I’ve been covering all manor of male grooming topics on FashionBeans for a while now, with articles encompassing everything from the perfect shave to men’s make-up and dodgy fake tan. So as we draw breath between the late summer sunshine and the mad Christmas rush, I wanted to take stock and talk top performing men’s grooming products.
When I write articles, I often deal with specific topics trying to showcase some recommended products as I go, but I don’t often compile a list of my tried and tested favourites. Not an ‘I’ve been sent a nice little press release with all these products in it’ kind of list. A list of stuff I’ve actually used that stands out in an ever-crowded market.
As I sat down at my laptop, I was planning to do a Top 5, but quickly realised this wasn’t leaving me with enough spaces. So I decided on a Top 10, before realising that I had to set a couple of ground rules to prevent my Top 10 becoming a Top 100. Firstly, each product I’ve chosen comes from a different ‘category’, meaning that you won’t find 5 face washes and 4 moisturisers in my list or a product from the same brand – this is an eclectic mix of grooming essentials.
I also wanted my list to reflect what’s ‘affordable’ – yes a potentially difficult task – but I’ve tried to select products that reflect value for money and don’t come from an imaginary infinite budget. And lastly, I wanted to choose products that anyone could use; whatever their hair type, skin condition and styling preferences.
I realise that a few of the products I’ve selected below may still appear in your ‘expensive’ bracket, but this is one choice that is most definitely not going to break the bank. Men, women and children all over the country depend on this skincare saviour, and most of you probably won’t need me to sell it to you. Vaseline is a product favourite in the same way that the X-Factor is a Saturday night TV favourite – you might not admit to liking it, but as much as you try and avoid it there isn’t really anything better!
When you only have 10 choices it may seem a little strange that I’m picking a gradual tanner for the face, but not if you’ve ever tried this No7 For Men product. Don’t worry, you won’t end up looking like a member of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ crew, you will just have a sun-kissed glow without the risk of sun damage, doesn’t in any way look fake, and moisturised skin that looks refreshed and feels touchably soft.
I’ve probably written more about the King Of Shaves Azor 5 than any other product, ever. But that’s because it ticks so many of the right boxes when it comes to a shaving tool. It’s backed by leading technology, it delivers an incredible shave and most importantly it does so at roughly a third of the cost of all its major competitors (yes, we’re looking at you Gillette and Wilkinson Sword). They don’t call it ‘The King Of Shaves’ for nothing you know.
I realise that moving from a razor to a concealer isn’t necessarily the most masculine of transitions; let’s just say Ray Winston wouldn’t be patting me on the back when it comes to this choice. But I too was a men’s ‘make-up’ sceptic before trying this product, then I realised that I could cover up pretty much anything on my face that looked unsightly (spots, dark circles and imperfections no less). No wonder women care so much for this make-up lark.
While razor burn itself is something that can be largely eliminated with an improved shaving method, I still find that there’s nothing better to brighten your skin in the morning than a close shave followed by a cooling, refreshing aftershave product. I think for every man (when done properly) a shave is like our own little morning spa experience that sets us up nicely for the day. With its ability to eradicate any signs of post shave redness, ingrown hairs and fight razor burn, Murad Man Razor Burn Rescue is just what the doctor ordered.
I love the Bluebeards Revenge Luxury Shaving Cream because of its ‘no frills’, masculine approach to shaving. It does what it says on the tin, fighting the fight against tough stubble to make your shave as smooth as possible. But unlike other super-manly shaving products that might also give a smooth shave, this one uses a top secret ingredient (OK, Decelerine) to actually slow down hair growth. Yes, you read right – slow down hair growth. If nothing else that means less time in the bathroom in the morning and an extra 15 minutes kip – which is all good by me!
Finding a decent moisturiser that suits my skin is a difficult task, and I do have a few favourites, but this L’Oréal Men Expert number stands out for a number of reasons. Well, 5 actually. The fact that it fights skin that feels (you’ve all probably seen the advert but humour me none the less) dry, tight, dull, rough and less firm. All that marketing bumpf aside, this product is great for my skin, and if you’re in the market for a new moisturiser I suspect it would be for yours too.
Choosing a hair product for this list – whether it was a shampoo, conditioner or styling product – was amazingly difficult. Not just because there are so many great products out there (UK based brand Hairbond narrowly missed out on this spot) but because of different individual hair needs and styles. That’s why I chose American Crew Fiber.
It’s the styling product that’s so popular “one is sold every 30 seconds”. It’s also the styling product that I’ve used on my mid length curly hair to great effect and it’s the styling product that a lot of guys I know with short, straight styles use on their hair with fantastic results. Sometimes when something is so popular it’s because of a passing trend or lack of competition, but in the case of American Crew Fiber it’s because it’s so versatile, and so damn good.
The morning shower is a daily ritual for (hopefully) all men, and this product will literally revitalise your whole body each and every day. If you want that early morning wake up call, with the added bonus of smelling amazing after, then look no further than the Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash.
I had always walked passed the Molton Brown shop, poked my head in and thought ‘Yeah, it looks all right but it’s pretty expensive and it’s just shower gel at the end of the day’. No it’s not. It’s Molten Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash and it’s bloody amazing.
When we’re talking high performance products and value for money, there’s really no other place to finish than with the Men-u Healthy Facial Wash. It was one of the first products I tried when I moved from high-street products to a more ‘premium’ selection, but it has remained (like all first loves) a firm favourite ever since. Offering up to 265 washes from a 100ml bottle, the key ingredient tea tree oil acts a great antiseptic in the fight against bacteria that causes spots, but this also means that it smells amazing and acts as a great morning pick me up.
The first thing I thought when I sat back and admired my list was how have I not included any Kyoku For Men or Lab Series products? And there’s no place for a shampoo, or a face scrub!?
I then realised that I may have tried more products than any other man in the world, ever. But this is why I wanted to open the debate up to the masses. So if you’ve got any first impressions or thoughts after looking at my selections, or want to add a few choices of your own then please check out the ‘Favourite Men’s Grooming Products’ thread on the FashionBeans Forum.
Until next time,
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