Seb Man – Hair Care For Undefinable Men
A review of the range of hair care products by new brand Seb Man, who's positive messaging around masculinity is highly refreshing.
Here’s some common misconceptions about men and grooming:
- We don’t give a shit about grooming.
- We are embarrassed by grooming.
- We only use what’s given to us at Xmas by our mothers or partners who fulfil the mother role because we’re just helpless little boys really.
Having worked for nearly 20 years in men’s magazines I can tell you right now that this has all changed. Also, it’s really insulting.
What I can see everywhere – including in my Yorkshire dad’s bathroom shelf – is men using grooming products, assessing what works and what doesn’t for them, and making educated judgements on what will most efficiently and satisfactorily present the version of themselves that brings them comfort and confidence.
A truism about men and grooming is that men stick to a formula once they have it. You find a methodology – e.g. exfoliate, moisturise, shave every other day, balls once a week, clay for hair, after shave for Friday nights – and a brand that works for you, and that’s you done, for months, maybe even years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, is the thought. Which isn’t the same as not caring.
As such, it can be exciting for men when you get into A New Thing. Because you can suddenly drop everything else and really get into it, it’s like a shedding of an old self and the adoption of a new one.
This is what happened to me with new grooming range Seb Man. I’ve been holding off writing about their products for weeks now, half fascinated by my own commitment to them, wondering how far I’ll go; will I eventually just start eating their pomade?
I think it did start with the pomade. They’ve called it The Dandy, and it’s the first pomade I’ve used that doesn’t stink so bad that you feel like Abe Simpson when you put it on. No their pomade smells fruity and fresh and is kind of light, not some greasy spitball that you smear across your forelocks. As someone whose hair grows at a frighteningly fast rate, like it’s trying to escape the deranged thoughts running through my mind, the pomade is great because it works on any hair length, so I’m not left with that problem you have with paste or clay when you hair grows long: it looks like you’ve got chewing gum stuck in it.
I was pleased with the pomade. It solved my minor anxieties and smelt nice. Not sure if that’s a particularly marketable quote for a poster but that’s the truth and what more does a man want from a hair product?
Well, to take issue with myself: quite a lot more. As we’re continually pointing out at The Book of Man, brands these days have to give out messaging that supports a new vision of men. There has to be a responsibility in the way they depict men that isn’t about the old clichés of being a man, an impenetrable vision of an immaculate chump stood on a mountain top. With Seb Man it’s all about showing the possibilities of men, where you can be anything, and everything: a worker, a father, a skateboarder, a photographer, a beekeeper, a husband, whatever you want, and all at the same time. Life isn’t about just doing one thing anymore, which is usually being concentrated on your career. Now the lid of the Man Box has been blown off, and we can be anything we want.
This is in theory of course. There are a lot of social restrictions built upon old stereotypes that have to be broken down, but certainly it’s in the air for men to be respected as fathers and responsible citizens and thinkers rather than just for earning a load of money in a 24/7 job. For me personally, it means I have built plenty of family time into every day. My workload will always be heavy, it will never not be there, I will never have completed all the work – but by managing the work so can be put entirely aside for the moments reserved for my good people, it leads to a better sense of enjoying the now, of enjoying life.
This here is a picture of me and my son. The only frame in this session where he’s not pulling a moonie. He’s a smart kid, he knows not to overdo it with the old Father is God thing. That’s what I tell myself anyway as he’s dissecting my arguments in favour of going to bed with casual ease.
Anyway, it’s nice to feel you can be celebratory about fatherhood, and not vaguely ashamed and feeling like you have to put on the old Crap Dad persona to apologise for it. I want to be a Good Dad, end of.
With such things in mind it’s important to use products which fit in with your ethics and world view, as well as being good products in themselves.
I found that with Seb Man, the idea of being undefinable. My other favourite products in the range are The Purist and The Smoother, shampoo and conditioner respectively. As a man with hair with burgeoning streaks of grey, this stuff puts that unnerving wiry matter back in its place. And as the founder of The Book of Man I like anything with using the definite article. Also, as a 90s kid I like anything with an insouciant grungey feel to it, which I get from Seb’s design and ads. In fact, as I was refreshing myself with their products as I formulated this piece, I made a playlist for them.
OK, that’s a weird thing to do, but like I said, once men are into something, we’re all in.
Below is my personal pick of the best of the range. Get involved. Good brand. With The Right Stuff.
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