For those barefaced cheeks

Dur­ing the Great Beard­ing ( 2014- 2017) beard oils did a boom­ing trade – but the tide has turned

The Irish Times Magazine - - BEAUTY - LAURA KENNEDY

Ir­ish men know their groom­ing. This wasn’t al­ways so. I can well re­call the days of my child­hood when you would see many a mous­tache ( trag­i­cally, they were in fash­ion for a time) fes­tooned with a sup­ple­men­tary mous­tache of Guin­ness, or milk. Quite un­san­i­tary. I have yet to see a man ( the only ex­cep­tion of the last 50 years, of course, be­ing the rugged, twinkly- eyed Tom Sel­leck), who can get away with a mous­tache with­out look­ing a bit sus­pect.

Beards have been en­joy­ing a bristling come­back but the tide is turn­ing and af­ter years of sport­ing enor­mous fish­er­man- style beards, the shaved faces of Ir­ish men are once again peek­ing out. Though fa­cial shav­ing for women has gained popularity as a means of stray hair re­moval, our skin is not equipped for it the way a man’s is. Nei­ther is wax­ing ideal. For fluffier fa­cial ar­eas, I keep a 1 Philip’s Pre­ci­sion Per­fect Trim­mer HP6390/ 10 (¤ 29.99). It will whip off up­per- lip or around- the- brow fuzz in an in­stant, mak­ing make- up ap­pli­ca­tion eas­ier.

Dur­ing the Great Beard­ing ( circa 2014- 2017), Ir­ish men re­alised that the big­ger the beard, the greater the main­te­nance. Beard oils, creams and fra­grances did a boom­ing trade. It’s no sur­prise that a re­turn to the sim­plic­ity of a clean- shaven face is in­creas­ing in popularity.

How­ever, men re­port that shav­ing is a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. I met with Jude Jarvis, who founded Mar­ram Co with her hus­band James, a new groom­ing brand for men which is de­ter­mined to make shav­ing a pos­i­tive, stylish ex­pe­ri­ence. It has re­cently launched into The Marvel Room at Brown Thomas in Dublin. Ev­ery de­tail of the brand is con­sid­ered, pair­ing util­ity with a modern yet clas­sic aes­thetic which is de­cid­edly mas­cu­line.

Jude says women will in­vest in the prod­ucts they use ev­ery day, and that Mar­ram Co en­cour­ages men to do the same. The tools are luxe and cus­tomis­able.

Ra­zors start at ¤ 175 ( blades start at ¤ 3), and the brush and bowl set ( from ¤ 250) al­lows you to pre­pare skin be­fore shav­ing, mak­ing it an eas­ier, more com­fort­able and en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence. Soak the badger hair brush in warm wa­ter in the bowl while you shower. When you’re ready, empty the bowl, add a dol­lop of shav­ing cream ( they of­fer a large va­ri­ety) and rub the brush in cir­cu­lar mo­tions around the bowl un­til you have a thick, creamy lather. The brush will raise the hairs and ex­fo­li­ate the skin, re­duc­ing pulling dur­ing the shave, and the like­li­hood of rashes af­ter­ward.

If you’re slightly less in­clined to­ward a med­i­ta­tive, in­dul­gent shave, soak a flan­nel ( I like the

3 An­gel Face Cloth, ¤ 4.50 from Brown Thomas) in warm wa­ter and give the skin a gen­tle scrub with it be­fore ap­ply­ing foam or oil. Fol­low shav­ing with some­thing sooth­ing like 4 Ori­gins Fire Fighter (¤ 24.50) to re­duce any dis­com­fort or in­flam­ma­tion. Avoid al­co­hol- heavy prod­ucts or any­thing that stings. Shav­ing should not hurt. For drier skin, try 5 Liz Earle Af­ter Shav­ing Mois­turiser (¤ 27), a richer but non- ir­ri­tat­ing cream. As for the mous­tache: Are you Tom Sel­leck? Well then.

Peo­ple re­alised that the big­ger the beard, the greater the main­te­nance ... It’s no sur­prise that a re­turn to the sim­plic­ity of a clean- shaven face is in­creas­ing in popularity

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