When Duleek man Gary Hutchinson got fed up using skincare products that irritated his face he took matters into his own hands and developed his own range. Success, he tells Sally Harding was staring him in the face Long chin beard.
From ‘hipster’ beards to waxed moustaches and designer stubble, facial hair seems to have enjoyed a remarkable resurgence in popularity in recent years. One man who embraces this sentiment is Gary Hutchinson (33), from Duleek who spotted a gap in the grooming market when he struggled to find good quality natural products to use on his beard and decided to create his own.
The dad of three hand-makes his bespoke ‘Celtic Beard’ oils and balms all from his kitchen in his home in Duleek and has turned his passion into a family affair with wife Donna Marie and children Hannah, Jackson and Charlie all getting in on the action.
“I was looking for a good skincare range just to use myself but couldn’t find anything that suited. I always suffered from skin issues, I have flare-ups on my cheeks that doesn’t take much to set off so any harsh chemicals really affect me. I took reactions to certain ones, others didn’t have natural ingredients and were not high quality so I decided to do a bit of research to see what products would be beneficial for my beard and natural at the same time.
“I researched what oils are good for skin and hair and once I decided what oils I wanted to use, I found a company in Ireland that supplies aromatherapy products. From there I started to make them just for myself initially. I saw the amazing results I was getting and then I decided to release a product.
Types of men's facial hair
A whole industry has sprung up to cater to men who want ‘product’ to pamper their whiskers, with a dazzling array of beard oils, conditioners, combs and trimmers. Looking after appearance is no longer a taboo,
“I think health and beauty have definitely become more important to men in the last decade. Men are taking pride in their beards. There are a lot of specialist barbers popping up around the place, hot towel shaves, luxury products and different styles of beards are becoming popular.
“All of the products are made at home in the kitchen. Initially, I had bottles of various concoctions all over the house trying to get the right recipe.
“I use Jojoba oil, Argan oil and Borage seed oil. So the main recipe is the same for all of the bottles and then we just the addition of the essential oils to get the scent. The beard oil is for moisturising your hair and skin and the balm is a little bit more for styling.
All of the products are handmade in the family kitchen
“I started to look into how I could actually sell them. My wife and I designed the labels and packaging ourselves using Photoshop and I found a printer. I created a website through Shopify and set up social media accounts.
“It’s great to be able to do it at home, my son loves to help me. He sits up with his little jug and spoon beside me and mixes the ingredients. It’s great that the kids can look at me and know that they can do some things for themselves.
Not only are all of Gary’s products made with natural ingredients, but all of his packaging is also eco- friendly.
Beard and style
“We use glass bottles for the oils, the balms are in aluminium tins and the products get shipped in cardboard boxes so everything is recyclable. In the future, I’d like to sell them wholesale and try to get them into pharmacies and shops and increase the manufacturing side of things.”