The History of Men’s Grooming

The History of Men’s Grooming

Dec 02, 2021MISTR

‘Blokes have come a long with regards to their grooming habits’ is about as thudding an understatement as we can muster about men’s skincare. We do it, we have done it and we will continue to do it.

MISTR was born from a desire to provide everyone with the proper tools to take of themselves, no matter the budget, proficiency or knowledge of said skincare and its complex jargon. While men’s skincare may seem like a relatively new concept to the uninitiated, the history of men’s grooming predates MISTR by a good couple centuries. Self-care and grooming is ancient history, in that it has been intrinsically linked to human culture since the age of Pharos. If they did, why shouldn’t we?

To catch you up, here is a brief history of men’s grooming.


Men’s grooming can be traced back to as early as 10,000 BC. Ancient Egyptians had a love for the Aloe Vera plant, as well as bathing milks, oil fragrances, and kohl. The Egyptians smothered themselves in strong fragranced oils in attempt to cover body odour. Popular fragrances included ingredients such as lavender, lily, peppermint, rosemary, rose, aloe, and chamomile just to name a few. These ingredients have stood the test of time and are present in many oil fragrances today.


The Romans encouraged overall cleanliness by establishing private and communal baths. With a passion for warm water and steam, the Roman’s approach to men’s skincare was removing impurities from beneath the skin. They took inspiration from the Egyptians that came before them by using oil-based scents to dilute the baths. The men of the Roman Empire were among the first to experience with hair dyes, blonde was the most popular colour and was applied in an attempt to make them look more youthful. However, the dyes they used in 100AD were usually so harsh, that a large percentage of men ended up losing their hair completely.


The dominance of the church and the fall of the Roman Empire saw the advancement of men’s grooming plateau, with the early church labelling male grooming as ‘the devil’s work’.

In the Victorian era, men started to grow their facial hair to complement their shorter hair styles that were popular during that period. This led to the demand for products including beard waxes, dyes, and oils to keep their facial hair in shape. This was the era that male grooming products became accessible to the masses.


With the inception of Hollywood came the rise of celebrity icons with perfect, sleek hair, and cleanly shaven faces. The everyday man started to take more interest in how he looked, and the fragrance industry came to life. The first safety razor by Gillette was introduced in the 1990’s, making shaving at home a safe and enjoyable experience.

It was in the 1960’s that the popularity of men’s grooming became more prominent, as the ‘Mad Men’ style (known for its slicked back, and side parted hair styles) became widespread. It was also the era of iconic hairstyles through pop culture icons such as Elvis Presley and Fred Astaire.


The male grooming industry has evolved greatly due to the advancements of science and technology. The revolution of the metrosexual man has continued to raise the profile of men’s grooming, allowing men to proudly create grooming routines.

A men’s grooming kit can now be filled with vast range of products too: pre-shave oils, shaving creams, shaving balms, moisturising creams, anti-ageing products, hair pomades, and gels, shampoos, conditioners, the list is literally endless. This vast list also underlines just how valuable the influences of the past have been on today’s grooming phenomenon.


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