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Aston LaFon of 18.21 Man Made

The Texan gent of grooming provisions on how to style your hair type, the three natural ingredients optimal for hair health, and the best ways to use paste, pomade and clay.

Led by Angel del Solar, Aston LaFon and David del Solar, Texas-based premium grooming label 18.21 Man Made offers consciously made haircare products for the discerning gent. Inspired by the bootlegging of the American Prohibition, the three men decided to band together and bootleg their own formulations.

“Through the use of exceptional materials, choice ingredients and the custom crafted aroma of sweet tobacco,” 18.21 Man Made’s blends feature wholesome notes from spicy saffron to manuka honey and dried fruit. In a growing trend where the beauty industry is becoming more mindful of what goes in to our face creams and serums, 18.21 Man Made is leading by example as a brand catered to men. Especially given the fact that the very concept of grooming still hasn’t taken hold with men as much as a beauty routine has with women.

With skin, shave and beard goods to come, 18.21 Man Made is just getting started. Guided by the philosophy to care for men with a pared down grooming regime featuring products that are easy to use, effective and versatile, this is one line to keep your eye on.

Here, our exclusive interview with one of the brand’s dapper leaders, Aston LaFon.

“When I hear ‘consciously’, I think of being purposeful.”

18.21 Man Made Gift Trio

18.21 Man Made crafts premium grooming products infused with the aroma of sweet tobacco

18.21 Man Made offers grooming products made with consciously chosen ingredients. Why was this important to all of you?

When I hear ‘consciously’, I think of being purposeful. Our meticulous mixtures are simply a collection of raw materials that we blend to address a concern or facilitate a purpose, function or desired result for the consumer without gimmick.

The brand’s slogan is: “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” What does this mean?

The uncommon nature of our goods is largely inspired by the spirit of Prohibition era America and words were just better back in the 1920s. Getting dolled up in your glad rags and heading to the juice joint to get zozzled just sounds perfect! “Don’t take any wooden nickels” isn’t speakeasy slang but it was commonly used back then to say, “take care of yourself”; and taking care of the society of men is our expertise.

What are three natural ingredients that are hugely beneficial for men’s hair?

Ingredients matter and finding a good balance of ingredients in a products formula is key. Avoiding sulphate-based surfactants helps; and if you can mix in some quinoa, jojoba and macadamia to bind lightweight moisture, smooth, shine and fortify the hair, then you might have something very special for the consumer. Especially if it has our signature sweet tobacco aroma.

Our current offerings are mainly for hair but we are excited to launch skin, shave and beard grooming goods in 2018.

What are some tips to having great hair if

  1. a) you have a thick, voluminous body of hair and your strands are rough:

For someone that needs to blow dry shape into their hair or maybe has big wavy texture, the 18.21 Man Made PASTE will smooth and define the texture with a satin sheen and a bit of moisture. Mix equally with 18.21 Man Made CLAY for added thickening.

For someone that wants to tame thick texture, the 18.21 Man Made POMADE will be a great option to refine and tame the hair with a high sheen, frizz free and classic finish. Seal the deal with 18.21 Man Made Premium Hair Spray for all day hold.

  1. b) you have fine strands and limp hair?

For someone with fine, thinning or oily hair, the 18.21 Man Made CLAY will thicken the hair and absorb oil with a true matte finish. CLAY can be styled with wild active texture or tamed with a brush for a more natural looking finish.

18.21 Man Made clay for hair

18.21 Man Made’s Clay is shine-free and ideal for fine or thinning hair

Paste, pomade and clay. What’s the best way to use and apply each of them, and what should one keep in mind when shopping for them?

Clay is all about thickening the hair so, grab a bit of the product, work it between your palms and buff it into dry hair. Apply to wet hair and blow dry for a thicker look. Create an active look with your fingers or use a brush for a sculpted look with a natural finish.

Paste is all about moulding, shaping and detailing so reach for some of it, work it between your palms, apply to wet hair and blow dry into the desired shape with fingers or a brush. Use on dry hair to detail the texture or smooth frizz with a satin finish.

Pomade is highly versatile and is perfect for a classic finish or even as a gel alterative. Again, work it between your palms and apply directly to dry hair for a classic high sheen finish. Apply it to a comb and comb through wet hair for a smooth, wet look finish. Or you can add a bit of water and work the product between your palms to create gel and apply to hair for a lighter hold and a natural sheen.

Set it and forget it with hair spray for all day style.

The men we’ve spoken to often cite a lack of time or necessity for having a grooming routine. What do you say to them?

How can you ever have the time if you don’t ever take the time? Time is the most valuable commodity. We focus on crafting uncommon goods that are simple to use and often have multiple functions in one product, which reduces time and the amount of products one might need in the cabinet.

For men who don’t practice any grooming ritual, what is the first thing they should do?

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. If you want to become more to get better at something, you need a great coach. Find a professional barber or stylist who can provide you with a custom crafted grooming regimen based on your aspirations or concerns.

For men who practice a basic grooming routine, what are the next steps they should take and products they should try, and why?

Spend some time in the mirror and really get up close and personal. You may discover something that didn’t catch your eye from a few feet away which can be remedied by a product or service.

Style guides and influencers can be legit sources of inspiration but finding a grooming routine that suits you is the best chance at a custom crafted appearance. Make sure to maintain your look with goods that you will take pride in owning.

What does conscious living mean to you?

Living by design and not by default.

“Find a professional barber or stylist who can provide you with a custom crafted grooming regimen based on your aspirations or concerns.”

18.21 Man Made Don't Take Any Wooden Nickels

“Don’t take any wooden nickels” is the brand’s slogan and was used during the Prohibition to say, “Take care of yourself”

Images courtesy of 18.21 Man Made