Having trouble keeping up with our increasingly organic, eco-friendly world? Let me be your guide! From all-natural makeup to the best in eco-conscious jeans, I will test and review the products and treatments that are best for you and the planet.
In our increasingly metrosexual world, today’s guys are armed with (OK, almost) as much grooming gear as women. Between shampoo and conditioner, body wash and soap, shaving cream, mouthwash, hair gels (and pastes and waxes) and aftershave, the bathroom cabinet of the average man is starting to look like a miniature drugstore.
Whether you’re a guy who goes all the way — with eye cream, facial toner, lip balm and more — or a toothpaste-shampoo-bar-of-soap minimalist, now is the time to make the transition from conventional personal care products to organic and all natural.
There are multiple benefits to going the natural route. The first and most important is health and safety. Sure, when you trade your usual antiperspirant for a natural alternative, your sweat will no longer be masked by a cloud of Ocean Breeze/Super Sport/Icy Fresh fragrance, but you will also no longer be placing potentially harmful chemicals on your skin each day.
According to experts like the folks at the Cosmetics Database, many conventional antiperspirants contain dangerous ingredients like aluminum, propylene glycol and synthetic fragrance, which have been linked to allergies, irritation of the skin, eyes or lungs and organ system toxicity. Take a quick glance at the label of any product in your grooming repertoire and you’ll most definitely come across a handful of unrecognizable multisyllabic ingredients that have been found to contain some level of toxicity. This is not good.
The second reason to ditch the usual products that live in your shower — or on your sink — is that natural alternatives work. After finding lots of organic products that were effective for me, I wondered if a plant-based deodorant or body wash could compete with the synthetic scent of summer rain or Irish springs that had been keeping my husband sweet-smelling (“Guys sweat differently,” he reminded me). I discovered that the right combination of essential oils is actually better at battling the perspiration of a guy (I gathered my data after sending my man to the gym for several rounds of kickboxing) by reacting with body odor instead of merely masking it with artificial fragrances.
And the final reason to groom the natural way is the biggest reason of all: the earth. When you use products that are made from naturally derived ingredients you are considering the well-being of the planet by ensuring that only safe materials go down your drain — and back into the ground and water supply.
As you go hunting for natural products for yourself or the guy in your life, start in the health and beauty aisle of your local health food store. Keep in mind that many organic grooming items are inherently unisex. The absence of perfumes and artificial colors often leads to products with a fresh and clean fragrance that works equally well for him and for her. To keep things more masculine, stay away from products scented with flowery essential oils like rose and geranium and look for those enhanced with sage, pine, peppermint, sandalwood and tea tree. If you feel more comfortable with products specifically designed for men, several natural personal care companies have developed lines just for dudes.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Aubrey Organics’ Men’s Stock offers guys three lines of products — skin care, shave systems and hair care — each bottled in macho black packaging and featuring organic ingredients and masculine scents like pine, patchouli and cedar. Aubrey’s Herbal Pine Deodorant has received my husband’s approval while passing my scent test.
- Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Care for Men is also packaged in black (do dark colors make guys feel more comfortable?). Men who choose Burt’s can take care of their shaving, washing, moisturizing, and yes, cologne needs. Haunted by junior high memories of boys drenched in buckets of Drakkar Noir, I’m thrilled to see that Burt’s Bees cologne is made from clean, fresh essential oils like lemon, orange, bergamot and fir. Now that’s the natural way to charm the ladies.
- Though they have yet to create a line of soap specifically for men, Elemental Soapworks Herbal Shave Bar has received rave reviews from my husband, who uses it for quick shaves in the shower and longer, more detail-oriented shaves at the sink. He praises its thick lather and tingly clean scent (coconut oil is the primary ingredient and essential oils of clary sage, organic basil and lime create the fragrance).
Marisa Belger is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering health and wellness. She was a founding editor of Lime.com, a multiplatform media company specializing in health, wellness and sustainable living. Marisa also collaborated with Josh Dorfman on “The Lazy Environmentalist” (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang), a comprehensive guide to easy, stylish green living.
Please note: Neither Marisa Belger nor TODAYshow.com have been compensated by the manufacturers or their representatives for her comments or selection of products reviewed in this column.