Enduring classics: retro mens grooming products

For all the technological improvements and advances in skin care we’ve seen in the last decade, old school products are a constant reminder that when something works, don’t mess with it. Picking up a tube of shaving cream that your father used everyday, and before that his father, adds a certain nostalgic charm to your morning routine. It’s a throwback to bygone eras when shaving was an artform and scents were masculine. We’ve collected a roundup of products that have endured the test of time and the brands behind them, in all of their retro glory.

Retro mens grooming products

Dr. Harris & Co. Ltd Arlington aftershave

For over two centuries, Dr. Harris & Co. Ltd have been operating out of their London St. James pharmacy crafting traditionally hand made products for men, including the Prince of Wales. If you’ve ever stepped into the store, you’ll know that it’s like stepping back in time. The place feels very much like an apothecary and it reflects in their products. The Arlington aftershave is a classic, with scents of citrus and fern made to be subtle but distinctive. To this day, it’s still made and packaged in their St. James store.

Dr. Harris Co Arlington aftershave

Mysore Sandal Soap

As a way to use up excess reserves of sandalwood, the Maharaja of Mysore set up a soap factory in Bangalore, India. From its founding in 1916, you can find the soap in the bathrooms of many Indian men. Their iconic soap is made from 100% sandalwood oil and its strong woody aroma can fill your bathroom during your shower. It’s soothing fragrance makes it especially suited for warmer climates.

Mysore Sandal Soap

Proraso shaving cream

Started as a family business in the 1920s, Proraso still makes their products in their hometown of Florence according to secret recipes passed down from generation to generation. Even the retro packaging feels Italian. Go in for a wet shave in any Italian barber and you’ll most likely be lathered up with Proraso. At home, you can enjoy the shaving cream made with a blend of eucalyptus and coconut oils. It gives a smooth and close shave and washes off with a refreshing burst.

Proraso shaving cream

C.O. Bigelow lemon body cream

Founded in 1838 in New York’s Greenwich Village, C.O. Bigelow has lived through 10 presidencies keeping traditional apothecary traditions alive. People who have walked through those doors include Thomas Edison, Mark Twain and Elvis Costello. During the Lincoln era, they created their lemon body cream, which is still a favourite to this day. It’s packed with lemon extracts, shea butter and kukui nut oil for an intensely moisturising cream.

C.O. Bigelow lemon body cream

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Written by .

Giang Cao points the camera to the streets and beyond to document and share the spectrum of people, clothes and personalities which inhabit our lives. He is the founder and creative director for Through the Looking Glass, a street style blog and has been featured in The New Yorker, style.com and The New York Times.