Just The Tonic
Emirates Man meets hairdressing guru Imad Khaireddin of Gentlemen’s Tonic, a brand at the forefront of the male grooming revolution.
How would you describe the brand ethos of Gentlemen’s Tonic?
We represent trendy men who like to take care of themselves, and we try to educate men who don’t look after their hair and skin enough. Habits that you form now will keep you looking younger for much longer.
How have attitudes among men changed towards grooming over the last decade?
There has been a massive shift. you see guys now who come for eyebrow threading – they claim their wives booked it for them! But then they come back again and again. Men used to just go and get a haircut. Now they are taking grooming a lot more seriously and it has evolved. You’re using a smartphone now – imagine going back to a phone of ten years ago? It’s the same with grooming.
What basic advice would you give a man who needs to get his personal grooming act together?
You should get a haircut once a month and use styling products that wash off easily. Shampoo your hair two to three times a week, to avoid oily hair. Then moisturiser is very important. You should moisturise your hands and face every day, especially in the Middle East where we spend a lot of time in air-conditioned environments. When you shave, be sure to prep carefully so as not to harm your skin. Use a pre-shave oil after showering and rinse your face with cold water. It’s all about preparation. A lot of guys shave first then jump in the shower. Wrong!
After shaving, all you have to do is splash cold water on your face, dry your skin and moisturise. That’s it. I also think it’s important to exfoliate your skin twice a week. You can use a facial scrub for this.
What advice would you give to men looking to find a hairstyle that suits them?
Find a good stylist. I always advise a client according to their face shape, their ears, the thickness of the hair and, of course, their age and lifestyle. It all depends how formal or casual they want to be with their look. You have to do a consultation with the client, and then give an informed opinion.
What is the current trend with beards?
At the moment the beard is very fashionable, but of course we don’t know how long that will be the case. Right now, the beard is in. Everything works in cycles. Clothing styles that were fashionable 40 years ago are coming back. And the most important thing? Lots of women love a beard. Girls like tough guys, and beards are manly. I suspect for most men, it is the woman who decides on the facial hair.
How should you maintain your beard?
There is a different signature for everyone. Every beard is different, from hair colour to thickness. I can’t give just one line of advice. With a beard, you must follow the wishes of the client. You can make changes to a small degree, but you can’t do anything drastic because a beard is what it is.
What hairstyles are in for men? Should we all be growing a man-bun?
The man-bun is a very Latin type of look, but I feel like it’s becoming less popular. The fashion now is a scissors cut, not too short back and sides, and a little rough on top. That’s the go-to stylish look right now. Then you have the shaved back and sides and the side-sweep on top. In London, my clients are quite formal and the styles reflect that, the looks tend to be conservative. The most important thing is to know what suits your face. If you have big ears, then avoid short back and sides. It’s common sense.
What skincare advice would you give to men in the UAE looking to protect themselves against the sun and the air-conditioning?
It just means it’s even more important to wash your face every day and moisturise every day as well. For your hair, always rinse out any product that you’ve used that day before you go to bed. And every time you use shampoo, make sure you use conditioner as well. Men out here are very conscious about their appearance and some guys go every week to the barber. But if you go regularly for shaves and haircuts, don’t just assume that’s your job done. Cleansing and exfoliating are a daily requirement.
What makes the Gentleman’s Tonic range stand out?
We use 100 per cent natural ingredients, designed specifically for men. All the packaging is recyclable – there are no synthetics. We have 26 products, but we try to make it easier for customers. You can buy a shower kit, for example, or a facial kit and shaving set.
Words: Robbie Greenfield