Category Archives: Baxter Culture

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Grooming to Live Life True

Los Angeles is a town of dreamers and dream chasers. Come for the weather; stay to find yourself. This sprawling city encompasses people of all different backgrounds and identities, lifestyles and hustles, and it’s the only place we know of where driving an hour in any direction can land you at the beach, the mountains, or in the hectic center of it all.

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Here at Baxter of California we know that grooming products are a tool for living. Since its birth in Los Angeles in 1965, Baxter has sought to be a part of your journey, never dictate which path you take. Rather than cater to trends with a short shelf life, we focus on producing simple, useful, quality products that bring out the individual—to showcase who you are as you experience life. Our new campaign celebrates Angelenos who are living life true. Trying to be something or someone you aren’t is exhausting — Life Lived True is our unfiltered depiction of modern masculinity grounded in California culture. What defines modern masculinity? Nowadays it’s not so one-dimensional. It’s everything and it’s nothing; “masculine” is whatever it means to you. It’s being real, being honest with yourself, celebrating who you are and embracing those unique qualities that make you you. “Modern masculinity is about more than just your physical appearance—it’s an expression of self that is non-binary, gender-agnostic, and blind to race or religion; a way of living bravely,” Global Head of Marketing Yasmin Dastmalchi expounds. “Venturing beyond the ordinary is in the brand’s DNA.”

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We teamed up with photographer Ben Grieme to introduce Life Lived True in the city that Baxter of California has called home for over 50 years. The series finds its inspiration in real people cast from the streets of Los Angeles, all with little-to-no modeling experience. From a professional fencer, to the brand’s own female barber, to an LA-native who quit his desk job, packed up and moved from a 1-bedroom apartment into a van parked at Venice Beach, with nothing but his surfboard and a bag of clothes—the diverse subjects are bound together through their embrace of authenticity. The portraits, amplified by the scenic backdrop of the city—the urban sprawl next to undeniable natural beauty—result in something quintessentially LA that’s true to the spirit and culture of this city and its population. With their urge to push beyond social constructs, unhindered by stereotypes or expectations, Angelenos live their lives according to their own rules.

The independent spirit of California culture is also illustrated by the subjects’ unique styles and grooming habits. We enlisted the help of Baxter of California Lead Stylist, Whitney VerMeer, to help tell these stories and convey the fresh approach. “I work with a lot of career models, but my favorite projects are the ones where I cast people from Instagram or someone I pass on the street who has an interesting look. There’s something really beautiful about watching a person transform behind camera and see their confidence blossom throughout the process.”

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Life Lived True is about embracing the perfection in imperfection—unafraid to be true to who you are, out here living and not caught up with what people think. Baxter of California provides the everyday essentials that you wear out into the world, empowering you to find your true stride and make your own mark.

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Celebrating Dads Who Live Life True

Father’s Day is a big deal for us here at Baxter of California. Much like grooming, it’s rooted in tradition. And while different cultures and nationalities have their own unique traditions when it comes to celebrating their Dads, every one of them has that one thing in common – whether it’s in LA, throughout the country, or across the world, and that’s celebrating Dad’s that #livelifetrue.

This year, we sat down with lifestyle blogger and GQ Insider Francis Kenneth (@franciskenneth) – a long-time friend of Baxter of California – to learn a little about his relationship with his Dad, and how they celebrate Father’s Day together.

 

BAXTER: Tell us about your relationship with your Dad.

FRANCIS: Two words: TOUGH LOVE. (For some context, I’m Asian, if you can’t tell from the photos. My Dad emigrated with his family from the Philippines to the US). As the oldest son of four children, I was/am the guinea pig and role model for my siblings. Growing up, I was always annoyed that he was strict (in comparison to my friends’ American parents), and would “micro-manage” everything I did from school to sports, Boy Scouts to music, choice of friends to girls I dated. Now that I’m older, and despite not being able to fulfill his own dream for me, I’ve come to realize that this was his way of supporting my passions. After all, those things in-n-out of school were my choice on how I wanted to spend my time, and I cannot be more appreciative of his guidance on all of it (even when he didn’t approve of them). After all, I wouldn’t be who and where I am today without him, which also means, I wouldn’t be here for this Q&A. If you’re reading this, thanks Dad!

 

BAXTER: What is favorite activity to do to with your dad?

FRANCIS: LAKER GAMES!!!

 

BAXTER: What do you admire most about your dad?

FRANCIS: Hard work and generosity. He sacrificed his own hobbies and interests to do whatever it took to make sure there was food on the table, clothes on our back, a roof over our head, and then some. HE NEVER ASKED FOR HELP (well, with the exception of my Mom, of course). I know that all sounds pretty basic, but this meant and still means the world to me.

 

BAXTER: What has your dad taught you about grooming and style

FRANCIS: In all honesty, he’s the reason why I even care about grooming and style. My Dad was a stud back in the day, and he made sure to pass on the importance of appearances to me at a very early age.

 

BAXTER: How has your Dad’s style influenced yours?

FRANCIS: If I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would be to be the best dressed for the occasion. Basically, dress accordingly but be the best at it. That still resonates in my personal style today.

 

BAXTER: What are some traditions you share with your Dad?

FRANCIS: Food and basketball. I guess you could say these are “new” traditions as they haven’t been passed down over the generations, but this has been our “father and son time” for as long as I can remember. I mean, the Lakers won the NBA championship the year I was born, so it only makes sense.

 

BAXTER: How do you typically celebrate Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Dinner and NBA Finals!

 

BAXTER: What do you typically gift your Dad for Father’s Day?

FRANCIS: Ties (a Father’s Day must), grooming products, and/or cologne.

 

BAXTER: Do you think he’ll like the Better With Age Set?

FRANCIS: The better question is which father wouldn’t like the Better With Age Set? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

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Introducing the Baxter x Fancy Barbershop Series

We’ve teamed up with FANCY (@fancy) to bring you into our world with a taste of what some of today’s biggest names in tech, entertainment, and sports talk about in the barber chair.

In our first episode, we’re joined by Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and entrepreneur Ryan Leslie (@ryanleslie), who has not sat on a barber chair in a long time because he cuts his own hair. Baxter of California barber Ricky (@lordsticky) and Ryan talk about fashion, Ryan’s ventures in music and tech, and what modern masculinity means in his world.

Watch the video below and stay tuned for the next in the series. #lifelivedtrue

 

 

Celebrating Baxter Moms

Mother’s Day is a very important tradition for the guys at Baxter of California. There is arguably no greater influence in a young man’s life than that of his Mother. And it’s not because our Mothers taught us how to how to get dressed, tie our shoes, brush our teeth and wipe our own asses—you know, the typical “mom duties.” Here at Baxter of California, we celebrate diversity and look past the traditional gender roles that suggest Dads teach their boys about men’s grooming and Mom’s stay in the kitchen.

It’s 2017, and let’s face it, Moms are tough—physically & emotionally. They’re somehow built to handle a staggering amount of crap from just about every direction while still managing to be a source of strength, inspiration and admiration for their kids. These Baxter guys credit their moms for not only bringing them into the world, but for encouraging them to forge their own paths through it; each of them shows their appreciation for these superwomen in their own unique and individual ways.

Fernando (Marketing) with his Mom, Normy

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Fernando’s Mom, Normy, lived in Puerto Rico her entire life until moving to Miami in her 50’s, leaving her family in search of a better life. A lifelong school teacher, she’s always been known as “the fashionable one” by her students, and as you can see, her fashion sense is undeniable. Normy always encouraged Fernando to not only always look his best, but to always be the best version of himself as well. For his Mom’s special day, Fernando likes to fly cross-country to surprise her just so he can see the look on her face which, for him, never gets old.

Ben (Global Sales) with his Mom, Terrie

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Ben doesn’t get to visit his Mom, Terrie as much as he’d like. She lives in England and he, here in LA, but they do Skype regularly. Terrie has never been afraid to speak her mind and has always encouraged her children to do the same. So it should have been no surprise to Ben that when, on a recent visit she made out here, he took her out to dinner at the ultra-exclusive Hollywood dining club, Soho House, Terrie spent most of the evening chatting up Harry Potter actor, Rupert Grint and criticizing his English accent.

Patrick (Marketing) with his Mom, Yvonne

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Patrick and his mom Yvonne are very much alike. Those close to them like to joke that he is definitely his mother’s son as they share many of the same character traits. Patrick credits his Mom with teaching him the value of unconditional love and for always supporting and encouraging him to dream big and pursue his passions. For her special day, Patrick likes to present his Mom with flowers and a card. They’ll typically spend the day outside, exploring a new hiking trail or going for a bike ride. Afterward, they’ll stop by Patrick’s Grandmother’s house so that Yvonne can wish her own Mom a Happy Mother’s day.

Sam (Business Development) with his Mom, Nancy

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Sam’s Mom, Nancy taught her son to work hard, play hard and above all, always have fun. Nancy was the first female president of his local little league, which was an important organization for the youth in their hometown. She worked hard to provide young kids with a safe and fun space for them to learn and have fun through the league, spearheading community-driven efforts for playing field beautification and more. Sam’s Mom wasn’t just all work and no play, though. Sam recalls how she would often turn out all the lights in the house, blast music and dance with him on the coffee table. Seriously, that’s a pretty cool Mom. Sam credits his Mom with encouraging and inspiring him to be an active member of his community and to always participate in causes that he believes in. He can’t wait to celebrate this Mother’s day with Nancy and his wife, Jessica; they’re expecting their first baby in just a few short months.

Bolen (Business Development) with his Mom, Denise

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Bolen, as we learned from our Baxter Dads blog last year, is no stranger to tradition. His Dad’s a barber and his Mom, Denise, is a hair stylist, so the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, it seems. Growing up, Denise often said to her son, “I brought you into this world and I can just as easily take you out of it.” It sounds like Bolen might have been a bit of a handful, but he understands full well that he wouldn’t be where he is today without his mom’s passionate guidance and strength at crucial points in his life, always being there for him no matter what. When visiting his Mom for her special day in their home state of Texas, he starts off with a lazy morning of coffee and grits followed by a long brunch with plenty of mimosas. They spend the rest of the afternoon by the pool until he fires up the grill and serves her a dry rub BBQ for dinner.

Marcus (Marketing) with his Mom, Tammy

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Marcus’s Mom, Tammy was a stay-at-home mom who raised 4 children, which is no small feat. As her children grew up and left the home, Tammy found she had a desire to leave her mark on the world outside of her immediate family. That’s why she started volunteering weekly for her local Meals on Wheels program and has been doing it for the last 15 years. Marcus, her youngest, knows how much his Mom loves flowers, especially tulips. So every year, when he and the rest of his family show up to their annual Mother’s Day BBQ, he brings her a great big bouquet of them just so he can hear her say, “Tulips, my favorite! How did you know?”

These Moms are all awesome, for their similarities and even more so for their differences. Each of these women we honor and thank for breaking the mold in their own unique way while raising sons that have taken their spirits of love, compassion, determination, dedication and individuality and made it a part of them in honor of the amazing women that they owe so much to. Whatever your traditions and however you celebrate, we here at Baxter of CA wish you and yours a happy Mother’s Day.

#lifelivedtrue

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The Chainsmokers at the Grammys

Grammy night is unlike any other event during awards season and the entire night—from the red carpet to the exclusive after parties—is often as wild and crazy as the music artists who attend. For the most part, yes, there’s a lot of focus on women’s hair, makeup and outfits, but don’t think that a lot of time, effort and prep isn’t going into helping guys look their best as well. Celebrity grooming and stylist extraordinaire, Simone (@simonegrooming), got to work using her favorite Baxter of California hair and skin products on musical duo, The Chainsmokers (@thechainsmokers), who were going into the night with 3 Grammy noms, including Best New Artist, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Dance Recording.

Simone’s got some serious credentials with a who’s-who of A-listers such as Rami Malek, Luke Wilson, Kevin Bacon, Jason Segel and Adrian Grenier, to name just a few of her clientele.  Every client Simone works with has different preferences and styles, so she gave us the rundown on which products she used on The Chainsmokers last night.

For Alex (@alexpall), Simone starts with the Herbal Mint Toner to refresh the skin, then gently massages the Under Eye Complex into his skin to reduce puffiness and dark circles. She follows with the Oil Free Moisturizer for some shine-free hydration that looks great on-camera. Since Alex is now sporting a beard, she opts for the Beard Comb to get it in good shape. For Alex’s hair, she first uses Hard Cream Pomade to shape it, finishing it with the Hard Water Pomade for a little last minute texture and shine.

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For Drew (@drewtaggart), who likes to sport a clean-shaven look, she starts with Shave Tonic post-shave, followed by the Herbal Mint Toner to close pores and minimize redness. She then applies the Under Eye Complex to eliminate discoloration around the eyes, followed by the Super Shape Skin Recharge Cream on any dry spots. She finishes with the Oil Free Moisturizer to give his complexion a healthy appearance and applies Hydro Salve Lip Balm, wiping away any excess shine. Drew likes to do his hair himself for events, so Simone typically just likes to add a bit of texture with Clay Pomade before he walks out the door.

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Once Alex and Drew were en route to The Staples Center, we sat down with Simone for a little one-on-one over what it’s like to style and groom men for the an event like The Grammy Awards and what it was looking working with The Chainsmokers:

Q: Any insider tips and tricks on how you made sure Alex and Drew kept that look for a night full of events and after parties?

Simone: “They both have such laid-back style and have beautiful skin, so it’s easy for them to look great all night. Some oil-free moisturizer, eye cream, and hair product does the trick!”

Q: Why do you love Baxter of California? What’s the one Baxter of California product you can’t leave home without?

Simone: “Baxter of California is the ultimate men’s brand. All products keep the laid back California feel while also being able to create a fresh, pulled together look. Basically you can get a great and sexy look without trying too hard when you use Baxter. I can’t leave home without 3 of your products:  The Under Eye Complex (a life saver!), the Hard Cream Pomade for flexible styling, and the Hard Water Pomade for finalized texture and shine.”

Q: When people think of men and red carpet they immediately think of hair, but what are the skin care secrets that make artists be camera ready? 

Simone: “So many of my clients arrive to me just off a plane so keeping their skin hydrated is key. The Under Eye Complex and Super Shape Skin Recharge Cream both work wonders.”

Q: Are there any current grooming trends you’re loving right now and why?

Simone: “I love that men are starting to really care about the well-being of their skin. Men’s skin needs just as much TLC as a woman’s and I love how it’s becoming more mainstream to promote men’s skincare.”

Q: What’s your definition of the modern man and how has traditional grooming evolved over the years?

Simone: “The modern man is confident and sexy without overcompensating with traditional stereotypes of masculinity.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working with Alex and Drew?

Simone: “They’re just the coolest, nicest, most laid-back guys. They deserve all their success.”

Q: What’s your favorite song by The Chainsmokers?

Simone: “All of them, of course!”

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Home For The Holidays

This holiday season, we’re following three L.A.-based modern gentlemen as they talk about what gets them into the spirit of the season.  Whether it’s driven by the love of family or the importance of traditions both old and new, there’s something special about being home for the holidays. From the shores of Malibu to the desert foothills of the Rocky Mountains, keep Baxter on hand.

Nevin Pontias (@nevmcq)

When Nevin Pontius was growing up on a farm outside of Madison, Wisconsin, he and his family would pile in their old Toyota and visit relatives in Arizona for the holidays. Nowadays, he spends a few hours of family time every morning with his wife, Scarlett and daughter, Clementine, playing with Play-Doh and tinkering with cars. He keeps that family road trip tradition alive, taking his wife and daughter to visit their parents every holiday season in his vintage Porsche.

Steven Smith (@iamstephensmith)

Agrarian adventure travel photographer, Steven Smith may be based in L.A. but he’s always considered his home state of Colorado his true home.  Every year he looks forward to riding his motorcycle up there for the holidays, finding the majestic spaces of the desert and mountains humbling and inspiring. More importantly he’s grateful that no matter how good, bad or hectic his year has been, he gets to enjoy good food and reconnect with his family.

Davide Burette (@shelterhalf)

Italy-born Entrepreneur, Davide Burette moved to Malibu to attend Pepperdine University three days after completing his tour in the Italian military. He phoned his future wife, a California native, who he’d met in Europe and she took him down to the beach.  He settled here many years ago to start a family and he’s been in love with this very special stretch of coast ever since. For him, the most beautiful days are around the holidays, not just because of the sun, sand and waves, but the satisfaction he takes in seeing his children take such delight in this very special time of year.

 

Watch their stories here.

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Axelrod and Baxter Take Barnsdall

Artist Aaron Axelrod is taking over Barnsdall Art Park and its famed Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House for three days starting July 15th with his Dark Matter exhibit (July 16th and 17th will be free and open to the public). The event will preview his work, which includes multiple mediums, visual activations and a ‘not-to-miss’ surprise performance. We sat down with Aaron to learn more about his work, his love of LA and, of course, his grooming routine.

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Q: What made you want to partner with the Barnsdall Arts foundation on this event/exhibit? How did this collaboration come to be?
A: Barnsdall Art Park is one of the coolest places in LA- it has amazing views of Los Angeles and it focuses on cultivating the arts and culture in Los Angeles- which we need! They have also never had an artist take over the entire facility and gave me complete creative control to do whatever I wanted – can’t say no to that!

 

Q: What do you want visitors to take away from your exhibit?
A: I want them to smile and think “Holy shit what the fuck did I just see.” Nowadays, people get bombarded with so many visuals that they often ignore what’s around them and become desensitized. My goal is to get 5 more seconds of their attention and make them STOP.

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Q: What does Los Angeles and California mean to you?
A: It’s where I grew up and was raised. Where I eat all my tacos. Where I make out with all the pretty girls. Everyone is nice, weather is beautiful and you have people from all over the world. And we have the Dodgers!
Q: What are your favorites places or things to do in LA?
A: Lawry’s Prime Rib (I used to go as a kid for birthdays- best meal ever!), La Poubelle (cool bar in Franklin Village) and obviously Barnsdall Arts Park.

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Q: Tell us a little bit about you? Describe Aaron in 3 words
A: Don’t give a fuck. “Give-a” is one word right?

 

Q: What is your getting ready routine before you start working on your art?
A: Coffee is the MOST important. First, I drink two cups of coffee. Philz coffee is my favorite! Then, I pace up and down my art studio for an hour to think and then get to work.

 

Q: What are your grooming must-haves?
A: Shampoo with Menthol (love Baxter of California’s Daily Protein Shampoo) because I like the tingly sensation on my scalp, a hot towel with a product to open my pores and feel relaxed (like Tree Tea Oil orjust tried Baxter of California’s Shave Tonic- it’s the bomb!), Facial Scrubs once a week, and an industrial cleaner to get rid of the paint!

 

Q: What inspires your clothing/hair style?
A: Black on Black on black. Clean and black.

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Baxter of California is proud to sponsor The Barnsdall Art Park Foundation with the mission of fostering the arts and culture in our Los Angeles community. Stop by the exhibit July 15 and 16 (free and open to the public) to see the beautiful Barber Chair art piece Aaron created as part of our partnership.

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Mikael Kennedy – Days in the desert

Mikael Kennedy is a New York City based photographer. Ever since he was a kid, Mikael has been making the pilgrimage West. His attachment to all the elements of what the West has to offer can be seen and felt through his imagery. From the coast to the desert landscape he tells a story through his lens that shows the true feeling of the open road. Mikael is a world renowned photographer and has had his work featured in galleries and many major publications. He also publishes books featuring the different locations he has explored. The images and excerpt below are from the time he and his wife spent a month in the beautiful Joshua Tree. To see more images from this trip and to see more of his work, follow this link for his latest book Days in the Desert.

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I first came to California when I was 16, we drove through Death Valley up the coast into Santa Cruz and then back out north through the redwoods. Every time I set foot in California I think the same thing: this is paradise. I often think about the great migration west of European immigrants, after they’d set up colonies on the East Coast and they chased the sun across the land before them.  I think of what it must have been like to cross this country completely unknown to them, one that must have seemed like it stretched on forever, back when it was just Country. Looking past the troubled history of the building of this nation, I think of the human perspective, of the individual who crossed the plains, pushed their way through the rockies, who battled off disease, and starvation, who fought with each other, who watched their friends and family perish, and in those last moments, as they they crested a hill and watched the coastline of California spill out before them, what must they have thought? I can imagine them thinking they had reached heaven, what other word could be used to describe what they saw other than paradise, after everything they’d just been through.

I was born and raised in Vermont, a land of abundant water. Lush green hills and forests to wander through in the summer months, the signs of spring you hear gently through the valleys as the snow melts and streams begin to flow again feeding into rivers, washing away the cold, a promise that warmth is on it’s way. The first thing I ask anyone when I meet them is, “Where are you from?” And while I do mean what culture did you grow up, I mostly mean “what climate”. There is very little I think that defines a person more than the climate they are from, lives are shaped that way, habits, entire cultures, our history is driven by the climates we live in. So the first time I crossed the Mojave, 2 summers ago with my wife, the brutality and the power of the desert left an impression on me, on us. As the 107 degree days slowed down into cool nights we found ourselves in awe, the stillness of the air, the color in the sky. We knew we wanted to return, actually we never wanted to leave, but there was a schedule ahead of us that  we were bound to for better or worse.
We had decided last year to do a retreat when the winter came round to NYC once again. We would save up, pack up and find someplace to settle for a month to work and live, if it worked we would keep trying to do it once a year. Pick a new place and go live for a month. It seemed better than a vacation, we weren’t stepping away from our lives for a short break, we were drawing out lives out in a different context. We chose Joshua Tree as the first of what we imagined to become many retreats. For 28 days we rose with the sun, watched it rise over the mesa, the first hint being it glinting off the windows of the other houses miles away. We would spend the days working on our own project, my wife recording songs for a new album while I did what I love most, drive. I just drove, and looked, and stopped to take a picture, and drove some more.  As the days wound down we meet again driving into the National Park climb to the top of the those strange piles of boulders and rocks that cover the landscape to watch the light fade and end the day.
28 days in the desert, for 28 days this was the routine. To simply sit in a world that was foreign to us, in a landscape we had both passed through briefly, one that was so wildly different from the ones we come from and to see what it did to us, what it does to us.

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Life Of Riley

Here at Baxter of California we like to feature characters that are built into the grain of the California landscape. Men who embody the Baxter spirit and ethos and are fans of our products. This week we are excited to present to you “Life Of Riley”, a film tapping into the fascinating life of Riley Harper.

Riley Harper is a second generation stuntman living the California dream. Born and raised in the beautiful topography that is California, he embodies the California lifestyle through and through. If he isn’t jumping motorcycles as the double of your favorite super hero or rallying a muscle car with someone on the hood, he is on his hand built 1965 Triumph TR6 Trophy enjoying the perfectly paved bending roads of the Santa Monica mountains or scoring perfect waves at Malibu on his single fin—both “training for the job,”  as he describes. He has lived a well rounded life and experienced many great things all over the world, but in his eyes “the best vacation in the world is just being home” in California.

To see more from Riley follow him on Instagram or check out his website.

Directed by: Sinuhe Xavier
Director of Photography: Mike Svitak
Produced by: Clint Cowen
Original score by: Todd Stopera
Ariel Photography by: Ben Grimes and Aaron Grimes
Edited by: Carol Martori

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50th Anniversary Event

On Thursday, February 25th we threw an event to celebrate our 50 year anniversary.  We packed into our Baxter Finley Barber & Shop for libations from Bulleit Whiskey, Santa Monica Brew Works and and to listen to the sounds of the surf jazz duo the Mattson 2. On this night we commemorated our heritage and reflected our 50 years in the mens grooming market. From our first product, Super Shape —which is returning later this year all the way through to our place as the premier grooming product across the globe we have paved the way for men’s grooming and give men a high quality, effective product.

Thank you to Bulleit Whiskey, Santa Monica Brew Works, Magnolia Photo Booth Company, Bollare and Farmer’s Belly Catering for bringing the event to life.

Here’s to many more years of providing men with the premium grooming solution.  Cheers!

#Baxter50

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