Six not-so-natural skincare products men use daily—and what to use instead

Whether they think they do or not, men use an average of six personal care products every day, and they're usually far from natural. Here are some alternatives.

shaving manBy Alexandra Spunt for

Gentlemen, listen up. Whether you think you do or not, most of you use an average of six personal care products a day, which sounds like a lot until you get out your fingers and count: Deodorant, shampoo, cologne, and shaving cream all count—and so does the moisturizer you steal from your girlfriend.

With each of these products containing anywhere from 10 to 40 unique ingredients, it’s worth your while to think about what it is you’re actually using every day, and whether those products are even doing your looks any favors—especially when some of it is so toxic it’s getting fines for air pollution in the state of California.

When, in February 2010, Axe Body Spray’s parent company was fined $1.3 million for air pollution, it sounded like an Onion-esque joke. Except that it wasn’t, because in California, progressive environmental laws limit the amount of certain chemicals used in consumer products. According to the California Air Resources Board, the fragrance was in violation of the volatile organic compound limits for aerosol deodorant.

So here’s a primer on the stuff in your everyday products, plus what brands and products to buy instead. If you don’t want to do it for the planet, or yourself, do it for your sperm.

Cologne: Most conventional colognes (and “body sprays”) contain a host of synthetic chemicals that can affect your little swimmers. Phthalate metabolites in male urine was shown in several studies to be linked to sperm DNA damage, a lower sperm count, and less mobile sperm. Unfortunately for all of us, synthetic fragrance is used in just about every conventional product on the shelves of pharmacies and Sephoras, so weeding it out can be a bit of a bear. That said, naturals have gotten really sophisticated, and there are countless lines that are either synthetics-free or at least phthalate- and petrochemical free. Diptyque, a high-end candle and fragrance line, makes gorgeous scents for men (and women) that are paraben-, petrochemical-, and phthalate-free. Intelligent Nutrients, Tsi-La, and Honoré des Près also make amazing woodsy fragrances for guys.

Deodorant and Antiperspirant: Most antiperspirants and deodorant contain some if not all of the following: triclosan, aluminum salts, BHT, penetration enhancers, and artificial fragrance. Many of these are problematic from an environmental perspective, and none of them are good for your health. And yet deodorant is a must for modern living, so try a natural one from Soapwalla, a small Brooklyn company that sells on Etsy, which makes a unisex deodorant cream that works like a charm. For store-bought, look for Tom’s of Maine long-lasting deodorant, which is relatively clean and can be found at most drugstore chains.

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