Forget Labels — Men's Products Are For Everyone

by Jodie Layne

"Borrowed from the boys," — what does that even mean?! There are few turns of phrase in fashion writing that bother me more than that one. Why can't sweaters or jeans just be baggy and not be called boyfriend style apparel? Why aren't blazers, collared shirts and trousers considered women's clothes, too? Why does it sometimes seem like this is the 18th century? It drives me 100 percent up a wall that self-care products are generally divided by gender as well — especially since they're separated along the gender binary. Products are for women or for men only, and everyone who falls outside of those narrow categories is left without, signaling to us that there exist beauty quandaries in our friendly neighborhood deodorant or makeup shelves. As a product collector and someone who's always trying the newest thing that promises to be the "holy grail" of skincare or shaving or whatever, I am also upset that this division has precluded me from experiencing some of the best products of my life. As a teenager, I did this weird thing where I bought men's deodorant because I was really sweaty but also wanted to "smell like a boy." I didn't start dating until I was 18, so I felt like I was really missing out on all those Cosmo articles talking about the main benefit of a relationship being sleeping in a shirt that smelled like your guy or some other not-necessarily-true-observation like that. As an adult, I'm more about forgetting the label and just trying to find the products that cut the bullshitty-ness and simply do the best job. Whether because these products are cheaper than their female equivalent, perform better, or simply prevent you from smelling like a bakery, they are the "made for dudes" items that everyone should use:


Red Hook Classic Beard Oil, $29, Brooklyn Grooming

I was running low on face oil when I noticed that there was "beard oil" in the medicine cabinet. The ingredients were incredibly similar and it just smelled so effing good. It also runs about $11 cheaper than the face oil I normally use. Score.


Chapped Skin Remedy, $25, Old Faithful Shop

The company definitely says their products are for everyone, but they've been featured heavily in men's magazines and media. This stuff is serious, especially if you live in a cold, dry climate like I do. It doesn't mess around and pulls no punches. Plus, it's scent-free.


Mojave Backpacker's Cologne, $60, Juniper Ridge

Juniper Ridge is one of my favorite brands, forever. They wild-harvest regional botanicals for their evocative blends of artificial fragrance-free products. I love the story, their packaging, and also that I can wear their colognes without getting a serious headache. Who doesn't want to smell like camping?


Fort Greene Mustache Wax, $22, Brooklyn Grooming

Why do you need eyebrow mascara/gels when you can get this mustache wax that holds better than any of those? It also doubles as pomade, especially for super-frizzy hair like mine. This little buddy is the perfect purse companion.


Double-edged Safety Razor, $36, Amazon

Disposable razors are fine to haul into the shower for legs and armpits, but for more delicate shaving you deserve a little better. These razor blades are sharper, shave closer, and don't leave a gross film from a "skin softening strip" on your upper lip.


Ingrown Hair Cream, $34, Malin and Goetz

Faces with coarse hair aren't the only places that get ingrown hairs! You know that goop they put on you after you get waxed at the salon? This is sort of like that, and is a lifesaver if you get itchy or painful ingrown hairs.


Muhle Kosmo Shaving Brush, $105, Shop Masc

This one is more about fun and luxury than functional necessity, but women have been missing out on shaving brushes big time. They just add an extra step to your grooming, but make you feel a bit more elegant than glopping on shaving cream right from the can. They're also extremely useful when you decide cutting your own bangs at 2 in the morning is a good idea.

Images: Courtesy Brands