JOHNNY… BE GOOD By Belinda Morris
“There’s so much out there – how do you choose?” was the first response I got when handing over a couple of grooming products to tester No1 (aged 21, bearded). Well, it wasn’t always the case buddy; count yourself lucky. He’s got a point though – there’s definitely bucket-loads of hair stuff, beard stuff, face stuff… to pick through and at every price level.
Ok, so here’s a new one that I think stands out. For a start off, the name: Johnny’s Chop Shop Barbers. What’s not to like about that? And products called Wild Cat Hair Clay, Trigger Happy (a texturizing spray), Hobo Hair, Born Lucky Shampoo, Hell Gel… you gotta love it really.
Then there’s the heritage. This born-in-Britain brand, referencing vintage Americana, is the brainchild of Steven Ross (the man behind Tommy Guns salons) who launched a salon in Top Man Oxford Circus in 2014 and followed it up this year with a standalone flagship barbers shop off Carnaby Street. And the just-launched grooming range (created with cosmetic biz entrepreneur Miles Dunkley), is about big impact at low (well, reasonable) prices – the 11-strong product range is priced between £5 and £7.50 and is available at Boots (in-store and at boots.com).
Interestingly (to me anyway) all three testers tentatively sniff the products first. The Beard Oil is declared ‘lovely’ – that will be the sweet almond oil, but in fact the nourishing oil (which is rich in vitamins and antioxidants) has just the subtlest of aromas (so no fighting with after shave).
The Hair Clay also passes the sniff test, and importantly, does what it says on the tin and gives a strong hold while protecting and conditioning (crucial for tester No2, 23, a surfer). He admits to being a bit of a slouch on the moisturiser front (tsk, naughty, all that sea water…), so has promised to use Soul Balm – comforting for thirsty skin but not over-heavy or ‘claggy’.
Gliding High Grooming Cream (for a ‘laid-back look with a touch of polish’) is ideal for No1, who doesn’t want ‘that spiky thing’. Tester No3 (just a tad older…) has the sort of thick hair that is apt to do its own thing, so a bit of extra hold is a good thing. Step forward Hell Gel – it sculpts and controls frizz and has aloe vera and Pro Vitamin B for extra moisture. Then Born Lucky Shampoo with a Shot of Conditioner, finishes the nurturing job by deep cleaning, smoothing and eliminating fluff. Job done.