The next time you are at the store with your beau, don’t be so quick to split off to your the pretty-in-pink aisle. You may be surprised to find that what is good enough for your man, is good enough (or maybe even better) for you. The number one reason to peruse the male aisles? Cost. For many beauty products, there is an upcharge for women. You will probably find cost effectiveness to be the top reason to make the switch from female to male versions of your most used grooming items. For me, however, I am very fond of the freedom to choose whatever scent of soap, cologne or lotion that I want. Life doesn’t always have to be a bouquet of roses…or lilies…or sparkles. Until the celebratory day when “Touch of Gray” is fashionable for women, these hacks for using men’s grooming products will hopefully get you through.
Women can be quick to jump to the hairspray or hair gel, leaving our hair dry and crunchy. I carry a little bottle of lotion to tame the winter static hair, but pomade might be an actual solution to this problem, sans the greasy feeling of lotion. If you have a little longer of a ‘do like me, pomade can help your hair look healthier, so even if you’re not slicking it back but just letting it hang naturally, it still can serve a purpose. A water-based medium hold pomade is good to rub on halfway down the hair through the ends for a nourished look and to keep hair a little more in place. Water-based will set you back a little more than oil-based, but it will wash out a lot easier. If you have curly hair, however, oil-based may be better for you to hold those bouncy locks in place, and with more workability than a gel. They also make a thickening pomade to give oomph to fine hair, also something I could stand to check out. If you’d like a more organized chart of what pomade to use for what hair type, this blog gives an organized list of what I just summarized for you. Allure put out a similar article with a list of pomade suggestions for each hair type. The main ingredients of pomades marketed towards women do not appear to be any different from the male pomades, but the scents will vary between the genders. The type of pomade may be more important than the gender it’s geared towards. Choose one that is good for your hair type and will help you accomplish the look you are going for. With there being so many specific types of pomade, it may be easier for you to manage your hair challenges with a more precise product, than the all-purpose spray or gel. I, for one, wish I would have known about a water-based medium hold pomade to thicken my hair and hide my split ends while growing my hair out for my wedding. If you don’t want to buy either male- or female-marketed pomade, try a hand at making your own.
Avoid odorous armpits and likely at least a dollar surcharge for being a woman by opting for male deodorant. They must smell our desperation to be clean and tidy, or some serious body odor, to warrant that extra cost. On top of it being cheaper, I have found men’s deodorant tends to do the job a little better as well. There are quite a few scents to choose from, so if neither pine nor cedar is your thing, you still have some options. Turns out, both genders make a fresh scent. There are a growing number of ladies making the switch. This beauty blogger found that the men’s deodorants work better, and she did not miss the lady sticks’ lack of protection that left her with flowery body odor. She also was pleased that Old Spice is aluminum-free. Although there is no definitive research linking aluminum to breast cancer or Alzheimer’s, there was some research released years ago about this controversy. However, nothing was definitive and the research was called poorly designed. If you err on the side of caution though, Old Spice may be worth considering. This blog hilariously explains that her uterus did not fall out when using the men’s deodorant; we’re free to use whatever scent we want. She was excited to smell the pheromone raging scent of a man all day long, as did Beth. Besides the great reminder of good smelling men, what did these women also unanimously find? The men’s deodorant worked better. Apparently, women’s deodorant makers have underestimated how hard we hit the gym. Personally, I use a gender neutral “natural” deodorant now. However, on the way to making that switch, my husband’s deodorant was the only one I used for many of the reasons these brilliant women have laid out. From a common-sense standpoint, my biggest reason was that there were two sets of all our products. So, I started with his deodorant. It doesn’t need to be Noah’s Ark in our house. Do we really need two of everything?
There was a rumor going around that razors for men provide a closer shave and thus wasn’t good for a woman’s sensitive skin. This is both true and false. Reader’s Digest did a piece comparing male and female razors, the biggest contrasts being different angling and arc of the razor heads. These architectural differences do get the men’s blades closer to the skin, but the false part of this is that it irritates every woman’s skin. It can depend on how often a woman shaves, thickness of hair and skin sensitivity. I haven’t used a woman’s razor in at least five years, and I have truly sensitive skin. I am much happier with the results of the men’s razor. Perhaps it may bother one woman but not another. If you are getting disposable razors, however, the only difference is the color. There is not much to their design, gender aside. Another “fact” brought up by big wigs that make razors? Women complain more about nicks, and men do not mind walking around looking like a pizza face. I can’t remember a time when I went up to my husband and started whining about the nicks I endured from his razor, and I cannot really picture any of my girlfriends in that scenario either. Also, he does not leave the house with any nicks, maybe one or two a year. Perhaps we both know how to use a razor, but I have faith that most people also have had good education. It would seem there would be no bias behind a razor company’s opinion that there is a difference between a woman and a man’s razor. After all, the companies make razors for both genders. They would miss out on that extra money they get for the women’s razor though, appropriately named the pink tax. It is hard to clearly decipher if they have our skin’s best interest in mind, knowing our pink tax is their green bonus. Approximately 30 percent of women have made the switch to a razor made for dudes. Many women seem to be enjoying that close shave with no issues, and in fact, they are enjoying the lower cost thanks to the lack of pink. The Dollar Shave Club even goes as far as listing one of their FAQs as “Can women use your razors?” Answer: “Absolutely. Our lady members rave about the Executive Razor.” Bottom line, don’t feel compelled to look for flowers to identify a good razor for yourself.
While on the topic of shaving, it might be worth your time to consider the concept of wet shaving. In a nutshell, if you ever went with your grandpa to the barbershop when he got a shave, it’s a lot like that. Like most trends, old is new again. There are a lot of advantages to this art of shaving, economical and eco-friendly to name a few. Random cuts and ingrown hairs could also be less of a problem for you with this method. The shaving brush, along with a shaving soap or cream, will create a rich layer for you to use with a very economical safety razor. The badger brush is a good starting brush or you can use a synthetic brush. If you are ready to revolutionize shaving, your shave brush is going to need a few friends. First off, its most important mate is a good shave soap. Men’s Soap Company makes a much loved one which lathers well and leaves skin feeling very soft. As the cherry on top, it does not contain harsh chemicals that will dry out your skin. Don’t shed tears over nixing the canned shaving cream. Shaving creams and gels in the cans are usually made with harsher ingredients that irritate skin. They are quicker and cost less, but it might cost your skin. Shaving soaps do require the brush and bowl to lather, but they make for the most efficient shave. This does not fall under either category, but I’ve been using good old hair conditioner for shaving and getting better results than the can stuff. I was tired of paying for another product to do what my conditioner already does, soften. Lastly, you could continue to use a regular razor from the store (pink or blue), but the best tool for this sport of hair removal is the safety razor. The shift to commercial razors from simple safety razors was a successful marketing ploy from the big shaving companies. Yes, they do make shaving a little more convenient and time saving, but it’s also not that good for us. A shave so close that the hair is cut beneath the skin, leads to more ingrown hairs. The cost is amazing, five blades will set you back less than $2.00. Mother Earth will thank you, considering right now two billion disposable blades get dumped on her yearly. One blade < five blades, which we are all marketed to as being the best, because more is always better. This one from Vikings Blade has a five-star rating and an added benefit is the built-in mini comb, which helps navigate long hairs. Winter, anyone?
There are a lot of invigorating scents of men’s body wash products, a bonus if you shower in the morning. We like the outdoors and spices, too. Who says a girl doesn’t like the smell of pine, especially during the holidays? If a pine smell is not your thing, however, there are other scents. Dove makes scents such as “clean comfort” and “extra fresh”, and Nivea makes “Relax” and “Aloe Vera” scents. Last time I checked, women like to be clean and relaxed. Marketing teams apparently decided there are girl and boy scents, discounting a girl’s desire to be clean and relaxed. The best part? You guessed it! Lower cost. If you want a hilarious explanation of why the men and women’s aisles exist at all in the self-care sections, you should check out this video. If you don’t have the time, let me recap. By dividing us into categories, marketers hypothesized more profits by tailoring products that appeal to our gender: soft and curvy packaging for women and hard lines and digital font for men. They were right, because they are laughing all the way to the bank. Don’t be fooled though, price check your body wash against one in the men’s aisle, per ounce. Don’t judge a wash by its packaging. Find a scent that appeals to you, and pay less for showering. If anyone gives you grief for being in the wrong aisle, tell him you like money. It could be a conversation starter, and who knows, maybe shopping in the men’s section will put online dating out of business.
Trimming Unwanted Hair, or Not
Trimming of unsightly body hair is amongst other grooming habits we ladies hide from our men. Is it hard for men to accept that body hair knows no gender? I’m of the Italian lineage and let’s just say we’re not bald everywhere except for our heads. I’m sure the Kardashians would agree; they seem to be getting a lot of laser hair removal. It wasn’t always this way, where women are expected to remove hair everywhere except their head, and luckily the trend is moving towards doing whatever you want. A long time ago, a woman’s hairless body meant it was clean, and then the fashion industry left armpits bare, so of course those needed to be hairless too. Men seem to have only chosen between beard or no beard. We have the whole bottom half of our body to worry about, plus a pair of armpits and some stray hairs in surprising areas. So, if you prefer the polished look, facial hair scissors are not just for beards. There are also wide-grip tweezers, because not all girls have dainty hands. Some of us hit three letters on the keypad when trying to text. However, you also have the option to let those brows grow out naturally. Just as guys have the option, so do we. It may be a good idea to leave a little more hair, no matter what your gender. It provides protection from sun, dirt and chaffing, depending on the location. Celebs like Miley Cyrus are tweeting pics of underarm hair; perhaps a movement is starting. If you’re on the fence, you have the safety net of winter to give it a shot.
The Concept of After-Shave
While it may not be a great idea to just grab your guy’s after-shave and apply to the legs, the idea of it is important. I’ll admit that my lotion routine is not up to par. In fact, a girlfriend and I have gotten into debates over whether it is truly needed. I thought my skin was soft on its own, even in the winter. Depending on how much dishwashing I do (which my husband may say is very little), I might need some extra lotion for the poor dry hands. The debate of lotion or no lotion, could depend on skin type and time of year. I was convinced that the “lotioners” were a cult, but per this myth-busting article, skin does not become dependent on moisturizing, neither do your lips on lip balm. Moisturizing is the best thing you can do in the winter, when the heat makes for dry air. Looking back, the times that I started using lotion, my skin probably felt drier on the days I did not, because I had something to compare it to: moisturized skin. I may not have been using lotion on my entire body, but I try to remember to at least use it on my legs after shaving. They feel like the Sahara after shaving, which is common, because we take off the top layer of our skin when we shave. A spokesperson for The Art of Shaving stated that lotion on the legs after shaving should never be skipped; you need to nourish the new skin. Write it in your planner. Bold it. Underline it. She went on to say that what product best works will depend on the girl, but to look for one preferably with glycerine, which is a great moisturizer, and anthenol and allantoin, which help fight irritation. She added that fragrance free may be best for women with highly sensitive skin. Based on experience, a good quality moisturizer with no alcohol, or at least alcohol listed towards the end of ingredients, seemed to be less irritating for me. Find a moisturizing product that fits you best, and rub it anywhere that razor touched your body.
Cologne is a unisex term, but it is often used more so to describe men’s fragrances than women’s. In the sixth grade, my favorite cologne was a gray bottle of Calvin Klein’s cologne spray. I honestly do not remember what it was called, but I loved it. It smelled so clean and sharp. I don’t think I have seen a bottle of it since 1998, so they may not even make it anymore. If not male cologne, it was unisex. As an 11-year-old, I enjoyed more of an immunity to advertising, so I do not have a clear memory on that. The point is, I walked around with svelte confidence, because it was a scent that I liked, not one that was marketed to me. I get it, scent is very personable. I do like the smell of lavender and lilac, but that does not mean that I don’t like wood and salt, a fragrance in a boxed set that I purchased before my wedding. Sense of smell is also powerful. It can bring you back to a time and place very quickly, perhaps this goes into a woman’s choice to abandon perfume for men’s cologne. This woman’s story lists her reasons for having always loved men’s cologne. She enjoys the clean and fresh scents which are not popularly worn by women, so she receives many inquiries of what scent she is wearing, very mysterious. She also likes the fact that men’s cologne, for her, seems to last longer and is easier to layer. Here is a list of one woman’s favorite men’s colognes, which includes a powdery fresh scent. She, too, never felt an identity with women’s fragrances. If you like the cucumber melon stuff, that is more than fine, but if you have found yourself perking up at the male deemed scents, that’s okay too. If anything, it’s good to know we’re not alone. So, go ahead and go rogue. Shop in the men’s aisles and save that hard-earned money. If enough of us do it, perhaps we can send a message that we are just trying to get clean. We don’t need small and dainty packages. Chances are you can wrap your hand around the entire men’s deodorant stick. As the number of blogs of women detailing women switching to men’s products has shown, we will not be the only girls smelling like a glorious romp outside. Muster up some girl power and switch up that routine! See you in the men’s aisle.