Look, I know it's not the most exciting title, but it is accurate. I tried a lot of products this year, some good, some bad. A few notables stood out from the crowd, and they deserve to recognition. These are the products that I kept coming back to all year. While evaluating other products, these were my fallbacks, my safety nets. They were products which I knew would always perform.
Best Safety Razor - Edwin Jagger DE89
No safety razor combines price, craftsmanship, and comfort more than this Edwin Jagger mainstay. What I love most about this razor is the balanced aggressiveness. New wet shavers can experiment with a variety of blades, finding their favorite, with no fear of extreme aggression. Experienced wet shavers can pop in a sharper blade, like a Kai or a Feather, to bring their shave even closer.
Best Shaving Soap - Dr. Jon's “Big Green Monster”
This soap was my first introduction to Dr. Jon's, and it's still my favorite (don't let that dissuade you from Dr. Jon's other offerings). This soap smells great in the summer. It smells great in the winter. Chances are you haven't smelled a soap like this before. Dr Jon's soaps are softer than your typical shaving soap with unique fragrances, vibrant artwork, and exceptional performance. The key to unlocking Dr. Jon's sensational performance is a high lofted brush like the Semogue 1305 and more water than other soaps.
Best Shaving Cream - D.R. Harris "Windsor"
Without exception, this is the only shaving cream I tried this year which performed as well as its soap counterpart. The “Windsor” has a wonderfully balanced citrus and cedar scent, and is as thick and luxurious as any shaving cream you could use. Additionally, I would place the D.R. Harris “Windsor” shaving soap as a runner-up to Dr. Jon’s. That should give you some idea of the quality of this shaving cream.
Best Aftershave Splash - Fine Accoutrements “Clean Vetiver”
Maybe it’s because I am a huge fan of Guerlain’s Vetiver EDT, but this aftershave blew me away from day one. I love everything about it. The fragrance, the simplicity of the ingredients, the price ($15!). Without a doubt, this is the best aftershave splash I tried this year.
Best Aftershave Balm - Soap Commander “Courage”
Of all my top picks in this post, I struggled with this one the most. I deliberated between two choices for days (that’s most likely what held this post up from publication). In the end, the deciding factor came down to Soap Commander’s price. At $3 per ounce, this aftershave balm is an amazing value. Including a touch of menthol, Soap Commander’s aftershave balms are so moisturizing and nourishing. You might make the switch from splashes and never look back.
Best Face Wash - Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser
I tested A LOT of face washes this year, spurred on by my own search for something that would help clear my skin. I tried chemical products, natural/organic products, anti-acne products. Anything I could think of. Now, I don’t have terrible skin, but I do suffer from occasional breakouts (especially around my temples). I’ve used the Anthony Glycolic facial cleanser in the past, and the results were always great. Invariably, I would stray to another product promising (but unable to deliver) even more. The truth is that the Anthony Glycolic facial cleanser isn’t sexy. It comes in a simple, plastic container. It doesn’t foam or bubble. The scent is neither pleasing nor offensive. Yet, this stuff just works. With zero bells and whistles, aside from the amazing chemical-free formulation, this is the best face wash I have ever used!
Best Hair Product - Blind Barber 90 Proof Hair Pomade
Blind Barber has found the solution to my problem. I want a hair product that keeps my hair where I want it, without becoming sticky or clumpy. I’m not sure what ancient alchemy or dark magic Blind Barber used in the creation process. But, the Blind Barber 90 Proof hair pomade has the perfect combination of hold and thickness. I can run my hands through my hair and it still falls right back into place.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, and I’ll see you in 2016!