House 99 might be emblematic of the sea change in mainstream attitudes to male enhancement. However, it is another two emerging British brands that the modern man will find more exciting, with each offering quite distinct but equally innovative concepts. Anatome is a new unisex healthy-lifestyle brand that’s possibly the first to recognise the importance of mental wellbeing in conjunction with physical fitness and good nutrition. Beast, meanwhile, offers a “one-stop shop” of expertly curated beauty lines aimed squarely at gentlemen informed enough perhaps to crave better beauty products but without the time or expertise to source them. “Beast aims to revitalise the way men buy products,” co-founder Spencer Wallace said during its 2017 launch, “and we are keen to promote a new attitude towards male beauty as a whole.”
THE GROOMING EMPORIUM
Head to Beast’s flagship shop in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden to browse handpicked products from more than 80 quality brands from around the world, from the latest innovations to cult classics. To make the range easier to navigate, it’s divided into five categories: Body, Hair, Shave, Face and Fragrance. “That helps customers identify the products they need,” says co-founder Steve Banks, “or discover brands they may not have come across before.
“Before we opened the store, we did a lot of research into the brands that we wanted to stock on a global level, as we wanted to bring a unique and wide selection to our customers. All of our products are tried and tested by the team and we only stock those that we truly believe in.” Well-respected names such as D.R. Harris, Floris and Perricone MD sit between lesser-known overseas brands and compelling new discoveries. British brand Haeckels is just one exciting newcomer in the store. Based in Margate, the Kent seaside town famous for its connections with English artists J.M.W. Turner and Tracey Emin, Haeckels’ luxury products range from skin and haircare treatments, to aromatic scents for body and home. What’s remarkable about them are Haeckels’ use of natural botanical ingredients, derived from the wild local coastline. What image-conscious man wouldn’t want to stock up on Repairing Nettle Scalp Oil, Bladderwrack + Buckthorn Body Cleanser or Exfoliating Vegan Seaweed Block?
One of Beast’s best-sellers, says Banks, is “an amazing vegan brand from Austria called SA.AL&CO. Its products are certified natural and Alpine spring water is used as the base ingredient.” It looks like DapperConfidential.com, the digital grooming magazine, was right on the money when it forecast “higher-quality ingredients” as a major 2018 trend. “Over the past few years, men have been shifting away from over-the-counter products in search of superior ingredients,” says Rhonda Allison, founder of the organic skincare brand RA for Men. “We will see this become an even bigger trend in 2018, particularly as men continue to educate themselves on the ingredients that actually make a difference to their skin.”
“Since we launched Beast in 2016,” Banks says, “we have seen the number of men who are taking an interest in all things male beauty increase dramatically. It’s become more acceptable and they’re more open to trying out new products that they may not have done so a few years ago, particularly serums and anti-ageing creams. It’s opened up a new world and a number of exciting brands have come on to the market.” And now you know where to find them.
Situated in Shoreditch in London’s fashionable East End, Anatome is the latest innovation from Northern Irish entrepreneur Brendan Murdock, who in 2006 created the luxe barbershop chain Murdock London with its own-brand grooming products. However, Anatome is very different from Murdock’s previous venture.“When I reached 40, I began thinking more about my physical and mental wellbeing,” says Murdock, when asked about his inspiration for founding his new business. “Often when you’re stressed or off-balance, you feel you need to find a way, method and space to become more aligned. When I started exploring the options, I began to wonder why no brand pulled these anchors together.”
The Anatome philosophy is to bring nutritional and emotional balance to modern life through a range that includes own-brand essential oil elixirs, vitamins, nutrients and dietary supplements, and bespoke herbal teas, such as Invigorating Rooibos + Orange Tea. But with so much debate recently about supplements, their misuse and their efficacy, what does Murdock say to people who doubt their benefits? “Our edit of vitamins and nutrients focuses on products that have efficacy that’s legitimate and evidence-based,” Murdock says. “We believe that supplements and vitamins should only be used to support a healthy diet, so this is strongly communicated – hence our apothecary bar of dried herbs and natural organic ingredients such as spirulina, spinach and turmeric. We also serve fresh juices and healthy food in the café.”
Getting your facts straight and setting goals is where the in-store nutritionists might be useful. Shoppers can book one-to-one consultations with nutritionists for advice on topics such as diet, wellbeing, enhancing sports performance or building a better physique. Although Anatome is a unisex brand, it offers bespoke nutritional advice for men and, cleverly, the brand’s goal-focused approach to body and mind is one that appeals to all genders and won’t wrinkle anyone’s masculinity. “I want to create accessible spaces, not intimidating ones,” Murdock says. “We want to encourage people to talk about themselves and feel confident, which is, perhaps, very un-British."Anatome’s best-selling products include Curcuma + Boswelia Joint Support, Vanilla Protein Powder, Energy + Strength Essential Elixir Oil, Omega-3 Capsules and Vitamin D-3. “Men want results-driven products that support them in their physical endeavours,” Murdock says.
In addition, Murdock recommends Recovery + Sleep Oil, which “men can use in the evening and after exercise”. He also suggests strengthening the immune system with an Immune Booster and using probiotics for gut health, which he believes is “key for men, as work and forgetting to eat regularly can put stress on the stomach, and affect mood.” Besides all things nutrition, Anatome sells health-related goodies from sporting apparel and accessories, to books on fitness and psychology. However, another of its innovations is the regular series of in-store events, talks and workshops. Recent talks included injury prevention with Sam Pepys, a specialist who has worked with Crystal Palace Football Club; Pilates with Italian practitioner Chiara Becuti of Third Space; and mindfulness coaching with writer Michael Townsend Williams, author of Do Breathe: Calm Your Mind. Find Focus. Get Stuff Done. “Our talks have a mental wellbeing approach,” Murdock says, “and that’s really connecting with the Anatome community.”