I only used beauty products marketed towards men for a week. Here's how I got on.
Why do men's skincare products always want to fight something?
I've always been puzzled by the gendered way beauty products are marketed.
For women, companies emphasise certain values over others. We're told to embrace our inner goddess, our femininity, our gentleness. My OGX shampoo, for instance, assures me that I’ll emerge post-wash with “seductive, silky perfection”, whatever that means.
Men's skincare marketing, on the other hand, discusses products in warlike metaphors. The language is combative. Dryness and sweat are issues that have to be defeated, rather than treated.
I truly believe that, despite this gulf, the stuff inside the packaging performs the same basic function, regardless of the gender of the user. With this in mind, I bid a fond farewell to my powdery pink ladies’ products and embraced the black, industrial world of men’s toiletries for a whole week. Here’s how I got on.
The 5 in 1 Shower
Any shower product that brands itself as a “3-in-1” has long been a source of fascination for me. Can one single product effectively wash your body, clean your hair and condition your tresses in one fell swoop? Seems unlikely, and yet they remain a staple of men’s toiletries.
In fact, I’m a little surprised someone hasn’t come up with a shower product that can not only wash your body, but descale your shower while you’re at it.
In any case, I was delighted to come across the illustrious “5-in-1” on Boots’ shelves. L’Oreal Men Expert’s Total Clean Total Action Carbon Shower 5-in-1 in Extra Large seemed like a natural first stop on my journey.
The Carbon Shower is “for the man on the go, demanding the most efficient shower routine”.
The Total Clean has five uses; body, face, hair, shave, moisturise. I started with a shave, and lathered my legs in the greyish gel. The razor, sadly, was met with resistance and I experienced some redness.
Fortunately for me, the Total Clean is, somehow, also a moisturizer, so I slapped some on post-shower, and it seemed to calm down.
This 5-in-1’s strength lay in its cleaning abilities. I hesitantly washed my face with the dark goo, and it did an adequate job. My body, generally felt pretty clean post-shower too.
As a shampoo and conditioner, however, the Total Clean excels. After a quick blow-dry, my hair was more voluminous than it’s ever been. On top of that, it felt just as soft - if not softer - than my usual OGX combo.
Overall, the Total Clean delivers on at least three of its uses. However, there is no variation in scent, and in the end my hair smelt like my arms, which smelt like my legs, which also smelt like my face.
Still, certainly handier than five separate products.
Rock Face All Weather Moisturiser
Made with "pioneering formulations", this manly moisturiser claims to "combat the elements".
Full disclosure, I'm low-key obsessed with it.
This little gem delivers on all its promises, and what's more, it leaves me smelling fresh as a daisy.
Would absolutely recommend to a friend.
Right Guard Total Defence
Lastly, I needed an anti-perspirant, so naturally I went with this bad boy from Right Guard in scent 'Clean'.
This deodorant, which is made from "Odor Block Technology" fights the "five signs of perspiration". Who knew there were so many? Not Me.
To be honest, Total Defence does the job. In fact, it offers 48 hour protection, not that I needed it, thanks to my regular 5-in-1 showers.
All in all, living with only men's beauty products turned out to be a walk in the park. Moreover, I now have some sleek military-esque products in my bathroom cabinet and I've no intention of swapping them out anytime soon.
Next time, though, I might splurge on a separate shaving foam. That 5-in-1 wasn't it.