Launched in December 2018 in Paris, France, Monsieur Arsène is a high-quality, ethical range of products dedicated to men’s beard and face maintenance.
Laurent, the creator of Chez Monsieur Arsène, aims to offer a sleek, minimalist range, focusing on the luxury of the experience, and not the advertising, nor extensive packaging: a zero-waste goal. Laurent quickly discarded carton packaging and replaced them with re-usable linen pouches.
The glass used for the vials is specially designed to filter light and not alter the natural properties of the products’ ingredients.
He concentrates on manufacturing small, handcrafted quantities in the House of Monsieur Arsène’s laboratory near Lille, sourcing and selecting ingredients from local French suppliers across the country and Europe.
The brand name, Monsieur Arsène, pays homage to his ancestry that dates back to 1873 when Monsieur Arsène settled in an Algerian village to establish a farm of olive, orange, fig and other Mediterranean trees. The man maintained his full black beard with a mixture of fruit tree oils according to a recipe borrowed from the local population.
Arsène was born in a small village in Alsace in 1820, now a region of eastern France on the border with Germany and Switzerland, with a dream of living in Algeria. For 23 years, he requested a passport to no avail. After the outbreak of the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, in 1873 the region became part of Prussia. The German Empire decreed that all Alsatians must choose either Prussian or French nationality. If they chose French nationality, they must abandon their properties and leave the new Reichsland. Arsène wrote in his application that he ‘will not leave his children to Prussia’ and requested to emigrate to Algeria, then France.
The German Empire accepted Arsène’s request, and he left Alsace in January 1873 with his wife and two sons, eleven-year-old Alphonse and nine-year-old Joseph. Arsène settled in the village of Souk-es-Sebt in Constantine, Algeria, with 20 other families from the Métropole and 23 Algerian women. The village administration granted him 31 hectares of Kabyle tribal land, the land of Berbers indigenous to Kabylia in the north of Algeria. The land was composed, in part, of olive trees. He lived there for almost six years, and returned to his native valley in 1878, probably sick, where he died in January 1879.
Almost a century and a half later, Laurent has taken his inspiration for his brand from his ancestry to create a formula to suit the contemporary needs of the discerning man, as an alternative to traditional, commercial brands.
Taking two years of research and development (R&D) to create a contemporary formula for beard and face maintenance, Monsieur Arsène selected the best ingredients to build a sustainable range with the motto: less and better.
First, the company designed their certified biologically organic, signature eau de parfum “Arsène” in Green Orange, both in 100 ml and 50 ml. The inspiration is the Algerian citrus garden – with green oranges and jasmine, enhanced with green tangerine and lemon. Laurent describes the ‘sunny’ fragrance as ‘an explosion of hesperids’ – a family of citrus scents: lemon, orange, grapefruit, and bergamot. Added to the mixture are mint leaves, lavender, and ginger to bring extra vivacity, while pineapple, apple, and anise add slighty fruity scents. Finally, its wake is woody, with hints of vetiver, patchouli, and amyris.
The signature perfume is carried throughout the current range – beard oil, gel cream for the face and beard, a pot of mask lotion, and six boxed combinations. In addition, the range includes a beard brush, and a travel set.
Laurent is currently designing further additions to the product range, such as soap, shampoo, and a second fragrance.
Currently, Monsieur Arsène operates within a network of stores with a commitment to the brand, such as Galeries Lafayette in Beaugrenelle and Nature & Discovery in Boulogne, as well as through online sales.
Monsieur Arsène website: www.monsieurarsene.com
(This article is not sponsored and the author receives no benefits. The author has purchased and tested the fragrance.)