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Dublin: 13 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019
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Darren Kennedy couldn't find the skincare products he wanted, so he made them himself

“It really is a dream come true.”

“OH YEAH, IT definitely wasn’t a case of slapping my name on something and putting it out.”

Presenter and style expert Darren Kennedy’s in a cab on the way to a River Island event in London for the launch of Olly Murs’ new clothing collection. He’s noticeably giddy talking about his new range of male grooming products, Kennedy & Co.

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💥COMPETITION TIME💥 To celebrate the launch of Kennedy & Co, my brand new Irish-made men’s grooming range which has just arrived into stores, I’m giving you and a friend the chance to try it out and win a hamper of the entire collection each. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is: 1.  Follow @kennedyandcogrooming on Instagram 2.  Head over to the latest post on @kennedyandcogrooming and tag a friend you would share the prize with! The full range is available now in selected @lloydspharmirl and @dunnesstores nationwide. *Competition is open internationally. Winner will be announced 9th November. Each winner will receive the 5 products in the range - Moisturizer with SSPF20, Peat facial scrub, Cooling Eye Gel, Matte Hair Clay, and Hydrating Beard Oil. #kennedyandcogrooming #malegrooming #lifeistheoccasion

A post shared by Darren Kennedy (@darrenkennedyofficial) on

However, in the age of influencing and constant collaborations, it’s easy to be skeptical about just how involved the name or the face is in the creative process. For Darren, it was as much about making a product for him as well as the customer.

“I’ve always wanted to do this. For so long, I’ve seen a gap in a market for products like this, something quick to use and easy to travel with that still delivers results. I knew this had to be something of my own as opposed to a brand collaboration.

You could say it’s a dream come true. I’m not going to lie, when I saw it on the shelves, I squealed a bit and ended up buying stuff for myself.”

While working between London and Dublin, he saw only one place as being worthy of producing Kennedy & Co. – the West of Ireland. From there, it’s been all hands on deck in the labs, meaning he’s well able to reel off the benefits of the range and their unique ingredients.

“There’s an active ingredient in the hair clay in the range called Baicapil™, and what it does is it stimulates hair growth and prevents hair loss,” he says. “Then with the eye gel, there’s loads of vitamins in that, as well as caffeine which will help reduce that puffiness.”

Of course, Darren’s been in the game for a long time. It’s unsurprising that he’s savvy when it comes to grooming, even when it comes to acknowledging that all skincare is unisex, and it all comes down to marketing (his sister loves to use the Kennedy & Co beard oil and peat face scrub together as a mask.)

He also knows the discussion the industry continues to have on masculinity in the sphere of grooming and beauty, and how self care is starting to become synonymous with that.  However, he doesn’t think that it’s as new of a phenomenon as some people make it out to be.

“There’s always been a curiosity there, whether men recognise it in themselves or not,” he says. “I mean, all know someone who uses their girlfriend’s stuff in the shower!

Definitely, there’s a want there in men to take care of themselves, it’s not that they don’t. We’re overloaded with choice now, so it’s just about stripping them back and giving people a few good options with visible results.”

Darren reckons that all any man needs is five minutes when it comes to their grooming routine, and above all else, it should not be a chore.

“It’s about taking those five minutes in front of a mirror and having them all to yourself, working on yourself and making yourself feel better. Because if you feel good, that’s just as much a part of looking good.”

The future for Kennedy & Co is bright – while he has no new products in mind yet, there’s plans for the current collection to expand Europe-wide, with Darren admitting he’d love to tackle a unisex range down the line.

For now, the two products he’d recommend to anyone starting out (picking just one is too hard), are the hair clay and the moisturiser with SPF 20.

“We need to be wearing it all the time, not just when it’s sunny outside! The sun is still there meaning the damaging effects are too!” he says.

All Kennedy & Co products are priced under €15 and are available at Dunnes Stores and select pharmacies nationwide.

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