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.
These suggestions were great! Here’s what’s working for my husband:
Body and hair- he’s been using almond castile soap ( which I believe is oil based) for shampoo. It works for bodywash too. I ordered from vitacost and purchased their brand.
Deodorant – he’s been using a homemade version I make with baking soda, coconut oil, and bentonite clay, with tea tree and ceaderwood es oils. He’s been using it for years now and loves it. I was using homemade but it irritated my skin. I found Schmidts deodorant, and have been very pleased with their sensitive line. It’s about $8 a stick but I’ve been using it for at least 3 months and still have more than half a stick.
Hope some of these were a help. 🙂
I actually ‘accidentally’ made my own deodorant a while ago. I enjoy neutrogena body oil (despite some questionable ingredients), and one day I had the bright idea of adding tea tree oil (5-10 drops per bottle). It has worked better than any of the other deodorants I’ve ever bought. I think when I run out I’ll add some tea tree to coconut oil and see how I like it.
I’d recommend a brand called Lavilin. I am quite active (training for a marathon), and I use Lavilin a couple times a week for both my armpits and my feet. The product is long-lasting – no matter how much I sweat, I still smell fresh.
Your husband mentioned that he uses the Bend Co. Lotion on his face. I ordered some and love it as well as the goats milk soap. I’m curious if you, Tiffany, have tried the Bend lotion on your face? I have the same acne pron skin as you do and I’m so scared to try anything that could be pore clogging. I’m currently using Acure facial moisturizers. Love the day cream and night cream. But Bend has less ingredients and I’m all about keeping the ingredient list to a minimum.
Hi Jennifer! I used Bend’s lotion when my face is really, really dry. On normal days though, I used my homemade tinted moisturizer in the morning and that’s it. Temps here don’t get too cold, so my skin doesn’t get dry often, but it’s never reacted to when I used it either, so I’d give it a shot!
My husband uses a safety razor I bought for him a coupl of years ago and he’s really happy with it. And it wasn’t difficult to use at all! We had also been looking into barber blades. This is much much better for sensitive skin, but it does require training and it is a huge investment, because you need to purchase a skin to sharpen it an all. We didn’t buy it in the end because he has a beard at the moment and he plans on keeping it for a long itme. It is a very good option, for your skin and your pocket in the long run.
In relation to deodorant, he also uses the clippers and the crystal. Actually, he goes back and forth to commercial deodorant (Rexona aka Degree in the Us – not natural at all).
Skin care… his skin is highly atopic, so he has endless problems and we’re still working on it! (Although I’m sure that stress and things like that are the main trigger for his rashes!)
Absolutely, heartily, enthusiastically recommend PitPaste!!! Life changing. 🙂
How long will one container of Pit Paste last? I love the remark about it being life changing 🙂
It lasts me about 4-6 months. In the summer heat of MN, when I may shower more than once in a day (for instance, after mowing the lawn or before an evening event) and thus re-apply, it would last about 4 months. Over the course of late fall and into winter, it lasts longer.
I used to sweat terribly, and was constantly reapplying “normal” antiperspirant deodorant. I always carried one in my purse for just-in-case.
Since switching to Pit Paste 3 years ago, I haven’t had this problem at all. I know now that it was my body trying to overcome the harsh, unhealthy ingredients in what I had been using.
That’s a pretty good deal! Even at around $9/per, that’s a minimal investment to smell good for 4-6 months. Thanks for sharing with the community, I’ll mention this to my husband as well!
Y’all need to look into safety razors. My hubby went from razor burn & ingrown hairs all the time to virtually never having either problem plus he gets a MUCH better shave & blades are literally only pennies. Safety razors (or double edge) are the razors our parents used growing up. There is a ton of hype about how dangerous they are. While it does take a bit to learn the proper angle once you master it they aren’t any less safe than modern day razors. We used to spend over $500 a year on razors and now we spend about $30(ish) a year on blades. We both use them and love them 🙂
Hmmmm, my husband switched over to “not shaving” / “shaving every other day.” He can stretch one razor to a few months now, where as before, it was one new razor per week!
We have a few friends who have used safety razors and love them. You are absolutely correct in that they can provide an amazing shave. How long was the learning curve for your husband?
I recently switched to a safety razor as well. It works great, with no irritation at all. I was like your husband with a splotchy, irritated neck after shaving. I too only shaved once a week or less because of that irritation. Found out about traditional shaving and I am in love. My learning curve wasn’t too big. A few shaves in and I was pretty good.
My husband and I use the same homemade deodorant. It is a mixture of baking soda and arrowroot powder with enough coconut oil to make it the consistency of a stick of deodorant. We both have very sensitive skin, so I use more arrowroot powder than baking soda( about a 3 to 1 ratio), but you can adjust the amounts to your preference. My husband thinks it works as well as any commercial brand, and I’ve never noticed odor on either one of us since using this recipe.
I bought a package of empty roll up deodorant sticks several years ago. I gave some away, but keep two, that I just wash out and reuse every time we empty them.
How well does this mixture work? Does it keep “sweat” down, or just body odor? I always have coconut oil and baking soda on hand, but not arrowroot powder!
my hubby uses baking soda in lieu of deodorant with good results. Applying it can be a bit messy though.
Does he make it into a paste? Or apply it dry like baby powder?
A local company called crunchy mamas makes a natural deodorant that I have been using for a few weeks now, it works well for me and doesn’t irritate my skin. They make a bunch of natural skincare products http://www.thecrunchymamas.com/
Thanks Kara, I’ve seen them around!
I use a “rock salt crystal” as my deodorant.
You wet it with water and apply under arms and wherever else you like.
You have to use it for about 2-3 weeks for it to be effective and for your body to adjust. To it. Under arm hair shoul be minimal, shave if you can, I can’t. Use clippers if you can, I can’t, use nail scissors to trim any hair, I can as this does not give me a rash. Nor does the rock crystal. The salts from it inhibit the growth of bacteria which cause the odours. This the ONLY DEODERANTnever to have given me major issues with my overly sensitive skin. Works for men and women and last & lasts.
Give it a go,,
That’s a great idea. I’ll suggest that to my husband. He’s had great luck just using the clippers, but there are days when he’ll take a long bike ride…. 🙂
My husband and I use the rock salt crystal and it works amazing! (It has kept us dry and odor free throughout a very hot Florida summer!) I have been using the same crystal for 6 months now! Not sure how long they actually last- I tend to drop them and it breaks before it melts away.