We pick the well-groomed brain of Dan Gregory, founder of @ManMadeLondon, for some expert advice on looking good.
Dan Gregory is an ambassador of Braun Global Grooming. We recently spoke to him at the Braun Prize 2018 in Germany, where he filled us in on his background and gave us some top male grooming advice.
So tell us about your grooming salon.
I wanted to set up a company where we’d put a lot of effort into our customer service. And I wanted to have skilled people work for us. We want to be a shop for everything male grooming, not just a barber or a hairdresser. We’re a committed and dedicated team working at 100 per cent and focusing on customer service. None of us ever think something is too much to do, and our customers are always at the heart of our work, obviously alongside the service we give. That’s what I wanted to bring to London, and so far it’s been great.
How did you get into men’s grooming in the first place?
When I was 14, I started out in a local barber shop. I was working on Saturdays and during the school holidays for just about £15 a day, mainly helping by making drinks for the customers, cleaning, getting lunch – a run around type of thing. It helped me to learn how to deal with my own money. When I was about to leave school, I wasn’t feeling very confident in terms of academic progress, so the owner, Ian, said I could do an apprenticeship if I wanted. It was lovely, and since then I’ve been to a few other places – and now I’ve ended up in Marylebone.
What are your three best tips for keeping the beard in top condition?
The most important thing is to maintain it, so make sure you trim it regularly to keep it in shape and looking great every day. Another one is to use a face scrub or face exfoliator brush to ensure a good appearance and to treat your skin well. Lastly try to have a good diet and drink plenty of water. That one’s really important. Good skin usually also means good hair.
And what are the biggest grooming mistakes men make?
Most people tend to rush it, partly because they do it in the morning, so they’ll make mistakes like putting the wrong guard on or cutting it too short. The other one is the way they cut their sideburns. Most people use their ears as a reference, but they’re often not perfectly aligned, and you’ll see that after shaving. Instead, use your finger as a reference, put it up at one side at the length you’d like, and then adjust with the other finger.
How do you think the image of ‘being a man’ has changed over the years?
I don’t think it’s changed that much. If you look at old photos, you’ll see a lot of guys taking a lot of care of themselves, especially if you look at the early 1900s. You’ll find a lot of people who wore suits in the photographs, so everyone seemed very smart. The hair was always slick, and they looked immaculate, even when they’d just go to the shop to buy groceries. Then fashion changed, and things became a bit more relaxed.
I think now, with the choice of different products on the market and education as well, and with things like YouTube, we’ve been given an open platform where we can talk about what our regular grooming routine is. So there’s no taboo about using a moisturiser anymore, no taboo about sitting with a friend in a bar and talking about what beard trimmer you use. With social media I find it’s almost the norm. That’s just through people being open and talking about it, and with new products hitting the market and people seeing why they need to use them.
Are there any grooming tips you have for any time-poor, tired dads?
I’m a dad myself. I’ve got a six-year-old, a one-year-old and another one on the way. The biggest tip is that mornings are money. I’ve got the one who goes to school, and my youngest is up at about half past six – and he’s relentless, as soon as he wakes up. I would recommend to do your grooming in the evening, when the kids are in bed, or at least for that hour or so in-between feeds. You just have more time, and it can become relaxing, it doesn’t have to be a chore or something you need to squeeze in. Always try to do it overnight.
Also, keep your style low-maintenance. Don’t try to have any funky beard designs. Find yourself something you’re used to and that you’re comfortable with, maybe a one-length all over, or even a clean shave. I think the latter is especially good, because it can, sometimes, make you feel overall a little bit fresher. You won’t look as tired and won’t feel it either. If you have a clean shave you look a lot more well-rested than you actually are. I’d say that could be a good idea.
Finally, are there any stylish grooming heroes out there at the moment?
There’s always the obvious one of Mr David Beckham, isn’t there? He always looks good in every picture. Other than that, thinking of people who always look really smart, I’m a big fan of Ryan Gosling. His clothes are always suited to him, he always has a nice short haircut, he just always looks really good overall, whether with a beard or without. I like his style.
For more info on Dan follow him @manmadelondon.
We recommend trying out the Braun MGK 3045 MultiGrooming Kit to help you achieve the perfect beard.