Out with the Old Spice: How to avoid creepy chems in men’s gear

November 16, 2012

Some guys could probably survive on a bar of Irish Spring alone. In truth the average man uses six personal care products a day (think shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant, aftershave), which ads up to a whopping 80 chems every morning. That number spikes for the growing posse of styly metrosexuals, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy disciples and grooming-conscious gents using men’s facial scrubs, anti-aging creams and beyond. That’s the topic of this week’s Ecoholic column in NOW Magazine, triggered by a new report from Environmental Defence entitled The Manscape: The Dirt On Toxic Ingredients in Men’s Bodycare Products.  I get into the nitty gritty around carcinogen and hormone disruptor-laced brands but didn’t get a chance to dig into more natural alternatives. Thought I’d share a few with you right here, right now.

  • Skip the shaving cream altogether and grab yourself a bottle of oil from your kitchen. Be it olive, grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, coconut, just rub a few drops on your damp face after showering and shave away. Super cheap and totally edible. (Coconut oil, by the way, is solid below 24 degrees so massage a dab in your palm to melt it). Still want shaving cream? Try Weleda’s.
  • Face feeling a little dry come winter? Dab a drop or two of any quality oil listed above on your face (and/or body) after your shower. My man’s actually hijacked my sample of Pure + Simple’s Sensitive Pitta Face Oil with anti-inflammatory neem oil (it’s also my pal Scott’s fave). Again, since you only use a drop at a time, these are surprisingly economical, and they’ll make your skin irresistibly touchable rather than a flakey mess.
  • Are you a Head and Shoulders man? Skip the chem-laced soup (which also happens to be toxic to aquatic life) and bypass shampoos with scalp-irritating sulfates. Lather up with a natural, herb-rich shampoo like Botanical Therapeutic shampoo or Ferlow Botanicals Neem Shampoo. Actually, you can buy any natural shampoo like, say, Green Beaver’s and add a few drops of neem oil (from the health store) to a to your morning lather. For tougher cases, put 1 teaspoon straight neem oil combined with a teaspoon of olive oil on your scalp and let sit before washing. Rinsing hair with 1 part apple cider vinegar 1 part warm water helps too.
  • Want to know which deodorants work? I’ll be writing up a bunch of new deodorant reviews on soon…in the meantime, my two male testers both love Penny Lane deodorant (I agree, it rocks!).
  • Looking for more natural storebought men’s personal care products? Check out Aubrey’s Men’s Stock products. Herbal Cowboy also has some “manly” scented vegan, phthalate-free products. Both are available at health stores. For more unisex product recommendations, pick up a copy of Ecoholic Body! I rate dozens of shampoos, toothpastes, you name it and offer up recipes too.
  • Sign these petitions! Tell Canada to take the toxins out of bodycare here. And tell Canada to, at the very least, warn us about existing carcinogens in bodycare here.