John Mayer Just Launched Two Unexpected Products That Make the Perfect Holiday Gift

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Surprise fun fact about award-winning singer-songwriter John Mayer? He likes to handwash his own clothes, even when he’s on the road touring. And when Lindsey Boyd, cofounder of The Laundress, learned this back in 2015—Mayer was actually seen handwashing his t-shirts with the brand’s Whites Detergent in his hotel room—an unlikely partnership was born. “That obviously struck a chord with us because not many people are doing that, especially men,” says Boyd, who is launching her second collaboration with the musician today: Way Out West Signature Detergent and Fabric Fresh spray. Though you can buy either one separately, we personally love the duo ($36) because it comes perfectly packaged for holiday gifting, especially for the John Mayer fans in your life.

So you’re probably thinking, how did John Mayer become so passionate about laundry? When asked on a Zoom call yesterday, he said this is not something he’s always been into. “I never cleaned by room as a kid; I never cleaned up after myself. Then I started living on my own and I was disgusting, and then I got older and I went, ‘Hey, I’d like to do something about this, I don’t think this is who I am, like being all over the place.’ I started asking questions of people I admired about how to live and I found the answers to the questions way more interesting than I’d expected. I got really into taking care of my own stuff. I got through the phase of my life where I was all about procuring stuff, and then it became about taking care of it. I thought, ’These are the pieces I want to hold on to forever.’ You know, there are ’skinvestors’ now, where you’re trying to basically preventively care for things, and this is the same thing.”

It was also something he managed to do on the road during months of touring: “It was something I could do to make being on the road feel a little less isolating and lonely. Wherever you are, if you have a sink with a gasket that properly works, it takes 30 minutes. I look forward to doing my laundry. Five minutes of doing this [Mayer makes a wringing-out motion] is so meditative. It was kind of a sweet thing I would do, and I realized it only took two sinkfuls of water to clean my clothes. You don’t necessarily have to abide by the fabric care tag that says ‘dry clean only.’ That was like a hack that changed my life. I’ve also found that I get extra love from housekeeping when I stay at hotels, when they see that Mr. Rich Guy in the presidential suite is washing his own shirts. They’re like, ‘Oh we’ve got a real one here.’”

Mayer also likes the sustainability play. “If we veer into the topic of sustainability, I’ve found that it does help you kind of stop the endless acquisition phase of clothes. We’re always sort of in this mindset of, ‘I’m almost done getting what I need for my wardrobe.’ I got into this on the road: I wanted to take the same four shirts and wear them the entire tour, under other things, which got really interesting. You can wash a shirt 1,000 times. I’ve never seen a shirt fall apart from washing them too much—if you’re washing it the right away. A really good t-shirt is all you need sometimes.”

The two new products feature a scent inspired by Mayer that Boyd describes as “warm, rich and soulful with notes of cedar, sandalwood, amyris and black pepper, that’s long-lasting but not overwhelming.” Mayer says it makes him feel at home and happy. “It’s not floral, it’s not heavy and it’s really unisex, so it’s a global fit. It’s the perfect scent for people to say, ‘You smell good, what do you have on? The best way to smell good is to have this plausible deniability of ‘I didn’t spray anything on’—I think it’s that ‘accidental smelling great’ that everyone is going for. I think it’s a secret weapon thing for men, too.”

The singer was also very hands-on with the packaging design. “I opened up the bottle and I looked at it and held it, I thought, ‘Oh, this is amazing,’ and I am very microscopic about details. It’s fresh without being hyper-trendy. It’s 100 or it’s nothing for me. When you tell people you’re doing a detergent, they either think you’re joking or you’re being submersive, but nothing I do is accidental. All you have to do is hold it, look at it and smell it, and you’ll think, ‘Oh he’s serious.’”

Though Mayer admits he has someone come to his house and do laundry a lot of the time, on Sundays, he says he still handwashes a couple of loads so he can feel involved in his own life. “This is almost like the good stuff—the top-shelf stuff you put on shirts, jackets and sweaters and blankets, and then the other stuff like towels and socks can be separate. If you wash your pillowcases and sheets in this too, that’s great. Spray it on your pillowcase in a hotel room. I’m a big believer in having a home scent that’s unique to your home, and it’s sort of carried over to being on the road too, so you get uniformity in a life where there just isn’t any.”

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