There are those that say of the fashion world, that if you stay in the same style long enough, it will come back into fashion. Â And you can certainly see that all the time in clothing. Â Â Vinyl is enjoying a Renaissance in music. Â Even shaving, the straight edge and safety razors have made a comeback.
So it seems only right (and timely, considering we have just wrapped up Movember) to revisit the After Shave and Colognes that were once staples in any man’s medicine cabinet, but now occupy the bottom shelf of drug and big box stores. Â Often snickered at by anyone younger than Baby Boomers, these don’t have big advertising budgets, but thanks to that, they also don’t carry a big price tag. Â Sadly, too many people decide if something is inexpensive, that there is no quality or value, and while that can certainly be the case with some poorly built products you find in a dollar store, it is not always the case.
In a world of Axe and obnoxious unisex products (ie CK One), it is time to look back to clean, fresh, and dare I say, “manly” scents. Â It is a way to stand out from the crowd, Â be the man your man could smell like, and do so in most cases for less than $15. Â Heck, you could probably buy one of each of the products listed below and it will still cost you less than an ounce of Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme. Â Here are some clean, great smelling products that are worth a look.
1. Â Pinaud Clubman – This is my current after shave and has been for a couple of years now. Â If you have ever been at an actual barber shop and not just a frilly “salon,” chances are that you will recognize this scent, as besides an after shave, there is a powder, the one that your barber brushed the back of your neck when your haircut was done.
This musky scent, with hints of orange, Jasmine and maybe even a little lemon is clean, almost antisceptic smell, that is enticing, welcoming and fresh. Â Antisceptic is not normally a scent that you would think is inviting, but Clubman manages to do so. Clubman Pinaud After Shave Lotion, 6 OunceÂ runs about $5.95 at Amazon.
2. Â Old Spice Classic. Before it decided to go after Axe and others with a large variety of body wash scents, Old Spice was simply an after shave and cologne. Â And if you look, you will find that this staple is still around in the same classic bottle you may remember seeing your father or grandfather’s medicine cabinet.
A base of cedar with a spicy (hence the name) twist of cinnamon and sage.Old Spice Classic Scent After Shave 4.25 Fl OzÂ bottle runs $8.66 on Amazon.
3. Â Brut – Maybe one of the most recognizable scents of the 70’s with its iconic green bottle, and marketed as the go to scent of the powerful man, and was promoted in ads by “Broadway” Joe Namath. Â Brut is a bit more aggressive and powerful than the other items listed here, and that makes it one of those products that fit into the love it/hate it mold. Â I fit into the love it crowd, not as much as some others on this list, but still it is a product that survives while other less stately products have come and gone.
Smells of Sandalwood and Jasmine with hints of Oak, it starts strong, but lingers with a pleasant scent that stays throughout the day. BRUT After Shave Classic, 5 Ounce bottleÂ costs $6.72 on Amazon.
4. Aqua Velva – It is an odd thing to look back on, but Aqua Velva actually started out as a mouth wash (though I am sure it is completely reformulated since those days, so I wouldn’t recommend trying it as such now). Â While it starts out with a potent hit of menthol to go with its vanilla and oaky undertones, this one quickly quiets down and almost disappears into a simply musky scent that is very understated. Â It is also the one that will give you the hottest “burn” after a shave, so be careful with it.
It may not last as long as others, butÂ Aqua Velva After Shave, Classic Ice Blue, 7 Ounce runs about $8.40 on Amazon making it cheap enough to reapply as needed.
5. Â English Leather – While there may be something about an Aqua Velva man, according to the commercials, some women had men that wore English Leather, or they wore “nothing at all.” Â Absolutely nothing has changed with this after shave over the years, same smell of citrusy orange and lemon with hints vanilla and leather, same square bottle and oversized wooden top.
Like Brut, this one starts out a bit strong, but not quite as overbearing as Brut. Â It also is a scent that sort of evolves and blends with you as the day goes along into a subtle, clean, and pleasant scent. Â It is one of the more expensive of the products shown here asÂ ENGLISH LEATHER Men After Shave Splash, 8 OunceÂ runs about $22.95 over at Amazon.
This is just a few examples, there are plenty of others worth mentioning as well. Â British Sterling was my personal “night out” cologne back in the day. Â Stetson, various versions of Bay Rum, Skin Bracer and more.
What do you think? Â Retro is in, and some of these products are already seeing a minor resurgence in interest. Â Is it time to go Old School?
What is your favorite scent? Â One of the items listed, or do you have your own personal favorite that is worthy of a rebirth?