Skincare Editor /
In terms of male grooming, we’ve come a long way! We’re no longer victims of untidy beards and messy mops of hair, the male grooming industry makes it easier to maintain beautifully crafted comb overs and perfectly kept beards. What you might not know is that male grooming started millenniums ago, as early as 10,000BC. How insane is that? We try to keep on top of current trends, but we thought we’d take a look back in the past and discover the evolution of male grooming.
It may be difficult to believe, but male grooming has been in the history books as early as the Ancient Egyptians. Many pharaoh burials mention the use of eyeliner and eye shadow, which was no doubt brought on by the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra. Believed to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun, eyeliner was created from kohl, which was made from minerals of lead. It was also considered holy for the Egyptian men to sport a beard – doesn’t that make all us stubble owners feel a bit special? Due to the desert climate of Egypt, it became a necessity to bathe in oils to repair the skin from the hot, dry air. Men would also shave their heads to counter the heat of the sun and use heavily fragranced body oils to keep their skin hydrated and mask any smells.
Whilst the Egyptians used bathing and oils to simply mask smell, the Romans excelled with their creation of Roman baths. Fascinated with cleanliness, the Romans were fond of using hot water and steam to wash away any dirt and impurities within the skin. Men would gather in the communal baths and share grooming secrets – doesn’t that sound like the ancient version of a blog? The Roman baths would be presented in different forms, ranging from being heavily fragranced with bathing oils, to creating mud baths from crocodile faeces. The Romans would also use a mixture of butter and barley flour to combat any blemishes or breakouts and a mix of sheep’s fat and blood to paint fingernails.
Following on from the fall of the Roman Empire, male grooming took a bit of a shift. The dominance of the church kept male grooming to a minimum, with some even claiming it as ‘work of the devil’. However, following on from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, male grooming gained traction again. Pale skin became a top grooming trend, and a blend of white lead and vinegar would be applied to the face to give the desired pale complexion. Unfortunately, it was found that some mixtures contained arsenic, which ended up causing a lot of early deaths. The first mass production of male grooming products began in the Victorian era, which resulted in soap becoming a staple in many households.
One of the biggest platforms for male grooming was with the birth of Hollywood. Many men got to witness their celebrity icons with smooth, shiny hair and gleaming white teeth. This resulted in the everyday man taking more interest in his appearance and being more selective of the fragrance he wore. It was also the time when the first safety razor was introduced to the market, making it easier for men to get a clean shave, similar to their Hollywood idols. The increase in demand for male grooming products meant many companies started creating ‘miracle creams’ that guaranteed to give men the same appearance as celebrities. Sounds very similar to today, right?
Fast forward to today. An improvement in technology and science has given male grooming the platform it needed in order to propel the industry forward. It’s now perfectly acceptable to have a shaved chest, apply moisturiser and to even ‘manscape’ the rest of your body. Male grooming taboos have gone. Well, we’d like to think so. Whether you’re looking for shaving creams, eye creams, pastes, pomades or scrubs, it’s become very easy to get your hands on whatever you desire. I’m sure that you will now understand the influence the past has had on the current male grooming industry, for decades men have taken pride in their appearance for many reasons, and we definitely can’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
We take pride in being a fuss-free, male grooming store, and we’re sure you’ll be happy with the selection of products and brands we have to offer on Mankind.
Here are some of the products we’re loving at the minute:
When I started improving my grooming routine, I was overwhelmed by the plethora of products to choose from. I quickly learnt that grooming doesn’t have to be complicated. My aim is to give you an understandable breakdown of skincare, haircare and general grooming.