It’s understandable to see self-isolation and caring about your appearance as antithetical ideas. But with virtual meetings and e-seminars the new norm, it’s important to maintain the best version of yourself – at least from the waist up.
But maintaining a grooming regime also has an added benefit right now – it helps with a sense of structure and normality in far-from-normal times.
Here are some essential grooming products (and practices) for home, and why they’re important to keep up.
A hydrating moisturiser – because indoor air can be drying for your skin
Our bodies react to the environment they’re in, and as our time inside increases, our skin reacts accordingly. Air inside the home can be drying, especially as we turn on our heaters at the onset of winter. This is easily fixed. Keep your skin hydrated with an effective, thirst-quenching moisturiser.
As a starting point, look out for moisturisers with glycerine – as in Men-U’s Facial Moisturiser Lift ($29.95), for instance – as it helps keep moisture in. Jack Black’s Clean Break Moisturiser ($52) delivers your skin a shot of vitamin B3, which has been found in clinical studies to reduce hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and blotchiness and to boost skin elasticity, while also reducing non-melanoma skin cancer.
If you’re in the mood to splurge, the crème de la crème of crèmes, has got to be Aussie-owned Patrick’s AM1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser ($145). This sleekly-packaged face tonic contains an innovative cocktail of natural oils and omega fatty acids to improve and protect your skin throughout the day (or night).
An energising cleanser (or even try a concealer) – to combat dull and fatigued skin
With bottle shops deemed an essential service and happy hour constantly beckoning, it’s important to keep yourself looking peppy the day after a big night in (especially if you have a Zoom meeting at 9am). Triumph and Disaster’s Ritual Face Cleanser ($39) delivers a slug of softly-exfoliating acids and zingy peppermint oil for a skin pick-me-up in the morning. Pair this with Menaji’s Camo Concealer ($39) to camouflage tired dark circles under your eyes.
A pair of precise beard and moustache scissors – to keep facial hair looking presentable
Time may feel like it’s slowed down in isolation, but not for your facial hair. As your beard grows long and scraggly, and getting to the barber proves difficult, a precise and well-made grooming implement will prove its usefulness and value time and again. Try Dovo’s Stainless Steel Beard and Moustache Scissors ($95) – the edge of one blade features very fine serrations to help hold the hair in position, enabling the blade to give a clean and precise cut, while the other blade is honed smooth to razor-sharpness to accomplish very precise styling – your own at-home barbershop.
These scissors are available in a nickel-plated finish ($55) or in stainless steel. While both are likely to outlast their owner, the stainless steel pair are almost indestructible (and would prove particularly handy in the event of an apocalypse).
A good pair of nail clippers – to keep your fingernails and toenails tidy (you’re washing your hands so much, you may as well manicure them too)
I’m a firm believer in paying more for better-quality and longer-lasting items, and buying fewer of them. These German-made sets certainly embody this. The Dovo Grooming Kit ($109), with stainless steel clippers and file for fingernails and toenails, will last you decades – especially if you keep them in their leather case.
If you really want to treat yourself to a holistic experience, manicure kits don’t come much better than Czech & Speake’s Air Safe Kit ($549). It contains four matte black tools (finished with a teflon coating that reduces oxidisation and repels dirt) with rounded edges, making them safe for international hand luggage (perfect for when we can holiday once again). You can use these on your toenails but they’re best for fingernails. This is a hefty investment, but one you’ll have for decades.
A mood-boosting fragrance – to make you feel good, and keep work and play separate
Now’s the time to wear a fragrance for yourself, not for others. While you usually spritz on a fragrance just before stepping out the door, maintaining a habit like this in isolation is not just a mood-changer, but also a simple way to break up your day – you can use a scent to demarcate a time for rest or play, or a time for work and study. The warm and cool perfumes of lavender, fern, and mint you’ll find in Aromatic Fougère fragrances instantly boost your spirit – we like The Orchid Man ($229).
For something unexpected, try Vanilla Flash from the Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer ($99) – it combines a rich bourbon vanilla with elegant tobacco and spices, resulting in a scent that is boozy and smoky yet cool and light.
If home-comforts are what you require, Etat Libre d’Orange’s Like This spray ($135) is a familiar, comforting scent that evokes neroli hand soap, freshly mown grass, baking spices, and old wood.
Self-gratifying indulgences – because now more than ever is an excellent time to treat yourself
At times like this, it’s imperative to seek simple pleasures. If you’re looking to add some extravagance to a daily task, try a flavoured Italian toothpaste from Marvis (starting at $13.95). A pleasure on the eyes and in the mouth, there’s a range of flavours including Amarelli Liquorice, cherry-chocolate ‘Black Forest’, and cool Ginger Mint.
I highly recommend carving out an hour or two for an at-home spa session. Take your nails from mountain bear to polished gent with fine clippers and a file. If you’ve got a bath at home, take a long soak with Czech and Speake’s signature No. 88 fragrance of rose, moss, and spice in a bath oil format. Massage your face with a refreshing face scrub. I like Urth’s scrub with green tea and rice – a jade-coloured blend that, due to its clay content, can be left on the skin to function as a mask. Breathe deeply. Smell the roses (or the slow-cooked lamb you’ve got roasting in the kitchen)
Nathan Jancauskas is the founder and managing director of Men’s Biz, a contemporary barber and men’s grooming store with locations in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.