After over a few years of limited socialization (#pandemiclife), we’ve set aside the sweats and dusted the cobwebs off all those clothes we’ve been holding onto now that we’ve emerged into the real world again.
If you’re anything like me, the pandemmy brought my focus away from putting proper attention into my aesthetic, whether that be my clothing, hair, or general proactive hygiene. After all, we haven’t been with our friends out at the bars or our colleagues in the boardroom, so what’s the point?
Friends, let’s leave this way of thinking in the past! Take this opportunity to start a new regimen for yourself. Guys have never been expected to take proper care of their skin and hair, so let’s come out into this new world setting a new standard.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Where do I even start?” With a limited amount of quality brands catered toward men out there, we’re at a disadvantage…or so I thought.
Introducing Grooming Lounge
We’ve been working with an up-and-coming company, Grooming Lounge, who has an entire line of products built just for men, focused on providing you with high quality products in a style you’re familiar with: the barber shop.
This Grooming Lounge team has developed their products alongside seasoned barbers and specialists in the industry to bring the feel of what guys know and love straight to your home. And frankly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for them…but we’ll get into that in a bit.
In this comprehensive review, we take a look at 9 Grooming Lounge signature products, from shampoo and conditioner (yes, you do need to condition frequently!) to shaving cream and moisturizer. So let’s dive in and see what they’re all about.
This In Depth Review Covers the Following:
- About Grooming Lounge
- First Thoughts Out of the Box
- But Isn’t Taking Care of Your Grooming Needs for Women?
- All The Grooming Lounge Products
- Areas for Improvement
- In Conclusion
About Grooming Lounge
Every great company’s story starts with someone identifying a problem and setting out to fix it. For Grooming Lounge, that was founder Mike Gilman.
Mike founded the company in 1999 after years of being the go-to resource for grooming product recommendations amongst his friends. These guys he knew well had a need, so others had to be looking for similar resources, right?
So Mike set out to use his years of experience in the men’s grooming and fashion industry to get guys on the right path. And since success is an indicator of how well this idea was received, I’d say the start of Grooming Lounge was spot on.
Fast forward to today, Grooming Lounge is one of the most respected sources for men’s grooming solutions. In addition to selling some of the world’s best men’s grooming products from other brands, Grooming Lounge has worked with their expert team of Barbers and Men’s Skin Care Experts to bring to market a suite of high-quality products to serve men’s grooming needs, from shaving to skin care to hair care.
Oh, and did I mention Grooming Lounge also has a brick and mortar Barbershop & Men’s Spa in McLean, VA where all of their products are put into action? I’ll be honest, at the time of writing this review I had no idea.
But, as a resident of the Washington, DC area and a Grooming Lounge superfan, you can bet I’ll be making my next appointment at the barbershop.
While I could go on and on about the genius that it takes to bring this array of products and services together to really be at the top of the men’s grooming industry, we’re all here to learn more about the expertly tested, developed, and approved products Grooming Lounge has put out into the world. Without further delay, let’s dive in.
First Thoughts Out of the Box
“Simplicity is key in marketing grooming products to men.” At least, that was my takeaway when I first opened my box of Grooming Lounge products.
As you’ll see on the product page, each of their products has a dark blue base with the signature Grooming Lounge gray stripe and shield running across the top of each product.
You see the (very fun and creative) names of each product in white, and below them a witty description of their purpose. And that’s it. No claims on how effective they are in giant letters; to colorful graphics attempting to evoke a feeling in you.
Just the product name and description with a little branding. As a guy who has been purchasing “women’s” grooming products, this put me at great ease.
Why is that? Because I didn’t feel like I was being sold to. The Grooming Lounge team clearly has fun with the creation of their products, and also understands that we just want to know why and how to use each one. They clearly make a choice to be counter-cultural in that way, and from my perspective it totally works.
Of course, this choice (like all choices) does come with one minor downside. While their large array of products all fit a specific purpose (think conditioning hair lotion and shaving cream), they only have a few types of packaging.
So, if you are anything like me and confidently reach for a product without reading it first, you may end up applying some hair cream on your neck in preparation for a good shave. This absolutely happened to me, and I own it…read your labels and keep your products separate, gents.
But Isn’t Taking Care of Your Grooming Needs for Women?
If you’re an avid reader of Gentleman Within, I know I’m preaching to the choir on this one. But if you’re joining us for the first time while you’re just getting into your journey of upgrading your style and self-care game, this one is definitely for you.
As we talked about above, old school marketing want us to think that as men, we have no grooming needs but a pungent goo that gives you a close shave or hair dye when you want to avoid going gray. Why shouldn’t we want to take care of ourselves better, though?
» Related: Top Grooming Tips for Men to Stay Healthy & Stylish.
Thankfully, we are seeing more and more men take up better and more robust grooming habits as we broaden our perspectives and get out of that old, reductive way of thinking.
Take a look at any of the guys who hold national attention these days: Cristiano Ronaldo, George Clooney, Simu Liu, Will Smith (pre-and-post smack), and more. All of these guys put effort into their appearance, and we are drawn to them for it. Taking care of yourself sends the message that you’ve got yourself together, and people appreciate that.
That said, don’t take this on for others…do it because you want to practice self-care! I promise you, investing in quality grooming products and having a routine will make you feel better.
There’s nothing more gratifying than taking a hot shower with great smelling products after a workout, putting on some moisturizer to keep the skin smooth, and applying some hair product to keep it strong, healthy and soft.
Grooming Lounge knew this before it was even the cool thing to do, and their products prove it. If you’re looking to kick off your journey toward more thoughtful, impactful grooming, get your hands on some Grooming Lounge products…you’ll thank me later.
All The Grooming Lounge Products
We tested quite a few different products for this review, so I’m going to make an attempt to organize them into a few categories so you can get right down to the areas you most want to target. Feel free to bounce around between Hair Care, Skin Care, and Other Essentials. I know you’ll be thrilled with what you find!
Let me preface in this section by mentioning that I wear my hair long. And when I say long, I mean down to just above my shoulder blades and constantly put it in a big bun long.
I mention this for two reasons. First is that hair care and quality products have been a priority of mine for quite some time, and I latch on to the products I really like when I find them. Second is that I end up using more product than someone with shorter hair might.
With all that said, I want to say that I was very, very impressed with the collection of hair care products I tried out, and like I said I am quite picky about products in this area. So let’s dive into each product I tried out.
The Best Shampoo
“The Best Shampoo” – In my mind, most shampoos are equivalent on the base levels: they all clean your hair and they all come to a pretty full lather when you scrub them into your hair, ensuring you don’t have to use much to get the desired coverage.
What really differentiates a great shampoo, therefore, is a quality scent and any extra features, and that is exactly what you get with Grooming Lounge’s core shampoo product.
The scent they use is crisp and strong, which is really nice for opening up your smell at the beginning of your shower (if you’re like me and wash your hair as your first step).
In addition, the peppermint in the ingredients really stimulates your scalp and gives you a very refreshing, tingling feeling once it’s nice and lathered in.
I definitely found that after continued use, my scalp felt more healthy than before, which is a largely overlooked feature of most shampoos. For full transparency, the container is smaller than your average shampoo bottle, but the emphasis on high quality ingredients certainly makes the price worth it.
One small tip here for those who have not taken a strong interest in their hair care! It is recommended that you only shampoo 2-4 times per week, and condition every day.
Everyone has their own routine, but if you’re looking to maximize the healthiness of your hair, I’d definitely give this cadence a try. Like I said, I take a lot of pride in my hair and this has worked wonders for me.
You Need Conditioner
“You Need Conditioner” – The name establishes, right from the beginning, the point I’m making above. If you haven’t been conditioning your hair regularly, you are without a doubt doing your hair a disservice. Conditioners deliver the strengthening, softening, shining, etc. properties to your hair that we all want, and holy cow does the Grooming Lounge conditioner deliver.
I will admit that, both because of my longer hair and general tendency to overindulge, I end up using more than the directed amount of conditioner. But even when using the amount they suggest, I was left with fewer knots, a great deal of softness, and certainly what felt like a stronger head of hair.
My only negative mark on this product is that the bottle is on the smaller side like the shampoo, so I will definitely be ordering these more frequently. Another fantastic job on Grooming Lounge’s part.
Pro tip: If you’re not conditioning frequently, you’re doing it wrong. Trust me, it makes a world of difference. Also, if you’ve never conditioned before, don’t expect the conditioner to lather up or cover as much area as the same amount of shampoo would. Be a bit more generous with how much you use if you don’t feel like you covered from root to tip.
Some Hair Cream
hair cream – Don’t think you’re done taking care of your hair after you’ve rinsed the conditioner out of your hair. A truly healthy head of hair requires that you add at least a bit of product to your hair while it’s damp after your shower to keep it looking and feeling great throughout the day.
My routine in using these products was, after jumping out of the shower and drying my hair a bit with a towel, I’d put the recommended amount of this hair cream in my hair and it was the PERFECT combination.
The website describes this as the product to use for guys who don’t “want to look like they use anything in their hair,” and that is spot on. It keeps things neat, tidy, and looking great.
Similar to many other products, it can be used in either damp or dry hair. My preference and tip is in damp so you can get more even coverage, but you do you! Either way, do it with this hair cream.
Our Best Smeller Body Bar
body bar – Bar soap is a throwback in an era where men are marketed body wash constantly. We’ve been covering ourselves in bright colored gels with strong scents that leave us smelling clean but do little more for our skin health.
If you’re serious about stepping up your soap game, though, check out this body bar. From the basic requirements alone, it checks all the boxes: it smells great, is a good size so it lasts a while, and leaves you feeling clean.
In addition, the Grooming Lounge team made the wise decision to include bits of pumice to help exfoliate your skin, which is a huge plus when it comes to soap options.
You may not notice it at first, but over time you’ll undoubtedly be able to see the benefits as your skin breaks out less, feels smoother, and generally is more healthy. Plus, a bar of soap lasts way longer than a bottle of your average body wash, so it’s economical too!
Khoi here! I agree with everything Joe is saying, except he didn’t mention the clean, masculine scent. Before I started using it in the shower, I actually put the bar in underwear drawer just to keep things smelling extra fresh, kinda like a soap air freshener.
“Mug Scrubber” – If you’ve made it this far, it’s likely you already have a face washing routine. You may use bar soap or any number of face wash product alternatives, but ultimately what we’re all looking for in an effective product is the ability to strip away oils, prevent dryness, and exfoliate.
Though I don’t have as much experience in this department, what I can tell you is that the Mug Scrubber made a noticeable difference in my face’s skin health.
The Grooming Lounge team decided to go eco-friendly in this product, including Jojoba beads as the exfoliating ingredient. The ingredients together make a strong and effective exfoliator that helps to ward off the impacts of shaving and those pesky ingrown hairs.
» Readers’ Favorite: Tiege Hanley Review: My Level 3 System Experience.
In fact, the directions say to only use the scrub every few days, which I think for a product this effective is wise as you’d risk overdoing it.
Your face is some of the most sensitive and reactive skin on your body, so keeping things in balance is really important. Like many of the Grooming Lounge products, if you follow their expertly crafted directions, you’ll have the best chance at getting the most of your experience.
face moisturizer – This may sound drastic, but the Mug Moisturizer was my favorite product of the collection I tested. Right off the bat, you recognize the depth of proactive ingredients in the density of the moisturizer itself.
It is thicker than any moisturizer I’ve tried, which is hard to adjust to at first but well worth the experience. You need very little of it each time you put it on, but it does a tremendous job in helping your skin to feel restored and looking healthy right away and in the longer term.
» Related How to Treat Oily Skin: 10 Tips to Get Rid Of & Reduce Shine.
This is no doubt due to its ability to promote collagen and elastin production, both of which ward off wrinkles. The recipe the Grooming Lounge team used for this product also focuses on getting beneficial vitamins and amino acids into the skin while fighting early aging.
And as if all of that wasn’t enough, the Mug Moisturizer is paraben and sulfate free, two ingredients that have been traced to negative health impacts. With all the above said, I will for sure be using this moisturizer for the foreseeable future…12/10 would recommend to anyone and everyone.
Pro tip: whether it’s this moisturizer or any other, you should apply within 2 minutes of stepping out of the shower. Applying moisturizer to your already hydrated skin helps to increase and lock in the moisture provided by the moisturizer itself.
Khoi here! I’ve used the GL mug moisturizer for over a year and can say that it’s an all-around solid product. For me it’s not all that thick as Joe mentioned, but rather Goldilocks in my book. It also has a very subtle scent which I appreciated as any facial moisturizers with an overwhelming scent can be unpleasant.
“Super Powder” – Unless you’re a serious athlete, it’s very possible you haven’t used a product like this since you were pranking your friends in high school. Much like the name brand Gold Bond, Grooming Lounge’s Super Powder is a talcum powder, which helps to wick sweat and reduce friction in all of the places you want to do so.
Use it on your chest, armpits, down under, and beyond before a workout and you’re sure to avoid having to run through the stinging feeling of chafing. To be honest, I never really understood the full benefit of talcum powder until I was asked to test this product.
Now, though, I won’t work out or go into the field for work without it. When you finally realize you can do things without the discomfort you normally experience, it’s truly freeing. Give this a shot…you won’t regret it!
Khoi here! I’ve regularly used several different talc powders down under for my boys at night before going to bed, after getting out of the shower, from Clubman Pinaud and Chassis. Safe to say that GL is up to par!
Beard Destroyer Shave Cream
“Beard Destroyer Shave Cream” – Let me start by saying that, while I do shave fairly regularly while maintaining a short beard, I haven’t used shaving cream as my means of doing so in quite a while. (Using lathered up soap is a nice alternative if you’re feeling like experimenting a bit.) With that said, though, I was thoroughly impressed with this product.
Grooming Lounge set out to make this more than your average shaving cream, and they certainly met that expectation. As they say in the product description, it “Destroys your beard and pampers your face,” by providing a more lubricating experience that helps to prevent nicks and shaving irritation.
This is what ultimately leaves you with that smooth feeling and no stinging sensation afterward, and they nailed it here.
Another small but difference-making decision, this shaving cream is low foaming, meaning you won’t be finding small puddles of it all over your sink and hands. There’s no doubt they consulted barbers on this one…it’s clearly a product that’s been paid more consideration than your average shaving cream.
Greatest Pits Deodorant
deodorant – At this point, we’ve all heard the variety of ingredients to avoid in a deodorant, aluminums being the primary one. You also may have learned to avoid antiperspirants, as they can actually lock in harmful chemicals that you don’t want in your system.
So what should you be looking for? In my opinion, it’s a good smelling but not overpowering deodorant that lasts long and doesn’t leave white marks on your clothes after applying. Not surprisingly, the Greatest Pits Deodorant hits on all marks.
I’ve been using it every day for a few months and I don’t think it’s near done, which at this price point is a huge plus. The team also chose to use eucalyptus as its primary ingredient, which is known for helping to eliminate bacteria.
This small attention to detail ultimately makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of the product, as bacteria tends to be one of the primary sources of body odors, particularly in regions of the body prone to sweating and moisture collection.
All around a fantastic product, and while I never considered splurging on a high-quality deodorant, this is worth the investment for the benefit to you and the time it lasts.
Areas for Improvement
At the risk of sounding biased toward a brand, I genuinely did not have anything but tremendous experiences while using this set of Grooming Lounge products. The company has been around for almost 25 years, and the results (their in-house line) are a testament to how and why they’ve been able to do so.
When you pack years of experience from the team into product development and combine it with barbers and skin care experts who carry years and years of their own careers, you’ll always be likely to succeed.
My two minor suggestions to the team for future consideration were this: find a way to diversify packaging between individual products a bit more, and see if you can increase package size without raising prices too significantly.
I say the first because, as mentioned above, a handful of the products are somewhat difficult to differentiate from one another.
Honestly if you stay organized and know where each is you should have no problem, but I’ve definitely had to read more carefully than I do with other products for that reason. As to package size, I just want more of it all!
When you’re creating expert-driven, high-quality products, you are inevitably going to have to charge at a higher price point. At no point did I look at the pricing on these products and say that they are not at all worth what I’d be paying for them.
That said, things like the shampoo and conditioner come in smaller than “normal” containers, and I would love to see a bit more product when I purchase. All that said, neither of these areas is going to keep me from being a repeat customer of Grooming Lounge by any stretch of the imagination.
As a fairly recent convert to the practice of focusing more on my grooming habits, I have been brought into the light with the Grooming Lounge suite of products.
That may sound hyperbolic, and maybe for each individual product it is. However, I am simply blown away by the team’s ability to develop so many fantastic products across a variety of different industry categories.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Grooming Lounge team has our best interest as passionate, motivated consumers in mind based on the effectiveness of their products, and that to me is the mark of a great company.
Interested in getting on the Grooming Lounge train yourself? The team has been gracious enough to provide Gentleman Within readers with a special discount code, GENT25, for 25% off any Grooming Lounge product. Go forth and practice self-care, my friends!
After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Global Economics, Joe moved to the Federated States of Micronesia to work at a school there. Since then, he’s been traveling the world and embracing the classy nomad style. He currently works for Union Kitchen, a company that supports the launch and growth of startup food & beverage businesses. Beyond that, he can be found hiking with his German Shepherd puppy, Payton.
Have you tried Grooming Lounge products?
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Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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