We love a good “Boy Meets Beauty” story, and Will Welch’s account of the borrowed body balm that changed his mind/life in the January issue of GQ has that in spades. (Story goes he thought it was very manly to ignore his aesthetic requirements, realized the error of his ways with a whiff of his girlfriend’s In Fiore Body Balm, is kind of a convert now...kind of.) Which got us thinking: what would we recommend for the recent male beauty convert? Or even better: what would we suggest that the ever-helpful-without-wanting-to-be-pushy other person in the equation leave out for potential borrowing purposes? (Note: Hide your good stuff, though—La Mer is wasted on the unappreciative. Also, the unappreciative tend to be heavy-handed in the application.)
As far as fragrance goes, Hermès Eau D’orange Vertis bright, crisp and kind of sparkly; you’ll both like wearing it. For the previously fragrance-averse, our man Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Universalis Forte is seriously unisex, airy, and smells sort of like fresh laundry and health. Nick and Emily share it. For those craving something a bit muskier, we also love Santal 33 from Le Labo, preferably in oil form and preferably massaged into pulse points. It smells like “attractive,” whatever that means to you.
Hair : Shu Umuera Cleansing Oil Shampoo will leave both of your manes looking dirty in a good way, and doesn’t smell like fruit or sparkles or sunshine or whatever he’s scared of.
For skincare : Aesop’s Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner is easy-peasy and will leave both of you feeling squeaky clean. La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche cream is inoffensive, unassuming, inexpensive, and packs a serious moisturizing wallop. Kiehl’s Ulta Facial Oil-Free Lotion is a good, quick-absorbing masculine bet (you can imagine Steve McQueen stowed it in his medicine cabinet). Ren Micro Polish Cleanser looks unisex and exfoliates like crazy, which is something he won't probably admit to thinking about, but does—and further, Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips (a GQ pick) are easy, very basic and secretly kind of fun. Think of it as a couple's project.
If he's been a little lax with the skincare : Koh Gen Doh Liquid Treatment Concealer is fairly foolproof (it's a pen with a twist bottom), high-coverage, and luminizing (but don't tell him that). Guys use concealer too, remember?
Body : The aforementioned In Fiore Body Balm is great, goes on smooth, and smells faintly of patchouli. Also prime for sharing: Kiehl’s Imperial Body Balm, which comes in a sleek black tub and looks sort of like it was borrowed from the dudes’ aisle anyway.
Let me see your grill : Crest 3D Whitestrips! They’re more fun when done in tandem, when neither of you can really talk, eat, or drink. The 2-hour ones are not joking around, either.
Now, your turn: which products do your better halves quietly (or not so secretly) dip into? Inquiring minds want to know.
Photos by Elizabeth Brockway