In this blog, we are excited to highlight Declaration Grooming out of Morenci, Michigan. Declaration Grooming is the sweat and toil of Scott & Saradawn Stewart. Formerly L&L Grooming and Declaration Brushworks, the new moniker doesn't change the years of hard work and dedication these artisans have put into developing their business. From recipe formulation, web design, product crafting, marketing, and the myriad others task, they take their job seriously.
Scott became interested in wet shaving after disappointing attempts with a cartridge and the death of his (discontinued) electric shaver. He grew a beard. Then in 2009, he discovered wet shaving. He went on to learn that it could give him so much more than a close shave.
Nearly three years ago, Scott quit his day job to focus on his passion. That leap of faith plunged him into the world of soap making, brush crafting, and business building. “I started L&L in 2015 and quit my job before my first sale. Reckless, sure, but I needed a break from corporate America and wanted to actually create something tangible that would enrich people’s lives,” said Scott. His subsequent success is the result of tireless work and an affection for the products. His first love is turning brush handles on his lathe. Combine that with learning to hand tie his own knots, and his products are truly a labor of love – and time. Declaration Brushworks was the result. “I quickly realized that – due to the physical limitation of two hands – I would be unable to earn a stable living doing so,” said Scott. But not to worry, his bison-tallow soaps and collaboration with Chatillion Lux were garnering a solid reputation in the wet shaving world. This year the Stewarts moved to Morenci, MI from Atlanta, GA and invested in growing their business with a larger commercial space. With more room and rising momentum, Scott & Saradawn combined their L&L Grooming business with their Declaration Brushworks business to form Declaration Grooming.
While Scott loves his brushes, he also takes seriously his scents, soaps, and splashes (and liniments). Their line contains five staple scents (but products will change as they settle into their new space), but it also includes seasonal aromas, collaborations, and one-off items. In fact, one of Scott’s preferences is for their fall scent. “My personal favorite software product that I produce is Darkfall, my autumn seasonal for the past two years. I consider it my magnum opus to date,” said Scott. “Aside from my brushes, my top-sellers are Trismegistus and Bandwagon.” In addition, they have partnered with Chatillon Lux, artisan out of St. Louis, MO to bring you more scents. You get the wonder of Declaration Grooming bison tallow soap with the aroma of Chatillon Lux. A match made in the heaven (read: Midwest)!
This premium shaving soap (or croap, very soft soap) is loaded with amazing, hydrating, protective ingredients. It has a bison tallow base and lanolin for slickness and glide. Then butters, oils, and bentonite clay whip up the perfect, moisturizing lather that leaves a note-worthy post shave feel.
They offer two options for after your shave: a liniment and a splash. A liniment is a liquid, or semiliquid, preparation for rubbing on or applying to the skin usually soothing or counterirritating. And this exactly what this grooming product does. Formulated to be "thick, rapidly absorbing, and as non-greasy as possible", this liniment is intensely moisturizing, soothing, and protecting. (Almost like Declaration Grooming's bison tallow soap and aftershave had a baby). It includes bison tallow, witch hazel, aloe, glycerin, and other botanicals. A little bit goes a long way, so use sparingly.
If you want the more traditional, try their aftershave splash. It aims to be the least-drying alcohol formula possible. It still gives a bit of that requisite alcohol-burn, but it is quickly cooled by the addition of witch hazel and aloe. Scott even has a proprietary botanical blend to condition the skin and keep it feeling great all day. A touch of menthol finishes off the splash - all without excessive drying.
Original - This one takes you back. . . to the first scent Scott made. Original is blend of classic sandalwood and bergamot. Simple, clean, dignified. Scott says, “I drew my inspiration from the dignified Captain Jean-Luc Picard.” The fragrance combines bright citrus but mellow sandalwood; it’s there but not in-your-face. Simple, distinguished, gentlemanly.
After the Rain - You know that smell that you get after a storm? While it can be specific to your geography, there are still some elements that seem to hit our olfactory senses and say “rain”. With this After the Rain aroma, you can imagine walking through the woods after a shower. Notes of wet pine, understated lavender, cedar, and white pepper.
Bandwagon - If you’ve jumped on this wet shaving bandwagon, then you’re probably a fan of the barbershop scents. This is Scott’s addition to that genre. Inspired by the talcum powder and splash of aftershave behind his ears that accompanied a haircut at his grandfather’s barbershop, this classic scent attempts to recreate that memory. Notes of powdery-musk, sandalwood, lavender, camphor, coumarin, tarragon, bergamot, and a touch of anise. This subtle scent is intentional light, created to not interfere with your cologne choice for the day.
Cuir Et Epices - This scent of “leather & spices” (Cuir Et Epices) is exclusive to the new bison tallow soap base. This unique blend of leather, tobacco flower, cedar, anise, oakmoss, and patchouli seems to defy description. That said this isn’t a gourmand scent. Stick with the John Wayne image, not Julia Child.
Trismegistus - Trismegistus (say that three times fast) is the “thrice great” concoction of Declaration Grooming. This brand is a triple-threat of slickness, soothing, and scent. With this aroma, they were inspired by the perfumers at Hermes. Citrus top notes of grapefruit and orange yield to a heart of flint, pink peppercorn, & geranium. Then base notes of benzoin, vetiver, & cedar round out this masculine fragrance. Perfect for anywhere, any day.
Photos from @declarationgrooming on Instagram