Brand Spotlight: BAZ & CO
Introducing an innovative line of natural skincare for men which focuses on using basil as it's most powerful ingredient.
Feb 28, 2023
Who knew basil was such an effective ingredient in skincare?! Well, founder of BAZ & CO, James Chase, did and he’s taken his experience as a farmer and knowledge of herbs to create a skincare brand which focuses on using the power of this little green plant to enhance the well-being of men.
At Humanery, we really appreciate the innovative process behind natural skincare products - it’s not easy as there is nowhere to hide in this industry, when using natural ingredients. Fortunately, James developed a wealth of skills as a farmer which he could bring to his brand; not only how to harvest certain herbs, but also the knowledge of the positive impact these herbs have on our bodies and our skin. He’s also extremely aware of the impact farming processes can have on our environment, and so uses vertical farming (where plants are grown in stacks and use less water) as a controlled method to optimise growth.
We spoke to James to find out a bit more how he discovered the power of basil, and why he decided to switch his career from working as a farmer, to creating his own unique skincare brand for men.
1. How did you get into the world of men's skincare?
After a decade in the alcohol industry and championing field-to-bottle spirits at Chase Distillery, the lifestyle of travelling the world started to take its toll. I discovered my own simple self-care routine, which I used every morning, that helped my overall well-being. However, I found very few all-natural products that targeted men.
At Chase, I was developing a new gin using ingredients grown on a vertical farm. This ever-increasing method uses 95% less water than conventional farming and zero herbicides or pesticides. After Diageo acquired the company in 2021, I realised a new chapter was beckoning. I had all the inspiration I needed to start BAZ & CO: growing a new future for male skincare and championing the power of vertical farms.
2. Can you explain why you chose Basil as one of your hero ingredients in your products?
From the Greek word ‘basileus’ meaning "king", basil has been heralded since the beginning of time for its many healing properties. It is exceptionally high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. All the other botanicals and herbs support basil's mission to promote healthy skin. The skincare possibilities continue; from fighting infection to reducing inflammation.
3. Are there skills you acquired as a farmer that have crossed into creating a skincare brand?
I grew up on a humble farm in Herefordshire and those surroundings have immensely shaped my values. I am sure hard work must be a key strength, which was a necessity when farming and having to manage multiple problems. Farmers are incredibly versatile, and whilst I am more focused on building brands, my heroes are my brother (still a farmer) and my father, who worked incredibly hard to afford us all the great opportunities.
4. Has working as a farmer or starting your skincare brand been more challenging?
Growing up on the farm definitely had its days; it’s back-breaking stuff! I try to work smarter now as growing older you learn from your mistakes (hopefully!). And my advice is to stick to what your strengths are. My brother has carried on the farming torch from my father and loves what he does. I admire him for what he gets up to.
5. What do you consider to be the most crucial step in a man's skincare routine?
I would say just looking at yourself in the mirror and giving yourself a little love. Confidence is so necessary for life: if you don't love yourself, I feel it’s harder to support others.
6. Please can you tell us about your daily skincare routine?
I am usually in the gym in the morning, so I start the day by getting a good sweat on. Then, I go straight into a cold shower; using BAZ & CO Restore and Awaken Body Wash and our Brightening 2-in-1 Exfoliator & Cleanser on my face. I swear by our Skin Food Moisturiser which really hydrates my face after a good cleanse. I also love a good natural deodorant and am currently using Aesop's spray. To finish my routine off, I always go for a spritz of perfume. I'm currently rocking Le Labo Santal 33.
7. What do you enjoy the most about working in the men's grooming industry?
Not only is there a cohort of equally passionate individuals driving the category, but I also wake up each morning knowing the products we put out there help support the lives of men to hopefully get them to make better choices, like eating well and exercising.
8. What would be your ultimate self-care day?
I thoroughly enjoy getting out on my bike so probably going for a big ride with close friends, sharing stories and off-loading as we go! Then stopping for great coffee and cake, followed by a cold plunge in the lake. The day would finish off with a hot bath using BAZ & CO's three-step routine. And then back out to the pub for good times.
9. Where do you see BAZ & CO in five years?
I see the company being surrounded by a great team who are as passionate about self-care and morning routine as I am. Also, to have brought out a range of innovations which will improve the lives and well-being of men. Granted, some will work, and some won't, but we won't stop innovating and driving the burgeoning market forward.
The BAZ & CO collection currently consists of three core products: a moisturiser, cleanser and body wash. If you’re a beginner with men’s skincare, or are simply looking for a routine that works, then this brand is for you. Plus, using basil as their hero ingredient, there are no sulphates, parabens or synthetic chemicals in their products, which might irritate the skin. James stands by their skincare ethos that “natural products will always lead to naturally healthier skin”.
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