There's a quiet revolution brewing.
It used to be that men didn't care about what they used for their skin or hair. But realising that first impressions count (in securing a business contract as much as charming the waitress) let me assure you that guys are starting to give a damn.
Looking good matters, and looking good is big business. Yet as the grooming giants are starting to cash in on this growing interest in "male maintenance", the sad truth is that many guys are being sold cheap chemically-laced products that merely strip away all the good stuff together with the bad; and all for a hefty price. That's where Mmerci Encore
With a name that means "Thank you again" in French, it's all about looking after yourself with raw and organically-sourced products tailored to your specific needs. Founded and created by former Harper's Bazaar
Beauty Editor, Alli Sim, it's devoid of all that paint-stripping junk and is individually handmade in small batches. It's not just for spa-loving hipsters but for any man who appreciates quality and the luxury of bespoke products.
In the same way that a suit off the rack will never compare to a suit tailored to your specifications, the same applies to the stuff you throw on your skin. The proof is in the pudding. Open up a jar from Mmerci Encore
and you'll be sold.
To order products from Mmerci Encore, email Alli at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What was your inspiration for starting Mmerci Encore?
Someone came into my life and taught me the importance of savoring the little things and appreciating the present. Naturally, I needed a spot to curate and hoard all the little, intangible things that made me happy and grateful to be alive -that evolved into the online journal (www.mmerciencore.com
) and later, other creative things started coming out of the project, such as the Aromatherapie Atelier.
What is the ethos behind Mmerci Encore and how is it different from other brands in the market?
These are hand-crafted artisinal grooming preparations, made with passion in small batches. Raw ingredients are organic where possible; botanicals gathered on roadtrips to farms outside of Melbourne or the herboristories of Paris. Each bottle throbs with the life force of these plants and take several hours to craft. I create products inspired by my three great joys in life: travel, and the daily rituals of sleeping & bathing. Zero preservatives and no wanky marketing copy that no one understands.
It's even a little wabi-sabi, a little rough around the edges; for example, sometimes my handwritten labels have typos which I've crossed out. All that energy and precision is saved for what goes in the jars, and to making these made-to-measure preparations help you feel and look amazing.
If you want to pay $89 for a travel serum that contains about $4 worth of ingredients dispensed into a tube by a robot in a factory, there are tons of options out there. This isn't one of them.
One of your signature products is the bespoke bodyscrub. What is the benefit of this scrub and why should men use it?
I've crashed at your place. You use hotel shampoo stashed from your business trips and grab whatever
from the aisles at the supermarket because the footy match on telly is about to start. But life's too short for skin products that smell synthetically fresh and fruity like dishwashing liquid. The grooming products found in the pharmacy are full of chemicals used to make your skin feel squeaky clean, but in the process, they're actually drying your skin out and turning it into a leathery hide in the long term.
So the Mmerci Encore scrubs help exfoliate the dead skin off to make it look brighter and feel softer. And thanks to the benefits of the aromatherapy oils, you can customise your scrub to help combat jetlag, or wake you up for a long day ahead. It only takes five minutes but it will leave you feeling and looking that bit fresher and more invigorated.
What are your thoughts on the male market for spa-related / grooming products at the moment?
It's like marketers got a sample of men aged 21 to 45 in a focus group and suddenly decided that grooming products had to be blue or black in packaging, with sporty citrus or fresh 'aquatic' scents. What about the man who appreciates quality and wants products tailored to his specific needs?
Mmerci Encore is for confident and independent men who don't want to smell like everyone else and who actually care about what goes into their products. And as a bonus, it comes wrapped up in anonymous yet luxe packaging.
In your opinion, how is a man’s approach to spa-related products different to a woman’s?
I can't speak for all women, but everyone understands the concept of maintenance. You have to see the time you spend in the shower as that five minute ritual where you can escape from all your responsibilities. That five minutes is as good as being on a cliff watching the sun rise. You can't shower with your Blackberry because you're (hopefully) out of reach - physically and metaphorically - washing away all the stresses of daily life, unwinding and recharging. There's something cool about that.
Also, get it out of your head that spa-related products are for chicks, or that spa-related products have to mean applying something onto the body. It can even mean burning a pure essential oil to calm you down before sleep.
What is your advice to men who want to look their best?
Easy on the beer, and give a damn about what you put on your skin. Girls who use your bathroom are judging.
Photography by Simon Sim