Thursday, 11 October 2012

In the Company of Vintage Shaving Rituals

A few months ago, we came across the Vintage Shaving Company, a skincare range for men founded in 2011 with the intention to fill the gap in the high-quality and economical shaving products market while fusing values of tradition, quality and simplicity with environmental awareness and the latest technologies in skincare formulations.


The debut collections Trad and Mod (launched in London’s Harrod’s department store in early April 2011 and now available in Fortnum and Mason’s and stores and online retailers in the UK, Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the USA) draw on imagery from the 1950s (Trad) and 1960s (Mod) to invoke two distinctive and contradictory bygone embodiments of men who, despite their generational differences, shared a passion for dressing up while following tradition or exploring unconventional modern styles. The product packaging is unabashedly traditional: attractive aluminium tins are emblazoned with labels whose serif fonts are faded to suggest an established brand. This image of heritage and traditional masculinity is part of a carefully orchestrated digital marketing campaign that includes a balanced presence on social media websites and e-newsletters with lifestyle advice.

With this in mind, we started out by trying the Mod face wash. This had a suitable silky texture but, with its exfoliating granules, it might not be the most suitable face wash to use on a daily basis. We followed this with the Trad shave cream (with vitamin E and almond oil), which proved to develop a nice, soft lather that was not too sticky and did not clog the razor blades as some creams do. On the following day, and in order not to mix the two collections, we tried the Mod daily face balm after shaving with a non-scented shave gel. A small dollop was enough and we were impressed with how easily the balm (containing Aloe Vera, vitamin E, almond oil, starflower oil and Shea Butter) was absorbed, leaving an even-looking skin with no greasy or shiny finish. 




As far as the shaving rituals were concerned, the Vintage Shaving Company clearly delivered what it promised. The only drawback that we found (and one that stems from a very personal point of view), was that the old-fashioned and gentle soapy scent can linger on the skin for quite a few hours, if not for the rest of the day. If you are faithful to a favourite cologne, the Vintage Shaving Company products may not be for you as their scents will most certainly clash with other fragrances. However, we do see a practical benefit for some men in not having to add cologne to one’s daily ablutions and just go through the day smelling of old-fashioned barber shop products instead. If you would still feel the need to add extra fragrant notes, the Trad eau de toilette is highly recommended. This is a classic citrus fragrance that blends cool lime, bergamot and lemon notes with lavender and woods, evoking the long forgotten rituals and spaces of men’s grooming. 



As the Vintage Shaving Company expands its range of products for men, we hope to be able to see more options for skincare. The Style Examiner’s verdict is that the products are good even if a less scented range would be more appealing to more male consumers. Nevertheless, we believe that, if promoted properly, this skincare brand has the potential to have a significant impact in men’s skincare habits.

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