Style » Grooming

September Grooming Guide: Serving Good Face

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Tuesday Sep 6, 2011

September often has an elegiac connotation - the end of vacation, the loss of freedom and innocence - and yet after this summer's cavalcade of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, cyclones, and beastly heat, more than a few of us are anticipating a season where we're not at war with weather.

Furthermore, as everyone who saw "The September Issue" knows, September is the month that matters. September is all about Fashion Week, Broadway openings, film premieres, new restaurants - which means that you'll be out there serving good face.

Freshen up your fall with some new product - and serve it up right.


Zensation: Ultra Silky Rose Exfoliating Cream

This past summer, we climbed the highest point above Zurich, Switzerland, a lushly green fertile mountain called Pfannenstiel. The Alpine air was so clear and fresh, so blissfully inebriating, that we nearly lost our balance and fell off the mountaintop. Once our heads cleared, we breathed in deeply - and suddenly we realized why it is that the Swiss have such creamy, clean skin.

Of course, fresh air isn’t the only thing our skin needs - and especially at the end of a long, hot summer. As lovely as summer is, you have to admit, the heat and the sun and the SPF (as well as the stress of housemates and hurricanes at your summer share) can take a toll on your pores.

Zensation is an anti-stress skincare line from Switzerland that uses Swiss Alpine plant and fruit extracts to help slow down the signs of aging. Completely manufactured in Switzerland under pharmaceutical conditions, Zensation is infused with essential oils - and without any harmful preservatives, colorants, alcohol, mineral oil, or parabens.

Say goodbye to your tired, summer skin - and welcome in your autumn face with Zensation’s Ultra Silky Rose Exfoliating Cream. Formulated with sunflower seed oil, lavender, shea butter, soybean oil, and rose flower extract, this silky soft cream cleanses your face with finely-ground rosa mosqueta seeds (loaded with vitamin C) that gently exfoliate your skin. Zensation’s Ultra Silky Rose Exfoliating Cream sloughs away dead skin cells and impurities that clog your pores.

During the weekend, when you’re not rushing to the office, you can use this lavender-infused emollient as a regenerating cream by leaving a thick layer on your clean face for 7-10 minutes (just don’t answer the door during that time).

Zensation’s skincare products rehydrate your skin, while gradually minimizing wrinkles (not that you have any of those, not if you’re using Swiss products, anyway). The result is skin so radiant and refreshed that people might ask if you’ve gone to Switzerland for "the treatment." Tell them to call you Heidi.

PRICE: $50.00 for 50g / 1.70
LINK: Zensation Ultra Silky Rose Exfoliating Cream


TAY Clean and Pure: Cucumber Day Moisturizer with Mango Butter

Who doesn’t love a good cucumber? Such a versatile vegetable. You can skin it; you can eat it - you can use it all over your face.

And think of all the hangovers you endured by the pool this summer with cucumber eyes. But sometimes cucumbers aren’t readily available; sometimes the produce stands are stripped bare of cucumbers. (Trust me - it happened in the run-up to Irene in Manhattan. No cukes for sale; everyone stayed home that Saturday night to put on a pretty face.) What you need in situations like that is TAY Clean and Pure: Cucumber Day Moisturizer with Mango Butter.

Rich in vitamins A, D, and E, TAY Clean and Pure: Cucumber Day Moisturizer contains mushroom extracts to protect your pores against environmental stress, as well as mango butter for long-term hydration - and, of course, cucumber fruit extract, which is both calming and restorative.

As a beauty industry veteran, TAY’s founder, Sarah Tay, knew what she wanted (as well as what she didn’t) when she started her own skincare line. Utilizing fair-trade sources, TAY’s blends are cruelty-free and vegan-certified - and manufactured in wind-powered facilities.

But what you’ll probably first fall in love with are TAY’s unique wooden bottles. Made from 100% renewable bamboo (and PET plastic), the sustainable bottles can be recycled - but it’s likely that you’ll wish to refill them with TAY’s refill pouch option. As you might know, bamboo thrives without fertilizer and uses very little water to grow as much as four feet in a day - and TAY works with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to plant orchards to help alleviate world hunger, while improving the environment.

So the next time you’re feeling the night before, reach for TAY Clean and Pure: Cucumber Day Moisturizer - and leave the cucumber for gazpacho.

PRICE: $68.00 / 1.7 fl oz / 50 ml
LINK: TAY Clean and Pure: Cucumber Day Moisturizer with Mango Butter


Alchimie Forever: Royal Cream Moisturizer

One of the joys of life is when you find a skincare line that seems to do everything right. Every product does what it promises and all of them agree with your skin. And just as with a newfound restaurant, you’re torn between keeping it to yourself (so that you’re the one in your posse with the most beautiful skin) - or telling every single person you’ve ever friended on Facebook.

Recently, we had the pleasure of meeting the CEO and co-founder of Alchimie Forever, the Swiss family-run company born from the Forever Laser Institut medical spa in Geneva, Switzerland - and we’re happy to report that this woman had the kind of skin you see on the cover of a magazine. Of course, this might be expected, given the Swiss family genes - and a 17-product skincare line packed with natural antioxidants. All four daughters of a biochemist and a dermatologist are in the family business, which became global in 2004. What was once a Swiss secret is now available to all skincare cognoscenti.

Our latest Alchimie Forever addiction is a lightweight moisturizer that’s perfect for when the air dries out a little and crackles with autumn. Alchimie Forever Royal Cream Moisturizer is a hydrating emollient fortified with basil, an herb that was highly regarded by the men of ancient Greece for its natural healing properties. In fact, the Greeks called basil the "herb of kings." News to us, but hey, as is so often the case, what worked for the Greeks works for us.

This nourishing moisturizer also goes by the catchy, subtitle "Lights On/Lights Off," which might be a subliminal reference to your bedroom habits - as well as how your skin will light up with this rejuvenating cream. Infused with grape seeds, jojoba, and vitamin E, Alchimie Forever Royal Cream Moisturizer regulates the production of sebum, while also repairing free radical damage.

Get in touch with your inner royal (yes, we know...) - and let the "herb of kings" and Alchimie Forever Royal Cream Moisturizer illuminate your autumn face.

PRICE: $55.00 / 3.3 fl. oz.
LINK: Alchimie Forever Royal Cream Moisturizer


Alighiero Campostrini @ C.O. Bigelow

As your mother reminded you time and again, wash your hands. And as we’ve been told repeatedly by the media and the medical establishment, washing our hands is one of the best (and easiest) ways of maintaining our health.

It’s been our experience that this little ritual is made easier when the soap is pleasing to the touch - and to the nose. Leave it to the Italians. Founded in Florence in 1894, Alighiero Campostrini has been creating luxurious, high-quality handmade soaps for more than a hundred years. Utilizing coveted formulas, as well as antique bronze molds that have remained in the company for generations, these soaps are formulated with beeswax, vegetable oils, and glycerin - and then infused with aromatic scents.

Inspired by the indigenous fragrances of Tuscany, the Tuscany Collection includes a mesmerizing Tobacco Flowers Mint bar that is as bracing as it is as evocative of a Tuscan escape.

The truly deluxe Giaterra Black Soap has hints of oak, leather, and tobacco, and is nearly as dark as your favorite African-American fantasy. This is the soap you use when you’re not showering alone. This is the soap that begs to be shared in a large bath, on vacation, on a private isle - or at least you can pretend that’s what’s happening when you lather his back.

For the first time, Alighiero Campostrini soaps are now available stateside - exclusively at C.O. Bigelow. Established in 1838 in New York’s Greenwich Village, C.O. Bigelow is the oldest apothecary in the United States - and, therefore, a fitting venue for Alighiero Campostrini products.

Perfect for gifts, each bar of Alighiero Campostrini soap is housed in a hand-crafted keepsake box with illustrations by Italian artist Giorgio Mattioli dating back to the late 19th century.

With soaps like these, you’ll enjoy washing more than just your hands.

PRICE: $9.00 - $24.00 / 5.3 oz. - 8.8 oz. bar
LINK: Alighiero Campostrini @ C.O. Bigelow


Susanne Kaufmann: St. John’s Wort Bath

Throughout the build-up to Hurricane Irene, we gazed into our filled bathtub - and thought about how long it had been since we’d last taken a bath.

So many of us have let go of the simple joys of a leisurely bath. Showers dominate our lives, which is a shame, because there’s a great deal of pleasure to be derived from soaking in a tub of hot water.

When Susanne Kaufmann was 23, she took over the Hotel Post in Bezau, Austria, one of Europe’s best spa hotels - and in 2003, Kaufmann opened the spa that bears her name, offering a variety of organic treatments that utilize her own line of products. Comprised of plant-derived ingredients that have been collected in the wild or cultivated organically, Kaufmann’s line of skincare products are formulated in a small workshop in the Bregenz Forest.

Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath is a jar full of delicate bath crystals that completely dissolve in the water to nourish the skin and relieve the effects of stress, dryness, and sunburn. The pleasant Alpine scent transports you to the peacefulness of the Alps, while the herbal extracts and botanical essences render your skin as velvety soft as moss on a stone.

While Kaufmann is the fifth generation of her family to own the Hotel Post, her extraordinary vision has helped to make the establishment a world-class spa. If you can’t manage to trip to Austria, treat yourself to the next best thing - and sink into a tub of deep relaxation with Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath.

PRICE: 7 € / 50 g
LINK: Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath


Caswell-Massey: Eucalyptus Shave Soap in a Wooden Bowl

In the classic films that so many of us desire to emulate (and no, we’re not talking "Mommie, Dearest"), there was sometimes a scene where a debonair gentleman attended to his morning toilette with a shaving brush, shave soap, and a sterling silver blade. If you witnessed Cary Grant or Gary Cooper or Rock Hudson shaving on celluloid, it’s possible that you imagined shaving to be a pleasant morning ritual.

That was before the disposable razor robbed you of all illusions.

Given how much time we spend scraping our face, shouldn’t we at least attempt to enjoy it? Founded in Newport in 1752, Caswell-Massey has been grooming gentlemen for more than two centuries. Recently, this classic American company relaunched their signature collection, with all-natural men’s products in three distinctive fragrances: almond, sandalwood, and eucalyptus.

Caswell-Massey Eucalyptus Shave Soap is triple-milled and enriched with palm and coconut oils for a moisturizing, non-irritating shave with a thick lather. Infused with revitalizing and refreshing eucalyptus oil, this organic, all-vegetable shaving soap comes in its own solid monkey pod wood bowl with top, which makes it perfect for a host gift - as well as your own celluloid bathroom fantasies.

This season, give in to the pleasure of shaving; after all, the more time you spend shaving, the more you’re looking at your lovely mug. And we know how much you love that.

Made in America for more than 259 years, Caswell-Massey products are available at fine retailers around the world. For more information about Caswell-Massey, visit

PRICE: $22.00 / 3.3 oz. soap with wooden bowl $12.00 / 3.3 oz. soap refill
LINK: Caswell-Massey Eucalyptus Shave Soap in a Wooden Bowl


A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


Add New Comment

Comments on Facebook