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Men’s Corner: Grooming Lounge Sets Product Line, New Stores

Grooming Lounge Shaving Solutions, as the new shaving line is called, includes a face wash, a shave oil, shave cream and aftershave.

NEW YORK — Grooming Lounge, a three-year-old Washington, D.C.-based combination barbershop and men’s spa, has created its own collection of shaving products, which it will introduce Sept. 7.

Meanwhile, the $4 million firm is gearing up to open its second and third locations in Tyson’s Corner, Va., in December and in Miami next spring. Each space will be about 2,000 square feet.

Grooming Lounge Shaving Solutions, as the new shaving line is called, includes a face wash, a shave oil, shave cream and aftershave. The company developed the range over three years by having Grooming Lounge barbers test some 20 formulations on the faces of D.C. power players — secretaries and speakers alike — in an effort to “provide better shaves for [these] clients,” said Grooming Lounge co-founder Michael Gilman, who “grew up in the [hair] business” because his family owned Davidson Beauty Supply, a distributor on the East Coast.

“We have a live lab downstairs where we work on hundreds of men a month,” said co-founder Pirooz Sarshar, who has always been around hair services, considering his mother was a hairstylist. “That’s how these products were made.”

Quirky names such as Beard Destroyer Shave Cream, 6.8 oz. for $18, and Happy Ending Soothing Aftershave, 4 oz. for $21, give the line a lighter feel. Beard Master Shave Oil, 1.8 oz. for $21, and Pre-Shave Face Wash, 8.7 oz. for $18, complete the quartet.

The products will make their debut at the Grooming Lounge as well as on the company’s Web site, which was launched two years before the 2002 opening of the shop, a 1,500-square-foot space at 1745 L Street NW.

Sarshar projected that by mid-October, Gilman and he would “hit the prestige market with [Shaving Solutions].” The two are eyeing specialty stores like Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as “upscale apothecaries and one or two luxury Web sites,” said Sarshar. They’re planning to establish a wholesale distribution base of 25 points of sale for Shaving Solutions by yearend.

Grooming Lounge is hoping Shaving Solutions will reach first-year retail sales volume of nearly $1 million.

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The line’s formulations have “cocktailed” essential oils, said Gilman, like eucalyptus, rice bran and meadow foam to soften and smooth the skin, stimulate circulation and promote collagen growth. There are extracts of peppermint and avocado in the shave oil and ingredients like rosemary and aloe are employed for their anti-inflammatory effects.

The base of Beard Destroyer Shave Cream is an acne wash, Gilman noted, because “when you take passes [with a razor] the outer layer of skin gets exposed, so there’s irritation. The cream disinfects exposed skin, preventing bumps and acne.”

In addition to Shaving Solutions, Gilman and Sarshar plan to launch skin and hair care products next year. Six skin care products are being tested and they are slated to be launched in January. Seven hair care products are scheduled to be launched in late spring or early summer of next year.

Services at Grooming Lounge run the gamut from individual treatments like a hot lather shave for $45 to the so-called Commander in Chief, a manicure and foot treatment for $74. The Capitol, a $320, four-hour treatment, includes a hot stone massage, face treatment, hot lather shave, manicure, a foot treatment and a shoeshine.

Basics like the Neck Clean-Up, a hot lather neck shave for $20, round out the offering of services.