The 2023 GQ Grooming Awards
Toronto upstart Margin’s Active Moisturizer, for one, is billed as a “moisturizer-serum hybrid” and features a heady mix of glycerin, niacinamide, bakuchiol, and more to hydrate, protect, and enliven your skin all in one step. The Revival Anti-Aging Moisturizer by Pretty Boy similarly promises 6-in-1 uses in a simple, lightweight gel package, with a formula designed to help relieve everything from eczema to razor burn.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how to age as freakishly well into your 50s as recent GQ cover stars Pharrell Williams and Brad Pitt, you’re in luck: Both stars have their own highly-touted skincare lines with elite daily moisturizers. Pharrell’s Humanrace 7D Mystifying Gel Moisturizer uses hyaluronic acid and marine-derived extracts to firm things up and leave your face dewy, while The Cream from Pitt’s Le Domaine has a sumptuous texture and antioxidant-rich recipe for wrinkle reduction and deep nourishment.
The Best Face Sunscreens
Last step before you leave the house: slather on some SPF. We all know the importance of proper suncare—and it’s especially crucial if you’ve put certain ingredients like retinol on your face, which can increase sun sensitivity.
Our go-to facial sunscreen for everyday use over a moisturizer is Dune’s Mineral Melt SPF 30, a breezy mineral formulation that blends in weightlessly and imperceptibly. Or, if you’d prefer to get your sun protection on with your moisturizer, the Force Field SPF 30 by Ursa Major is as good as it gets: lightweight moisture, smooth application, dermatologist-approved SPF value.
The Best Night Creams
The eight hours you’re (hopefully) clocking every night is an excellent time for your skin to recharge and soak up some extra goodness. The Doctor Rogers Night Repair Treatment uses bakuchiol, glycolic acid, and sodium PCA to build up your face’s collagen supply, reverse sun damage, and generally help you wake up handsomer. If budget is no factor, though, you may want to splurge on the Supremÿa La Nuit anti-aging cream from Sisley, the old-school brand that beautiful French women have relied on for decades to preserve their youthful glow.
The Best Acne Treatments
Whether you’re 17 or 45, zits are gonna zit from time to time. Thankfully, over-the-counter acne solutions have improved drastically over the last few years. When you’re battling a full-on breakout, Murad’s Rapid Relief Acne Sulfur Mask is the ticket: apply a layer of its sulfur- and salicylic acid-powered mixture all over your face, and in ten minutes it’ll help shrink pimples, clear away blackheads, and reduce redness. For a more targeted treatment, a single drop of Kiehl’s liquid Truly Targeted Acne-Clearing Pimple Patch will blitz your zits in a matter of hours, visibly minimizing their size and color.
If you can feel something forming but it hasn’t quite surfaced yet, the new Micro-Cloud patch from Justin Bieber-loved Starface cuts troublesome spots off at the source by using its hydrocolloid surface to suck up excess fluid and salicylic acid to unclog pores. Or, if you’re prone to developing nasty ingrown hairs after shaving, Fur’s Ingrown Microdart Patch similarly employs tiny microneedles and a slew of formidable ingredients to penetrate the bump, limit inflammation, and jumpstart the healing process.
And when the damage is already done, the Sealed Active Scar Primer by Topicals works to fill in deep acne scars and quicken their recovery over time.
The Best Eye Treatments
Eyes feeling a little puffy after a wild night out? Dab a little bit of Current State’s peptide- and caffeine-infused Firming Eye Cream all over ‘em, and you’ll be looking and feeling alert and revitalized.
Lumin’s yellow-hued Instant Dark Circle Corrector, meanwhile, helps to cancel out the blue and purple tones in your bags through the power of color theory—while also attacking them the old-fashioned way with skin-brightening ingredients like licorice root extract.
And if you really need to go the extra mile before a big meeting or date, Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright+ Vitamin CC Stick offers a more serious coverup which, perhaps coupled with a little concealer, will instantly make those dark circles and under-eye veins vanish.
The Best Concealer
Speaking of concealer: Live Tinted’s signature Hueskin Serum Concealer comes in 20 different shades—so you’re all but guaranteed to find a perfect match for your skin tone—and is suffused with a grip of skin-happy ingredients. Grab one of Glossier’s convenient, aesthetically-pleasing Stretch Face Brushes to help you blend to perfection.
The Best Face Masks
Nothing feels better on a lazy night in than treating yourself to a sheet mask—and nobody makes a better sheet mask than Narcyss. The Swiss brand’s Le Fix masks, powered by hydrating bamboo extract and brightening hyaluronic acid, feels decadent on the skin and leaves you with a lasting, noticeable radiance.
On the techier side of things, Therabody’s TheraFace Mask utilizes LEDs—you can switch between red lights for anti-aging and blue ones for acne treatment—to give you firmer, healthier-looking skin, all while using built-in massagers at key pressure points for a truly soothing experience. (Well worth terrifying any unsuspecting onlookers with its Jason Voorhees-esque visage.)
The Best Lip Balms
One of our all-time favorite lip balms—Jack Black’s Intense Therapy Lip Balm, with handy SPF25 protection—now comes in a tasty new watermelon flavor. More of a roll-on guy? These Matte Lip Balms from Cardon have a subtle finish while thoroughly hydrating your lips with cactus extract, ceramide NP, and apple seed oil.
Or perhaps you’re looking for more of an unsubtle finish, in which case we’d direct you to Rhode—the new skincare line from gorgeous-lip-haver Hailey Bieber—whose Peptide Lip Tints use the titular ingredient to plump your lips in four softly glossy, highly kissable shades.
The Best Body Care Products
The Best Body Washes
The attributes of a great body wash are simple enough: It should cleanse your epidermis thoroughly, leave it soft and hydrated, and—most importantly—smell fantastic. Augustinus Bader’s Body Cleanser clears all those marks with ease, thanks to a calming eucalyptus scent and a blend of coconut oil, ceramides, and other skin-boosting elements. For bar soap folks, the historic Claus Porto—Portugal’s oldest soapmaker, launched way back in 1887—has served up its invigorating new Alto Mar fragrance in an algae-infused shower bar, complete with a hand-wrapped rope to ensure a firm grip while lathering.
Lastly, if you’re in need of a more rigorous clean, the Body Exfoliant from Sidia has exfoliating rice in the mix to gently scrub away any dead skin.
The Best Face + Body Wash Combos
We’re normally down on combination products—most shampoo-conditioner blends, for instance, aren’t generally worth using—but Dove Men+Care’s Advanced Care Sensitive Skin Calm Face & Body Wash is an effective face and body wash that’s formulated for sensitive skin and solid enough to keep your dermatologist happy. Toss a bottle in your gym bag for a quick, efficient post-workout shower. Or, for an altogether more elevated experience, splurge on one of The Grey’s butter-soft Face and Body Bars, enhanced with aloe vera and argan oil for a silky smooth, oh-so-lavish finish.
The Best Body Peel Treatment
Every once in a while, when your skin is feeling especially rough or dry or generally in need of a real reset, you’ll want to give the Necessaire Body Peel a whirl. Headlined by a trio of acids—alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, and polyhydroxy—it’s a potent solution for combating bumps, scaliness, and other irritations.
The Best Body Acne Treatment
No matter how old you get, it’s tough to avoid the occasional bout of body acne on your back, chest, neck, or otherwise. When those moments arise, simply spritz a healthy serving of this Zit Spray from acne innovators Frontman on the problem area, and the salicylic acid-fuelled concoction will take care of the rest.
The Best Body Moisturizers
Just like your face, it’s vital you keep the rest of your body well hydrated. A big cheap bottle of California Naturals Body Moisturizer, bursting with all-natural nourishers like shea butter and sweet almond oil, will do the trick nicely. If you’re prone to breakouts and need something even mellower, Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Body Gel Hydrator is designed to keep your skin nice and moist without any fear of clogging your pores.
On the fancier end of the spectrum, Philosophy’s Amazing Grace Firming Body Emulsion has many of the same toning and smoothing properties as your favorite facial serums, coupled with a delectable floral scent.
The Best Body Sunscreen
Like we said earlier: SPF! It’s important. Stock up on Supergoop’s 40 SPF Unseen Sunscreen Body, which blends in clean and feels as light as air, and you’ll be good to go.
The Best Deodorant
All the downsides of natural deodorants: the stickiness, the residue, the smells only a hippie could love? Geologie’s solved for them. The brand’s trademark deodorant rolls on clear and lasts all day, and its new Moab scent is delightfully citrus-forward.
Still not convinced by the all-natural movement? Old Spice still does it right, and the Gentlemen’s Blend Himalayan Sea Salt Deodorant is a formidable new addition to its lineup.
The Best Body Hair Trimmer
You could shell out for a bunch of individual devices—a body groomer, a nose hair clipper, a beard trimmer, a hairline detailer—or you can get all of those functions in the Braun All-in-One Style Kit Series 9. You can set the self-sharpening blades to 40 different length settings right on the handle itself, and it comes complete with a grip of attachments that offer the possibility of 13 distinct uses for head-to-toe upkeep. With a battery life of 100 minutes on a single charge and smooth, nick-free performance in even the most sensitive areas, your unruly body hair won’t know what hit it.
The Best Hand Soaps
Nothing worse than cheap hand soap that leaves your mitts feeling drier and ickier than they did before you washed ‘em. That’ll never be an issue with Uni’s Restoring Hand Wash atop your sink, which foams beautifully and uses stuff like sea kelp and olive oil to nourish your hands. And when you really want to impress your guests, sub in a bar of Francis Kurkdijian’s new scented soaps, which utilize the vaunted French perfumer’s signature fragrances in a luxurious new form.
The Best Hand Cream
In the dead of winter, when your hands are all cracked from the cold, keep a tin of Walrus Oil Logger’s Hand Salve in your pocket—a dollop of the creamy solution, made with coconut oil and olive wax, will bring your parched paws back to the land of the living.
The Best Nail Care Goods
Been dabbling in painting your nails and ready to break out beyond the safety of black and white polish? The new UnGuilty Pleasures Nail Polish collection from Essie is chock-a-block with uncommon hues like a rich jewel-toned blue and dark chocolatey brown.
Prep your nails for polish with this Crystal Glass Nail File Set from longtime GQ fave Germanikure, which includes the brand’s new crescent moon-shaped file, and keep things in check on the road with Monte & Co. x ArteStile’s compact, leather-bound grooming kit, complete with a nail clipper and file, a tweezer, and beard scissors.
The Best Bug Spray
There’s nothing worse than enjoying a nice evening outdoors…and then suddenly being forced to decide if you’d rather endure mosquito bites or douse yourself in awful citronella-scented bug spray. The cheeky perfumers at Heretic Parfum have devised an elegant solution: The Entomologist insect repellent spray, which masks its effective all-natural formulation with a heavenly bouquet of cedar, geranium, and thyme.
The Best Haircare Products
The Best Shampoos and Conditioners
Nobody said your shampoo and conditioner had to come in big plastic containers. Church California’s Organic Shampoo and Conditioner Bars offer up an eco-friendly alternative that just so happen to outperform the vast majority of their traditional counterparts, containing an abundance of plant-based active ingredients—including virgin coconut and argan in the shampoo, broccoli seed oil and mango butter in the conditioner—that feels luscious and restoring in your hair.
If dandruff’s got you down, Head & Shoulders’ Bare Dandruff Shampoo does exactly what it says on the tin: It contains just nine essential ingredients—with nothing nasty like silicone to worry about—that work to ward off flakes and soothe your scalp.
And when you just need a big ol’ bottle of conditioner—because you should be using the stuff every day, even if you’re not shampooing—Basic Maintenance is the way to go. The no-nonsense brand’s uber-affordable conditioner is brimming with volumizing, protein-boosting, antifungal goodness.
The Best Hair Serums
Engineered for folks with thicker, curlier hairstyles—dreads, braids, waves—Bevel’s 3-in-1 Hair Oil keeps things healthy, shiny, and moisturized by way of a trio of powerful oils: tea tree, jojoba, and Jamaican black castor.
For added body and definition between washes, the Roz Milk Hair Serum is designed to keep your tresses looking fresh and frizz-free.
Or if your scalp is giving you trouble—maybe it’s dry, itchy, flaky, or all of the above—massage in a layer of Seen’s Restore Scalp Serum to give your dome the rejuvenating reboot it so sorely needs.
The Best Hair Styling Products
Highland, the upstart Colorado brand behind one of our absolute favorite hair clays, is expanding its offerings with its stellar Glacial Cream. It’s the ideal lightweight styler for fellas with medium-to-long locks to achieve that loose, wavy, natural look.
For those going for more of a Pat Riley-esque slick back, the new charcoal-infused Hair Gel from STMNT—founded by a trio of LA’s top celebrity groomers—has the high hold you need, only minus the aggressive shine and gnarly crustiness of the gels you used in middle school.
If you’re lucky enough to have the kind of no-fuss hair that just needs the subtlest something extra to look its best, a few spritzes of Bulldog’s Original Salt Spray will give your ‘do that fresh-from-the-ocean flow.
The Best Hair Loss Treatments
The Plus Range shampoo and conditioner from Patricks combines the big-four DHT blockers—baicapil, capixyl, redensyl, and procapil—to help jumpstart a fuller, thicker, softer coif up top. (Doesn’t hurt that the stuff smells great, either.)
CurrentBody’s Skin LED Hair Regrowth Device might look like something out of Tron, but it relies on clinically-proven LED technology to regrow your hair in just a few minutes of use a day—and effectively replaces the need for low-level laser therapy (which can cost thousands of dollars per month). (One formerly wispy-domed GQ contributor swears by this helmet as a major reason for his now-stellar hair density.) This new version includes built-in Bluetooth headphones to make your experience that much more relaxing and enjoyable.
The Best in Fragrances
It’s been a whirlwind few months for the Aussie skin care experts at Aesop, who toasted a mammoth L’Oréal acquisition by quietly releasing some of the best fragrances of the year. Among them is Gloam, a spicy EDP shot through with jolts of jasmine and patchouli. It’s woody and just the right amount of sweet, the most succinct explanation for Aesop’s sky-high valuation we’ve encountered yet.
Speaking of wood: the air was thick with it this year, as brands new and old, large and small, riffed on the accord to exhilarating effect. Diptyque’s L’eau Papier, a smash-hit debut from the Parisian parfumerie, blended blonde wood with white musk in an ode to ink-soaked paper. (You remember paper, right? It’s the stuff they used to send text messages on.) Then there’s Caswell-Massey’s 2571, a mix of woods and spices that riffs on the brand’s centuries-old Number Six, the first fragrance ever crafted in America. (George Washington was a fan.)
In September, Saint Laurent introduced Myslf, a new fragrance that balances woody base notes with hints of bergamot and orange blossom, nabbing a cosign from Austin Butler in the process. Carlos Huber and the globe-trotting noses at Arquiste found inspiration in a similar combination for L’or de Louis, a formula that borrows its blend of orange blossom and wood from the trees that lined the exterior of Versailles. And Tom Ford’s Myrrhe Mystere—a sultry, swaggering mix of amber, sandalwood, and vanille that smells like Ford incarnate—proves the brand is in peak form even as its namesake decamps to sunnier pastures.
Celebrity cosigns are cool and all, but is anyone having more fun making fragrances than the cheeky perfumers at D.S. & Durga? This year, the Brooklyn label dropped a tennis-inspired cologne they dubbed Crush Balls—and that wasn’t even their drollest (or best-smelling) release. That honorific goes to Pistachio Perfume, a deceptively thoughtful scent with, per the brand’s description, top notes of pistachio, hearts notes of more pistachio, and base notes of even more pistachio. The first run sold out fast, and the D.S. & Durga team is still laughing their way to the bank.
What do Brunello Cucinelli, Italy’s philosopher king, and Troye Sivan, the Australian actor and musician, have in common? As of this year, a new line of fragrances to call their own. Cucinelli’s debut Eau de Parfum is spicy and crisp, a natural complement to the plush cashmere menswear he’s famous for. Sivan’s Tsu Lange Yor Luca, on the other hand, is warm and floral, with notes of cedarwood and clary sage that pay tribute to the beachy accents of his home country.
In all the excitement surrounding Pharrell’s groundbreaking appointment at Louis Vuitton, it was easy to miss the release of Pacific Chill, a detox of a scent formulated with aimless, sun-kissed days in mind. Easy to miss, that is, until you catch a whiff of blackcurrant, basil, lemon, and coriander wafting out of a Vuitton flagship and find yourself compelled to grab a bottle.
Is it any surprise that one of the best candles we sparked this year comes from Byredo, the billion-dollar Swedish powerhouse whose fragrances smell as good as their smoked glass bottles look? If Sweet Grass’ sharp mix of sage, musk, and ambroxan doesn’t win you over, its telltale serif label will. Then again, if any brand can convince you to go niche it’s Perfumer H, the cult-loved British imprint founded by pedigreed career nose Lyn Harris. Its Ink candle blends notes of elemi, cedar, papyrus, and frankincense, planted in a discreet bottle guaranteed to class up your home office.
Running low on matches? Clear the air with Seasons’ aero mini pro diffuser, a compact, portable version of the brand’s hero product. The cheery matte colors might be very right now, but the selection of essential oils they house—eucalyptus, French lavender, sweet orange—are as timeless as it gets.
The Best in Shaving Products
The Best Electric Shaver
At this point, Philips Norelco has enjoyed the type of dominance rivaled only by Lil Wayne in the 2000s—each one of its electric shavers is the best until the next one drops. The S9000 Prestige is the grooming juggernaut’s Da Drought 3: a powerful, dexterous upgrade with an unusually long run time. The ultra-flexible rotary heads might be easier on the skin than a razor, but even mixtape-era Weezy would have a hard time beating their precision.
The Best Razor
A thousand startups have lived and died since Harry’s launched its first razor, but the brand’s value proposition—no-frills shaving products, no-BS prices—feels as vital as ever. The buzzy disruptor isn’t content to rest on its laurels: Its craft handle razor melds German-engineered blades with weighty, balanced handles that glide like an S-Class for a smooth, nick-free shave.
The Best Shaving Creams
In 2023, there are more ways than ever to get a lather going while you prep for a line-up. The best of them, like Uppercut Deluxe’s shaving cream, start off thick and creamy to protect your mug from the razor’s bite, but absorb fast to keep your skin soothed post-shave. Chasing an old-school barbershop vibe? Grab a bottle of Pisterzi’s shaving care cream and ditch the next-gen gloop for good.
We liked a couple of specialty formulas this year, too—especially Lab Series’ electric shave solution, which offers the benefits of a more traditional shaving cream to anyone attacking their scruff the way Dylan scandalized the crowd in ‘65. Ditto Cremo’s post shave balm, a lightweight, fragrance-free option packed with essential oils for fellas with particularly sensitive skin.
The Best Beard Trimmer
Mountain-man whiskers? Artful perma-scruff? Barely-there stubble? However you wear your facial hair, King C. Gillette’s beard trimmer kit is equipped to handle it. (Think of it like the grooming equivalent of a Leatherman—with only slightly less functionality.) Three comb attachments slot neatly into the ergonomic handle, and with close to an hour of trimming power you’ll never run out of juice halfway through the job.
The Best Beard Oil
If you’d rather hold onto your facial hair for the long haul, make sure it’s nourished properly. Thanks to a blend of antioxidant-rich extracts, Caldera + Lab’s beard oil hydrates, soothes, and conditions the scruff on your face along with the skin beneath it, leaving them polished and smelling faintly of fresh apricot.
The Best in Oral Care and Teeth Whitening
The Best Toothbrush
Plenty of grooming brands introduce new products with the pomp and circumstance of a luxury car commercial, but Oral-B’s iO line actually delivers on the promise. The iO Series 10 toothbrush comes with more specs than a Lexus coupe—including AI-enhanced cleaning powers and the brand’s trademark tooth tracking—housed in an ultra-sleek device beamed in from a cavity-free future. The robot revolution is here, and it’s coming for your molars.
The Best Toothpaste
VVardis scooped a Grooming Award in this exact category a couple of years ago, and its Edelweiss anti-aging toothpaste picks up where that winner left off. The fluoride-rich, peroxide-free formula uses the brand’s wonky-sounding-but-wildly-effective Senolytic Hydroxy-Peptide 200 to shore up your teeth’s enamel, vanishing coffee stains and Malbec splotches in the process. If you’re looking to approximate the minty-clean feeling you associate with the dentist—sans the copay—ditch the drugstore schlock and grab a tube of this immediately.
The Best Flosser
Don’t let the cutesy name fool you: Flaus’s electric flosser is more than Millennial catnip. The DTC upstart combines old-school, shred-resistant thread with a genuinely novel design that makes reaching those hard-to-clean crevices a cinch. Big Floss, consider the gauntlet thrown.
The Best Whitening Treatments
As an alternative to its stinging, peroxide-heavy counterparts, Boka’s rapid radiance kit is aces. Its whitening gel leans on Phthalimido-Peroxy-Caproic Acid—which is easier on your enamel but an absolute nightmare for the gunk tarnishing your teeth—while an LED-activated mouthpiece expedites the process, leaving your pearly whites looking that way in a mere 15 minutes. The newcomers aren’t the only ones innovating in the oral care space: Thanks to the addition of a revamped LED light, Crest’s 3DWhitestrips, a stalwart of the category for over two decades, still set the standard.