Written by Mr. Crumbs.
Growing up, I’d always had problems with dry skin, ingrown hairs and finding deodorants that didn’t irritate my skin. Most of the time those issues were self-inflicted, but I didn’t quite realize that until a little bit later in life.
You see, I was the guy in college that would buy a big bottle of the cheapest (99¢ or less), scented Suave shampoo. When taking a shower, I’d wash my hair with it, then scrape the suds off of my head and scrub my body down as well – a prime example of efficiency, frugality, and “killing two birds with one stone”.
What I didn’t notice though, was that over time my skin was often itchy and irritated.
After complaining to one of my sisters about it, she suggested getting away from the all-in-one shampoo/body wash and grab a proper bar of moisturizing soap to help soothe my skin. Using moisturizing soap certainly helped, but I must admit that my skin still felt dry after getting out of the shower. Around the same time, I was introduced to the wonders of lotion and how it actually helped dry skin.
Ok, I had sort of figured out the whole dry skin thing, but I never quite understood WHY, after using “moisturizing soap,” my skin still felt dry. It never made sense to me that I had to use lotion to moisturize because I was using soap that was supposed to accomplish the same thing.
And then there was shaving…
I was also the guy that would shave once every four days. Here’s why: If I shaved more than twice a week, I would get these nasty, ingrown hairs, complete with a splotchy, irritated neck.
You’d often find me standing next to a mirror with a safety pin in one hand, trying to dig these “monster” ingrown hairs out!
Enough about me though. Here are a few tried and true tips I’ve implemented into my manly beauty routine that may help your dude out.
Natural Alternatives to Traditional Men Skin Care
Shampoo & Soaps
Try letting your body help you out in this category. Consider taking a break from regular shampoo and soap for a few weeks, limit your showers to only a couple minutes and just rinse thoroughly with water.
Like Tiffany mentioned earlier, many commercial soaps and shampoos contain ingredients which strip your body of the natural oils it produces to keep your skin from getting dried out. So, in effect, it’s a vicious cycle.
Shower… use soap… strip body of oils… use lotion to moisturize.
By using these shampoos and soaps, your body isn’t really able to take care of itself like it was intended.
What about odor?
There really is no “pleasant” way to put this, but while your body is trying to sort itself out, it will overcompensate for a while – by producing a more than normal amount of oil. The odor factor may jump up, but by taking a couple quick showers a day (even without soap), you can deal effectively with body odor. Give it a few days/weeks and you’ll notice that your skin and hair will feel much healthier.
While I’m not a big fan of soap, we have found a company who produces natural goats milk soap. This soap will not dry out your skin like conventional soap, and doesn’t contain those crazy, questionable ingredients that most off the shelf soaps contain. Tiffany uses this same product to wash her hair (and face and laundry) and no longer uses traditional shampoo.
Even if you switch soaps or eliminate them altogether, there is still a chance you may need a moisturizing lotion, especially during the colder months.
Some lotions are oily, some are greasy, and some leave you just feeling… well, pretty gross. I’ve tried everything under the sun.
Johnson & Johnson and Aveeno seem to work pretty well, although they contain questionable ingredients. Even going the more natural route like J.R. Watkins left my skin feeling just icky and greasy.
However (and this is not a sales pitch), one of my favorites again was Bend’s all natural lotion. You really didn’t need a lot of lotion for relief and the grease factor was non-existent!
Scrubs & Ingrown Hairs
Razor burn and ingrown hairs are one of the most unpleasant things to deal with, especially for those who have to wear a shirt and tie during the day.
Some of you may have seen Gillette’s Thermal Face Scrub. You’re supposed to use scrub your beard area down with this stuff before you shave. What’s amazing (or not so amazing), is that it literally heats up your skin before you shave. The idea, is that it exfoliates your skin and helps soften hair for shaving.
Gillette… please tell me what chemicals we’re rubbing on our skin, that are creating this “heat effect.”
After several years of trying to reduce razor burn and ingrown hairs, I’ve found a simple, effective and frugal solution: a washcloth.
As simple as it sounds, the washcloth has revolutionized my life (as it has Tiffany’s too with acne!). Goodbye costly beauty products, and hello simplicity.
By simply scrubbing my neck with a washcloth (for just 30 seconds) during every shower, I have virtually eliminated razor burn and ingrown hairs.
Not only does it toughen your skin, but it exfoliates it as well!
Men obviously can’t get around this… or can they? I’ve always struggled with razor burn, but I have a few tips that may help you out.
(1) Don’t shave every day.
Instead shave every other day. Too help keep razor burn to a minimum, give your skin a break and let it rest.
(2) Your razor matters.
Look, don’t buy those cheapies you see in the dollar store or a multi-pack. We’re frugal, but I prefer either a 3-bladed or 5-bladed razor. They make your overall quality of life much more pleasant.
(3) Grow a beard.
I generally keep a very short beard. This reduces the amount of shaving you need to do and it helps you save money on razors. Plus, my wife likes my beard. For men with super manly beard, try Hobo Beard Oil to keep it healthy and under control.
Scrub your face 1-2 times a day with a wash cloth. You’ll do this to exfoliate your skin and bring those ingrown hairs to the surface.
What about deodorant?
I haven’t found a deodorant that I like. Perhaps you can make a few suggestions in the comment section below? I’d love to hear your input!
Most deodorant/anti-antiperspirants have one (or more) of the following effects:
(1) Clogged, inflamed pores in my arm pit area, requiring self-surgery to squeeze out the puss (gross).
(2) Ineffective. Sure it may mask the smell, but I find myself sweating more with it on, that with it off.
(3) Too effective. Yup. As in not a drop of sweat in the arm pit, but instead, dry and itchy arm pits.
What do I do?
Well, as of right now, I rarely wear deodorant/anti-antiperspirant. To keep odor and sweat down, I trim my arm pit hair with the same clippers I use to buzz my hair. By keeping the arm pit very hair short, there is less heat build up.
Less heat build up = less sweat.
Less sweat = less odor.
This is surprisingly effective. I found that after not using deodorant for a week or two, I rarely perspire like I used to.
Going rogue and skipping on soaps/shampoos/deodorants certainly isn’t for everyone. However, it should make you think about what you’re putting on your body. While there are always situations where you have to smell “good,” I firmly believe that going towards the more natural, less abrasive products are the best, and that your body will thank you.