There’s no need to decode the meteoric rise of skincare, with the vast majority of us holding our regimes to the microscope more than ever before as we cling on to some quotidien comfort.
Dare we say it, this can be down to the ritual itself more than the product in play. In 2021, the act of taking time out for oneself in a private space (i.e. bathroom) can create a juncture and place of quiet sanctity. It’s a designated moment for the self, the skin, and the mind. It also isn’t reserved for women exclusively.
Harrolds is welcoming men’s skincare brand The Grey to our beauty and wellness vault. While costuming remains paramount, putting one’s best face forward (be it natural or painted), can transform the way we enter a room and model the outfittings we dress in. Founded by professional buyer Gregor Jaspers, The Grey fuses luxury fashion with accessible skin solutions, addressing prevalent issues like eczema and rosacea for men.
The Grey fuses luxury fashion with accessible skin solutions
What distinguishes skin from a midday touch-up or a spritz of fragrance is the ritualistic process of ‘going through the motions’ in the AM and PM. It’s a time to take stock and focus our consciousness towards a mirrored reflection (but really looking inwards). We pry our hands from ever-tethered devices, our bodies from desks and our minds from rampant racing, for a few minutes of tailored skincare.
From face creams to recovery serums, The Grey joins the ranks of tangible self-cultivation talismans on the Harrolds ‘Top Shelf’, like Tom Ford fragrances lipsticks and Creed perfumes. Here, Gregor talks us through his late-blooming fascination with skincare, the trajectory from fashion to face and emphasising the power of a routine.
Tell us the story of The Grey’s conception.
The how and when was during one of my buying trips in Milan. I was working as a buying director for a Dutch department store. During the buying season, I was living out of a suitcase, going from trade show to trade show. I remember sitting in my hotel room and looking at my wash-bag stuffed with all different skincare products (from high-end to pharmacy brands for both men and women), and still had the feeling I was missing certain products. I said to myself, ‘this should be easier’. I went out of the hotel to a well-known beauty retailer and tried to buy a simple, clean men’s skincare range. I realised there was no standout skincare brand made for men that focuses on skin improvement and maintenance. The idea of The Grey was born.
The Grey proposes a new direction for men’s skincare. What is this?
Most men’s brands on the market focus on grooming, which is not the same as skin improvement. We aim to supply a complete range of easy-to-use products that will actually help improve your skin quality and address skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. We want to encourage our customers to embrace the next level of skincare, where you can actually see results and progress.
What makes your products exclusively developed for men?
Men have a different approach to skincare and a different way of using skincare. Most men don’t want to have an extensive skincare regime of eight steps, preferring just 1 or 2 products is max. If the guy only wants to use two products ,we need to make them as multitasking and perfect as possible. For example, our charcoal face wash also contains ingredients to prepare the beard hairs for shaving and our 3-in-1 face cream is a day/night and eye cream, packed with the best and most active ingredients we could find. Basically, we try to make our products as multitasking as possible.
How did The Grey and Harrolds collide?
When I started to create The Grey, I had a wishlist of A+ retailers in the world such as Apropos in Germany, Browns in London, Barneys in New York and Harrolds in Australia. Teaming up with our sales agent in London, we made it happen. I remember seeing the appointment schedule during the first trade show we did in Paris, and Harrolds was on the list. I was so happy. One and a half years later we made it happen. All good things take time, after all.
Walk us through some of the key natural ingredients in your range.
Skincare ingredients are not the star player in a product. It’s all about the formulation and combination of ingredients that make a cream or serum effective. We love to combine “old fashioned”, natural and next-generation ingredients together, crafting well-balanced formulations for better skin results. That said, we have an amazing range of different natural ingredients like Brown Algae (also known as Golden Seaweed), natural charcoal, Squalane, Grape Seed Oil, Sea Fennel and many more.
What inspired or impacted the design sensibilities for The Grey?
The inspirations for the minimalistic packaging, artwork and images were born out of my love for the work of Irving Penn. He did some amazing beauty campaigns in the early 80’s that really moved me. The minimalistic packaging and font use comes from old Chanel cologne and eau de toilette campaigns.
How does The Grey differ from other men’s skincare brands on the market?
The big difference is that we really want to emphasise skin improvement and healthy skin. This is done by making great skincare products, but also encouraging their use in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. We promote this through our supplements range, built on the idea of beauty from the inside. We also advocate a healthy and balanced way of living, communicating health tips, mental health tips and beauty via our website and newsletters. It’s a holistic approach for great skin and a healthy life.
What’s your current winter skincare regime for:
AM – Morning winter regime is charcoal face wash for deep cleansing, which I apply under the running shower. When I get out, I put eight drops of self tanning serum on a still-warm and damp face. (I need some tan as I have really pale skin. And if you put it on a damp face, it locks in the moisture.) Then, I use the comfort+ face cream as I have dry, winter skin due to central office heating. I finish with SPF (my Holy Grail).
PM – My ideal (and a bit more extensive) evening routine is a charcoal face wash to clean away all of the dirt from the day. Then, I use our exfoliating toning pads to exfoliate my skin and renew the top layer. The last step is applying our overnight sleeping mask after the acid in the toning pads opens up my pores. This allows the mask to penetrate even deeper into the skin, having a greater, glowing effect when you wake up the next morning.
You’ve just finished your morning regime. What are you wearing to work this week?
Coming from the fashion industry, I love style. I’m quite minimal when it comes to my own sense of fashion, wearing mostly jeans (preferably Acne) and a sweater (my favorite at the moment is the Amiri black logo sweater) during the week. New shoes of the season are my Bottega with the big gummy sole.
And how about off-duty wear?
Off-duty is similar. I’ll change my shoes to sneakers, or I’ll top my jeans with a cashmere crewneck and put on my Amiri ankle boots for going out to dinner.