“My approach to grooming was always to steal my wife’s products. That was kind of it, really. I’d always been aware of how I wanted my hair to look, stuff like that, but I was also in a career where I was always outside—whether I was living in Manchester, living in Madrid, LA…all these different places with different weather. I had to take care of my skin because of that, but the way I looked after it was to steal my wife’s stuff, because I know she has the best. At the same time, I knew that before I retired—I played until I was 38—I wanted to go into business. It’s something that’s always interested me. So going into this partnership with L’Oréal and creating my grooming line called House 99 was a very natural progression. I always try to do things where I have authenticity, because I think people really respond to that. People were always aware that I looked after my hair, and cared about how I looked, but there was room to grow there. To create something like this, and to make a line with a Tattoo Body Moisturizing Cream, and things like that…those things really make it authentic. It’s been a process I’ve really enjoyed because I look after myself a lot better now. I never used to use face wash, apart from using my wife’s products. I never used to make the time to do that. Now I have a face wash, I have a mask, a scrub. And it’s so much more acceptable—guys find it much more natural to talk about their products that they use, and what they do to look after their skin and their hair, and the way they want to look. I’m very excited about that.
My mum was a hairdresser—actually, she was part of the spike, which was one of my first hairstyles. I would buy myself this L’Oréal hair gel in a pot. My hair was short in the back and on the sides and then I had an inch and a half on top that I would spike up with the gel. She let me do that, but she wouldn’t let me get a perm. There was this footballer at Manchester United called Clayton Blackmore—he had it quite short on top, but then permed and long in the back, and I wanted that done. Mum said no, which was probably good. It felt like an era when people didn’t really take risks. Which is probably why my Mohawk didn’t go over all that well, I suppose. People didn’t really accept that one. But that’s probably the one people talked about the most. Other than the cornrows…
When I was 13 years old, I decided I didn’t want my mum cutting my hair anymore, and I found a hairdresser called Nice One John. Actually it’s still there, in Leytonstone. Now, I have some amazing guys—Ken Paves and [Syd Hayes]—that really guide me on how my hair should look. But if I’m doing a crew cut, I’ll do it myself. Only to that point—I try to push it sometimes, but then I need Syd or Ken to sort it out. But these are things I don’t take too seriously. If I have long hair, I have no problem with shaving it all off. It’s just something where actually I could wake up in the morning and think, ‘You know what? I’m bored of this hair,’ and just shave it all off. There’s no in-between for me. I always think, at the time, that things are great and that they look good. Twenty years on, when I look back at certain things—maybe the cornrows—I was pushing it a little bit. But at the time, it felt right.
For styling, I find the Shaping Pomade works really well with a little bit of the hairspray. Actually, this one as well—the Texturizing Clay. It works really well. I’ve never liked stuff that makes your hair too greasy. Since my spiky look, I don’t use anything that’s too wet or too shiny. I like when I’ve got some kind of texture, and it absorbs. So that’s what I use. I’m keeping [this haircut] for now. You know, I’m 43 years old and I can’t do what I used to do when I was 23!
The first time I did a mask was pretty recently, actually. I tried the Tom Ford clay one, and I really like it. I very rarely have the time to do a mask, but Victoria loves to do it before she’s going to bed, or when she wakes up. Making the time to go for a nice facial is important—it doesn’t just make you look better, it makes you feel great as well. There’s an amazing girl in London called Sarah Chapman, and Sarah’s incredible. She makes really great products that I’ve used over the years. But sometimes I take my products down there and say, ‘Use these.’
Now I use the Purefectly Clean Face Wash every morning. I don’t scrub my face every morning, but the face wash is something that I start with. And obviously the Face Moisturizer. Then I add a little bit of lip balm and the eye cream, just to give those areas a coating. But I don’t get up an hour before I have to take the kids to school to do my morning ritual. It’s very straightforward and quick. I do the whole thing in the morning and then I’ll moisturize a few more times throughout the day, to be honest. I think about anti-aging, and I consider it, but I’m not like, ‘Oh my God, I got an extra wrinkle today, I have to cake some cream on.’ I’m not really that precious about it, and I’ve never been. I was actually quite pleased the other day, because someone had written that I had Botox, and I was like, ‘Wow, this product must actually be working,’ because I never have and never would. I was aware I was getting more gray hairs than obviously I was five years ago, but it’s just a natural progression, you know? I’m not going to dye my hair and hide them, because I think I actually quite like it. I’ve had the same with my beard—there’s quite a few gray hairs coming through the beard, but it’s just a natural thing.
Something I’m quite excited about is our new House 99 bronzing moisturizer that will launch in 2019. The one that I used to use was the Tom Ford one, which is a moisturizer with a slight tint, so I always felt that I wanted to bring something like that into the range. There’s nothing wrong with having a moisturizer that has a certain amount of tint in it, and I’m quite excited about the bronzer.
I learned how to look after my tattoos from the tattoo artists I was using. Up ‘til then I was unaware of it, but I knew that I wanted to bring a product out that didn’t just look after them, but protected you as well. The work you had done can fade, can smudge, can be affected by the weather and the sun. It was important that I brought a product out that really helped that. So that’s what was behind the Tattoo Body Moisturizing Cream.
I was lucky when I was playing—I never had to watch what I ate. I always looked after myself, I wasn’t a drinker in any way. So for myself, I’ve always looked after my body, and I was able to go away for the summer for three weeks, eat what I want, and come back and virtually be the same weight. Obviously now I’ve retired, so it’s slightly different—I have to work out and do things that I actually enjoy, because I get bored really easily. I like to jump from boxing to cycling to running, to doing different stuff. But my diet, I like food too much to cut everything out. I’m more aware of it now than I was 20 years ago. I’m a big fan of acupuncture, deep tissue massage, and cupping—things like that. When you have sore muscles and sore parts of your body, acupuncture releases that and then the cupping is a kind of release as well. They work for me. I do that as much as possible—I mean, I have four kids, so I have to make the time to actually have a massage. Mostly I have a massage when I’m on the road, traveling, things like that.
The first time my son Romeo shaved, I shaved him—he literally had a fluff on his face, but he was quite excited about his dad shaving him. Brooklyn, the same. I’m sure I’ll have to do the same to Cruz. As far as I can remember, I’ve always had some kind of stubble. I’ve worked out that I look better with some stubble than without. I think the last time I razor shaved was about 15 years ago—my son Brooklyn was four years old, and I razor shaved when we were in the south of France on holiday. I came out the bathroom, and he literally burst into tears because I shaved my moustache and my goatee. So since then, I don’t think I’ve shaved.”
—as told to ITG
David Beckham photographed by Tom Newton in London on November 8, 2018.