If your medicine cabinet is starting to look less like a laboratory from a futuristic science fiction movie and more like an alchemist’s bench from a horror flick, you’re not alone.
Botanicals and natural ingredients are crowding the men’s grooming market as more and more of us look for earth-friendly, natural solutions that keep us looking our best, all while utilizing environmentally aware packaging to boot.
To celebrate that transition from wasteful to woke on Earth Day, here are a few of our picks of products that use Mother Nature-approved formulations that offer effective results.
Trust us on this one: Serums are the next big in men’s grooming. We got used to the idea of using these fragrant, moisturizing oils on our beards, so applying them directly to our skin was an obvious next step. Aba Love Apothecary founder Aba Gyepi-Garbrah is a trained aromatherapist and has applied her love of plant medicine to this product that calms with vetiver (a grass with a citrusy scent) and lavender, while energizing with balsam fir and ylang ylang (said to promote relaxation, kill bacteria, lower high blood pressure … and increase sexual desire). Yes, you just slipped into the boho zone, but it all smells so good, you won’t mind a bit. As Aba says, “Expect to be nuzzled a little longer than usual.” Use it as a serum, beard oil, or as a pre-shave/aftershave to soothe and moisturize.
Sometimes botanicals pop up in unexpected places. Art of Sport founder and CEO Mathias Metternich saw that brands like Nike and Gatorade were really serving pro and amateur athletes, but nobody was directly addressing what those jocks put on their skin. Partnering with superstar Kobe Bryant, Metternich put together a collection of products that include rich botanicals, yet the packaging and ethos of the brand is very sport focused. One example? Incorporating arrowroot into the deodorant for its temperature regulation and moisture wicking properties. The sunscreen, as requested by partner athlete surfer Sage Erickson, is designed to not hurt coral reefs. With two main fragrance profiles—Rise and Compete—the brand offers deodorants and antiperspirants, body washes and bar soaps, as well as sunscreen, recovery cream, and even an eye black stick (the stuff football players smear under their eyes to cut down on reflection).
Ursa Major offers a low-maintenance, high-impact skincare program perfect for people on a schedule. The brand’s plant-based formulations focus on active ingredients without using petrochemicals, parabens, synthetic fragrance or color, glycols, silicones or lots of other things described with initials that you probably don’t really want on your body. Forest Fix is the latest addition to the collection, with a fresh, mountain pine scent.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not trying to say you smell, but, but deodorants do seem to be one of those grooming areas that’s getting a ton of attention from the eco-friendly market. That’s great because it wasn’t that long ago that the “earthy” way to go was to not use deodorant at all, and though that might work when hiking the Adirondack Trail, it’s probably not so great for an office job. Corpus Naturals deodorant is all-natural and plant-based, yet each version has varying notes that come forward as it’s worn throughout the day, just like a fine cologne. It’s also all made in the USA using renewable hydroelectric and solar energy.
Yeah, yeah. We know you’re “recycling” those plastic toothbrushes by stashing them under the kitchen sink for the odd scrubbing job. But if you’re replacing your brush every two to three months, you’ll end up with quite a supply. Grab a box of these bamboo brushes, and know that they are biodegradable, sustainable, and they look pretty impressive on your bathroom sink.
If you’re lying awake nights worried about our environment (you should be), this may be just the product for you. On the other hand, even if you’re not, you’re not getting any younger. Brickell incorporates powerful natural ingredients to help your face’s muscles to contract, tightening the skin. It also incorporates a nutrient found in superfoods like spinach and kale, which reduces age spots and helps clear up skin pigmentation issues. Hyaluronic acid makes for an ultimate moisturizer, minimizing lines wrinkles. Wash your face, and massage the cream in before bedtime.
OK, so you know to apply moisturizer while skin is still “dewey” after a shave or the shower. How about having that refreshing feeling on-the-go? Modicum’s spritz notably helps replenish skin cells with its mixture of birch water and hyaluronic acid. It also promotes production of collagen and elastin to keep skin looking young and fresh. Red algae functions as an antioxidant, protecting against UV, blue light, and pollution in general. Spritz it on clean skin before applying a serum or moisturizer, but carry it around during the day, especially as temperatures are warming up, for a refreshing boost any time. (It’s also great for long flights, too, with their drying, recycled cabin atmospheres.)
Canada’s Wise brand takes the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra to a practical level with its collection of hair and cleansing products. The company only uses natural, healthy and cruelty-free ingredients … in fact, the only thing preventing the brand’s vegan certification is that it uses beeswax for its moisturizing and protective properties. Packaging much of its wares in “pouches” that are minimal, lightweight, and recyclable, Wise offers reusable glass bottles for travel or just to look better on your bathroom counter. The shampoo is less foamy and artificial than most, with essential oils for aromatherapy and an exceptional cleansing experience. Birch bark is renowned for its high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants. Check out our full review and profile of Wise here.