Saving Face: Grooming Concoctions to Love 

written by BRENNA NEEDHAM | photography courtesy of THE HAIRY GENTLEMAN

LET’S FACE IT: facial hair can be sexy. It can also be rough and itchy, which often counteracts the attraction we tend to have for the scruffy men we adore. Such was the case for one Northside couple who fixed that issue and merged their passions into a booming business. To shave or not to shave is no longer the question. Beards are back, but now it’s all about maintenance.

Meet Mitchell and Jenny Brown, CEOs and creators of The Hairy Gentleman, a grooming goods company they started from the ground up — make that, the kitchen out — in Smyrna, Ga. It started, as you might guess, with Mitchell’s manly mop. Lucky for him, and anyone else who has tried their products, Jenny tapped into an uncanny talent as a make-shift scientist surrounded by vials of essential oils. 

“I got into essential oils because of sleep issues. My aunt was a registered nurse for 32 years and when she told me about oils, knowing her medical background, it made me more comfortable to use them,” Jenny said.

“I used tea tree, lavender and peppermint together and when I started seeing the results, I went crazy and bought a bunch,” she said. When Mitchell’s beard started irritating his skin, his wife — now fully rested and ready  to take on the world — started tinkering. 

“Working with oils is self-taught,” Jenny said, adding that a lot of trial and error, not to mention research, is involved. “I have fun experimenting with the oils and learning how they work differently for everyone.”

For Mitchell, it worked wonders. After rave reviews from friends about their homemade products, the creative duo decided to take their idea to the next level. Mitchell’s background in marketing and graphic design combined with Jenny’s knowledge and skill took them from husband and wife to business partners. As The Hairy Gentleman (THG) has grown, it has become a one-stop shop for styling needs.

“We think the well-groomed scene is coming back as more and more barber shops continue to pop up around Atlanta,” Mitchell said. “Since its release seven months ago, I’ve been using our [beard oil] scent The Merchant, made with cinnamon, wild orange, lemon and grapefruit.” The full concoction includes essential oils along with almond, jojoba and Vitamin E.

“I’ll use the beard wash in the shower, then use the oil for moisturizing, softening and treating any irritation on the skin,” he added. He follows up with the balm, which shares the same benefits but has Shea butter and beeswax to help shape, mold and bring wild hairs under control.

Don’t let their namesake fool you, though, as we’d be telling a little white lie if we said we didn’t know women who’ve hijacked the shaving cream to pamper their legs. The versatility of THG products allows for use beyond the beard — and that’s where we come in, ladies. Their shaving cream produces silky smooth legs without the burning sensation that sometimes follows other shave creams.

A lot of us, myself included, don’t take into consideration the ingredients associated with our styling and skin care regimen. THG products are alcohol free and 100-percent organic with therapeutic grade essential oils used not only for their scents but also for the moisturizing benefits. The shaving cream is made with purified water, castille soap, vegetable glycerin, aloe vera, almond oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, melaleuca oil (which is more commonly known as tea tree oil) and lemongrass oil.

The rest of the current lineup includes the five beard scents — The Artisan, The Merchant, The Innovator, The Craftsman and The Pathfinder, all used in both oils and balms — as well as bug spray, mustache wax and hair pomade.

Offering healthful alternatives to convenience store staples has led to their success. That, and their endless efforts at local farmers markets and festivals. In fact, you can catch the couple at THG’s booth at many of the upcoming spring festivals like the Inman Park Festival held on April 29 and 30, where you’ll also find promotional giveaways and beard contests. In the past, customers scored T-shirts and koozies, so stay tuned for what Mitch and Jenny will think of for 2017.

Can’t wait to run out and buy some? Me neither. THG can now be found in various shops across 15 different states stretching to Los Angeles, Calif. Around Atlanta, you can snag their products in various boutiques and barber shops in the Ponce de Leon and Inman Park areas. They were featured at both Scoutmob’s Hand-picked Atlanta Holiday Maker’s Market and Indie Craft Experience (ICE) Holiday Pop-Up Shop last year. For Northsiders, head over to Sis & Moon’s in Alpharetta to grab your own THG products.

The duo said that in the future, they may consider expanding their business with products like shampoo, conditioner and deodorant, but for now, they are thrilled with the level of success THG has already reached, including their bug spray. “My wife had been making bug spray for a long time and eventually we decided to sell the spray to provide something more for people without beards,” Mitchell said. “It was cool because customers would come up to us at festivals and share how they used it for themselves and their kids, so it was a fun item to add outside of the beard world.”

With an authentic spin on styling and grooming, The Hairy Gentleman makes routine practices healthier and certainly a lot sexier.