All posts in “Grooming”

The Best Habits and Products for a Safe, Smooth Shave

Poor hygiene is one of the main causes of shaving irritations, infections and razor burn. And it’s not your hygiene we’re talking about (though we hope you’re washing your face, at least); instead, it’s the cleanliness with which you store, sanitize and replenish your razor blades.

Think of all the gunk that collects in those razors: Dead skin, hair clippings, oils, shave creams — and that’s just from the shave itself. If you store the blade improperly, it’s going to collect dust, dirt and all kinds of nasty germs. The blades become a hotbed for bacteria, and soon you’re dragging that dirty blade across your open-and-vulnerable pores, just begging for them to transfer to the skin and find a home next to your hair follicles. Next thing you know, you’ve got a red, irritated face.

And if you aren’t one to replace razors at proper intervals, imagine how all of this multiples when you’re using a dull, rusty, bacteria-riddled blade. It ain’t pretty.

Or, you could avoid the agony all together and just practice proper razor hygiene. Here’s how to do that.

Blade Replacement

Since we all shave at different intervals, there are two ways to approach razor blade replacement. You need to toss out your cartridge after 2 to 3 weeks of use, or after 6 to 8 shaves, whichever comes first. So, if you shave daily, toss it after a week or so. If you shave once a week, toss it after the second or third week. If you pick a good razor replenishment service, like Dollar Shave Club or Harry’s, those blades cost between $1 to $2 each. And considering how imperative it is that you use sharp, fresh blades on your skin — that’s a low investment with high return.

As for safety razor blades, just toss them out after each use. They’re especially inexpensive—even top-shelf brands like Bevel sell them for less than 50 cents each — and they require ultimate sharpness in order to be precise since there’s just a single blade instead of 3 to 5. We’ll forgive you if you shave daily and reuse it once, but don’t push your luck.

Blades by Dollar Shave Club $7+

Blades by Harry’s $16

Blades by Bevel $10

Blade Cleaning

If you plan to reuse your razor blade, then you need to clean it properly before storing it. First and foremost, run it under hot water (the hotter the better), rinsing it in every possible direction. Don’t soak it in a full sink—don’t even do that mid shave, yuck—but just make sure you get all of the excess gunk out from between the blades. Sometimes I’ll take a tweezer or even a rubbing-alcohol-dipped cotton swab to fish out stubborn pieces, then will rinse again with hot water. There should be no need to disinfect the razor further if it’s cleaned out and has been rinsed under high temps. Some people will run dish soap over the blades or soak them quickly in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide before rinsing again, but that’s a little excessive and could tarnish the blades.

Follow this same advice mid-shave, rinsing the blade as thoroughly as possible in warm-hot water to rid of each stroke’s collection. You don’t want to do a second pass over your face with any gunk already in the razor; that’s a surefire way to clog your pores.

Post-Shave Hygiene

One of the best things you can do when buying a razor is to also get a stand for it. Deluxe brands will often sell them alongside their razors; in particular, I love the ones from The Art of Shaving. You can get dual brush-razor stands or even safety razor stands. But it’s also not hard to do yourself: just get a small glass and leave the blade upright in the cup.

Where you store the razor is the next imperative. Because it needs to dry quickly and not invite moisture (which in turn invite bacteria). That means you’ve got to store the razor in a cool, dry place. Yes, that means you shouldn’t store it in the bathroom itself, which is a warm, moist place. I understand how weird it might be to store your razor somewhere that isn’t your bathroom, but it’s for the sake of hygiene. And it’s only overnight or for a few hours until it’s dry.

Store the razor upright in its stand, or upside-down for most safety-razor stands, so long as the blade is in the air. Safety razors should even be dried this way when you’ve tossed the blade because the head needs to be clean just as thoroughly as if the blade were still there. However, standard cartridge razor can usually be packed away after you ross the blade, and only need to be cleaned and dried when the razor is in use.

Shaving Stand by The Art of Shaving $100

Safety Razor Stand by The Art of Shaving $60

Home and Travel Storage

Between shaves and when you’re on the go, you need to shield the clean, dry blades from things like dust, moisture, and germs. So get a plastic case to guard the entire razor, or simply the blade itself.

Harry’s sells blade covers for all of $1. Merkur has an entire travel set, perfect if you’re also buying your first safety razor. I like plastic cases like both of these, since they can be easily washed and disinfected, and since no material will get stuck under any blades.

Travel Blade Cover by Harry’s $1

Safety Razor Travel Set by Merkur $61
How to Recover from Razor Burn

Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Your Hairstyle Could Really Benefit from These New Products

I hope other brands are taking notes on Fellow’s recent relaunch and redesign. The eight-product assortment debuted last month with label-less plastic packaging in Fellow’s signature bright green. Gone is the “Barber” from its former moniker, Fellow Barber. Shave cream and aftershave were swapped out in favor of a hair-centric lineup, with two new stylers brought into the fold, and two distinct shampoos—one for warmer days, one for colder and drier ones.

It’s an indication that Fellow is taking itself more seriously as a player in the hair care and styling space, and is drawing a fine line between its product assortment and its brick-and-mortar barbershops in NYC and San Francisco. Those barbershops are excellent, but until now, the product assortment always felt like something you just bought impulsively after a haircut onsite, like a candy bar at the grocery. This redesign and more considered assortment is for enthusiasts and loyalists, something that you proudly display on your sink ledge. Fellow feels ready to compete against other salon- and barbershop-backed bigshots like V76 and Blind Barber.

Surely you’re curious about the efficacy of these products, too. Because, after all, if you’re going to display it on your vanity, they had better not collect dust in the meantime. You’ll get plenty of mileage from whichever product you need — and the brand’s five-product styler assortment ensures that, in the very least, there’s a product to suit your demands. The one notable omission is a standalone conditioner, which I imagine will be among the next launches. It should also be said that you cannot yet purchase the brand’s winter shampoo—which is part of this relaunch—but as the season changes, so too will the assortment.

Here’s a look at Fellow’s hair-centric relaunch, excellent both on your sink ledge and on your head:

Stylers

Fellow Mineral Spray

New to the assortment, this mineral spray texturizes hair and gives you a medium hold without adding or dulling your natural shine. You can use it on its own as a light styler, or as a finishing spray after applying other products. Just don’t confuse it for your standard-fare hairspray; it’s not going to make you feel flammable on contact.

Fellow Styling Cream

A lightweight, low-hold styler that remains one of Fellow’s strongest products. Wear it in short styles to tame flyaways, or in medium and longer styles for touchable, windsweep-able perfection. It’s loaded with shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, cacao seed oil and Vitamins A, C and E to nourish and soften the hair.

Fellow Hybrid Clay

A new product for Fellow, this clay styler gives medium hold, and no shine. It’s ideal for medium styles and gives definition and body to otherwise lifeless or post-shampooed hair. This clay is water-soluble so that it rinses out clean. And, thanks to the addition of beeswax as well as Vitamins A, C and E, it also nourishes hair and doesn’t leave it clumpy or suffocated.

Fellow Texture Paste

Fellow’s most universal styler, this medium-hold, light-shine paste delivers serious texture and definition, plus the power to restyle throughout the day. (Just wet a comb and toss it back for a business meeting, or muss it up with wet fingertips by day for a choppy, surfer-like finish.) It also rinses clean since it’s water-soluble.

Fellow Strong Pomade

High hold, high shine. Slick your hair back, or go for a short, piecey look. This water-soluble pomade rinses right out, unlike crusty and crunchy pomades of the past.

Washes

Fellow Summer Wash

One of two shampoos to debut in this new assortment, this summer wash addresses the fact that most cleansers strip the hair and scalp of all moisture. This one is sulfate-free, so it doesn’t foam like most shampoos — which is what strips the hair of moisture — and it’s packed with zinc and rosemary lead oil to tone oil production in the scalp (which can often work overtime in hot, humid months). Additionally, meadowfoam oil, mango butter and jojoba oil soften, strengthen and hydrate the hair.

Multipurpose Product

Fellow Everyday Tonic

You might think of tonic as a skincare product — and you’d be correct — but the team at Fellow also engineered this dual-use tonic for the hair. It’s an alcohol-free formula that pulls residue from the face, hair and scalp, giving you a clean canvas for styling, or leaving your skin refreshed and purified. (Bald guys will especially appreciate this.) It contains witch hazel, aloe vera and eucalyptus, to tone and soothe the skin. Then there’s arnica to calm and reduce inflammation, as well as Vitamins A, C and E to condition both skin and hair alike.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Case for Hair Conditioner (In Place of Shampoo)

I wish someone had told me about the wonders of conditioner when I had a full head of hair. I spent so many of my younger years with big, poofy mushroom hair, unaware of the fact that I was overdrying it with every single wash — which I did every single day, no less. Little did I know how damaged my hair was, and how much conditioner could have done to relieve the matter. The few times I attempted using conditioner, mostly out of curiosity, I never understood why it refused to lather. It just plopped into my hair, didn’t move anywhere, so I would rinse it out without getting any of the benefits. “Pointless,” I would think to myself. I was so naive!

Now, I’ve got half the hairs, and my habits have changed dramatically for the better. It’s probably once every two weeks that a drop of shampoo greets my hair, but I’m conditioning daily — if not twice daily. And for many reasons:

Conditioner keeps hair soft, healthy and stylable. Since shampoo strips the hair of all its oils — the excess buildup and the necessary oils that keep hair hydrated — it, in turn, leave the hair brittle and frayed. Conditioner, on the other hand, pumps nutrients and hydrating ingredients back into each strand, reinvigorating and restoring it to a more presentable state.

Conditioner helps rinse out the grime and product buildup. Have you heard the term ‘co-washing’? It’s the idea that using conditioner can often do the main task of shampoo — lifting away the gunk that coats your hair — and help flush it away when you rinse.

In theory, a warm rinse should also suffice most days, especially if you’re using water-soluble products. Your hair will be a little more texturized than if you shampooed it, but that’s a benefit. It gives your hair definition and density — which is also great if your hair isn’t as full as it used to be. Sure, shampoo can give it a little excess volume, but at the expense of stripping your strands of moisture. (Instead, just substitute a dry shampoo spray into your rotation in the mornings, to absorb unwanted grime and plump things up.)

Conditioner soothes your scalp, too. It’s not a remedy for dandruff, but it will calm and nourish your head just as much as the hairs — the opposite effect of sulfate-rich shampoos that overdry everything in the wake.

Conditioner has no real downside. It’s like being addicted to water. Sure, you can poison yourself by drinking too much water, but we’re talking lots of water. You’re never going to get into dangerous territory with conditioner.

To apply it successfully, just use an ample amount — a quarter-sized dollop should suffice — and spread it evenly into your palms, then apply it to your wet hair with more of a pat-down method. Distribute it around the crown as evenly as you can, then massage it in. This should help you get around the fact that it doesn’t lather.

That lack of lather is a good thing, by the way, since it’s the sulfate-rich lather in shampoos that fries your hairs. As a side note, try to buy sulfate-free shampoos that label themselves as ‘hydrating’ to cause the least amount of damage. And, as a final disclaimer, try to avoid 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioners. You can use them as your shampoo (since they’re trying to be the same thing as a hydrating conditioner), but don’t use them more than a couple times per week, and always follow them with a standalone conditioner.

A conditioner should always be the final step in your hair care regimen since it helps to restore hair to its pre-wash state. A 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner negates that. You should use conditioner daily, no matter if you’re shampooing (which I hope you’re only using once or twice a week, or even less than that. Your hair won’t be greasy or grimey if you use the conditioner instead, I promise.)

And with that, here are four conditioners I love, and that I think you will, too.

This one moonlights as aromatherapy, filling your shower with awesomely potent mint.
Revitalizing Conditioner by Mucky Ducks $21

This professional-favorite brand leaves your hair feeling fresh from the salon — lots of texture and body.
Restructuring Conditioner by Hair Rituel by Sisley $75

If you’ve got medium or longer hair, invest in Oribe’s conditioner for a healthy shine and tangle-free styling.
Signature Conditioner by Oribe $44

Grayed or dyed hair is often more rigid than the rest, and any lighter colors run the risk of dulling or discoloration. This conditioner helps brighten and tone these lighter shades while also keeping it soft and stylable.
Brightening Conditioner for White, Gray, Silver or Blonde Hair by V76 by Vaughn $19
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How Topical Melatonin Can Improve Your Complexion

“Did you hear the news about melatonin? The kids are applying it to their faces.”

“Gasp!” (Clutches pearls.) “No! Heavens to Betsy! Are they crazy?”

I can imagine two gossipy seniors chit-chatting about the good ol’ days when all they did with melatonin was ingest it, in order to get better quality sleep. (Or better yet, all they did was produce it naturally in their brains, because they didn’t rely on computer screens and caffeine to get through the day.) But now, people are applying melatonin to their face before bed, in the form of creams and serums. The idea is that they’ll wake up looking fresher and more youthful, in addition to feeling refreshed from a good night of rest. (Which is possibly aided by orally ingested melatonin.)

So, is topical melatonin’s effectiveness a fact, or a fad?

First, let’s consider supplemental melatonin. Even if you haven’t taken melatonin as a sleep aid, you probably know its function: It doesn’t knock you flat like a sleeping pill, but it does aid in your ability to doze off, to stay asleep and even to wake up more readily in the morning. Our bodies produce it naturally, but so many people have wonky sleep schedules or patterns that they need a slight push, without passing out and sleeping for 10 hours. Melatonin, taken orally, is more or less a “natural” sleep aid — when done in moderation, of course.

But what about topically? What is its purpose? I’ve seen it in a few products of late, and have been using one in particular, Zelens Z-Melatonin Night Repair Serum, as a final step before bed. Zelens claims that the product synchronizes with your body’s natural circadian rhythm — that is, on a cellular level, since all your cells are regenerating fastest and most effectively while you sleep — and in turn, it helps you wake with a brighter, firmer, more even complexion.

I ran the idea by one of my most trusted sources on the matter, board-certified dermatologist James Collyer, of Modern Dermatology in Seattle. Here’s what he had to say, which further supported the brand’s claim:

“Melatonin in the skin stimulates your body’s natural production of antioxidant enzymes at night,” Collyer says. “The better and deeper sleep you get, the more production of melatonin may be produced, leading to more antioxidants in the skin. These antioxidants help protect the skin from pollutants, protect collagen and help counteract harmful UV rays, which are a large cause of dark spots and wrinkles. There is evidence that using melatonin in skin care products can increase antioxidant properties in the skin.”

And, because you’re curious, Collyer also notes that, no, melatonin applied to the skin does not work as a sleep aid. It simply boosts the functions that help protect the skin and keep it firm. That being said, it’s not so much that topical melatonin products help you to look younger and have a brighter complexion, like many other serums or night creams. However, as Collyer states, they do fortify your skin to get through the day with a stronger defense against toxins and UV rays. And in doing so, with continued use, they do help you look younger and maintain a brighter, less-blemished complexion.

A month’s use of Zelens has me saying, “So far, so good.” Like most moisturizers and serums, it’s one of those things you don’t always know is working simply because you’re not getting any worse for the wear. And because I’ve got a pretty solid regimen already with some great serums and creams, I have to say that it fits nicely into the fold. In the very least, it’s worth noting that I haven’t substituted it out since I started testing it. (Most products get subbed out after a few uses. So this one is a favorite.)

And of course, melatonin isn’t the only ingredient in the Zelens serum, either. It’s also got peptide complexes, seaweed extract, soothing aloe vera, hydration hero hyaluronic acid and about two dozen other ingredients that work to firm, brighten, calm, moisturize, defend and more. If you want to be more corrective about your anti-aging nighttime regimen (wherein these melatonin products would be more proactive), I would suggest mixing it with your prescription retinol and applying them together.

Gear Patrol also recommends:

A denser option than the serum, this cream also employs retinol, so it provides a full-court press against signs of aging. (Plus it’s got colloidal oatmeal, which soothes and calms the skin, too.)
Green Releaf Therapeutic Sleep Cream Skin Protectant by Peter Thomas Roth $65

This is a rare instance wherein melatonin is used in a daytime product, primarily for its ability to help defend against UV ray damage and environmental toxins. If you’re prone to dark spots on the skin in summer, then this is your primary defense strategy.
Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 by Dr. Dennis Gross $42
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Significantly Improve Your Complexion in 90 Days

If your complexion is looking, uh, complex of late, then you might be in need of a solution. If it’s breaking out, discolored, dull, sprouting dry patches, or is spotty, then you’re a prime candidate for a reset on your regimen. The same goes for sullen or puffy eyes.

And, while there are daily solutions to these problems — namely the miracle product, concealer, which you should have on hand — there are also ways to correct your complexion more permanently. The bad news is that they take a little time for their results to show since skincare is really about building lifelong habits. But the good news is that it only takes a few months to see significant progress and even less time to build the habits that will ensure indefinite improvements.

Here are the steps you should take to significantly improve your complexion in three months. Watch out for comments like “your skin looks so healthy!” and “who is your dermatologist?”

Cleanse, Gently

Some people have genetically dry skin, while other people render their own skin dry by over-cleansing it. Sometimes, this often triggers a pimple or three, too.

The oils in our skin are essential for keeping our complexion clear, firm, youthful and nourished. But they require a delicate balance: Too much oil leaves you looking shiny, or clogs the pores and leads to a breakout. Too much cleansing dries everything out, and in turn signals to the body to produce more oil as a result. Then, the increased oil production again causes breakouts. Suddenly you’re trapped in a cycle.

The best solution is to invest in a gentle cleanser, no matter your skin type. A creamy, sulfate-free cleanser will rid the skin of excess oil and grime without stripping it of moisture. It’s a more soothing type of rinse and one you can do multiple times a day (ideally just morning and night) without worrying about over-drying.

Ocean Cleansing Milk by Osea $54

Try a Chemical Exfoliant

If your complexion looks dull, or if you’re trying to slough away pesky dark spots or lingering red marks, then you should try a chemical exfoliant in place of a physical scrub. These work quickly (and relatively gently) to dissolve dead skin cells, which are otherwise preventing your healthy, bright cells from surfacing. Some should be rinsed away, while others can be used as serums.

Just follow the instructions closely, and only apply to freshly cleansed face, one to two times per week, prior to any other products. Watch for alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs), as they are frequent indicators of high-powered exfoliation.

Skin Concentrate BHA by Baxter of California $36

Use a Serum

Many people still take a multivitamin despite having a healthy, well-balanced diet. It’s added insurance that your body gets everything it possibly needs each day. A serum is the same for your skin, whereas a regular skincare regimen just focuses on the essential steps, like cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing. Serums seep down into all three layers of the skin, unlike moisturizers which sit atop the skin and shield it from toxins.

Serums work more correctively and aggressively to produce a healthy, youthful glow. (This is where you’ll get compliments about your bright complexion.) Best of all, everyone can benefit from hydrating, nourishing serums. Apply them to freshly cleansed skin, before applying moisturizer.

Peptidin Firming Serum by Dr.Jart+ $48

Add a Daily SPF Moisturizer

The sun’s harmful UV rays are doing your skin no favors (note: those suntans are more harmful than good). You should shield your face from the sun every day, to prevent dark spots, overdrying, wrinkling, sunburn and even skin cancer. When you add it to your proactive, skin-firming regimen, it doubles as a defense against environmental toxins, in addition to keeping skin hydrated and supple.

Super Energizer SPF 25 by Clinique for Men $46

More Water, Less Coffee, Sodas and Alcohol

No surprises here: Stay hydrated to keep your skin performing its proper functions. Your complexion reflects your ingestion, and if you dehydrate it with things like caffeine and alcohol, or if you flood it with sugars, then you’re going to experience dry, dull, sullen complexion and possibly some acne. A morning coffee and lunchtime pick-me-up won’t hurt anybody, nor will a couple glasses of wine with dinner. But pay attention to your complexion the next time you binge drink or pound espressos: It’s going to show itself in your face the next day.

Get plenty of Sleep

Another habit you need to instill: seven to eight hours of sleep each night. This is when your entire body restores itself. So, in addition to waking up without sullen raccoon eyes, you also experience rapid cellular regeneration, which allows your skin to rid of inconsistencies like dryness or irritation, and to maximize the benefits of any products you apply to it. This is also why you should add a night cream or serum (or both) to your bedtime regimen, in place of your daytime SPF and serum. Their benefits are magnified while you sleep, and even more so if you get a full nights’ worth.

Brightening Night Cream by Acure $18

Put Retinol in Rotation

In tandem with a night cream, you should also apply retinol before bed. Retinols are topical vitamin-A derivatives, and they work overtime to resurface your healthy skin cells, prevent acne, smooth fine lines and so forth. Dermatologists pretty unanimously agree that this is the single best solution to smooth skin (and the cornerstone of a good anti-aging skincare regimen). But they come in various intensities—some are light and packed into standard skincare products, while others in higher concentrations are available with a prescription.

Either way, it’s smart to speak with your dermatologist to get the right retinol for your skin, and so that they can educate you on proper use (since it’s easy to oxidate and nullify retinols, as well as the fact that they make skin sensitive to the sun, or often cause peeling for the first few days).

Always wash your face in the morning, and use a daily SPF when using retinols. It’s not advised that you use them when you’re experiencing high exposure to sun. They usually take three months of continued to showcase their effects, but those effects are prominent. You need to keep using the product afterward, too.

Intense Night Oil (Rosehip and Retinoid) by Votary $150

Check Your Eye Baggage (with a Cream)

The skin under your eyes is thinner than everywhere else, and when it’s swollen and puffy from a poor night of sleep or a long night of drinking, then the entire world gets to see it reflected in your face. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have an eye cream on hand for these one-off occasions, but also for daily use: The long-term benefit is that the skin around your eyes becomes firmer, shows fewer wrinkles and is as bright as the rest of your skin. Many of your regular skincare products will be sensitive around the eyes, too, which is why it’s wise to invest in a standalone eye product.

Daily Eye Cream by Act of Being $46
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

8 Essential Grooming Products for the Outdoor Athlete

The outdoor athlete is defined by that modifier — outdoor — because his or her sport pits athlete against the elements. Which means that winter, spring, summer or fall, the outdoor athlete braves rain, heat, sun, wind and cold in order to practice or compete.

When you’re up against the elements, comfort is essential. You can’t let things like sunburn or chafing or excessive sweat slow you down. Heck, even body odor is of concern — can you imagine being on mile 6 of a marathon and smelling like last night’s garlic fries?

Here are 8 grooming products that keep the outdoor athlete’s comfort top of mind — and preserve peace of mind meanwhile. You’ve got bigger things to worry about, like setting a new PR.

Happy Nuts Comfort Cream

Whether you’re preventing thigh rub and swamp crotch or recovering from painful chafing, Happy Nuts is a miracle worker on more than just your junk. It dissolves from cream to powder on the skin, creating a barrier that keeps skin dry in the right ways — that is, it preserves the skin’s natural moisture but creates a thin barrier atop the skin, in order to halt everything else. It keeps the area fresh (and fresh-smelling) and is made using aloe and coconut oil to help soothe and calm the skin down there.

Art of Sport Pain Recovery Cream

Indoors or outdoors, if you’re prone to soreness after a workout, then keep an arnica-infused topical lotion ready. When applied over sore muscles and joints, it helps neutralize the agony. Art of Sport’s ultimate-strength recovery cream also adds eucalyptus to the equation, which soothes and refreshes the skin. Not only do you get relief from pain, but you get to feel refreshed in the process.

Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm

If you suffer any scrapes or your skin starts cracking and chafing from cold or dry air, then use Doctor Rogers Restore to form a natural, nourishing barrier over top the skin. It’s made with castor seed oil instead of harmful petroleums, like similar products we commonly relied on up while growing up. This means it helps the skin stay hydrated, and also expedites safe healing. Restore is also good to apply over tattoos (after applying sunscreen) to slow their fading from the sun.

Bare Republic Mineral SPF50 Sport Sunscreen

Obviously, you need an SPF if you’re exercising outdoors. But you specifically need a lightweight sport SPF. It’s got to absorb quickly and invisibly, and it needs to withstand the sweating you’re doing while wearing it. Good mineral SPFs check all these boxes, and they also don’t leave chalky residues like many other sunblocks in the industry. Bare Republic is one such option, and its SPF 50 ensures that you resist sweat and water for up to 80 minutes before you need to reapply.

Coola Fragrance-Free Face Sunscreen SPF50

You also want an SPF-packed moisturizer, specifically engineered for the face. Face and body sunscreens are often categorized separately since body SPFs might be comedogenic. (Meaning, they use pore-clogging ingredients.) Secondly, they aren’t always loaded with nourishing, moisture-preserving ingredients like moisturizers. Coola’s face sunscreen uses SPF50 and it checks all the other boxes: It wears light, nourishes the skin, won’t clog pores and shields you thoroughly from the sun’s photo-aging effects.

Duke Cannon Dry Ice Body Powder Spray

If you want to prevent moisture, discomfort and smelling rank, then a body spray is another way to do this. Duke Cannon’s dry spray creates a powder-like layer over the skin like a powder or powder-cream. Point it at your feet, your chest, your back, if you want to feel and smell fresh all day. It neutralizes moisture with the help of talc and deodorizes thanks to the inclusion of activated charcoal.

Schmidt’s Charcoal and Magnesium Natural Deodorant

Speaking of charcoal, Schmidt’s natural deodorant uses the ingredient (along with magnesium) to keep you smelling fresh. It’s a great alternative to aluminum-packed anti-perspirants. Besides,this is one instance where you probably don’t need an antiperspirant, seeing as you’re going to be showering after your workout and not worrying about perspiring in the meantime. Just focus on your workout, and also on not smelling like an onion.

Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy SPF25 Lip Balm

Don’t neglect to apply a little SPF to your lips either, winter or summer. I speak firsthand as someone who has lathered sunscreen on every square centimeter, only to forget the lips — and they burn fast! Not to mention, you need to use them for eating, talking, kissing, etc. So get a lip balm with SPF, like Jack Black’s; it’s equally useful for healing chapped, cracked lips. (As is Doctor Rogers’ Restore balm, above.)

8 Gym Bag Grooming Essentials

Since you go to the gym often (or you have the best intentions of doing so), you need a thoughtfully and efficiently packed Dopp kit — one that caters to cleaning and freshening up. It’s these products that can transition you from morning or midday workout without having to tote your entire shower caddy, or without needing to compromise on a well-coiffed style. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Product Saved My Hair Style This Summer

I dread summer. Capital-D Dread. Not only do I sweat like a wrung-out sponge for months on end, but it’s also near impossible to have a decent hair day. I can’t trust that whatever styling I do in the morning will survive past lunch. By evening, I look like Toadstool after getting eighth place in the Star Cup.

This summer, however, the tides started to turn. We’ve had a few heatwaves, and while my sweating has been worse than usual, my hair days have been remarkably better. And I owe that to one type of product in particular: heat-shielding, humidity-resistant hair sprays. They are, without embellishment, lifesavers.

Here’s how they work: Tiny silicone molecules wrap themselves around your hair shafts, which shield the hair from moisture loss and fraying (a side effect of blow dryers or the hot sun). Secondly, any heat protectant that is doubly designated as an anti-humidity agent will also prevent the hair from curling, frizzing or poofing, by preventing additional hydrogen in the air from bonding with the atoms in your hair. So, simply put, these sprays ensure that you get the style you intended and that no force of nature (or technology) will stand in your way.

Guys with short hair probably won’t get much benefit from these products; they’re going to help people with longer hair, the type that is grown-out enough to be affected by the weather. (Inch-long hair isn’t going to curl or frizz.) These sprays work well in all textures of hair, too. And it should be noted that not all heat protectants are sprays. Some are lotions, and some are oils — the later of which is essential if you’re using a hair-straightening wand. They all work the same way, while some of the hand-applied ones double as hybrid stylers, too.

These sprays are less of a styler and more of a style preserver. You can apply them prior to your standard hair product, or even as the last step in your styling routine. But it’s imperative to apply them prior to blow-drying your hair — if that’s a part of your routine — to best protect your hair. I usually apply mine first if my hair is already clean and dry, in that it’s already an ideal canvas for styling. This gives it a coat of armor but allows the styling product itself to do most of the directional work. Otherwise, I apply the spray at the end of my regimen if I am applying my styling product to wet hair. This gives it some texture, grit and a little shine — kind of like a hair spray.

Now that you’re well-acquainted with heat-protectants, here are three of my favorites — the ones that have made this heat-blasted summer a lot less insufferable.

Imperméable Anti-Humidity Spray by Oribe $42

No-Frizz Humidity Shield by Living Proof $23

Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray by Kérastase $37
9 Essential Grooming Products for the Frequent Flyer

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot, and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode. Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less, so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Recover from Razor Burn

Even the best shavers have stumbled: Every so often, after what seems like a routine stubble shave, your skin breaks out into a painful, red rash. Maybe there are bumps, maybe just irritated skin. Either way, it’s unsightly, and no more enjoyable to wear.

So what comes next? You need to recover from this razor burn, and fast. And how can it be treated immediately, as to minimize agony over the next few days? For this intel, we sought the expertise of Jason Bauers, barber at Blind Barber in NYC. Here is Bauers’ advice on how to treat, calm and even prevent razor burn.

Recovery

First and foremost, if you are recovering from razor burn, you need to avoid shaving the area again, until the skin has fully recovered. It might seem obvious to avoid, but Bauers still sees it done. You need to also avoid harsh ingredients in skin care products and soaps, opting for natural, gentle cleansers and soothing moisturizers. (Aloe and chamomile are good pals of yours for the next few days.)

You should also avoid picking at it, or itching it. And, when picking the products for your recovery plan, the most important thing to note is your skin type, says Bauers. “For example, witch hazel is a great natural astringent and anti-inflammatory if you have excessively oily skin,” he notes. “But may not be as effective if your skin is already dry or flaky. Dry skin calls for a product that moisturizes and hydrates, not one that removes oils.”

Gentle Products for Dry, Irritated Skin

Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser by LaRoche-Posay $15

Camellia Nut Hydrating Cream by Aesop $50

Gentle Products for Oily, Irritated Skin

Redness Relief Cleanser by Paula’s Choice $18

Moisture Cream by Pyunkang Yul $32

While you incorporate the appropriate products into your daily cleansing and hydrating regimen, you should also add a step to your post-shower regimen each day of recovery. “Regularly apply some kind of aftershave lotion or balm after a hot shower,” says Bauers. “The heat will open your pores, which maximizes the effectiveness of the product and helps you heal.”

And there’s one general rule of thumb for picking a balm: It needs to be alcohol-free. “These will feel the most comfortable on your skin as it heals, as it avoids the burning sensation that is often associated with aftershave products,” Bauers says.

After Shave Balm by Proraso $16

Prevention

If you’re wondering what went wrong and why you got razor burn, it could be because you shaved against the grain, or you simply shaved your entire face in one uniform direction. Next time you shave, pay closer attention to the direction your hairs grow—and they often change direction from one part of your face to the next. “Shaving against the grain will get the closest shave, but is also the most irritating, and can lead to ingrown hairs and inflammation if not done carefully,” says Bauers. “Shaving with the grain won’t get quite as close of a shave, but is far less irritating and much easier on your skin.”

Bauers also stresses that you invest in a good razor, and consider even switching to a single-blade safety razor: “They give you the most control as far as following the grain of your facial hair,” he says. “And they have a much more forgiving learning curve than a straight razor (although those can be great too if you are willing to put in some practice).”

6S Adjustable Stainless Steel Safety Razor by Rockwell Razors $100

He also says to keep warming your face prior to a shave, so as to open the pores and relax both skin and whiskers. And keep applying aftershave lotion or balm once you finish.

Additionally, he says that a pre-shave oil can also make shaving more comfortable and minimize irritation.

Ultra Gliding Shave Oil by American Crew $13

His last advice: Keep your barber close, but your dermatologist closer: “If there is a persistent problem with your skin, it could be something more than a just a result of poor shaving habits, and should be checked out by a dermatologist.”

8 Lightweight Gym Bag Grooming Essentials

Since you go to the gym often (or you have the best intentions of doing so), you need a thoughtfully and efficiently packed Dopp kit — one that caters to cleaning and freshening up. With these products, you can transition from morning or midday workout without having to tote your entire shower caddy, or without needing to compromise on a well-coiffed style.

So, start with a durable Dopp kit, since you’re going to get lots of miles out of it. Then stock it with the following products, most of which are also travel-friendly. You can swap out one or two based on your own grooming needs, but this list should round the bases by cleaning and hydrating everything, and it should keep the entire load light enough for daily toting (or every other day, if you aren’t exactly true to your best intentions).

The North Face Base Camp Travel Canister

Tote It: Even though you’re not hiking the Rockies or setting up a basecamp, this durable Dopp is a great holster for your gym essentials, seeing as you’re going to be toting it to and from the gym frequently. It has a hook inside so that you can hang it in your locker or even the shower, and it comes with a lifetime warranty so that you never have to purchase another kit. It’s also the Dopp that can transition between different types of events, whereas you’ll otherwise need more than one to cover the gym, vacations, outdoor activities, and the likes.

Assuming you pick and choose your essentials from this list and pack efficiently, everything should fit into the 3.5-L volume. (Otherwise you can opt for the larger 5.75-L option.) It also comes with a mirror that you can velcro to the canister, should you be away from the bathroom vanity.

Native Charcoal Deodorant Stick

Stay Fresh: While harnessing the ultra absorbent and detoxifying powers of charcoal, Native’s aluminum-free deodorant stick neutralizes odors and delivers a light, crisp citrus-and-mineral scent to mask any lingering musk. Native’s entire assortment uses clean, never-perplexing ingredients that nourish and protect the skin while fighting odor; this includes probiotics, coconut oil, shea butter, tapioca starch, and milk of magnesia.

Blind Barber Shampoo and Body wash

Scrub Down: Since lightweight is the aim here, you’ve got to consolidate some products. A 2-in-1 shampoo-body wash is one obvious opportunity. (And, it’s far superior to a 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner, which you should never use. We digress, but opt instead for a hydrating shampoo and follow it with a conditioner. Read on.)

Blind Barber’s shampoo-body wash is sulfate-free and combats dandruff with the help of hops — cheers to that — while coconut oil nourishes skin and hair. It’s got a refreshing lemongrass tea scent to lift your spirits and comes in this travel-size container so that it fits easily in your gym bag.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Styling Treatment

Style and Condition: Another opportunity for consolidation is your hair product. Forego packing a conditioner, and instead pick a styler that doubles as a leave-in conditioner. That’s the case with Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day assortment, and this travel-size treatment gives you protection against heat and UV rays, nourishes each strand, and adds healthy shine, all while giving you smooth, touchable style — as if you styled it with a standard hair cream.

Mr. Natty Beard Oil

Prepare for a Shave: If you’re going to shave after you work out, then do so economically by packing a shave oil in place of a larger shave cream canister. Mr. Natty’s beard oil doubles as a pre-shave and a shaving agent; just leave-in on warmed skin for a minute before introducing the razor. It’ll soften and prepare both skin and hair for a smooth, nick-free shave.

Harry’s Winston Razor

Shave Face: Stay subscribed to a razor replenishment service, like Harry’s, which will ensure you swap out your blades at healthy, hygienic intervals. Their engravable Winston razor is heavy enough with its zinc body that you get a thorough, close shave, but it’s still light enough that it glides smoothly down your jawline. Get a travel blade cover as well, to shield your razor from bacteria while still allowing it to dry. (Speaking from experience, it also shields you from hazardous accidents when reaching into your Dopp kit. So stock up, because these razors are sharp!)

Marlowe Face Moisturizer

Hydrate Skin: While we’d normally advise a separate lotion for face and body, there’s no real reason you can’t apply your facial moisturizer to your hands or any other dry patches. That’s why you should tote this lightweight (on skin, that is) moisturizer from Marlowe. They use extracts of passionflower, green tea, algae and willow bark, which work together to boost moisture, stimulate cellular repair and soothe irritation. It’s an effective aftershave agent for that same reason.

Beardbrand Utility Balm

Nourish Beard and Dry Skin: If you aren’t shaving but are instead rocking a beard — or if you need to sooth your hands after a rigorous workout — then Beardbrand’s line of utility balms are an essential pickup. They soften and tame beards on the one hand, but they also double as lightweight hair stylers, triple as dry-skin nourishers, quadruple as tattoo color protectors — the “utility” here is no understatement.

9 Essential Grooming Products for the Frequent Flyer

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot, and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode. Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less, so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 8 Best Antiperspirants for Men

The conversation around deodorant has largely steered itself towards natural products. It’s great to see consumers being so conscious of the ingredients in their grooming regimen, especially since the long-term effects of aluminum — the key ingredient used in antiperspirants — are still somewhat nebulous.

Currently, the various studies on aluminum all contradict and negate one another. Some say excessive exposure causes Alzheimer’s, while others claim this is hullabaloo when considering the light-dose application of deodorants. Without conclusive evidence on the matter, aluminum antiperspirants are still widely sold. And like many products on the market, they are effective at the job they set out to do.

That’s why we still find value in touting antiperspirants. Until there is conclusive evidence that sways us one way or the other, we say this: Buy antiperspirants if you absolutely need them. They work. Some people who experience non-stop sweating (diagnosed as hyperhidrosis) will swear by antiperspirants since they allow these individuals to go about their day without swimming in their own body’s soup.

Here are eight antiperspirants we love, some of which offer 72-hour protection against odor and sweat, and others that are intentionally milder. See which one suits your sweat-stopping needs.

Kiehl’s Body Fuel Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Like the rest of Kiehl’s Body Fuel line, this glide-on antiperspirant and deodorant invigorates thanks to the inclusion of caffeine. It further nourishes and purifies the skin with zinc and vitamin C, and provides a full 48 hours of coverage against both smells and sweats.

Recipe for Men Antiperspirant Deodorant

A 24-hour formula that celebrates its mildness, this antiperspirant neutralizes wetness without stopping the body’s natural sweat cycles. In other words, it works by minimizing bacterial growth, but it doesn’t unnaturally transform your pits into an bone-dry Atacaman abyss.

Jack Black Pit Boss Antiperspirant Deodorant

In addition to all-day coverage against odor and sweat, Jack Black’s roll-on antiperspirant utilizes Vitamin E and aloe juice to keep skin soft, calm and shielded against environmental toxins. You may have to apply this one twice as often as the competition (an extra application in the evening, if you’re hitting the gym or the dance floor), but that doesn’t make it inferior; in fact, it’s a matter of preference for how potent you want your antiperspirant to be.

Anthony Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Aloe and sunflower seed oil combat inflammation and dryness in Anthony’s deodorant and antiperspirant roll-on. Like Jack Black’s formula, it’s less clinical and lasting than the low-cost competition. However, it’s every bit as effective when used daily, sometimes twice. Plus, it ensures a double-down on the deodorizing effects of these products. Don’t forget that an antiperspirant isn’t always a deodorant, and the ones you have to reapply more frequently will do a better job at neutralizing both odor and sweat, as opposed to just sweat.

Sweat Block Antiperspirant Lotion for Hands and Feet

With active ingredient aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, this lotion stops palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis (that is, on hands and feet). This prevents you from soaking in your own sweat all day, or from swapping soggy handshakes at work or over drinks. It’s not a days-long fix like lots of the other antiperspirants on this list; but it’s great to apply as needed, and should last a few hours, assuming you don’t thoroughly wash your hands. It’s also a good way to prevent excessive foot odor if that’s something you’re eager to nix.

Certain Dri Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

If your sweaty situation is exactly that — a full-on situation — then you should talk to your doctor about using clinical-strength antiperspirants. Typically they will recommend one with aluminum chloride, as opposed to the traditional aluminum zirconium. That’s what Certain Dri’s formula includes, and it promises 72-hour sweat coverage for even the most hyperactive hyperhidrosis.

Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport Antiperspirant Deodorant

Though its branding has been updated, this is probably the antiperspirant you used when you went through puberty. And it works just as well today as it did during your awkward years. It gives you 24-hour odor and sweat protection with a light lemon-lime freshness, which pairs well with Old Spice’s similarly scented body wash.

Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Dry Spray Antiperspirant

With 48-hour sweat and deodorizing coverage, this spray-on deodorant also touts Dove’s signature moisturizing powers. A quarter of the formula is designated for keeping skin hydrated and cool, which is reassuring given the sensitivity of the under-arms. The clean scent is subtle enough for that just-showered freshness, but not so overwhelming that it competes with your fragrance of choice. Of the aerosol options and drugstore brands, this is one of your best bets.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

9 Essential In-Flight Grooming Products

Unless you’re traveling business class on a long-haul flight, you’re left to your own devices when it comes to in-flight grooming. It’s not like you’re planning a mid-air shave (razors and turbulence don’t mix), but it is the ideal time to give your skin extra hydration, your hair a pinch more lift, your breath a refresh and to check any eye baggage.

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode.

Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet.

Use them in this order, too.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer

New to Dr. Bronner’s assortment, this lavender-oil hand sanitizer neutralizes germs without drying out the skin. Just as the brand is confident in its soap as an all-purpose cleanser, they tout this sanitizer as child-friendly — even for the kid’s dirty face. That seems a little like a stretch, for you or any child, so we’ll still include a facial cleansing device below. But be sure to start your mid-air regimen with a disinfecting dose of sanitizer, since you’re in essentially traveling inside a bacteria incubator.

Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes

For post-gym or mid-flight, Ursa Major’s face wipes are as essential as they claim to be. They have four functions, in fact: removing grime and dirt, cooling and hydrating the skin, balancing oil production and gently ridding of dead skin cells — thus brightening your complexion. They’re the easy solution to not splashing any sink water onto your mug, plus they take up little room in your dopp.

Jack Black Eye Balm De-Puffing and Cooling Gel

Now more than ever, your eyes need a remedy. When you combine the skin-dehydrating cabin with the exhaustion of travel, you land looking hungover and feeling every bit as groggy. Jack Black’s roll-on eye gel is a hydrating and vitamin-rich product that neutralizes puffiness and brightens dark circles within the first minutes. It cools to the touch, and you can feel your eyes firming up almost instantly, too.

Cardon Daily SPF and Moisturizer

After cleansing your face and applying eye gel, it’s time to moisturize. Cardon’s hydrator comes with SPF 30, so it’s doubly defensive, and the inclusion of cactus extract helps cool and calm skin; it’s terrific as a post-shave moisturizer, too, should you require that on your travels. This travel-friendly 1.2-ounce container goes a long way, and allows you to tote it in your day-time bag, too, for SPF or hydration re-apps on the ground.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

The entire industry is in awe of Fenty, which offers 50 different concealer tones. Find the one that matches your skin using the brand’s digital shade finder, then tote it everywhere in the event of blemishes or irritation. A small dab, post moisturizer, blends right into your natural skin tone, and it gives you the certainty that nobody will study the red bump above your eye.

Boka Brush

Alright, so this one technically requires water, but you’re 100 percent not using any from the tap, because you’d never put that water in your body. Instead, you can request a small cup from the service staff, or bring in your own water bottle.

And leave the brush-charging station at home, because Boka’s electric toothbrush lasts 25 days without a top off. Its heads are designed for 3-month use, for which you can enroll in automatic replenishment, too. I prefer to tote the head in a separate small baggie, to isolate it from everything else, then reattach it for use, and for air-drying in the hotel later. If there’s a line building up behind you, then the brush’s 2-minute timer might feel a little excessive tacked onto the rest of your regimen, but you could always stop it short once you get a good enough clean. Don’t forget to pack your preferred toothpaste!

DedCool Mint ChazStick Lip Balm

After hours in the sky, your lips are likely the first thing to feel dry; that’s because the skin there is thinner and more susceptible to these types of changes in their environment. DedCool’s oil-infused, aloe-packed, mint-scented, shea-butter lip balm is the post-brushing, post cleansing fix that restores them to their happy, hydrated state and shields them from further dry-air aggression.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Body Builder

If your hair is of stylable length, then save the touch-up until after your face regimen, so that you don’t end up patting any hair product into your skin. Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day spray is like a reset on your style, which has likely turned greasy and limp through the long flight. It adds volume and texture, kind of like a hair paste or fiber in any other setting. Simply spray it on, massage it into place with your fingers or a comb, and walk off the plane with soft, touchable, textured hair, unlike every other passenger who is desperate for a shower.

Byredo Eleventh Hour Hair Cream

If you’ve got that face wipe on hand, then now’s the time to remove any excess product buildup from your mitts. You can leave the bathroom and follow it with another hand sanitizing, before sitting in your seat and applying Byredo’s scented hand cream. This one has subtle notes of bergamot, cashmere woods, fig and tonka beans, but it won’t overwhelm your seatmates. Instead, it gives your dehydrated and product-slogged hands a chance to recover, with the added benefit of a cooling, uplifting tingle.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

9 Essential Grooming Products for the Frequent Flyer

Unless you’re traveling business class on a long-haul flight, you’re left to your own devices when it comes to in-flight grooming. It’s not like you’re planning a mid-air shave (razors and turbulence don’t mix), but it is the ideal time to give your skin extra hydration, your hair a pinch more lift, your breath a refresh and to check any eye baggage.

Mile-high grooming is a shortcut to landing on the right foot and rolling right into any scenario, be it a work meeting with added confidence, or a rejuvenating vacation mode.

Here are our favorite products to pack along — all carry-on friendly, and all water-less so that you don’t have to use that iffy airplane bathroom faucet.

Use them in this order, too.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hand Sanitizer

New to Dr. Bronner’s assortment, this lavender-oil hand sanitizer neutralizes germs without drying out the skin. Just as the brand is confident in its soap as an all-purpose cleanser, they tout this sanitizer as child-friendly — even for the kid’s dirty face. That seems a little like a stretch, for you or any child, so we’ll still include a facial cleansing device below. But be sure to start your mid-air regimen with a disinfecting dose of sanitizer, since you’re in essentially traveling inside a bacteria incubator.

Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes

For post-gym or mid-flight, Ursa Major’s face wipes are as essential as they claim to be. They have four functions, in fact: removing grime and dirt, cooling and hydrating the skin, balancing oil production and gently ridding of dead skin cells — thus brightening your complexion. They’re the easy solution to not splashing any sink water onto your mug, plus they take up little room in your dopp.

Jack Black Eye Balm De-Puffing and Cooling Gel

Now more than ever, your eyes need a remedy. When you combine the skin-dehydrating cabin with the exhaustion of travel, you land looking hungover and feeling every bit as groggy. Jack Black’s roll-on eye gel is a hydrating and vitamin-rich product that neutralizes puffiness and brightens dark circles within the first minutes. It cools to the touch, and you can feel your eyes firming up almost instantly, too.

Cardon Daily SPF and Moisturizer

After cleansing your face and applying eye gel, it’s time to moisturize. Cardon’s hydrator comes with SPF 30, so it’s doubly defensive, and the inclusion of cactus extract helps cool and calm skin; it’s terrific as a post-shave moisturizer, too, should you require that on your travels. This travel-friendly 1.2-ounce container goes a long way, and allows you to tote it in your day-time bag, too, for SPF or hydration re-apps on the ground.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer

The entire industry is in awe of Fenty, which offers 50 different concealer tones. Find the one that matches your skin using the brand’s digital shade finder, then tote it everywhere in the event of blemishes or irritation. A small dab, post moisturizer, blends right into your natural skin tone, and it gives you the certainty that nobody will study the red bump above your eye.

Boka Brush

Alright, so this one technically requires water, but you’re 100 percent not using any from the tap, because you’d never put that water in your body. Instead, you can request a small cup from the service staff, or bring in your own water bottle.

And leave the brush-charging station at home, because Boka’s electric toothbrush lasts 25 days without a top off. Its heads are designed for 3-month use, for which you can enroll in automatic replenishment, too. I prefer to tote the head in a separate small baggie, to isolate it from everything else, then reattach it for use, and for air-drying in the hotel later. If there’s a line building up behind you, then the brush’s 2-minute timer might feel a little excessive tacked onto the rest of your regimen, but you could always stop it short once you get a good enough clean. Don’t forget to pack your preferred toothpaste!

DedCool Mint ChazStick Lip Balm

After hours in the sky, your lips are likely the first thing to feel dry; that’s because the skin there is thinner and more susceptible to these types of changes in their environment. DedCool’s oil-infused, aloe-packed, mint-scented, shea-butter lip balm is the post-brushing, post cleansing fix that restores them to their happy, hydrated state and shields them from further dry-air aggression.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Body Builder

If your hair is of stylable length, then save the touch-up until after your face regimen, so that you don’t end up patting any hair product into your skin. Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day spray is like a reset on your style, which has likely turned greasy and limp through the long flight. It adds volume and texture, kind of like a hair paste or fiber in any other setting. Simply spray it on, massage it into place with your fingers or a comb, and walk off the plane with soft, touchable, textured hair, unlike every other passenger who is desperate for a shower.

Byredo Eleventh Hour Hair Cream

If you’ve got that face wipe on hand, then now’s the time to remove any excess product buildup from your mitts. You can leave the bathroom and follow it with another hand sanitizing, before sitting in your seat and applying Byredo’s scented hand cream. This one has subtle notes of bergamot, cashmere woods, fig and tonka beans, but it won’t overwhelm your seatmates. Instead, it gives your dehydrated and product-slogged hands a chance to recover, with the added benefit of a cooling, uplifting tingle.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Hair and Skincare Products for the Beach

A soothing, carefree day on the beach can turn south real quick. If you don’t take the right precautions against sun exposure and cancer-causing UV rays, then you can end up with burned, red skin with the potential for far more severe problems. And even if you temper the exposure or play chicken with each reapplication, you’re still susceptible to the sun’s photo-aging effects. That is to say, if you don’t properly prepare your skin against even the mildest of exposure, you increase the drying, roughing, wrinkling and discoloration of your skin.

It’s not just your skin that is at risk: Extended, direct sun exposure is also damaging and drying to the hair. It frustrates your hairstyle, leads to breakage and compromises any dye and bleach — it causes silver and blonde hair to turn dull and gray.

You’ve heard it from us a few times here, and you’ve heard it a few thousand times prior: You have to protect yourself from the sun, and promote healthy recovery after the fact. These products will do the trick, for hair, body and face.

Protection

For Hair (and Color-Dyed Hair): Sachajuan Hair in the Sun

You might not realize that your hair is as susceptible to sun damage as your skin. While you don’t feel the pain from the damage, you can see it, in the form of dehydration, fraying and breakage. Part styling cream, part UV shield, Sachajuan’s fantastic hair shield deploys its proprietary Ocean Silk technology to coat each strand and protect from such damage. It’s sturdy enough to withstand a rinse, too, should you need to freshen up midday. Reapply each day, as necessary.

For Bleached or Silver Hair: Christophe Robin Shade Variation Blonde Hair Mask

Paired with a blonde-toning hair care regimen (see below), a hair mask pumps all kinds of color-preserving ingredients into your silvers and blondes. It’s both preventative and reactive, and thus an essential part of your summer in the sun. Christophe Robin uses almond butter and buriti oil in this nourishing, soothing hair mask which has an acidic pH of 4.5 (that decreases porosity in the hair, and in turn, prevents discoloration or pigment fading). It helps keep brassy, dull and yellow tones at bay — all of which are a threat when you sit in the sun all day or soak in the sea for even a minute. Apply it to clean, towel-dried hair once every few days for five to 30 minutes, as needed.

For Heat-Proof Hair Styles: By Villain Sidekick

Working as both a heat shield and hair spray, By Villain’s Sidekick helps lock in your desired style — sea breeze and humidity be damned. You can add it first to towel-dried hair, combing through prior to applying your styling product, or as a final step for added hold, definition and texture.

For Body: Svens Mineral Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 33

New to the scene, Svens’ SPF 33 mineral sunscreen combines titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, and is reef friendly. It’s a strong debut from the skincare brand, as the sunscreen absorbs easily, wears light, and defends against both UVA and UVB rays. Like all other sunblocks, you need to reapply every two hours, or after swimming and sweating profusely.

For Face (and Beard!): Stubble + ‘Stache Broad Spectrum Moisturizer SPF 30

A 3-in-1 product, Stubble + ‘Stache’s newest product moisturizes your hair and whiskers with aloe, argan oil, vitamin C and green tea extract, among many other nourishing ingredients. It also protects against UVA and UVB rays, absorbs fast, and doesn’t leave a greasy, shiny residue on the skin. Keep it on hand for the non-beach days, too, for all its nourishing and anti-aging powers.

Recovery

For Hair: Fekkai Apres Soleil Crème

After a long, dehydrating day in the sun, your hair needs serious replenishment. (Just like how your body and skin feel dehydrated after the same.) Fekkai’s hair cream is infused with sunflower seed oil, and acts as a dual styler and leave-in conditioner to neutralize frizzing, restore shine and keep hair buoyant.

For Bleached or Silver Hair: Davines Alchemic Silver Shampoo and Conditioner

As your stylist should have told you, it’s imperative to use color-toning shampoo and conditioner on bleach-blonde hair, in order to prevent brassiness and yellowing. The same goes for naturally silver hair. There is no place more threatening to your hair than the beach or pool, because of the direct sun and exposure to chlorine or seawater. Davines’ Alchemic Silver lineup is an effective daily treatment; you can double stock the conditioner since you’ll need it on the daily while rotating in the shampoo every two to three days. Apply each product separately, always concluding with the conditioner, and let each one absorb and tone hair for one to two minutes before rinsing.

For Body: La Mer After Sun Enhancer

Even though you aren’t sunburnt, you still need to nourish and soothe your skin after sun exposure. That’s because it still took a beating, despite your best efforts to bounce the UV rays. (After all, our skin still absorbs color despite UV defenses.) La Mer’s body gel cools on contact with the brand’s signature Miracle Broth, rich in giant sea kelp. It’s also made with lime tea and algae ferment to help the skin look and feel radiant, rather than parched.

For Sunburn: COOLA ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

Packed with aloe, agave, nourishing oils, vitamins and antioxidants, Coola’s post-sun recovery helps sore, reddened skin recover quickly. It’s good for general sun recovery, too, if your skin is feeling dry and sensitive despite your sun-shielding measures. You can even apply this lotion to the face, and should do so frequently in the event of a sunburn. You’ll spare a few days of agonizing recovery.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Grooming Essentials for the Active Man

If you want to build a low-level, baseline skincare regimen, you’ll pick a cleanser and moisturizer. It’s a good start, but it’s not exactly going to help you slow down signs of aging, or reverse damage from environmental exposure (like UV rays, smoke and smog, or cold, dry winters). Hopefully, you’ll want a broader foundation, for magnified protection and youthful results.

That broader foundation can be made of West Skincare’s five-product core assortment, launching June 12. Their regimen is an elevated baseline that centers on “active performance, active recovery.” The “active” is twofold, both for the wearer of West Skincare products and for the active ingredients that comprise each recipe. Sure, they’ve got the cleanser and the moisturizer — more on those later — but they expand the line with an overnight recovery cream, a hydrating and cleansing mask, and a gentle exfoliant.

West’s products combine plant-based formulas with specific moisturizing and balancing active ingredients like AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), sodium hyaluronate (similar to hyaluronic acid), squalane, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and dexpanthenol (d-panthenol). Founder Matthew Ankeny proudly promotes these formulas, and their function, citing the lack of transparency that many brands show their customers: “I’m guessing most consumers aren’t up on the [International Nomenclature] names of skincare ingredients or what those ingredients actually do for the skin. And there’s also a lot of misinformation and fear mongering and contrasting opinions out there. These are safe, efficacious formulas, largely based in plants. We haven’t skimped on active ingredients and we’re not shy to champion good chemistry.”

And you need not be an athlete to enjoy the core benefits of this regimen. Ankeny says it’s as much about consumers taking a proactive approach to keeping their largest organ healthy. (That’s your skin, FYI.) “I want to be active and then give my body what it needs to recover as quickly as possible. Taking care of your skin feels good. It improves appearance. It’s gratifying in both immediate and long-term ways.”

Keep an eye on West Skincare’s assortment, which Ankeny plans to expand beyond this foundational lineup. (Think serums and retinol-based products.) You can also purchase bundles of the core three products or the complete roster, or even get a travel-friendly kit of the core cleanser, moisturizer and recovery cream.

Cleanser

Natural AHAs from lemon and passionflower help remove dead skin and excess oil while kola, mate and guarana soothe. Gentle enough for twice-daily use, morning and night, to start any regimen.

Moisturizer

Sodium hyaluronate absorbs moisture and preserves the skin’s hydration levels. Squalane defends against toxins. Use in the morning, post cleanser and exfoliator, for all-day hydration and defense.

Recovery Cream

Ideal as an overnight moisturizer or wintertime hydrator, this lipid-rich recovery cream uses sea whip extract and beta-glucans to soothe irritation, promote healing and restore the skin’s moisture barrier (which in turn preserves moisture levels and improves defensiveness).

Scrub

While many skin buffers use either physical or chemical exfoliants, West uses both. The physical are palm seed powder and volcanic microcrystals, to remove dead skin and keep pores clear, while salicylic acid doubles down on the efforts by dissolving dead skin. Use it once or twice a week.

Mask

A dual hydrating and cleansing mask. Mineral-rich black mud and activated coconut charcoal work together to pull toxins and sebum from deep within the skin. Meanwhile, sunflower and saffron oils preserve moisture levels in the skin. Apply to face for five minutes, once a week after cleansing and exfoliating. Follow with moisturizer or recovery cream.

How to Find the Right Hair Products

If a hair product isn’t giving you exactly what you want, then you need to toss it and find a replacement. To help you navigate this matrix of options, here is a rundown of the products as they fall onto the hold-vs-shine grid. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Body Grooming Products for Summer

Your summer body is the same body you have all year, except it exists between June 21 and September 23. It doesn’t need to have any additional abs or glowy skin. But it does require some preparation for the summer sun and heat — for your own safety and comfort — most of which can be solved with the right grooming products.

Regardless of how hairy or hairless your back is, you should stock up on the right summer grooming essentials to deflect UV rays, keep skin hydrated and feel your best, in whatever summer body you’ve got. Here are eight types of products that will get you there fast, along with our favorite in each category.

Body Scrub: Osea Salts of the Earth Body Scrub

Your skin always feels smoother after the beach, since those sand crystals gently buff away all the dead cells resting atop your skin. If you’re far from the ocean or looking to start summer on the right (smooth) foot, get a full-body scrub like Osea’s that busts through dry, rough patches and will have you looking and feeling fresh. This scrub uses salts from the Dead Sea and Himalayas, infused with seaweed and oils of acai, shea butter and passion fruit. Together, these ingredients hydrate, nurture and rejuvenate everything in their path. (Just avoid the face, in favor of a facial exfoliant.)

SPF: MDSolarSciences Mineral Moisture Defense SPF 50

Mineral sunscreens don’t rely on potentially harmful chemicals (that is, harmful to you and the environment alike), and the best ones wear lightly on the skin without leaving white, chalky residue. MDSolarScience’s eco-cert SPF 50 sunscreen is one such sunscreen: With high concentrations of zinc oxide (17 percent) and titanium dioxide (2 percent), it shields you from damaging UV rays. It is water and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes, protects the skin’s moisture barrier thanks to a ceramide- and humectant-rich formula, and is chock-full of antioxidants to neutralize any skin-aging toxins.

Post-Sun: Coola ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

After a full day of sun exposure, your skin is parched and compromised, even if you lathered on the sunscreen. Help it recover quickly with a post-sun lotion — something packed with aloe, agave and soothing oils. That’s the recipe for Coola’s eco-cert lotion: Use it in hours and days after your sun spell, to help skin bounce back and to neutralize any redness or dehydration.

Sunburn Recovery: Grown Alchemist Soothing Body Gel Lotion

If you got a proper burn, then you need not endure days of suffering as it recovers and peels. That is to say, you do need to wait for it to recover and peel, but you can minimize the pain and suffering meanwhile. Rub on some cooling gel immediately after the burn, and as needed while everything heals. Grown Alchemist’s formula is surprisingly void of aloe vera but innovates the cooling recovery with allantoin (to speed up cellular regeneration) and azulene (extracted from chamomile to soothe irritation). Use it as liberally as you need on the road to recovery.

Body Hair Trimmer: Panasonic ER-GB80-S Beard, Hair and Body Trimmer

There’s no shame in having body hair, nor any in showing it off. By all means, please do. But, like the hair on your head and chin, you’ve got to keep most body hair in check. It grows too long for its own good around the groin and above the waist, so get a trimmer that cleanly and steadily manages the task, less you end up with all kinds of patchwork, or a bare chest simply because your trimmer head rolled back and took out an entire strip of hair. It happens to the best of us. But it won’t ever happen again if you swap in a trimmer like Panasonic’s beard, hair and body hair trimmer, which allows for up to 39 trimming settings and rinses clean under the tap. You can trim precisely to the length you want — and switch it up from one furry spot to the next — and make no mess in the process.

Post Shave Recovery: Fulton & Roark Aftershave Cloths

Just as you need to treat a freshly shaved face, so too do you need to apply after-shave to your freshly bare back. This disinfects any bacteria that might be trying to live inside your newly opened pores and soothes any irritation at the same time. It’s as easy as using a disinfecting post-shave cloth, like the ones from Fulton & Roark. These witch hazel, eucalyptus, sage and bergamot-packed wipes help disinfect, nourish and cool the skin, and they come in individually-wrapped pocket-friendly packets.

Body Lotion: The Lost Explorer Environmental Protection Lotion

While the summer heat brings humidity and more self-produced moisture, it’s not a bad time to apply a nourishing, lightweight cream before bed or a dual-purpose product during the day. This can come as a vitamin-packed SPF or, in the case of Lost Explorer’s Environmental Protection Lotion, a body lotion, which combines citronella and cedar oils to naturally repel bugs. Its use of lavender flower calms skin and senses alike. You can even apply this lotion to your face if that’s your thing.

Body Wash: Nécessaire The Body Wash

Many soaps and body washes are as abrasive as detergent on your skin. And while there’s never a time to compromise on a bottom-barrel body wash, summer is a perfectly good excuse to justify a more elevated shower experience. Get a body wash with vitamins and nutrients, so that nourishment is reinforced in the shower, rather than lost. Nécessaire’s wash builds a lather and comes in three scents — one of which is an intentional lack thereof — and it uses oils of marula, cacay and meadowfoam to soften the skin while pulling grime and grease from the surface.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

How to Have Soft, Styleable Hair All the Time

Every morning, you wake up and have the same routine. Maybe it includes a workout, coffee or listening to the news. It definitely includes some sort of grooming regimen, however. And for the guys with any amount of hair on their heads, it entails some sort of styling regimen too.

There’s one thing that isn’t the same from one day to the next, though: How cooperative your hair is. Some days it’s just right, with the perfect weightlessness, not too oily nor too dry, and your favorite paste or fiber takes to it exactly as you’d desired. Hopefully, this happens on the day you take company headshots.

Other days, though — and for many of us, most days — the hair is stubborn. It’s too dry or too oily. But you seemed to have done everything else the same up til now, including last night’s hair-care regimen or this morning’s shower. So, what gives? Why isn’t it always styleable, every day? To get to the bottom of it, I spoke with Robert Watkins, founder of The Mailroom Barber Co., a barbershop with locations in Florence and Greenville, South Carolina that also makes its own hair, beard and shave products. Here is some of his advice on how to make sure that you’re ready for company headshots any day of the year.

Don’t Wash Your Hair Every Day

Oil is one of the biggest hurdles between you and cooperative hair. Or rather, the scalp’s oil levels are the balance beam many of us teeter upon, some days better than others. When your hair is too greasy, it is weighed down and stubborn. But when it’s not oily enough, it poofs out and is also stubborn. Preserving this balance — the “right amount” of oil — often starts by shampooing less.

When you shampoo, you’re removing all the oil on your scalp and in your hair, in addition to the dirt, grime and styling product you accumulated all day. Those last things are necessary to flush away, but can usually be done with warm water and conditioner. Instead, shampoo every third day, or once a week, as needed. You can (and should) use a shampoo that promises moisture and is gentle enough for daily use, even if you’ll be using it intermittently.

By shampooing less, you’re also playing a long game in terms of benefits: “Shampoo is the main thing that makes your hair overproduce sebum,” Watkins says. “The scalp basically overreacts in a panic and ramps up the amount of sebum being made.” So, the next day, you’ll produce even more oil than you otherwise would have, which will happen cyclically unless you correct the course. So instead of using more shampoo to fight oil, use less.

When shopping, the best thing to consider is cost. Avoid things that are just a few bucks, even if they promise to have extra strength, says Watkins. They are often made with silicone or harsh detergents and can dry out the hair and scalp and perpetuate your problems.

Rahua Hydration Shampoo is a good one to use every few days, prior to conditioning.

See also: Products to use while cutting back on shampoo.

Condition Daily

Where shampoo can do a little too much “good,” conditioner can never do enough. And I say that positively: Conditioner is all good, and should be used all days. Consider the different relationship that shampoo and conditioner both have with your hair: “Shampoo changes the pH levels of your hair,” says Watkins, of the oil balance you fight so hard to preserve. “If the hair dries in this state, it will be weak, frizzy, and brittle. Conditioner [nourishes and] smooths the hair, returning it to the ideal pH. This gives you the ability to style your hair effortlessly with much less effort. Even if you don’t style your hair after conditioning, it will look soft, healthy and smooth.” But as a canvas for styling, conditioned hair has the right amount of nourishment and moisture to cooperate.

Are you sold on conditioner yet? Use it every day, especially after shampooing (but never together). It’s the last step in your hair care regimen, prior to styling. It also helps rinse and flush any oil, grime and product in the hair that you want gone before bed.

“There’s a reason why women’s hair looks ten times better than men’s hair most of the time,” Watkins jokes. “It’s conditioner. They got the memo.” So here it is for you, too.

And here’s my memo on a great conditioner: Try Seb Man’s The Smoother Conditioner for salon-caliber hair.

Re-Calibrate Your Oil Production

This is a tip specifically for people with oily scalps and hair: As mentioned above, you can “train” your hair to produce less sebum over time. This will help ensure that you have properly nourished hair every day, though it may take a couple months for you to note significant changes.

The first and most important step is to shampoo less, which we’ve already discussed. You can do this incrementally if you think your scalp is too oily. Try doing it every other day for a couple weeks, then every third day, conditioning all the while. This is a good minimum benchmark to get to, and you should notice that your sebum production levels reduce accordingly. (It won’t happen on the first attempt. You really do have to be patient with it.)

Secondly, try an oily hair supplement like Ouai’s 3-month reset pills, which gives you a hearty dose of green tea extract and niacin every day, to regulate sebum production over time. By the end of the 90-day plan, assuming you’re shampooing less frequently, too, you should be on track to balanced, stylable hair on the regular.

Always Have Your Next Haircut Booked

If you want stylable hair every day, you need to keep it trim. That means biweekly cuts for fades and buzzed sides, says Watkins. Five weeks is the maximum if you don’t mind a little growth, without the style being compromised by natural unevenness. For medium length cuts, he recommends four to six weeks between trimming and texturizing: “It’s important to have the ends trimmed to keep the hair manageable and looking alive and healthy,” he says. “If you’re going from medium to long hair, it’s also important to keep the shape flowing well and stacking well as you transition between awkward phases. If you try to go the marathon route without getting it cleaned up, your hair will look dead and flat.”

Use the Right Amount of Product and Apply It to the Root

I can’t give you one single solution to the question: “How much hair product should I use?” It’s going to come down to lots of factors. For starters, consider your hair’s density, thickness, length, texture, oil levels and the desired styling effect (like hold and shine). The type of product you use will differ, too, and will impact whether you apply it to dry hair or damp, towel-dried hair.

But there is one general tip for finding the right amount of product. If you want your hair to look buoyant or even texturized, then don’t weigh it down with a bunch of product, says Watkins. This applies also to how you apply the product: Target the roots, particularly with texturizing and matte products that don’t need to be slicked back. You control the style by controlling the base of the hair, not by weighing down the hair strand itself.

Get a Blow Dryer

If you want more control over a medium or longer hairstyle — and don’t want to leave it to chance every day — then you need a blow dryer. The heat amplifies the powers of each product, and locks in your style for a longer run, meaning it won’t come undone halfway through the workday. Blow dryers are especially useful if you want volume and texture, says Watkins, adding that the device might even save you from needing too much styling product: “When the hair goes from wet to dry, it stays wherever it dries. So, when you use a blow dryer, you’re smoothing out the hair, plus adding body and texture [if desired]. Then you don’t have to use a strong product [or as much product] because the hair is already where you want it to be.”

The Gamma+ Italia Ion Ceramic Blow Dryer is particularly effective.

How to Find the Right Hair Products for Men

If a hair product isn’t giving you exactly what you want, then you need to toss it and find a replacement. There are simply too many good stylers available, and you shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t provide the precise shine and hold that you need.

But what do you need? You might need more than one product at the ready so that you have various styles in your arsenal; your high-shine black-tie styler is going to be very different from your matte weekend surfer texturizer. Or, you might choose to keep things closer to the center of the hold-shine matrix, in which case you can pick a single product that does different things. One that, if it’s applied to clean, dry hair, gives more shine and hold versus when it’s applied to clean damp hair. (We’re looking at you, hair paste.)

To help you navigate this matrix of options, here is a rundown of the products as they fall onto the hold-versus-shine grid. Know that there is some flexibility in these rules; different brands will create slightly different formulas, and technology is making it so that all kinds of hybrid products exist, as well as products that adopt one name despite mimicking the characteristics of another type.

In short, it’s a confusing game, but we’re here to help you figure it out. We’ll even recommend our favorite products in each spot on the grid.

High Hold, High Shine: Gel

It’s easy to write off gel as a product you’ll never use, since we associate it with the LA Looks helmet-tight styles of 1995. However, gels these days can still deliver high hold and high shine without feeling like liquid cement suffocating your skull. The reputable brands — that is, the ones whose price point is more than that of a footlong sub — offer nourishing, water-soluble formulas that rinse clean and don’t flake during the day.

Wall Street Strong Hold Gel by R+Co$28

High Hold, Medium Shine: Clay and Putty

Clays and putties vary on the shine spectrum — some promise a matte finish, but might more closely resemble a fiber. Either way, we’ll slot them here as high on hold, medium on shine, particularly when applied to damp hair. Like paste, you increase their shine and hold by applying to towel-dried hair, letting the water activate the product. Applied dry, you’ll get a little less of both hold and shine, making clay and putty good products for a fresh short haircut that you intend to grow out. Their functions evolve with your needs. And, while I’d love to differentiate between the two, I don’t think it’s distinct enough. You’ll see far more clays than putties in the market, but in either product, the end result tends to be the same.

Molding Clay by American Crew $9

High Hold, Low Shine: Wax and Fiber

Anytime you hear the word wax, you get a clear idea of a density and a shine: candle wax has it, beeswax has it, even your earwax has it. Luckily, hair wax is a little less repulsive than the last of that list but no less dense nor dull. Wax is great for short styles almost exclusively unless it’s part of a hybrid product and targeted towards medium styles — which would make it a little more like a fiber or a paste, and which would give it a more medium or light hold. I use wax whenever I have an inch-long style and want to showcase a bit of texture and separation instead of letting everything lay lifeless and flat. You could argue that it has medium shine, but because you can only apply it dry, it’s definitely on the lower end of the spectrum.

Apply fiber dry for all the grit and texture you want, minus any of the shimmer. Fiber is a wax-like styler that is ideal for shorter, choppy styles. It’s a little more malleable than a wax, too, and works for texturizing and taming medium styles. Use your fingers as a comb to coach everything into place, but target those roots first, so that you get maximum control over each strand.

Wax Zero by By Vilain $25
Undressed Fiber by Kevin Murphy $33

Medium Hold, High Shine: Pomade

The word ‘pomade’ has expanded in recent years and has grown from its origins as a workplace, buttoned-up styler. Now we refer to pomades being matte, shiny, high hold, light hold — anything and everything. For the sake of simplicity, though, we’ll keep that traditional definition in place here. Pomade keeps your hair in place but is a little more buoyant and touchable than a gel. It’s great for medium-length styles that require a comb to tame and can be separated and texturized with the fingers prior to drying.

Ponsonby Pomade byTriumph & Disaster $30

Medium Hold, Medium Shine: Paste

Paste is perhaps the most flexible styler, in that it can be applied damp or dry for different results, and can be re-wet throughout the day for reactivation. It’s most effective applied to towel-dried (damp) hair and combed into place. You can chop it up with your fingers for added texture and grit, but the result will always be touchable hair that stays in place — unless you fuss with it throughout the day. Paste is great if you need to be combed-back during the day, and undone for happy hour. Just flutter your fingers through it after work and it should relax and fall forward for something more laidback. It also has a pinch more shine if applied to damp hair versus dry hair.

Forming Paste by Living Proof $17

Medium Hold, Low Shine: Cream

Different creams offer different results; it’s another product that has a spectrum of powers. So, you need to assess the label of any product. It’s also a product thats strength is magnified in towel-dried hair. Cream is not very effective in shorter styles since it is used to tame combed-back and long styles. However, it can be used to tame flyaways and minimize frizz, as a lightweight styler. Many styling creams also contain conditioning ingredients, and many leave-in conditioners are just double-duty creams in disguise.

Medium Hold Styling Cream by V76 $20

Low Hold, High Shine: Oil

Oil is really just a taming product, and the best ones double as leave-in conditioners that nourish and soften the hairs. I like to add a drop or two to a styling cream or fiber if I want those products to do their job with a little extra shine. Oil showcases depth, texture, and separation in your hair, since the light catches each strand. A few drops goes a long way to keep everything smooth in longer styles, or to tame flyaways in shorter styles. (Don’t be afraid to use your beard oil in your hair.)

Shine Oil by Aesop $35

Low Hold, Medium Shine: Paste or Salt Spray

As aforementioned, paste can be applied to clean, dry hair for less hold but the same amount of shine. Ditto for many creams. Learn to use them in different ways, and their space on the hold-versus-shine matrix expands tremendously.

Alternatively, if you want a little bit of texture that doesn’t really qualify as “hold,” then spritz a sea salt spray into your hair and separate it with your fingers. You’ll have touchable, lightweight hair all day, but it will actually look like you styled it instead of doing nothing with it. (You know how you can always tell if a guy isn’t wearing product, and he looks a like a fuzzy tennis ball? This will distance you from that guy.)

This is a Sea Salt Spray by Davines $28

Low Hold, Low Shine: Hair Powder

If you want a little grit and are totally shine averse, then apply texture powder to your hair. It soaks up excess oil like a dry shampoo, and gives an intentional kind of finish; powder smooths and separates the hair but does little else. Be sure to target the roots in medium and longer styles if you want to use powder simply as a dry shampoo alternatively. However, it’s not going to do much to these styles besides volumize the hair from the root. (I’d suggest a lightweight cream or paste to add a little control and direction.)

Haze Styling Powder by Evo $18

Cut Back on Shampoo. Use These 6 Products Instead

The secret has long been shared: You shouldn’t wash your hair every day since shampoo dries out the hair and scalp. Overwashing only trains the scalp to produce even more oil, which perpetuates the problem instead of mitigating it. It also makes the hair brittle, hard to tame, and strips it of its natural, healthy shine. Besides, those oils in your scalp are a good thing, since they condition the hair and keep it looking healthy. You shouldn’t want to eliminate it; you should instead tame it and work with it. You’ll have a healthier scalp and hair as a result, and it’ll cooperate with your styling products, finally.

You should still shampoo, of course, but scale it back to every third day, or every week, if you can. The path there may be gradual; just start with every other day and build a buffer over time. Here are six products that you might want to pick up along the way, which will help you control the oil production without obliterating it. It’s all smooth sailing from here.

Dry Shampoo Spray

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Dry Shampoo

On the days you don’t shampoo, when things are a little more oily than usual, you can spray your roots with dry shampoo. It soaks up the excess oil that has collected around the base of the shaft, and in turn volumizes your hair by allowing it to stand up instead of being weighed down by said oil. It also texturizes and defines the hair, for a breezy surfer-esque effect. Oribe’s dry shampoo gives you a healthy luster too (but nothing beyond a natural shine), whereas many other dry shampoos can make your hair look exactly that — dry.

Dry Shampoo Stylers

Hanz de Fuko Quicksand Styler and Redken Dry Shampoo Paste

Some hair products also come with oil-absorbing ingredients, which makes them similar to a dry shampoo spray. Some of them add grit, like Hanz de Fuko’s Quicksand, which contains pumice-like granules that soak up oil and produce a texturized, volumized look. It thickens the hair, too, and gives you density and strength, unlike anything you’ve felt. Redken’s paste, on the other hand, produces a smoother result, with pressed powder mixed into the styler. It gives you touchable, restylable hair for the entire day.

Oil-Control Conditioner

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Conditioner

Even if you scale back your shampooing, you need to maintain a daily conditioning regimen (or migrate towards one if you haven’t already). However, the conditioner you choose should be one that acknowledges this lessened shampoo regimen, and in turn, balances the oil production in your scalp. This will help “train” the scalp to produce less oil, though your body will gradually adjust to the infrequent shampooing and naturally produce less oil on the scalp to account for the fact that it’s being washed less. As for a good conditioner to invest in, Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day contains the brand’s proprietary formula that helps tone the scalp and ensure smooth, style-ready hair on the daily. (Their whole Perfect Hair Day assortment is a win, including the shampoo, which will now last you half a year or more.)

Hair Powder

Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion

Hair powder is another common form of dry shampoo, often containing an absorbing ingredient like kaolin clay. Sprinkle it into your roots and massage it in, and the product absorbs oil on contact, and often softens and smooths the hair in the process. Many of these products change form on contact, too, like Aveda’s “potion,” which starts as a powder and turns into a hair-thickening lotion once it warms in your hands. Just target those roots so it does its main job. You can even apply it in tandem with your usual cream or paste styler so that you can accomplish everything in one fell swoop.

Scalp Treatment and Oil

Briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment with Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil

If you shampoo less, you might worry about things like bacteria and dandruff. The truth is, conditioning and rinsing daily will manage most of your problems, since most stylers are water soluble and since conditioner hydrates and nourishes the scalp as much as it does the hair. However, you can’t avoid all obstacles. It’s a smart idea to add a tea tree treatment or charcoal-infused product to your regimen, for a couple reasons: Charcoal soaks up grime and dirt from deep within the skin (which is why it’s so effective as a face mask, too), and it allows each hair follicle to grow healthier and uninhibited. It, in turn, improves scalp health, too. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, is an antimicrobial essential oil that also reduces irritation. (Never apply pure tea tree oil to your skin, though, since it can be harsh when it is not properly mixed. Always buy a trusted formula.) Briogeo’s hair treatment contains both pro-scalp and pro-hair ingredients, and also includes biotin to promote hair growth, as well as witch hazel to further balance oil production.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The Best Beard Oils for Your Itchy, Scratchy, Dry Beard

In the past decade, the number of beard-care brands has skyrocketed. A simple search on Amazon or Google brings up hundreds, if not thousands of small-batch labels. While this is a good sign for bearded men and the people who love them, it’s also a little scary since many of these products aren’t properly tested, nor held to the same standards as the more-recognized brands.

That’s no jab at the little guy, but it is a red flag for the buyer of beard oils. You’ve got to be sharp, and know what to look for while shopping for a blend that suits your whiskers. Sure, you want to discern between heavier recipes that help style the beard, or lightweight ones that simply soften and add shine. But what about the ingredients in those oil blends? How have they been formulated to specifically address the various concerns you have as you grow out your beard? (Things like beard itch, dandruff, unruly strays, split ends, and so forth.)

To help educate us all, I spoke to Eric Bandholz, the founder of Beardbrand, one of my favorite beard-care brands (imagine, with a name like that). You might recognize Bandholz from his company’s YouTube tutorials, with their 1 million plus subscribers. His glorious red beard is instantly recognizable, and it’s practically the mascot for Beardbrand’s own excellent products. Here are Bandholz’s hot takes on a few of the most pressing beard-oil questions, followed by some important terminology, and the products that we at Gear Patrol love best.

The Expert

What exactly does a beard oil do?
“A quality beard oil will soften up your beard, moisturize your skin, protect against split ends, minimize beard dandruff, and (if you want it) help your beard smell amazing,” Bandholz says.

Why should guys use a beard oil on their facial hair, and not their everyday moisturizer?
“Beard oil is great because it’s designed not just for the beard, but also the skin beneath the beard,” he says. “A lot of creams and lotions are designed specifically for your face or skin but not also the beard.”

There are so many beard oil sellers online. If a guy finds a product but it’s not from a reputable brand, how does he know if it’s any good?
“The smaller the company, the more due diligence I’d recommend you do to research the product,” Bandholz advises. “Many DIY-type companies will be using essential oils, which a great, but if they use them in too high of concentration, it can be dangerous to your skin. Other concerns I’d have with smaller companies is their manufacturing process and their ability to keep bio-mass (raw ingredient particles) out of their products. Again, just do your due diligence and understand the ingredients they are using, as well as the percentages, and why. Don’t simply trust the reviews. There are many great smaller companies out there with wonderful products. Your best bet is to read reviews from multiple independent sources and find brands that seem to be listed over and over again.”

What about the big companies? How might their mass-produced offerings differ?
“On the other end of the spectrum, there are giant organizations that have developed safe products, but they were formulated to be produced as cheaply as possible,” Bandholz says. “These giant brands are using silicone-based products. (And not straight oil.) An ingredient that ends in “-cone” or “-xane” is normally an indicator that it’s a silicone product.” (Though these products do also contain oils; it’s just an important distinction to make that some brands are pure natural oil, and some are synthetic.)

What is your favorite ingredient in beard oil?
“My all-time favorite base is jojoba oil,” he says. “It’s the oil that is closest in properties to your body’s natural sebum production. That being said, a beard oil is the combination of several ingredients and it should be judged on the performance of the final product rather than marketing buzzwords.” (The simple inclusion of jojoba oil is not an implication of the product’s overall effectiveness.)

What’s the difference between lightweight oils and thicker ones?
“I love a lightweight, non-greasy beard oil that will give me all day softness and conditioning, whereas some people prefer the higher shine and heavier beard oils, because they help control the beard better.”

The Vocabulary

Beard Oils: Let’s start at the baseline. Beard oils are vitamin- and nutrient-rich blends of oils — essential, carrier, or both — that mimic the naturally nourishing sebum produced by the skin. When applied, they nourish and soften the beard, preventing breaking, splitting, itching, flaking and more.

Sebum: The oil-like secretions that our skin produces, which helps soften and nourish the hair on our heads and faces. However, sebum often does not make its way down the entire hair shaft, which leaves the hair brittle, rigid, and sharp. Oils cover the ground that sebums cannot. Furthermore, when we wash our face, we rid of excess sebum, and in turn need to replenish it by applying hydrating products, like moisturizers and oils.

Beard Conditioners: While not the focus of this article, beard conditioners work more as a periodic ultra-nourishing treatment to soften and tame hairs. Meanwhile, oils act more like a daily moisturizer for both the beard hairs and the parched skin underneath.

Essential Oils: Oils distilled directly from a plant source, and named accordingly. (e.g. Lavender oil is distilled from microdroplets of oil within lavender.) Some essential oils are harmful for your skin, especially in high doses. Typically, name-brand oils will have perfected their blends and will incorporate proper concentrations of essential oils. It’s best to avoid small-name “DIY” brands that haven’t given these sensitive concentrations any thought, just as it’s best to avoid making your own at-home blend without proper research.

Carrier Oils: These are added to many oil blends to help carry, or deliver, oils to the host site. They also dilute and balance the essential-oil recipe. Argan, jojoba, coconut and avocado are common examples of carrier oils, which are typically extracted from the seeds or nuts of the fruit or vegetable. They are sometimes used on their own as nourishing agents, too.

Silicone: We leave the preference to you, but many big-name beard oil producers also incorporate silicone ingredients into their blends, instead of only oil. Silicone still acts like a lubricant and softener, but it’s important for purists to note that they should watch for ingredients ending in “-xone” or “-cone.” Those are silicones, and while they’re used in tons of grooming and beauty products and have been deemed safe, they simply aren’t pure oil. These products are usually heavier, too, and work a little better as light stylers. (We do have a couple silicone-inclusive oil blends in the roster below, Old Spice and Jack Black, which we still love.)

Cold Pressed: You’ll sometimes read that oils have been “cold pressed,” which is a grinding method used to preserve the oil’s core benefits, like fatty acids, vitamins, carotenes and phenols.

Sillage: Though we won’t use the word much here, sillage refers to an oil’s scent, and how long it tends to linger after application. It’s also a common term for perfume oils used in scent making.

The Best Beard Oils

Beardbrand Old Money Beard Oil

There’s Beardbrand again, and for good reason: Their “Old Money” blend is light on weight, heavy on nourishment, and mid-range on shine. It’s got a broody scent — oak, pepper, amber –and blends jojoba, argan, sweet almond, and castor oils.

Baxter of California Beard Grooming Oil

With an avocado- and apricot-oil base, Baxter’s blend gives a healthy shine while it softens the skin and hair with squalane, as well as a botanical blend of fruits, soybeans and seeds.

Public Goods Argan Oil

Public Goods has a simple subscription model: Order from its lineup of standalone oils, and get wholesale prices as opposed to retail markups. The best bargain is this 2-ounce cold-pressed and vitamin E-rich argan oil, without any added ingredients. You can use it on just about everything, not just your beard. (Though it’ll give you solid down-the-middle marks on weight and shine.)

Detroit Grooming Downtown Beard Oil

With a sweet almond oil base, Detroit Grooming’s unscented Downtown blend is its best, though scent lovers should shop their excellent assortment nevertheless (particularly their much-loved Corktown blend, which carries a vanilla, tobacco, and cedarwood fragrance). All of their blends deliver a natural glow and wear light, while hydrating the skin with vitamins A, B and E.

Old Spice Beard Oil

The classic fresh-citrus Old Spice scent lingers in the brand’s new beard oil. It’s got an argan oil base, and uses silicone agents to give it a heavier hold. It’s great for the bulkier beards, as well as unruly ones. This one gives a slightly stronger shine than others, though it’s still nothing shy of natural.

Way of Will Black Spruce and Black Pepper Beard Oil

Grape seed and jojoba oils give Way of Will’s medium-weight blend its soothing and nourishing base. Black spruce and black pepper oils invigorate the skin and strengthen each hair, while bergamot oil calms any irritation in this vitamin-rich blend. It’s also got a woodsy scent that hovers just under your nostrils.

Jack Black MP10 Hair, Face and Beard Oil

A 10-oil blend anchored in argan (to hydrate), marula (to strengthen), and grape seed (to soothe), Jack Black’s oil is medium weight and shine. It has silicone agents to assist with its softening, slickening prowess, and along with Public Goods’ single-ingredient argan oil, it’s the best of the bunch to double as an all-over hydrator — especially in the hairs up top. I like to add two drops to my paste or fiber styler for a pinch of shine and softness.

The 6 Best Beard Trimmers

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An electric beard trimmer is a necessity for maintaining facial hair at home. The best ones are intuitive and offer a range of settings for hair trimming and precision touch-ups. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

7 Essential Products to Care for Your Beard

Beards don’t just sneak up and appear out of nowhere. They take their sweet time to grow, not accounting for the days spent pondering whether you wanted to stop shaving in the first place.

For this reason, you’ve got plenty of time to stock up on the beard-growing essentials, to arm yourself with the best conditioning, taming and styling products. These come as oils, balms, soaps, combs, brushes, trimmers and even shears. And the top-tier products will elevate your beard from rookie status to Best in Show. It’ll be free of itching, flaking, splitting, breaking and tangling. Like a well-trained pet, it’ll sit and stay exactly as you tell it to. It won’t scratch your significant other, nor will it mushroom from dehydration. You’ll have infinite styles to try but can also maintain your preferred one with aplomb.

So here they are. Seven beard products you need, and the best in each field.

Beard Oil: Baxter of California Beard Oil

Left untended, beards become dry, itchy, flaky and unruly. Just like you need moisturizer on your face and conditioner in your hair, a beard oil softens and strengthens your face fuzz. Squalane and avocado oil are the hero ingredients in this beard blend. The former is an ultra moisturizer that improves shine and elasticity in the hair. Furthermore, it’s a Grade-A anti-aging agent for the skin beneath your beard, too. Avocado oil fortifies the hair by quickly penetrating each shaft (words I never thought I’d write), making your whiskers stronger and less likely to split or snap. Vitamin E plays a supporting role, adding more moisture to prevent beard itch and dandruff.

Beard Balm: Brothers Artisan Oil Tanner Balm

For big beards and humble beards alike, balm is essential for taming flyaways and keeping your actual beard style in check. It’s amazing what a single pass of balm can do to help you “clean up nice.” And Brothers Artisan Oil’s balm doubles as a hair styler, too. They use the same nourishing ingredients here as they do in their signature beard oils — argan, jojoba, grapeseed, hemp, avocado and sunflower, among others — with the anchoring blend of shea butter, beeswax and cocoa butter. All in all, this styler nourishes hair and skin while keeping your beard in check.

Beard Wash: Mr. Natty Face Forest Soap

You want a beard wash that is as nourishing as it is cleansing. Mr. Natty’s beard soap is so effective that it doubles as a face cleanser. It uses olive oil to extract the excess sebum and grime from your skin and beard. Along with shea butter, it keeps everything hydrated, never compromising moisture levels while it cleans. Peppermint adds a fresh feel and scent, while rosemary’s antimicrobial powers keep the skin balanced, helping to prevent breakouts.

Facial Hair Scissors: Premax Ring Lock Mustache Scissors

If you’re going to hold anything sharp up to your face, don’t gamble on the cheap stuff. The quality shears — like these stainless steelers from Premax — will stay in shape longer. In this case, it’s the central ring lock that prevents the ends from separating. (You know how scissors do that, and then are essentially useless?) They stay sharp, and they stay together so that you can go in for that spot-check detailing around the cheek, and under the ‘stache.

Beard Brush: Beardbrand Boar’s Hair Beard Brush

The act of beard brushing is a soothing and rewarding one, and its benefits are magnified with boar bristles. Beardbrand’s wooden boar-bristle brush helps distribute the sebum from your skin and the base of the hair shaft, all the way through each beard strand. Doing this before bed ensures that your beard and skin stay healthy and nourished — no beard breakage, no suffocated hair follicles. It’s great to brush it out before styling, too, if you’ve got a big bushy beard — better yet, after applying beard oil — and then to graduate to a comb when you finish and finesse the look.

Beard Comb: Tom Ford Beard Comb

Like a beard brush, facial hair combs help to distribute oils and conditioning agents, and they keep stray hairs in check. (Often times you may need to snip these pesky strays, or spot-check them with a balm.) Tom Ford’s tortoise-shell beard comb is a nice stray from the barbershop staples that look like everyday pocket combs. This tool is your new pride and joy — it’s your styling wand, your beard detangler, your product distributor… and it looks so gosh-darn cute.

Beard Trimmer: Wahl Lithium Ion Vacuum Trimmer

We live in customizable times, and just as you can add avocado to your burrito bowl and monograms to your oxfords, you can also control so much about your beard-trimming regimen. Wahl’s vacuum trimmer allows you to adjust the intensity of suction (crank it up to minimize the mess in your drain), and comes with eight interchangeable guide combs, a 6-toggle adjustable head, and even a nose and ear trimming head so that you can keep those strays in order, too. It holds a 90-minute charge and has an LED monitor that lets you know how much remains. You may think that beard trimming should be kept simple, but this device opens up all sorts of possibilities for styling, shaping and even clean up (as if that isn’t the biggest benefit of them all).

The 6 Best Beard Trimmers

>

An electric beard trimmer is a necessity for maintaining facial hair at home. The best ones are intuitive and offer a range of settings for hair trimming and precision touch-ups. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.