The 2011 Esquire Men's Grooming Awards


Every year since 2006, I've gone through hundreds of gels, creams, and even talcs — all in search of the best new products for men. Yeah, it fills my shower. But not as much as the idea of helping you fills my heart.

Old Spice Fiji
Photo: Procter & Gamble

Old Spice Fiji

Body spray is a silly thing — an invitation to wear too much cologne. But as a deodorant, Old Spice Fiji is great. The mist seems to come out lighter than most spray deodorants, so application doesn't envelop you in a cough-inducing cloud. And it smells fantastic, like falling asleep in the woods next to a stack of pears, using a dryer sheet for a blanket.

More from

25 Sexy Dating Rules for the Modern Gentleman

The Best New Clothes to Grab Now

Nivea Freeze Wash & Shave Gel
Photo: Beiersdorf

Nivea Freeze Wash & Shave Gel

When I travel, I always forget something. Usually it's my shaving cream. In the past, I've just shaved with conditioner (or, once, olive oil), which works but leaves my skin slightly irritated. Nivea's Freeze Wash & Shave Gel ($5; solves that problem, since it can be used as both a face wash (with invigorating menthol) and a simple shaving cream. As long as I don't forget it, too.

Lab Series Shave Cream
Photo: Lab Series

Lab Series Shave Cream

Lab Series Shave Cream ($22; isn't so much a cream as it is a whip. It comes in a big tub and is the consistency of soft-serve, giving it enough viscosity to stay on your face but not enough to clog your blade.

Art of Shaving Preshave Gel
Photo: Procter & Gamble

Art of Shaving Preshave Gel

Art of Shaving's Preshave Gel ($22; is, as its name might suggest, a gel, not an oil. Which means it's lighter, suitable for more skin types than most preshave oils, and won't feel like you're spreading 10W-30 on your face. Plus, as all good things do, it smells like lavender.

Tigi Catwalk Styling Cream
Photo: TIGI

Tigi Catwalk Styling Cream

If you have short hair, Tigi Catwalk Styling Cream ($17; creates separation and provides shape without the usual stickiness. Plus, it's soft enough to work through longer hair, almost like a grooming cream. Otherwise, in terms of value, there's nothing better than Suave Styling Paste. Although it says it's a matte finish, the oils in it give your hair just the right amount of shine.

Redken Liquid Pomade
Photo: L'Oréal Group

Redken Liquid Pomade

Redken Liquid Pomade ($16; is much easier to apply than its Vaseline-like brethren, which makes it perfect for hair that's longer than a few inches. It's not runny or greasy, and it distributes easily and evenly to weigh down your hair and give you the slightest bit of hold.

Kérastase Homme Capital Force
Sculpting Fixing Gel
Photo: L'Oreal

Kérastase Homme Capital Force Sculpting Fixing Gel

If you want that slick gel finish (maybe you're a Baldwin), Kérastase Homme Capital Force Sculpting Fixing Gel ($30; will give it to you without turning your hair into a flak helmet.

L'Bel Homme Aftershave Lotion
Photo: Belcorp

L'Bel Homme Aftershave Lotion

L'Bel Homme Aftershave Lotion ($20 for 3.4 oz; doesn't have the stickiness that bothers me in a lot of aftershaves. Instead it feels soft and soothing, almost like a regular moisturizer.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
Photo: L'Oréal Group

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

For an everyday moisturizer, I found nothing better than Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream ($25; It's light — more of a serum than a cream — and sinks instantly into your skin. The only downside that I could find was that it doesn't have a built-in SPF, which, by this point, all moisturizers should. As an alternative, I also recommend Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion, which has SPF 20.

Voyage d'Hermès
Photo: The Hermès Group

Voyage d'Hermès

if you can deal with the price tag, Voyage d'Hermès ($60; will be the best-smelling thing in your shower. Also, it's from Axe, but if you can get over the marketing, the new Cool Metal Shower Gel is quite good. And cheap. It's nice and light, lathers well, and rinses away easily. Plus, it's cooling, which may not actually do much, but feels nice.

Kyoku Fire Body Scrub
Photo:Kyoku for Men

Kyoku Fire Body Scrub

When it comes to body scrubs, I don't like large granules. They're too irritating. Which is why I love Kyoku's Fire Body Scrub ($23; The abrasive bits are large enough to scrub effectively, but small enough that they don't draw blood. And it smells a little like crushed Red Hots, which, for me, is a good thing. If you like harsher scrubs, Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub ($35; is thick and heavy and makes you feel really clean. Or for something very gentle, try Billy Jealousy Salad Days. The name is the only part you won't like.

Sheamoisture Three Butters
Utility Soap
Photo: Sundial Brands LLC,

Sheamoisture Three Butters Utility Soap

I'm not much for bar soap anymore, but the usefulness of something like Sheamoisture's Three Butters Utility Soap ($5; — which can be used to wash your body and hair, and to shave your face — really impressed me. If nothing else, it's something to toss in your gym bag.

View photo

Dr. Lewinn HydraBalance
Foaming Cleanser
Photo: Kinerase

Dr. Lewinn HydraBalance Foaming Cleanser

I have no idea who Dr. Lewinn is, but he makes a great face wash ($10 for 5 oz; The best I found.

Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense
Photo: Prada

Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense

I test every cologne against my all-time favorite, Creed Silver Mountain Water. It smells the way Swiss people must after they spend a weekend in the forest. The only new cologne that challenged it was Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense ($75;, with a spicy bite that makes it perfect for special occasions. Great bottle, and compared with what you'll pay for Creed, quite a deal.

More from Esquire:

75 Movies Every Man Should See

What to Wear to Work

75 Things to Do Before You Die

Important Things Men Don't Know About Women

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • The internet is now officially obsessed with Ryan Gosling’s sister, Mandi Gosling

      It’s no surprise that all eyes were on Ryan Gosling at the 2017 Oscars this past Sunday. But apparently there’s someone else…

      Hello Giggles
    • An American man who claims to be the rightful King of England is demanding his throne

      LONDON — A man from the US has taken out a giant ad in The Times claiming to be the rightful King of England. Allan V. Evans from Colorado, US, says that he is a descendant of a royal Welsh line from the 3rd century. The ad, shown below in a tweet, says that Evans is "a direct descendant of an unbroken primogeniture line legally documented since the 3rd century in Great Britain and registered in the Royal College of Arms." It goes on to describe generations of lineage, starting with a claim that Evans is the descendant of Cunedda Wledig, the founder of the Kingdom of Wales. Evans is giving "legal notice" to all of his relatives, according to the ad, and in 30 days plans to claim his "royal historic

      Business Insider q
    • Kellyanne Conway White House Couch Controversy Highlights ‘Double Standard’

      Kellyanne Conway has responded to “couchgate.” After a photo with her feet tucked up underneath her on the couch in the Oval Office while the president met with the heads of the country’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) sent the Internet fully ablaze, the senior adviser to President Trump has offered up an explanation for her pose.

      Yahoo Style
    • St-Pierre to return to UFC with Bisping title bout

      Georges St-Pierre will return to the UFC with the middleweight title on the line, it has been confirmed.

    • Widow of Slain Navy SEAL in Tears as She Gets Standing Ovation at President Trump’s Speech

      The widow of a Navy SEAL killed in Yemen received a standing ovation and the biggest applause of the night during President Donald Trump‘s address to a join session of Congress on Tuesday. Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, had tears streaming down her face and looked to the sky as the president spoke about her husband, who was killed during a raid on al Qaeda militants in Yemen on Jan. 28. “We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens,” Trump said.

    • As Lyme disease spreads, young mom's death raises questions

      As concern grows over the spread of ticks that carry Lyme disease in the U.S., a young mom’s death is raising questions about whether the illness can be misdiagnosed. Claire Diss — a British woman whose family says her doctors thought she was suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) before she was diagnosed with Lyme disease — passed away on February 13. She was 35. “It is with a broken heart that I write Claire's final update,” her husband announced on Facebook, signing his name with Emilie, the couple’s 3-year-old daughter. “Wherever you are imagining Claire is right now, she is able to run, jump and show us that wonderful smile. She will be hugging Emilie and dancing around us all, q
    • The 'forgotten Kennedy' — Rosemary Kennedy — lived a real-life horror story

      The greatest tragedy of the Kennedy family was not the deaths of John or Robert — it was the horrific fate of their sister Rosemary. Take a minute to mentally prepare yourself for what you're about to read, because it's disturbing as hell. Ready? The odds were stacked against Rosemary literally from birth. According to Kate Clifford Larson's book Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, when her mother, Rose, went into labor on Sept. 13, 1918, the nurse on duty tried to stall her progress by forcing her knees closed because the doctor was with other patients and the nurse didn't want to deliver the baby herself, even though she was trained to do so. The baby was forced to remain in the birth canal

      SheKnows q
    • Massive debris pile emerges from water near troubled dam

      OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Crews worked Tuesday to clean up dirt and debris from the base of Oroville Dam and biologists rush to save stranded fish after state officials shut off the flow of water from a damaged spillway at the Northern California lake.

      Associated Press
    • Melania Trump’s $9,590 Sequined Skirt Suit Called ‘Inappropriate’ for Congress

      On Tuesday evening, President Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress — and first lady Melania Trump marked the occasion with a sequined black power suit, complete with a wide waist-defining black belt.

      Yahoo Style
    • Ryan Gosling’s Sister Almost Upstaged Him at the Oscars: What to Know About Their Tight Bond

      Good genes clearly run in the Gosling family. Ryan Gosling caused a stir on social media when he brought along a blond beauty as his date to the Oscars on Sunday rather than his longtime partner Eva Mendes. Not long after Twitter users began asking “Who is that?”, it was revealed that Ryan, like many other celebrities, had opted to bring a family member to the big night: his older sister, Mandi. Despite the 36-year-old actor’s film La La Land winning six awards, Mandi stole the spotlight from her Oscar-nominated sibling — thanks to her golden gown and good looks.

    • 'Dancing With the Stars' new cast revealed

      J.R. Martinez and pro dancer Karina Smirnoff were crowned "Dancing With the Stars" season 13 champions. Martinez, a U.S. Army veteran, became an inspiration to many after recovering from injuries suffered during his deployment to Iraq. He's now a motivational speaker, actor and author.

      CNN q
    • Kellyanne Conway on 'Couchgate': 'I obviously meant no disrespect'

      The Twittersphere lit up after a series of photos were released of President Donald Trump's adviser perched on her knees on an Oval Office couch with her feet behind her and her shoes on. Some photos show Conway leaning over to take a photo of leaders of historically black colleges and universities who had gathered in the Oval Office to meet with the president. The photos ignited a debate about decorum in the White House, and Conway's respect for the office of the president.

      Good Morning America
    • Who is buying that the Patriots are reportedly 'not expected' to trade Jimmy Garoppolo?

      Over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, general managers and/or head coaches from 29 of the NFL’s 32 teams (Washington, New Orleans and New England are the exceptions, at least according to the schedule the league circulated) are expected to be at a podium to discuss the draft and their respective teams. Jimmy Garoppolo is still holding a clipboard behind Tom Brady. In a move that will have a ripple effect on all QB-needy teams, Patriots are not expected to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo, per league sources.

      Shutdown Corner
    • What Donald Trump's love of well done steak says about him

      What someone orders in a restaurant says a lot about them, and so much has been made of the revelation that US President Donald Trump reportedly recently ordered a well done steak with ketchup when dining at the BLT Prime Steakhouse inside Trump Tower in Washington, DC. “I’ve never seen anyone put ketchup on a steak,” says Evans.

      The Independent
    • The 15 Most Delish Foods At Magic Kingdom (16 photos)

      There's more to The Happiest Place on Earth than Mickey pretzels (though they're pretty epic, TBH). From Delish

    • Casey Affleck Breaks Silence About Sexual Harassment Controversy

      The actor's victory on Sunday night was met with some criticism from those who felt Academy voters were overlooking unsavoury allegations from Affleck's past. In a new interview with the Boston Globe, the Massachusetts native finally addresses the controversy, which stems from accusations of sexual harassment levelled against him in 2010. Affleck has denied any wrongdoing, and the lawsuit, brought by two women who worked with him on the 2009 film I'm Still Here, was settled out of court.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Twitter Turns on CNN’s Van Jones After He Praises Trump: ‘How Dare You Normalize Him’

      Van Jones, the CNN political commentator and outspoken critic of President Trump, has come around to admiring POTUS and Twitter can’t believe it, making him a trending topic who is getting panned on social media.

      The Wrap
    • Extensive damage to Oroville Dam after stopping water flow

      Video shows extensive damage to Oroville Dam spillway after stopping the flow of water to clear out debris.

      ABC News Videos
    • Colorado Teen Allegedly Found with Rodeo Star Ex-Girlfriend’s Body After He Shot Her in the Head

      A Colorado teen allegedly found with the body of his ex-girlfriend in the back of his truck has pleaded not guilty to murdering her, PEOPLE confirms. Tanner Flores, 19, appeared in court in Larimer County, Colorado, on Thursday to enter a plea to his first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping charges, a Larimer District Attorney’s official tells PEOPLE. Investigators allege that Flores shot 18-year-old Ashley Doolittle in the head and then drove hundreds of miles with the rising rodeo star’s dead body.

    • 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 24 -- See the Official Cast Photos!

      See the first pics of all the celebrities and their pro partners ahead of the show's premiere March 20 on ABC.

      Entertainment Tonight