Carter & Bond, London Luxury Gentlemans Shave
Carter & Bond – “Luxury Gentlemans Grooming”
- Reviewers name – Michael Grenville
- Title – Editor of Gentlemans Butler, luxury blog and lifestyle services provider
- Occupation – Editor and Consultant
- Review description – Visited Carter & Bond for a Hot Towel Wet Shave and Haircut
- Location – W11 (near Holland Park)
- Date – 05 September 2012
I will precurse my review with saying that the location of Carter & Bond is not normal, in that they are not in a parade of shops or in a high street. Those with a more adventurous heart will be pleasantly pleased. They are based in west London close to Holland Park. I visited them one sunny morning in September to find a rather sleepy studio complex. A buzz on the door and I was met by Joe Cotton, a smart man who could happily be mistaken for a graphic designer from Hoxton. We chatted and immediately started talking about the location and the name, in many ways the origins coming from a similar place. Joe had been in the army, tanks, and had found problems with shaving in the field and so set about putting together a solution, Carter & Bond are purveyors of the finest shaving products. The name I thought sounded like an old family motto but in fact was inspired by two of his favourite films Get Carter and James Bond. The whole experience, the slightly spy like entry, the name, the modern speakeasy feel was all starting to make perfect sense.
1 – Standard of Service – (friendly, ease, cleanliness, punctuality, did they listen) – Excellent. I was made coffee, good coffee, the room was empty though the door open, some music and an introduction to Mustapha, old school professional and friendly. He was Moroccan so we chatted about the Arab world, a place familiar to me as I had worked for the largest Pan Arab TV network MBC.
2 – Description of Product/Service – (information and quality of service, ingredients) –
CARTER and BOND De Luxe Hot & Cold Towel Wet Shave
Baxter of California Facial Scrub (made with food grade Almond Oil and smelling good enough to eat!) is applied to the face along with the creamy Baxter Daily Facial Wash. When combined the result is a gentle but highly effective exfoliating cleanser that rids the face of impurities whilst helping to soften stubble, making it easier to shave. Using this cleansing cocktail the Barber carries out a facial massage for two to three minutes.
The first hot towel is then applied. Both hot and cold towels that we use are lightly scented with Agua de Colonia, the classic citrus scent from Madrid’s oldest fragrance house. The effect of heat and moisture in the hot towel serve to open the pores and further soften the beard as well as to relax the client. After approximately a minute the hot towel is removed and whilst doing so the Barber carefully cleanses the face of residue scrub and cleanser.
The incredible Proraso Pre Shave Cream is then applied to the face and gently massaged into the beard. This magical cream, first launched in 1926 and made with Eucalyptus and Menthol, acts as a shave ‘undercoat’ to assist in razor glide whilst reducing the chance of nicks and cuts. The invigorating effect on both the skin and the senses is highly refreshing. The Barber then generates a profuse lather in the old fashioned manner using shaving cream, brush, piping hot water and a shaving mug. This lather is then liberally applied to the beard area and vigorously worked in with the brush so that the hairs are thoroughly coated. The Barber actually combines two shaving creams: Proraso for its rich lather and Baxter of California for its creaminess and hydrating qualities.
The Barber then goes to work with an open razor getting closer than you might have thought possible (but holding back where there are signs of skin sensitivity). If the skin allows he will re-lather and carry out a second shave going against the grain. The comfort of the shave is every bit as important as the closeness in our view – this is after a pampering experience to be enjoyed – so he will tailor the shave to the customer’s skin. The more often a client visits and the better he gets to know his face, the closer the shave he will be able to give.
Baxter of California Clay mask is then applied to the just shave face. This cooling and soothing mask is first worked into the face in another stimulating facial massage before being left in place for several minutes to draw out impurities. Another hot towel is then applied before being used to clean away the mask. Baxter of California Herbal Mint Toner, a mild and refreshing astringent, is then wiped over the face with cotton wool as the final facial cleansing step.
Baxter of California Under Eye Complex is now applied to the eye area. A (very) cold towel is then applied briskly to the face to close the pores and wake the client up from his doze! This is then followed by Baxter’s After Shave Balm which continues the cooling and soothing process whilst also restoring much needed hydration to the face. If the customer has very dry skin and the After Shave Balm is quickly absorbed then Baxter’s Oil Free Moisturiser may also be applied to give longer lasting hydration.
3 – Suitability for Gentlemen – Absolutely, different and very cool in a bespoke way.
4 – Comfort? – (Seats, heating/aircon, noise) – Comfortable, warm, quiet but in an old school way, not uptown luxury with knobs on…..
5 – The Luxury/Pamper Factor – Simply the barber…a true pro
6 – Above and beyond the call of duty? – (did they go out of their way to make me feel special or do anything beyond the job to make a difference) – Not applicable
7 – Punctuality/Duration – Perfect
8 – Value for Money – Very reasonable
9 – Gentlemans Butlers Rating – 80%
10 – Gentlemans Butler suggestions – Make the buzzer on the outside clearer
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