Friday, June 15, 2012

Heview: Lock Stock & Barrel Men's Grooming Products


In the Heview series, we review products and services specifically for men including fashion and style products. When it comes to grooming products for men, a trip to a local big box store reveals the state of men's grooming compared to women's. Granted women have things like make up and nail polish that most men don't use (you should have seen me back in my '80's New Wave days), and we have our own sections for shaving and deodorant. But just comparing hair products we are far behind. Dedicated men's hair products at most stores may come down to brands like Dove for Men or similar 'men's' lines of existing women's or unisex brands. One of the few true men's only product lines broadly available is American Crew. Sure places like Sephora carry some stuff for us - maybe 10 things that add up to less than 1% of total store inventory and sales (though their web site has a decent selection) and once again these are likely men's lines of other brands. Speaking of web sites, a few men's grooming product sites exist such as Grooming Lounge. But there just aren't many men-focused brick-and-mortar shops that carry 'bath & beauty' i.e. grooming products. For us, if you want a real selection of gender specific grooming products you probably still need to hit up a barber shop (hair salon to women) to get a real selection.



Since I have been going to Stag Barbershop, I have gotten two products by the same company and have loved both. Stag carries Lock Stock & Barrel products, a London-based company that makes products for men and men only that is fairly new to the US. I found that another local barbershop The Men's Room carries their products as well. Their website is 'under construction' but they have a Facebook page which says this about their company and products.

Ground breaking and innovative grooming tools from London, designed and conceived to embrace the needs of modern man and the intricasies of his individuality without compromise. Handsomely packaged and always innovative, Lock Stock continues to cause a stir amongst hairdressing professionals and the style press alike.

LS&B mostly produces hair products for men with 2 shampoos and 9 different styling products. Yes, a whopping two shampoos - compare that again to any women's line. Still it is nice to have some just for us.

When I first got my haircut at Stag, my barber (do you call a female men's stylist a 'barber'?) recommended LS&B Pucka grooming creme. I like to have a hair cut that allows me to do a few different styles and Ivy had done just that. The problem is then I need product to help me achieve said styles. Usually this would mean having more than one product - maybe a gel, a pomade, etc. - and since Ivy knew what I wanted to do she recommended LS&B Pucka - a grooming creme. They describe it as such:

This highly pliable, light styling creme gives the hair amazing volume and adds life to any style. This no look creme give an invisible, light to medium hold with a natural shine. Great for creating pliable styles with a versatile, natural texture.

- Superb pliable styling
- Gives massive volume
- No look finish with a medium hold
- Washes out easily in water

'Any style' were the words that stood out for me. I purchased the product and have used it since. I have thinner hair and it does as stated give more volume. It is labelled as '3' for hold and it has allowed me to style in a variety of ways from slicked back to up to even spiked. It is not greasy nor adds shine. Overall it works pretty much perfectly for my hair, cut, and variety of styles.

In the near future, Mayfair Mall will add The Art of Shaving, perhaps one of the best men's grooming chains dedicated to shaving supplies, and locally places like Brass Rooster accessories shop (reviewed here) carry traditional shaving products. In the near future I plan to switch over fully to the old-fashioned - and much better - form of shaving including brush and soap bar, and safety razor over the 'modern' shave gel and multi-bladed disposable razor method (those multi-blades to me just make it harder due to the width of the 'blade' - I still use a one or two blade). I can't wait to try it out - I had visited a TAoS store in Chicago recently as advanced recon - but plan to support the locally owned Brass Rooster. In the meantime I have always tried to use the best products available. I use mostly natural products when I can. On a recent trip to Stag I was introduced to another LS&B product  their shave oil it made the already pleasant clean-up shave better than before and I  went home with it. Shaving oil can be used as a stand-alone shaving lubricant or as pre-shave underneath shaving cream, soap or gel, to add to their effectiveness. LS&B's Healing Argan oil, with nourishing Abyssinian oil and soothing Starflower oil 'help to repair, tone and reverse the effect of ageing on men’s skin whilst conditioning silicones ensure the closest most precise shave possible.' I have used the oil a few times now for facial shaving and it is pretty amazing. Normally I get a 2 O'clock shadow, but just by adding the argan oil to my routine (putting and leaving it on before shaving creme) my face has felt smooth until 2pm the next day. It did not make my face feel 'oily'. I can't say much about the whole 'anti-ageing' thing but it has made for a better, less irritating shave that lasts two versus one day.

Though I have only tried two products, both have met and exceeded expectations. I will likely try their shampoo soon - when my current supply runs out. I am just happy to have products 'just for men' that I can get locally from a small business versus a chain.