My bathroom is filled to the brim with beauty products. I’m a big fan of skin care, makeup, and all things beauty, and my lavatory shows it. There are multiple bottles and cans on my counter, and even more products — from tubes of cream to cans of hairspray — hidden away in cabinets so it doesn’t look like I’m too much of a freak. That being said, if someone looked closely at the plethora of products in my bathroom, they might be a little confused as to the type of person who uses said bathroom. Specifically, they'd be confused about the owner's gender. Among the spread of Speed Sticks and Gillette products are hair ties and multiple bottles of colorful nail polish. I know what you’re thinking, but no: I don’t share a bathroom with a male roommate. I just happen to really like men’s cosmetic products.
When it comes to beauty products, I can be incredibly picky. On an average day, I’ll step into Target and browse the aisles, then leave the cosmetic section, then come back, then check out reviews on my iPhone, then replace a few of them, then grab the products I always buy and maybe keep a few new ones. And then finally I’ll check out and leave. It’s definitely a process, but I like thinking about the cosmetics I’m buying so as to make sure I won’t regret purchasing them. And because I use and purchase products so often (I hate when my stash is looking slim so I always find an excuse to buy more stuff) I like searching for the best bang for my buck. Most often, the products that I enjoy the most and are the cheapest happen to be ones meant for dudes.
My beauty routine is just like the next person's: Imagine you’re waking up in the morning and doing your thing, but instead of reaching for your Body Shop cream to exfoliate, you reach for Gold Bond’s extra strength, non-greasy hand lotion. Then, in the shower you’re shaving with men’s shaving cream and razors instead of that pink razor and shaving cream combo (the latter of which probably smells like strawberries). Although there are some products I prefer that happen to be for men, I do also use women’s products. I couldn’t live without my red lipstick and my eyeshadow palettes, for instance, plus my floral scented body wash. But at the end of the day, the fact is that a lot of the products that work the best for me happen to be made and marketed towards the boys.
Let me just say it: I have really thick body hair, and when it comes to removing leg hair I’m willing to try anything. When I was gifted a free sample of the Gillette Fusion razor (made with five blades, a built in moisturizing strip, and equipped with the sexy scent of guy) I tried it and haven’t gone back since. The razor glides along my legs and leaves me with silky stems for at least a day or two longer than any women’s razor I’ve tried. Plus, the fact that I never get burned or nick myself is also a positive. While shaving cream is a little harder to compare, the Barbasol I get for $3 is cheaper and lasts longer than the $5 women’s version I used to buy that would run out in a week or two. The same story goes for the men’s deodorant and body creams I use. Those products come in larger sizes and are sold for less, and do just as well (sometimes even better) than their feminine counterparts.
Granted, I haven’t tried every women’s product on the shelves at Ulta but the ones I have just don’t measure up to the value of the men's products I buy. I didn’t purposefully begin using men’s products — I just stumbled upon them. After I tried the Gillette razor, I was more inclined to see how men’s products would work for me. Before I really made a purchase (like I said, I’m pretty good about researching the things I buy before I buy them), I borrowed some products from my dad and guy friends, and found that they weren’t all that bad. I tried to think of any consequences I might experience from using a men’s cream or lotion, but the ingredients were very comparable to the things I'd been using anyway. The only obvious implication would be the scent. But who wouldn’t want to smell like a sexy man?
Just because there are products marketed towards men does not mean women can’t use them (and the vice versa is also true). They may be in a different section of the store but that doesn’t mean they’re off limits to the opposite sex. Nor should it mean that using something geared at the opposite sex detracts from your own sense of gender identity.
I honestly think it’s funny — not to mention questionable — that so many products are geared around a specific gender, when cosmetics are typically versatile, diverse, and can be used by anyone. This is especially true when you take the labels and logos off them and just look at the products alone. For someone like me who has dry skin that isn’t particularly sensitive, and thick body hair, I’ve found that men’s products cater better to my individual needs. At the end of the day, I’m not really concerned about whether the products are made for boys or girls, but rather how well they actually work. I couldn't care less about what the packaging looks like, what the advertisements are, or even what section of the store they live in.
Ultimately, I’ve grown quite fond of men’s beauty products. The fact that I have so many scattered around my bathroom might be a little confusing to visitors, but considering that I am saving money and using quality products to groom myself, it's all worth it.
Even if I do occasionally get the question: "Are you wearing cologne?" Not exactly, guys.
Images: Author's Own, Giphy