Basic Instincts

Article excerpt

AS GROOMING PRODUCTS CONTINUE TO MULTIPLY, TWO STANDBYS HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME.

Though the grooming industry is a multibillion-dollar enterprise, churning out an endless supply of miracle elixirs- soaps, creams, tonics, colognes, serums - a pair of mainstays has persevered: powders and oils.

If they seem unglamorous or passé by today's standards, consider their enduring presence as proof of their effectiveness. Fashion academic Nicholas Storey, author of History of Men's Fashion: What the Well Dressed Man is Wearing, points out that ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians, and Egyptians all benefited from the healing and cleansing properties of powders and oils. What's more, he suggests that they're just as potent as their showier counterparts. "Talcum powder, alum powder (for healing shaving cuts), foot and even tooth powder execute their objectives incredibly well and are often cheaper than branded products that promise the same function," he says. "Plus, natural products hardly ever lead to allergic reactions, whereas some engineered creams and lotions do. …

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