The best way? Set them up with brands that cater to them with neutral packaging and subdued scents that don’t reek of roses and lavender. We enlisted the men in our lives to help us choose the most effective natural products that fit that criteria. Some are unisex (so you can share) and some cater to his specific needs, i.e., non-toxic after-shave.
The 9 best natural skin-care brands for men
This Australian, Kiehl’s competitor has been a go-to line for guys for a long time, because of its no-frills, apothecary packaging. The Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser ($51) is a great mild face wash that comes in a tube he can toss in a gym bag, and if wants his own eye cream or anti-aging moisturizer (instead of poaching yours), Aesop makes those, too. Note: While the brand uses lots of plant-based ingredients and leaves out some gross chemicals like parabens, they’re not all natural.
This one is an inexpensive, first-step no-brainer. Dump his Axe Body Wash and have him soap up with the liquid or bar version of the certified-organic Magic Pure Castile Soaps ($27 for six), in almond, peppermint, or citrus. The strange, hippie ramblings written on the label in tiny print make for great shower entertainment.
Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda (who sold that company to Estee Lauder in 1997), made this farm-to-face line virtually edible, and in many ways his products have more in common with the supplements aisle or a salad dressing (think coconut and pumpkin seed oils) than Sephora. Almost all of them are based on an antioxidant blend of fruit and plants, so they’re not a bit flowery in scent. And the skin care and hair care are especially high performance. So you might be able to swap out your guy’s (hideous) drugstore hair product for Intelligent Nutrients’s amazing Styling Pomade ($40).
This classic organic hair and skin-care brand always had unisexy packaging and masculine appeal. But its recently released just-for-men line, made with eucalyptus and agave, brilliantly appeals to guys by offering 2-in-1 solutions. The Face Cleanser ($28) doubles as a shave foam and the Moisturizer ($38) is also an aftershave. Talk about streamlined skin care.
Joshua Onysko, the Boulder-based founder of Pangea Organics, is passionate about formulating non-toxic products in the way some guys are about a fantasy football team. The soaps won’t dry out skin, the moisturizers aren’t cloying, and the toners are great skin-calmers post-shaving or workout. And while the products are really simple, the herbal blends make them interesting, like the Lavender and Cardamom Body Wash ($15). They’re also affordable, and you can pick them up at Whole Foods.
6. Prada Lab
This indie brand imitates Aesop in its glass-bottle, unisex apothecary feel, but unlike the bigger brand, it’s totally natural. The “volcanic ash,” a type of clay, used in the Volcanic Ash Facial Cleanser ($29.99) makes it sound bad-ass, and the Macadamia Hand, Body, and Scalp Scrub ($24.99) is great for sloughing off rough skin. And if he gets a little in his mouth, it may taste like dessert—other ingredients include dates, honey, and white tea.
Ren is a much cleaner Malin+Goetz, the brand you’re probably used to seeing at your fitness studio. In fact, “ren” means clean in Swedish (although the brand is based in London). It’s become super mainstream, like Pangea, though it’s higher end (and not quite as pure). REN makes a great anti-aging line—including a handful of products that deal with adult breakouts like this T-Zone Balancing Fluid ($70)—and its exfoliating masks are the bomb. The scents are light across the board, and largely herbal and citrus. So it’s perfect for a guy who’s worried about getting older.
This charitable brand has a military aesthetic, and it sends care packages to troops overseas. The Combat-Ready Balm ($27), made with beeswax and nourishing oils like apricot kernel and coconut, is a great go-to skin soother after shaving, according to our tester, who says he keeps red bumps at bay with it. In addition to calming irritation, it’s also moisturizing. No more tight, dry face on the way out the door.
Weleda’s found in every European pharmacy, where it’s synonymous with good health. And the brand grows many of its ingredients—from witch hazel to jojoba—in its own biodynamic gardens. Its no-fuss packaging scored super high in the aesthetics department, and our tester loved the Moisture Cream for Men ($16) because of its lightweight texture. “I hate when I use face moisturizer and you can tell I just put it on,” he said. No shiny face here, and hardly any scent, either.
Want to make over your own beauty routine and go all-natural but don’t know where to start? Here are seven tips on making the switch. Plus, the one beauty product every woman should keep at her desk.
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