It used to be that when a guy wanted to groom himself, all he had to think about was which bar of soap was the easiest to get (usually the cheapest).
But men are wising up to the ways of healthier skin care, and those days of simplicity (and ignorance) are long gone. Now, with everything from beard oil to eye cream, guys across the country know that their skin is a vital organ that needs to be nurtured, and that it takes time and effort to keep it healthy and handsome.
The big brands have noticed too, but judging by the lineup at the recent Liberty Fair in New York City, there are a lot of smaller brands producing grooming products that aren't only affordable, but leave your hair, beard, face and body healthier than ever.
With more options come more decisions, so we're here to help: The following men's grooming products have earned the HuffPost approval for giving great results while being healthy and made with good quality.
They're masculine and fragrant -- but more importantly, an investment in your health. We can't recommend them highly enough.
Balsem By Frank & Oak
Courtesy Frank And Oak
Montreal-based men's lifestyle brand Frank & Oak's newly launched line of grooming products
covers your basics: face moisturizers, cleansers and shaving cream; deodorant, shampoo and pomade -- all inspired by the crisp, wild Canadian forests, ingredients such as birch sap and willowherb make sure it smells like the woods while keeping things as non-greasy as you'd ever want. They're affordable too, just a few bucks more expensive than the stuff at Walgreens: "We created this range of toiletries to act as a refreshing upgrade from drugstore dullness
," they write.
Courtesy Blind Barber
The aesthetic at NYC-based Blind Barber has been so successful that the brand expanded from its barber/cafe/lounge concept to a full-fledged grooming line that includes man-centric products such as 90-Proof Hair Pomade
(made with protein-rich hops) and Wintermint Gin Facial Cleanser
(made with gin's best ingredient: juniper), as well as shaving necessities, obviously.The brand also offers a "regimen
" subscription service so that you'll never run out of your favorite goop.
Courtesy Ernest Supplies
Ernest Supplies' products are so all-natural
that they have to be preserved in special packaging, lest UV light and oxygen ruin them -- it was the first brand to use military- and food service-inspired spouted pouches for its grooming products in the United States.It's a great place to start for a full range of basics: matte moisturizer, soap-free gel face wash, cooling shave cream and lip balm, tooth brush and shave set.
Courtesy Imaginary Authors
Each of the fragrances in this line by Portland (Oregon) perfumer Josh Meyer, called Imaginary Authors, is meant to evoke a novel that has never been written. Each fragrance is titled with a novelistic name -- "Falling Into The Sea," "The Cobra And The Canary," "Every Storm A Serenade" -- and "follows a compelling storyline peppered with intriguing twists. These are scents to curl up with, to share with friends, to take with you wherever you go, and to return to again and again for a uniquely transcendent experience."Gimmicky? Perhaps, but when we sprayed "Falling Into The Sea
" at the office, people couldn't stop talking about how great it smelled.
Closed On Monday
Courtesy Closed on Monday
Another constant in our medicine cabinet is Closed On Monday's line of pastes. It's brief -- only six products so far -- but covers everything you need for a healthy head.Its matte moisturizer
smells great and is packed with 190 exotic-sounding ingredients such Japanese sea-buckthorn extract, which hydrates your skin without making it all shiny and oily.
Baxter Of California
Courtesy Baxter of California
Baxter Of California
is a continuous favorite of ours for its affordable, quality shaving products -- especially its after shave balm
, which is made with aloe and glycerine to sooth and smooth out any razor burn. Add their auto replenishment program and we never have to think about ordering more.