We've taken 'borrowing from the boys' to the next level, from clothes to grooming!
Whether or not there is a real difference between men and women’s products is an ongoing debate. Some say the added oiliness, thickness and hairiness of men’s skin means that products are made differently. The sceptics say that the only distinction is marketing.
Well I took one for the team and put men’s products to the test.
Many male-marketed products are less expensive than women’s but are composed of the same key ingredients, including glycolic acid, caffeine, hydrolysed rice extract and AHA (alpha hydroxy acid).
I tipped out my wash bag and refilled it with men’s shampoo, creams, scrubs and moisturiser to give you the low-down on the real difference between men and women’s beauty products, and which products I’ll be keeping and ditching,
Mont Blanc Legend Spirit
To be fully immersed in the world of men’s cosmetics, I not only tried the skin and haircare but also tried this cologne…
Cosmax National Fragrance Training Manager Dmitri Weber spoke about fragrance and desribed Legend Spirit, “Before the industrial revolution and long before marketing was born all fragrances were unisex and bespoke.
Legend Spirit is a fresh woody fragrance with no flowers and many women like this because it gives power and brings an original trail! It’s more daring to wear this as a woman!”
Verdict: Love it! It was refreshing to wear a fragrance that had no sweet or floral tones. This fragrance is a delicious citrusy-woody blend and is not overpowering, like some male-marketed fragrances are.
I would absolutely wear again and recommend to women who prefer scents that aren’t so delicate and stereotypically female.
There is no difference between male or female cologne apart from the scent, so ignore the packaging, follow your nose and go wear whatever you like!
Rituals: Samurai Foaming Showergel Sensation, Organic Bamboo & Cedar Wood
This squeezes out of the tube as a gel and lathers into a silky foam. Believe me, the transformation is truly magical! It feels so soft on your skin, giving you the freshest feeling!
It’s almost criminal to keep this hidden under the veil of masculine packaging, ladies go get your hands on this!
Verdict: I recommend this to everyone and will be stocking up on a lifetime supply…
Acca Kappa Beard Shampoo & Conditioner: For Healthy Bright Strong Beard
I was particularly excited to give this a go, since the texture of beard hair is quite obviously different to head hair (thicker and flatter), to see if the texture of the product is accordingly different and I found that it was!
The shampoo didn’t lather up as normal, however my hair felt clean and smooth after, and the conditioner was pretty good too, leaving my hair looking healthy.
Verdict: I’ll leave the beard shampoo behind because I prefer the texture of my normal shampoo and I’ll give the conditioner a miss also because I didn’t find it any more effective than what I currently use.
Although I won’t be using this personally I would recommend that beard-wearers give it a go, or anyone that knows a beard-wearer, point them this way! It may be the perfect product for them!
Also, since the skin underneath a beard is more sensitive than skin on your head, this is definitely worth a try for those with a sensitive scalp.
Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash For Men
Cool gel texture with apricot seed exfoliating beads.
Verdict: This cleanser is a keeper! The exfoliating beads work wonders – not too coarse – leaving my face feeling soft and fresh. I also found it very effective at controlling the oiliness of my face.
Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator 24 Hour Anti-Shine Moisturiser for Men
This moisturiser was effective and absorbed into the skin well, however I didn’t particularly notice the ‘anti-shine’ quality.
Verdict: I’ll stick to my own.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting Anti-Ageing Moisturiser
This was great! The texture was just right, often moisturisers that come in tubs can be too buttery, but not this one! My skin felt supple and hydrated.
However I wouldn’t recommend this for people with oily skin, since it does give quite a luminous appearance (possibly thanks to dimethicone, a silicon-based polymer that creates a protective cover on the skin, locking moisture in).
Brummell Shave Creme
The texture was silky, the razor glided smoothly and it had a fantastic minty scent, leaving a smooth and fresh feeling!
Verdict: Since I use shaving cream on large body parts (legs), I didn’t find much difference from product to product, so the differentiating factor for me is the price, and since it’s not cheaper than my usual, I’ll leave this behind.
However for men, since their faces are more delicate areas, they are likely to perceive a greater difference, so would recommend they give it a try!
Rituals: Samurai Magic Shave, Basil & Ginseng
This has a firmer, more creamy texture and it’s slightly scented too, so if you prefer delicate feminine scents, this may not appeal to you, but I liked it!
Verdict: I won’t be stocking up on this for the same reason as above, but again, love the product (and the packaging!).
Rituals: Facial Scrub and Wash, Wakame & Bamboo
The exfoliating particles are extremely coarse (men’s skin is thicker than a woman’s, which would explain this), and it was heavily man-scented!
Verdict: Unfortunately this one won’t make it into my wash bag, it was too rough on my face and I found the smell a little overpowering.
Head & Shoulders Men Hair Retain Shampoo
This shampoo is designed to prevent hair loss from breakage due to dandruff, I don’t actually have this problem, so cannot respond on this aspect of the shampoo.
I found that it left my hair less glossy than normal, possibly because men tend to wash their hair more frequently, so the formula is adapted with less oils.
In which case, women with particularly oily hair, a men’s shampoo might be your calling!
Verdict: Not for me!
To wrap up, ‘men’s products’ are not just for men! In fact opting for men’s products can be a great idea, they’re often less expensive and can be more intensive, giving a more thorough clean and deeper moisturise.
It seems that with some products, there is a bigger difference than just the packaging and they could be the perfect product for you.
I’d also recommend trying men’s products just for the hell of it, besides the great discoveries, it’s been a lot of fun, a source of great office chat and a prime conversation starter.