inside and within my tan briefcase, and it struck me overall as a bit more Billykirk-y.


As seen in the first photo, I also picked up two more bars of imported Italian soaps. They’re great for scenting my t-shirt shelves before I break open the boxes for actual use in the bathtub.

Nostalgia Has A Scent

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Question – do I write too constantly about cologne?

To be fair, I wear it every day and I do feel it helps transport me to other places and times. Sometimes I don’t even have to spray it on, I can just glance at the bottle on my bathroom shelf and pretend I’m someone richer, slicker, or grittier.

In the shadows of an image on All Plaidout I came across a bottle of Nostalgia by Santa Maria Novella. I’ve been wearing the house’s Colona Russa (Russian Cologne) the past few summers since something in its mix literally chills and tickles my skin with every spritz. It’s like running through a shivery sprinkler before having to get dressed on hot humid mornings.


Nostalgia sounds like the ideal, atypical scent to sport in the cooler months when Colona Russa proves icily abusive to wear.

“Nostalgia is the scent of a vintage racing car. It brings to mind the small of benzene, tires and leather for a truly unique and individual eau de cologne,” the LAFCONY website states.

Something that tough and turbine sounds perfect come fall.

Royal Crown

Monday, June 8th, 2009

My best mate when I was 12 was much cooler than I. He always knew what Vuarnet and Elf Quest and The Beastie Boys were before I ever did. When it came to having cool skater-boy-ish hair, he said the secret was Royal Crown – a product I’d never heard of and then spent at least two years looking for feverishly in every big-box store and drugstore my mom and I could think of.


Eventually I found a tin of the infamous goop at a trapped-in-time Five & Dime in Northern Minnesota during a weekend trip to the family cabin. No matter how much of the stuff I used, my hair was never as cool as my mate’s.

For two bucks and some change, I bought a fresh tub last Friday at my local Walgreen’s. I know now, only because of Facebook, that my childhood mate no longer has much hair to speak of. So it’s finally my turn to have the cool hair now, and to tell the many guys who (secretly) idolize me that the secret trick is a tin of Royal Crown.


Monday, June 1st, 2009

The languid luxury of the Byredo line of scents has intrigued me for some time now. Earlier this winter I was eagerly awaiting the release of their Fantastic Man scent, created in collaboration with the mischievous magazine. Life got in the way, though – but I’m glad it did, because I’ve changed my mind.

The bottle of Byredo I want most now is the new Bal d’Afrique.


“A warm and romantic vetiver inspired by Paris in the late 20’s and its infatuation with African culture, art, music and dance. A mix of the Parisian avantgardism and African culture shaped a unique and vibrant expression. The intense life, the excess and euphoria is illustrated by Bal d’Afrique’s neroli, African marigold and Moroccan cedarwood.”

Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, African marigold, Bucchu
Mid: Violet, Jasmin petals, Cyclamen
Base: Black Amber, Musk, Vetiver, Moroccan cedarwood

As the days grow brighter and more blazing, the forbidden sizzle and scandal of Africa by way of Paris seems like the better tonic with which to tickle my sweating skin during the coming summer months.

My beautiful bottle will transform me into the most exotic little Caucasian on my block, I’ve promised myself.

On Dads’ Dressers Everywhere…

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I finally mustered up enough courage for a moustache, then stocked up on short shorts galore. I now appear, half the time, like some ordinary Dad in Detroit during Reagan’s heyday. (Finally!) To fully inhabit the role though, I’m thinking I’ll need to douse my Dad skin in a dull and un-daring drugstore scent. 


Tabac Original Cologne turns 50 this year. Right down to its dated, disco-era packaging, it’s just the fiery, faux-riche splash an ol’ Detroit Dad would’ve reached for. I gotta be reaching now too.


Right Down The Middle

Friday, May 1st, 2009

This is the second moustache I’ve admired now that seems to be naked in the middle dip above the lip. It adds a groovy gigolo-like gusto but I’m wondering…

Do men shave their moustaches to get that effect or are they naturally bare right there?


(Confession: I just tried carving myself out a bare bit above my lip and it did NOT go well. OM total G. )

Upper Lips

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

It’s been four weeks now, and I’ve resisted shaving my first semi-successful moustache. It’s grown in enough now that I’ve had to figure out how exactly to groom and shape it. There’s so many options, I’m realizing, it might take a while to find the right role model that actually works for me and my funny face.


I’m ruling out the mannered moustache of the fellow pictured above, but I might pay homage to his tattoo, braces, and pipe at some later date.

Fragrance Counter

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Jake Davis just asked his readers for some of their favorite scents, in his mission to find himself a new cologne. This reminded me of an entry I’ve been meaning to post in the Treasury at some point – so I might as well set that point for right about now.

The gift shop of my hotel during a trip to New York 3 years ago offered Comme Des Garcons’s 2 cologne. It smelled golden and bold and tickled my nose. I made it mine.

The 2 cologne proves I like my scents on the coy or quirky side, so I was intrigued last fall by Monocle Magazine’s launch of their Hinoki scent collaboration with Comme Des Garcons. I felt CDG’s scents and I were a perfect, plucky match, but wasn’t sure Hinoki should definitely be my second CDG scent. Especially considering I’d never sampled it.

Luckily for me I somehow came upon where you are able to order most of their hundreds and hundreds of scents in two or three dollar trial size vials! I ordered six vials of different Comme Des Garcons fragrances and then turned my mission into a March Madness-like battle. Every morning, on each arm I’d dab a different scent, and then scribble down simple notes for each scent a half an hour later.

“Reminds me of Christmas” or “Smells like pickle juice” for instance.

Each day’s fragrance winner went head to head with the next day’s winner until, alas, the Monocle Hinoki entrant proved to be the ultimate winner, after all.

So if you’re interested in sampling scents slowly over time  in order to identify the right one for you (versus making split-second decisions in a mobbed mall), or if you’re stuck in a state void of Barneys and Bergdorfs, then Luckyscent is a sensational resource.


For the record/for Jake, here’s my eau de cologne arsenal of late:

• Tiffany for Men (elegant, sparkly, like cloves or Brandy)
• The first women’s Prada parfum (I’m man enough. Like honey on a hot August day.)
• Comme Des Garcon, 2  (flinty, fiery – drunken and unabashed)
• Santa Maria Novella, Colonia Russa (icy metallic, it tingles the skin in summer)
• Banana Republic, Black Walnut (hushed, harmless, handsome)
• Monocle x CDG, Hinoki (like a spicy dusty cedar chest caught on fire)

Pastes / Pearlies

Monday, March 30th, 2009

One of The Treasury’s newest readers, Portugal native Joao, recently left this comment on my Well Groomed post.

“How on earth did you find this toothpaste? It is a truly classic of Portuguese design at its best and quite difficult to find these days with the Colgate invasion, even here in Portugal.”


Well, my tube of Couto brand paste was picked up at the Mertz Apothecary in Chicago. The non-Mertz-ishly named Mertz website provides an on-line source for hundreds of handsomely packaged, hard-to-find toiletry treasures.


There’s at least three other brands of tasteful pastes off the site I’d like to try, but not until I unleash at last my inner Newland Archer and try myself some tooth powder. Tooth powder, hot damn. What a world this world once was!

The link specifically to Couto, Joao, is right here, sir. Brush in style, friend.

Right Down The Middle

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

The moustache, the saddle shoe, the bow tie, and buffalo plaid have all escaped, in recent years, from the dressing room of your high school three-act-play into the lives and looks of today’s trendiest trendsters.


I’m wondering if/when the slick middle part, as mastered on this moony model, could ever return. I’m trying to think of someone famous and cool enough who could break the look on a grand scale. Talk amongst yourselves….

(Image from Vogue Hommes Japan.)