Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Grooming

Beardpocalypse now: Conan O'Brien not the only one to take off a tonsorial trademark

Rage_weddle_beard Yes, as expected, comedian Will Ferrell made good on his threat to shave off Conan O'Brien's beard on  "Conan" Monday night (the much-hyped Beardpocalypse). But, interestingly enough, that was actually the second-most interesting beard-removal story to come out of the last two days.

On May 1, Gary Weddle, a 50-year-old middle school teacher living in East Wenatchee, Wash., shaved off an impressive faceful of fur he'd been cultivating for nearly a decade.

What made Weddle's whisker whacking so noteworthy was that the beard was the result of a vow he had made nearly 10 years ago: that he wouldn't shave until Osama bin Laden had been captured or killed.

It will be hard for anyone who hasn't grown a beard past the five-month mark to fully appreciate the intestinal fortitude Weddle's whiskers required. I know from where I speak, having grown out a skunk-striped solidarity beard in advance of covering the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships. At six months, when it was barely casting its own shadow, I felt felt like my chin was wearing a straitjacket.

According to Reuters, Weddle's beard had grown to some 15 inches. Once he was sure the news reports weren't a joke he began to prune his facial forest, first with a pair of scissors and then with a razor.

Weddle wasn't apparently the only one happy to see the beard go away. He told Reuters his wife Donita "is just full of smiles."

-- Adam Tschorn

More 'Bearded & Tschorn' coverage from All The Rage

With Bin Laden dead, U.S. man finally shaves

Photos: Middle school teacher Gary Weddle of East Wenatchee, Wash., before, left, and after removing the beard he vowed not to shave off until Osama bin Laden had been caught or killed. Credits: Donita Weddle; Dan Wheat / Associated Press

Tonsorial trade-in: The Art of Shaving and Bloomingdale's want you to swap out that can of cream

If you've ever thought about using something other than a metal spray can full of blue goo to prepare your face for the morning shave ritual, the folks at the Art of Shaving and Bloomingdale's are teaming up for a one-day "shave swap" this Saturday that might help motivate you.

On Saturday, anyone who takes the tube, tub or cake of shaving cream they're currently using into a participating Bloomingdale's (including the five local stores listed at the end of this post) can trade it in for a 2.5-ounce travel-size tube of shaving cream -- which usually retails for around $14. (If you end up pleased with the results, be sure to try some of the scented versions -- my personal favorite is the lavender.)

For anyone looking for a total reboot of the morning shave routine, the deal gets a bit better -- the trade-in earns a $25 discount certificate toward the $100, four-piece starter kit that, in addition to the cream includes a pre-shave oil, a post-shave balm and, most importantly, a shaving brush (although it can be lathered on using just the fingers, using a brush much more effective for the task).

Participating Bloomingdale's include Beverly Center, Century City Shopping Center, Santa Monica Place, Sherman Oaks Fashion Square and Newport Beach's Fashion Island.

This weekend you'd be hard pressed to find a cheaper way to put your best face forward.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: On Saturday, customers who bring their shaving cream to local Bloomingdale's can trade it in for a 2.5-ounce tube from the Art of Shaving (left) or a $25 discount off a shaving kit (right). Credit: The Art of Shaving.

Bearded & Tschorn: Plans for Movember's charity mustache grow goes from fuzzy to focused

It's Oct. 1 -- which means Movember sprouts anew in less than a month. The annual charity event, which takes place each November, is designed to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancers affecting men.

When all the lips were fuzzed and all the donations tallied, 28,000 U.S. 'stache-thletes helped raise $3.2 million last year, an amount split between the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. While that sounds impressive, note that on the international stage that put the U.S. squarely in fourth place -- behind Canada.

Continue reading »

Looking sharp at the new Baxter Finley Barber & Shop

Although the Baxter Finley barbershop has been open since early May, I didn't get a chance to darken the doorstep until a week or so ago, and, to be honest, I figured it was probably just going to be another indistinguishable entry in the increasingly crowded retro-hipster-vintage barbershop category.

I'm pleased to report how wrong I was. To be sure, at first glance the polished floorboards of reclaimed Douglas Fir, the marble counter tops and the tattooed barbers in matching Steven Alan gingham check pullovers seem to point that direction, but if you linger past the first impression, and let it all wash over you, it won't be long before you realize you've stepped into a true temple of the tonsorial.

Continue reading »

New Old Spice campaign results in a decent proposal

On Tuesday I received a thank you from Isaiah Mustafa -- the towel-clad Adonis of the Old Spice "manmercials" -- for mentioning him and his Emmy-nominated Old Spice commercial in a recent All The Rage post. But it wasn't just an e-mailed note, it was a video clip of the actor, towel and all, giving a shout-out not just to me personally, but a congratulations to the people of our fair city for a host of things including our proximity to many major theme parks and "that tallest building downtown that's round at the top -- the one that's always getting blown up in alien movies."

At first, the folks in the All The Rage cubicle farm were convinced it was some sort of Photoshop situation with the actor's voice-over, or a gimmick like Burger King's "Subservient Chicken" online ad campaign, but a call to local PR reps for Old Spice confirmed that the Man on the Horse did indeed don his towel for the occasion.

And I was far from the only one to get a musing from Mustafa; it turns out the actor is currently in the studio in Portland, Ore., with the Wieden+Kennedy folks (who created the original, award-winning spot) taping a bunch of these short, personalized clips -- most of them in response to Twitter posts or comments left at the Old Spice YouTube channel.

While I certainly enjoyed hearing Mustafa mutter my name, my favorite video so far is the marriage proposal issued on behalf of Twitter user @jsbeals, complete with candles and a ring. I'm checking to confirm all the details, but based on subsequent postings to his Twitter account, it looks like she answered in the affirmative.

As an advertising campaign that engages the consumer, it's genius, and my guess is we'll see a lot more of these narrowcast video conversations from all kinds of brands in the future.

In the meantime, if you've got a burning question, comment -- or proposal -- I'm told that Mustafa and company will be churning out these video responses through Wednesday afternoon.

-- Adam Tschorn

Emmy nods, mustache mods for Old Spice ads

Old Spice talks to the ladies, man

It's the guy in the Old Spice commercial: Isaiah Mustafa

Old Spice, new (hilarious) choices

Bearded & Tschorn's razor blade redux: the power of one

Monday, the Wall Street Journal posted an article about guys who stockpile razor cartridges as a hedge against running out of their favorite blades as razor makers launch ever more advanced -- and expensive -- versions (among the men interviewed was a San Francisco investment banker who bought his Gillette Mach 3 cartridges 100 at a clip).

Men, it's time to put down the razor, step away from the sink and take a good look at the steamy mirror of Rage_gem your morning ritual. Do you really need to hoard blades the way "Seinfeld's" Elaine stockpiled the Today sponge? What's next -- having to decide if a particular date is "blade worthy"? 

When did we men stop being hunters and start being gatherers?

I understand the desire to gather. I was completely blade blind for years, with a follicular fealty to the Gillette Sensor Excel double blade cartridges that I'd been using for nearly three decades, forced to upgrade to a third blade -- albeit temporarily -- when I found myself stranded in Europe last summer without access to my blade of choice.

The piece I penned in the aftermath of that generated a lot of e-mail from men who expressed similar attachment to their blades of choice. It also resulted in a package arriving at my desk from book and blog author Michael Ham, containing a mid-1950s-era, double-edge TTO (twist-to-open) Gillette safety razor. "If you think two blades is better than three," read the enclosed note, "you'll probably find one blade better than two."

That was last September, and once I got up the nerve to use a vintage, second-hand razor sent by a complete stranger (the book does include detailed instructions on how to clean razors found at flea markets or on E-bay), I've not only been a total convert to the old-school double-edge (also referred to as a DE) safety razor, I've been buying different versions -- old and new -- wherever I can find them, and my collection now includes a brand new German-made Merkur, a Parker from India (both available on, and a Gillette TTO from 1965 (the year I was born).

I find the DE gives me a shave as close as any cartridge razor I've used, though as Ham points out in his "Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving,"  every face is different and the perfect blade - or number of blades -- for one face doesn't mean it's the best choice for the next. He recommends experimenting to find the right combination for your own face, and I couldn't agree more.

In fact, this week, I trimmed my blade count down even further, and started experimenting with a GEM single-edge razor I found at a Montana antique store over Memorial Day weekend for $15, and it may actually be the best shave to date (and it's as old-fashioned as I'm willing to go, since there's little chance I'd ever muster the the intestinal fortitude to wield a straight razor on my own face first thing in the morning.)

Maybe that investment banker interviewed for the WSJ piece knows the Gillette Mach 3 gives him the best shave of his life, but if he's like most men, chances are he's using the same thing he started shaving with (or close to it). And, until something forces him to hunt, he'll be content to simply gather.

Let the hunt begin, my hirsute brothers; the best shave of your life may be right around the corner. Will you really be able to stare at yourself every morning in that steam-clouded bathroom mirror knowing you don't at least try to put your best face forward?

-- Adam Tschorn

Leisureguy's Guide to Gourmet Shaving

How many razor blades for a close shave? It's a close decision

Photo: A vintage GEM single-edge razor purchased for $15 at a Montana antique store, one of the many grooming hardware options available to men willing to hunt around for the best combination of blade and razor. Credit: Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times.

Emmy nods, mustache mods for Old Spice ads

"The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" Old Spice body wash spot was among the prime-time Emmy Award nominees in the outstanding commercial category announced Thursday morning, and we smell winners all the way around.

Even if the ad doesn't ultimately win (though, honestly, we don't see how that could happen) it's still a win of sorts for advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, production company MJZ, (the ad recently won a trio of advertising awards) and especially for one of our favorite pitchmen, Isaiah Mustafa, who has been so busy lately he's probably going to need all the Old Spice body wash they throw at him.

On Thursday morning, we caught him popping in on an otherwise insufferable fourth hour of "The Today Show" in New York City, last week we spoke to him by phone as his second Old Spice commercial was about to debut online and in theaters right before the Fourth of July holiday and he's landed a deal with NBC.

But what he didn't mention was the surprise, new 15-second commercial that was posted online on Wednesday. We won't spoil it, but as you can see from the embedded video below, calling him "Isaiah Mustacha" wouldn't be all that inappropriate.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Isaiah Mustafa in a new commercial for Old Spice body wash. Credit: Old Spice

Video: A new 15-second, mustache-centric spot posted to YouTube on Wednesday. Credit: YouTube

Old Spice talks to the ladies, man

It's the guy in the Old Spice commercial: Isaiah Mustafa

Old Spice, new (hilarious) choices

New Disney dress code lets the ladies leave the hose at home, and bare arms, heels and toes

Call it the "bare necessities" -- in its most recent revamp of theme park employee dress codes, the Walt Disney Co. has decreed that women are no longer required to wear pantyhose, and that, for the first time, they may wear sleeveless tops -- as long as the shoulder straps are at least three inches wide.

You can read the full story in this article written by Hugo Martin and Jason Garcia in Wednesday's Business section of the Los Angeles Times, but the upshot is that the latest tweaks to the famously conservative theme park dress code (which forbade mustaches on male employees until 2000) will allow female employees to wear capri pants, and open-toed slingback shoes in addition to sporting bare arms and legs. (Apparently, the only exception is when leg wear is required as part of a costume -- that means you. Tinkerbell. And Alice, don't even think about throwing those tights down a rabbit hole).

As for the fellows, they can now wear an untucked casual shirt to work. One word of caution: If it's a Lacoste crocodile-logo shirt (yes, it's a crocodile, not an alligator; trust us), you might want to steer clear of the Captain Hook character -- we hear such things tend make him a bit skittish.

-- Adam Tschorn

Disney relaxes theme park workers' dress code

Reality shapes Disney garb

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Photos: A May 4, 2005, file photo from Disneyland in Anaheim, one of Disney's theme parks affected by a new employee dress code that permits women to wear capri pants and open-toed shoes as well as forgo pantyhose for the first time -- unless it's part of a character costume. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.

Old Spice's 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' commercial wins trio of ad awards

The Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" commercial, already one of our all-time favorite commercials (which we wrote about in March), was apparently a favorite with the ad industry as well, taking home a hat trick of awards at the Association of Independent Commercial Producers' 19th Art & Technique of the American Commercial show in New York on Tuesday.

The spot, directed by Tom Kuntz of MJZ and created by Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, Ore., features Isaiah Mustafa (on a horse!) extolling, in a hilarious rapid-fire, deadpan delivery, the virtues of Old Spice body wash. It took home top honors for Advertising Excellence/Single Commercial, Humor and Performance/Dialogue. 

We call that the sweet scent of victory -- man.

-- Adam Tschorn

Old Spice talks to the ladies, man

It's the guy in the Old Spice commercial: Isaiah Mustafa

Old Spice, new (hilarious) choices

Follow All the Rage on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: Actor Isaiah Mustafa -- on a horse -- in the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" TV ad, which took home a trio of awards Tuesday at the AICP awards in New York, including nods for humor, performance/dialogue and advertising excellence. Credit: Procter & Gamble.

Bearded & Tschorn: Full results and photos from the 2010 National Beard & Moustache Championships

Although we've already mentioned a few of the finalists who came within a whisker or two of bearded and mustachioed glory at the inaugural Beard Team USA National Beard & Moustache Championships held in Bend, Ore., last weekend, we're including the complete list below (listed from winner to third-place finisher), along with a link to a gallery of photos we shot over the course of the day.

Mustache Division
Larry McClure, Concord, Calif.
Paul DeLeone, Redmond, Ore.
Keith Haubrich (aka "Gandhi Jones")

Partial Beard
Toot Joslin, Tahoe City, Calif.
Eric Brown, Jersey City, N.J.
Matthew Bliss*, Eugene, Ore.
Gary Johnson*, Olalla, Wash.

(*tied for third place)

Full Beard
Aarne Bielefeldt, Willits, Calif.
Allen Demling, Austin, Texas
Devin Cara, Springfield, Mo.

Willi Chevalier, Sigmaringen, Germany
Paul Beisser, Santa Cruz
Charles Earnshaw, Anchorage

Random Winner (selected by raffle)
John Szerseen, Portland, Ore.

Dockers King of Whiskers (selected by audience applause):
Willi Chevalier, Sigmaringen, Germany

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo Gallery from the 2010 National Beard & Moustache Championships

California takes 3 of 4 wins at first nationwide facial-hair faceoff

Willi "Hair Pretzel" Chevalier makes U.S. beard sport debut

Dockers brand signs on as a sponsor to Bend's battle of the Beards

Results of the 2009 World Beard & Moustache Championships in Anchorage

Photo: A group of competitors in the full beard division on stage at the first nationwide beard and mustache competition, which was held in Bend, Ore., on June 5 and drew 189 competitors and nearly 3,000 spectators. Credit: Adam Tschorn.


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