Style / December 2018

D.R. Harris: 18th Century Grooming Secrets

Founded in 1790, D R Harris is a London-based men’s grooming brand that offers a range of items that have been tried and tested for the better part of two centuries. A favourite of Oscar Wilde, we’re sure it will be one of yours, too.

There are very few companies that reside on an equal plateau to D.R. Harris, the London-based chemist and perfumer that was founded in 1790. With such an impressive age naturally comes an impressive history. In addition to being bestowed several Royal Warrants over the years, the most recent one came in 2012 from HM The Queen, it’s officially the UK’s oldest chemist. It was founded by two brothers, Henry Harris, who plied his trade as a surgeon, and Daniel Harris, who was a pharmacist. Throughout the halcyon days of gentleman’s clubs in St. James’s, which came to be known as Clubland, D.R. Harris was a go-to place of refuge for a quick fix, with inebriated, well-dressed men stopping by for the infamous ‘Pick-Me-Up Hangover Cure’ elixir that was, legend has it, a favourite of Oscar Wilde. Sadly, it no longer exists, but there are still many, many items than can be found on its aged shelves that can make a man feel tip top.

D.R. Harris is still located in St. James’s, one of London’s most prestigious areas, and as such is in good company with like minded stores and haberdasheries, such as Lock & Co., Turnbull & Asser and Edward Green, that together cater to the modern man’s needs. The store feels ever so slightly nostalgic, with ancient oak cabinets from centuries ago still in action, as such you really get the sense of its history, and this is also conveyed via the packaging and branding of its products that’s distinctly British. Upon receiving them, you can tell that they've been tried and tested for many, many years. Despite this archaic approach, D.R. Harris is very much with the times. For instance, they don’t test products with animals and they have a conscious approach to using sustainably sourced animal-derived products where it’s necessary. Furthermore, all of the glass bottles and wooden shaving bowls are refillable, which is perfect, as they keep you coming back for more. Testament to that is that there are customers who’ve been using D.R. Harris for over 50 years.

Contributor

Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.

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