Weighing in at 87kg with a tall 1.96m frame, Anton Roux is a financial planner and family man who was always hard to miss in a crowd. But several years ago, when a serendipitous summer ‘miscalculation’ led him to sport a salt and pepper beard, he took the universe’s cue and simply transformed into an impossible-to-ignore ‘hipster’ gentleman whose strategic mind goes beyond figures and statistics, allowing him to seamlessly transition between meetings with clients and his other priorities; health, wellness and self-presentation. We chatted to Anton about how he keeps in shape, his views on embracing the ageing process, and why he believes South African men tend to lag behind their European counterparts when it comes to style and grooming.
How would you describe your personal style?
Shew! It’s not easy to define but I’d say my style is smart-casual. I don’t feel comfortable being too casual and dressed down, but I don’t overdress either unless the occasion calls for it. Generally, day to day, I prefer a more relaxed style rather than stiff and formal. So basically, good-quality jeans paired with a bespoke form-fitting collared shirt and no tie.
What does your dressing and personal grooming style say about you?
I definitely take care of myself and I care about my appearance. When I meet clients, I aim to look professional and convey that I take pride in how I present myself. I do have a tailor who I use to create – and alter – my shirts and trousers because it’s difficult for me to wear clothes straight off the shelf, partly due to my height.
That’s a great suit you’re wearing. Where do you shop for clothes?
I like Zara’s men’s clothes but I shop mostly in sports shops like Puma and Nike. They have a very good selection of casual clothes – not just for fitness training and outdoor – but for a more relaxed feel.
You were clean-shaven for years. What made you decide to grow a beard?
I started growing my beard in December 2015. We went on a family holiday and I totally forgot to pack my shaver so my wife suggested that I just leave it to grow and see how it turns out. I said it’s not ideal for corporate but she told me to just give it a go. My wife guides me and helps me make decisions on clothing and grooming. She helps me to see things from a woman’s perspective.
The kids also love my beard. My daughter thinks it’s pretty unique and my 8-year-old son, Luke, says he can’t wait to grow one. I think he’s intrigued by how it will look on him someday.
How do people react to your beard and how has it changed their perception of you?
For starters, I receive a lot more compliments! But it’s two-fold; when I just started growing my beard, people warned that it would make me look older and they tried to put me off the whole idea, but now, those same people are dishing out compliments! They say that I look professional and they like that I don’t even try to cover up the grey. Just the other night, I got complimented by musician, Rowan Ash. We took a photo with him and afterwards he looked at me and said: “I like your look.” So overall, people do react positively to it.
Tell us more about your grooming routine.
Since I’m a man, I maintain masculinity but I’m also astute about grooming. I feel good when I look good. I try to keep it simple. Simplicity is what I’m all about so my routine is minimalist and I just stick to the basics. I use a good-quality natural face cream. I also use a normal shampoo and conditioner, beard oil to keep the hair soft, as well as a wax product for styling.
When it comes to beard maintenance, I just do it myself using a scissor and clipper to snip anything that’s out of line. Then I give it a comb through and use a hairdryer – especially during winter. It’s a quick 2-3 min exercise of daily, quick touch-ups.
That said, I spend a lot on fragrances and I love it when I meet people and I get a faint sense of the perfume they’re wearing. I love that, so I spend a lot on top-quality oil-based fragrances. If someone looks good and smells good, they engage more of your senses and that creates a better impression.
What challenges have you experienced with your beard?
No challenges, really. But once or twice, while hugging a lady friend, my beard did get entangled with her necklace, and I just found myself attached and stuck there. Very awkward but we laugh about it.
How do you choose hair and skincare products?
I’m very health conscious so I steer towards more natural oils and ingredients rather than just being easily swayed by brand promises. I think it’s important to be wary of using too many chemical-based products, so nothing artificial. I particularly enjoy using products which contain coconut and peppermint because they both smell delicious.
Are you keen to try our imported range of London Grooming products?
Yes, definitely. I’d love to try The London Grooming Company pomade because it’s paraben-free, as well as The London Grooming Company beard oil which is fragranced with Oud wood. I’m also quite drawn to the old-school tin packaging 🙂
In your opinion, what’s your best facial feature and why?
(Chuckles) My nose. It sounds funny but I’ll tell you why; I used to box when I was younger and I broke my nose twice. It’s a bit skew and I was quite self-conscious, but I realised that it’s part of my story, so why should I hide it or be embarrassed about it?
What are your thoughts on anti-ageing and how do you maintain such a youthful appearance?
Anti-ageing is a process that you drive from within. Feed your body with proper nutrients and water, manage stress and sleep well, all of which will benefit you more than anything topical. It shouldn’t be superficial. If you take care of yourself, a youthful appearance will be a by-product.
How do you keep physically fit?
I exercise six days a week; gym twice weekly and high-intensity garage-style workouts (weights, pull-up bars, punching bags, push-ups) four times. A person can stay in great shape by managing their diet and staying consistent with exercise at home. You don’t need to pay an expensive gym membership fee. Did I mention that I run sprints? Jogging places too much strain on the joints.
What’s your opinion on South African men’s style and grooming?
Grooming is an extension of being a man. There are really tough men out there who take care of themselves, so challenge your beliefs. It’s not an exclusively feminine thing to do. While travelling in Europe, it was pretty obvious to me that men there do take more pride in their appearance. It’s not an image thing, but about taking pride in your presentation.
Unfortunately, I do notice men in malls here who I think can take better care of themselves. They just dress too casual for any environment! They don’t put much thought into their appearance, yet they can do it if they just take the time. Grooming won’t take anything away from being a ‘man’. Maybe our amazing weather also plays a part in South African men thinking that “it’s too hot to dress up”, so they just wear any crappy T-shirt and flip-flops. It’s a culture thing but we need to break the mould. Where are the women behind these men?? A woman needs to go shopping with her man and advise him. Her input is valuable.
What do you do for fun?
Training sessions clear my mind. My family also loves experiences; live music shows, sporting events and spending time with friends around a boma with a solid bourbon in-hand.
Anton is intelligent, likeable and well put-together. Despite being a financial wizard who knows that one really does have to dress to impress, he has also figured out that even with all the best investments and life assurance policies, health is the ultimate wealth. Here’s hoping that he continues to defy the nonchalant perception of South African ‘okes’, and that he puts effort and care into his overall appearance for many years to come so as to prove that a man can indeed get better with age.