A Life Lived True: The Evolving Cultural Movement in LA

Focused on the intersection between individuality and community—a driving force behind the ethos of the city’s millennials

Los Angeles is more than sunshine, palm trees, and the Hollywood hills; it’s a state of mind that extends beyond geography while remaining firmly anchored to its trailblazer origins. It’s a city with a zeitgeist that inspires its residents to embrace what makes them authentic individuals. But, by giving them the freedom to pursue their dreams on their own terms, it has indelibly created a thriving culture populated with, and driven by, like-minded millennials.

Home to Baxter of Califonia since 1965, Los Angeles is living, breathing example that identity need not be prescribed or limited by categories of race, religion or gender. It isn’t about who or how to be—it’s about following your own internal compass and embracing a “Life Lived True.”

Through the continuation of its “Life Lived True” campaign that launched last year, Baxter of California is now delving even deeper into its exploration of modern masculinity—one that is inclusive of all expressions of masculinity. Next up, the brand turns its lens towards what defines, inspires and motivates a cross section of the many unique subcultures that together create the millennial ethos of LA: skate, surf, art, music and indie.


Beginning with a series of portraits and videos shot around the city, from iconic local spot Jimmy’s Burgers to infamous Sunset Boulevard to revitalized Downtown LA, this year’s exploration of “Life Lived True” shines a light on the aesthetics of these ambitious subcultures through five of the city’s real-life creatives. With the expertise of 16-year barbering veteran and industry-innovator Julius “Julius Caesar” Arriola (@juliuscaesar) highlighting each subject’s style, Baxter of California’s core belief that grooming is an act of self-expression was clear and present.

“I took the time to really try to understand the subcultures that Baxter of California’s ‘Live Lived True’ campaign is representing,” Julius explains. “With these looks, I made sure not to alter the individuals away from their genuine ‘anything and everything goes’ lifestyles, but instead to bring their strong, unique features to the forefront. Nothing is worse than style that reads off forced—you can see the discomfort in it all. How one chooses to present themselves to the world through grooming is definitely a prominent expression of freedom and life lived true.”

Take, for instance, Rodney (@boydeus), a musician who Julius dubbed the “Sophisticated Jimi.” Even though he’s lived around the globe, his path inevitably landed him in Los Angeles, a city that’s given him the opportunity to chase his dreams in what he considers the big leagues. While staying true to his roots—which include a fashion-sense indebted to his grandfather’s closet—he’s learned to take rejection in stride—a unifying trait of LA’s aspiring music community. Even though he may be doing his own thing his own way, he also knows that when he needs help, the city’s creative community will have his back.

We will continue to explore the campaign sub-communities of Los Angeles through a series of pop ups beginning June 2018 that will feature complimentary barbering and skincare services for men and women.

To join us and be the first to know about local events, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.


Baxter of California’s Beard Boot Camp

Maintaining a beard separates the die-hards from the try-hards. It’s not easy. It takes commitment, passion, and a good exfoliator. And a comb. Read on for our beard boot camp prep list.

1. Wash

It’s a bit awkward, but it must be washed. Consciously wash your beard 3-4 times a week with our Daily Face Wash. This will ward off common beard-related skin issues like itchiness by keeping your skin clean and hydrated. We are often asked: ‘Can you wash your beard with conditioner? Can I wash my beard with shampoo?’ A little conditioner here or there won’t hurt, but stick to the Daily Face Wash to really do the trick. Also, keep in mind beards should be cleaned multiple times a week. For those who

2. Exfoliate

Some fresh-faced beard wearers may encounter issues such as flakiness or unidentified residue. If this happens, stay calm and exfoliate. Look for something tailored to facial hair, but stronger than whatever is in your girlfriend’s cabinet. You still have skin under your beard, and it doesn’t like being neglected. Treat your beard with Facial Scrub – it’s designed to brush away dead skin cells and dandruff in your beard, preventing itchiness and other dry-skin issues. You should use a beard exfoliator twice a week for a no-dandruff beard.

3. Comb

Find a good comb – our Beard Comb is the best beard comb around – use it to give your facial hair an untangling run-through in the AM, at night or throughout the day. It even fits in that little jean pocket that no one uses.

4. Condition and Control

Keep your beard soft with Baxter’s conditioning Beard Oil – designed to minimize complaints of your beard’s ‘scratchiness,’ and formulated with squalene, avocado oil and botanical extracts to keep your beard, whether short or long, conditioned and healthy. It is not only designed to keep your beard in check, but it penetrates and soothes dry skin underneath your beard. All that, mixed with a killer fragrance, and you won’t go a day without this ultimate grooming oil.

5. Play to your strengths 

All beards are unique. Different people can grow different beard types, for a variety of reasons. The key is, play to your specific beard type and face shape. If your beard is a bit patchy, and isn’t growing in everywhere, keep it short (like a shadow). This will maintain the bearded look without making it obvious that certain patches of your skin refuse to grow hair. Beard growth is a gradual process and there’s no shame in a transition phase.

6. Shave with clarity

Proper shaving is an essential aspect of both growing a beard and keeping your face non-irritated.Baxter of California shave care For the person who likes the old school, white shaving cream we suggest our Super Close Shave Formula. And for our hard-core gel people out there, we suggest our new award winning Beard Line-Up Shave Gel. It is completely clear – you can see exactly what you’re doing, and it’s appropriate for use with beards, sideburns, the back of the neck, or all over. In an extremely unique twist, it does not require water – making it ideal for days when you are in a rush and would rather not have little droplet stains on your shirt. It also moisturizes with Aloe and Vitamins C & E, preventing unsightly red bumps post-shave and keeping the skin around your beard healthy.

7. Trim

If you’re wondering how to grow a beard that won’t scratch your significant other’s skin, the answer lies in a tiny pair of scissors. Get yourself a pair of small scissors and make sure your top lip is hair-free. In general, we recommend turning to a barber for in-depth trimming, but it never hurts to keep clean lines on your beard in between visits to an expert. Whether you are sporting a rugged scruffy look, a Hugh Jackman beard, a full beard, or some variant of a Tony Stark beard, shaping makes or breaks your look.




For more grooming tips, visit www.baxterofcalifornia.com in addition to following us @baxterofca.

Get The Look: David Beckham

Many professional athletes are just as fun to look at as they are to root for. Enter David Beckham… if there’s one guy who knows how to make his fans swoon, whether it was on the field in his heyday, on the red carpet, or in the comfort of his own home, it’s Beckham.

Thanks to his ever-changing hairstyle, he’s got a look to satisfy every pallet—or at least has at one point or another over the last 20-something years. Into man buns? Check. Beckham pretty much brought the look mainstream  when he debuted it back in 2003. What about the side part? Check.  Mohawk, cornrows, faux-hawk? Check, check & check.

Choosing the “Beckham look” that’s a unanimous favorite is as hard for us as it presumably has been for him, so we turned to our master barbers at Baxter Finley Barber & Shop to see which styles they think he’s pulled off best and get their advice for achieving the look at home.

Beckham’s Best Looks (according to the experts):

1. Long on the top, short on the sides

Depending on what side you like to part your hair, having a long top haircut allows you to change up your look. Try a pompadour with Clay Pomade or Hard Cream Pomade, a sleek back or side look with Hard Water Pomade, or a low hold messier look with Cream Pomade.

2. Medium Length Hair with a beachy, lived-in look

Want to look effortlessly good? Use the Clay Effect Style Spray to get that lived-in look that shows that you can be stylish and have fun at the same time. This is great for both medium straight or wavy hair.

3. Shorter Sides, Spiked Top

A fun, youthful look that’s definitely making a comeback. Use the Clay Pomade to take your haircut to new heights.

4. The Buzz Cut

When you want to have a low-maintenance “wake up and get out the door” kind of look, you can’t go wrong with a buzz cut. As your hair starts to grow back, use Cream Pomade or Grooming Cream keep those hairs in check.



Here’s the Verdict on Man Buns

The man bun—a look we sort of never thought would last, something reserved for guys who also never leave home without a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and lots of rings. But it only seems to be getting more widespread. It’s true that the “ungroomed” look for men’s grooming has been in for a while, but when even Groupon rolls out a $10 clip-in bun for men, is it safe to say that this trend has come undone? Have we reached a saturation point as a culture or will it not be long until dudes start going full Castaway? Listen here, Wilson.

Are they still cool?

Since David Beckham debuted the look that brought ’em mainstream back in 2003, we’ve since seen man buns crop up on a slew of Hollywood stars, athletes, cool bros, new dads, et al—Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper—the list goes on. A few of these high-profile man bunners have since snipped their top knots, some are just beginning their journey.  El Segundo, California-based toymaker Mattel recently announced they’re releasing a version of Ken (Barbie’s boyfriend, for those unfamiliar) with—you guessed it—a man bun. It’s safe to say that these buns ain’t going nowhere. At least for now.

Trends aside, what really matters is what works best for you. If you’ve got medium-length to long hair—whether you’re trying to grow it out, or life got in the way and you skipped a few haircuts—you know that hair, too, can sometimes get in the way. Even if you’re feeling the longer, shaggier new you—your neck gets hot, your hair flies in your face, or maybe you just want to mix up your look once in a while. We say, if you’re going to take a dip in these murky man bun waters, do it right, and keep it low-maintenance. It’s actually pretty simple, so long as you’re not stealing all your girlfriend’s hair ties. A few things to keep in mind, bun brethren:

What About Washing?

It really comes down to personal preference—some bunners swear by once daily routine, while others will tell you they’ll go upwards of 2 weeks at a time without washing their hair (gross). We don’t advise this, particularly if you’re a gym-goer (if you use the gym for more than just a social activity, chances are you’re going to sweat… and if you sweat, you’re going to want to wash your hair, trust us). Whatever your preference, you’re going to want use a 1-2 shampoo + conditioner regimen.

A good, nutrient-enriched shampoo will repair and cleanse without drying, while a coconut-infused conditioner will help deliver natural nutrients essential for healthy hair growth and act as a remedy for dry already hair and scalp.

Do You Need Any Product?

Something everyone deals with after washing their hair is frizz. If you have thick, wavy or curly hair and want a natural-feeling man bun, a little grooming cream with light hold is your best bet—throw it in while your hair’s still damp and it’ll take care of the frizz no problem. For a more gritty, lived-in look (regardless of hair type), you’ll want to opt for a texturizing spray, which can be used pre- or post-blow drying.

Don’t Pull Too Tight

Ideally the man bun is more about function than fashion, so it should definitely be comfortable and easy to wear. Gather the hair tightly enough to stay secured in a bun, but don’t pull it so tight that your sore scalp will be paying for it later.

Find a Midpoint

Placement is important. The eventual bun should sit somewhere on the back-center of your head. Make sure to get any stray hairs at the bottom that can tend to fall out and grab them into your hand. You can also tame the strays with a finishing spray

But, how?

To actually complete your man bun, pull your hair back into a mid-high ponytail, wrap the hair tie around twice, then on the third pass simply tuck the end into the band. All there is to it! Now get out there—you’re ready for a full man bun day.

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.


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.”


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.”


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.

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?



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.


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

Fernando & Normy

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


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


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


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


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


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.


2017 Style Guide: Aaron Thornton

Once upon a time, a German and a Swede met in Northern California and had Aaron.

Aaron Thornton (@athor13)Aaron

Aaron grew up in Yosemite, CA but left the world’s biggest trees for the world’s biggest fashion scenes—New York and Milan—where he modeled before moving to Santa Monica, CA. But don’t think he’s just a pretty face in low-slung jeans with six-pack abs; this 25 year old invented a yoga mat that rolls up by itself, having it crowd-funded and patented. He’s also done some stunt work for a TV show in LA and hopes to keep inventing, getting patents and inspiring others to dream.


^He likes sporting the connected haircut shaped short to long, which offers a lot of versatility depending on how it’s styled. For a raw, edgy look, he wears it kicked up with a spikey texture, held firm with Clay Pomade. When it comes to skin, he’s all about soothing the razor’s edge with pre-shave treatment Shave Tonic and post-shave moisturizing protectant After Shave Balm.


^The rocker in him likes to wear it wild, disheveled and pushed forward with a combination of moldable Clay Pomade and firm-hold Hard Water Pomade for a balance of structure and pliability. Aaron keeps his skin buff with Exfoliating Facial Scrub two times per week.

Check out all the looks from our Style Guide and live life true.


2017 Style Guide: Jason Koko

Jason is the product of something that happened in Vegas but didn’t stay in Vegas.

Jason Koko (@jason.koko)


This 20 year old North Hollywood newbie’s striking gaze and pronounced V-shaped hairline give him an intense aspect that he tries to soften by not taking himself too seriously. When he’s not hunting for vintage vinyl records around LA, you’ll probably find this beach addict strolling through Venice or chilling by the surf on most weekends.  Proud but never satisfied, he’s constantly trying to better himself and hopes to move forward in his acting/modeling career.


^Jason likes sporting the taper fade undercut with his every-day look characterized by a laid-back, natural texture and movement controlled with a light hold by Soft Water Pomade. This style shows off his face so he uses Herbal Mint Toner to balance his skin, a cross between oily and dry.


^For rebel roles, he wears it in an exploding front comb-over, brought to its full mayhem with the light hold of Grooming Cream and finished with Clay Effect Style Spray (coming May 2017). His chaotic schedule can be rough on skin, so he uses Exfoliating Body Bar every morning in the shower.


^For a Bad-boy-gone-good appeal, he wear it off to the side and ruggedly separated on top, set in place with pliable Hard Cream Pomade. He’s done with dry, chapped lips because he moisturizes them daily with mojito-flavored Hydro Salve Lip Balm.

Check out all the looks from our Style Guide and live life true.