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I don’t mean to brag but my grooming regimen whips ass. I’ve got every conceivable base covered in my bathroom sink/cabinet lineup, from toners to oils to serums. There are four different kinds of cologne in my rotation right now. I do not need to be told how to groom myself. I am grooming personified.
So when I was first approached with the opportunity to review some new grooming line calling itself Art of Sport, I scoffed. Why would I break from the perfection of my current grooming routine? It took years to fine-tune. What’s the point in disrupting it for a new line that looks like it’s made for jocks and doesn’t have a single fancy accent mark in its name? Do any of these products have sandalwood odors? Hard pass!
Still, curiosity got the best of me. Maybe there was something to be found in their lineup worth holding onto. Maybe it’s never too late to learn.
The first thing you need to know about Art of Sport is that it’s not like the other men’s hygiene lines, your Old Spices and Axe body sprays. Art of Sport is designed for athletes, and not just any athletes. Check out their website and you’ll be greeted with a giant photo of NBA superstar James Harden. Have you ever watched James Harden play basketball? He’s athletic as heck! Dude’s always jumping and running and sweating all over the place, so much so that I can’t help but wonder if my dainty aluminum-free deodorant might not be as effective for him were he to use it. What works for James Harden might not work for me, and vice versa.
Although, I thought, the distance between myself and traditional athleticism isn’t quite as vast as it was ten years ago when I first began putting together a serious grooming routine. The skinny comic nerd who once read about how allowing a little pit sweat can be healthy isn’t living in the same body as this slightly less skinny comic nerd who now runs, boxes, lifts weights, and does yoga five or six days a week. And those fancy aluminum-free deodorants (not antiperspirants) may have worked then, but they definitely leave me uh, a little smellier than usual come bedtime than I’m comfortable with these days.
Am I ... an athlete? Do I need grooming gear designed for athletes? Is this what I’ve become?
Well, let’s not go that far. I am still a very fancy boy in need of very fancy grooming products. My jeans? Skinny. My hair? Quaffed with product. Still, upon receiving my box of Art of Sport gear, I found myself genuinely impressed with the brand’s offerings. Their deodorants and antiperspirants proved super effective, keeping me from stinking up my apartment immediately post-workout and smelling fresh throughout the day after showering. The brand offers four scents, all super basic (in a good way) rather than the complex and overpowering odors you get from many hypermasculine hygiene lines (to be clear, Art of Sport is gender-neutral).
I found the antiperspirants super effective during and after workouts. There was no more going to bed stinky for this guy, and the product even kept me from getting too nasty during runs and boxing sessions, typically the activities that leave me the most drenched in sweat. The scents were subtle, leaving plenty of room for my prized colognes to shine while keeping at bay any lingering nasty guy scents throughout the day.
The rest of the line is a bit trickier to review. The brand also produces shampoos, skincare essentials, and soap. They’re solid top to bottom, especially the shampoos, but not quite personally my thing. If you’re someone like me who’s been into grooming gear for a good long while, you might find them a little underwhelming. This isn’t necessarily a knock on the product, mind you. I found the skincare products to be super solid introductory products for anyone looking to establish a regular skincare routine, and a heavy one at that (the SPF 50 sunscreen is crazy effective). That said, if you’re already a Kiehl’s loyalist or something, you probably don’t need to break any habits over Art of Sport’s face wash.
I’m prepared to admit it: I was wrong. I was pretentious. I was judgemental. Why would I, a veritable grooming Superman with not one but TWO serums in his lineup currently, need some bro-ey deodorant? I thought I was above it and not only was I wrong, I was wrong to think so to begin with. Sometimes the perfect piece in your skincare arsenal can come from the most unlikely of sources, be it your girlfriend’s bathroom drawer (shoutout to Biore Pore Strips) or a line of athletic grooming gear endorsed by an NBA All-Star.