Body & Soul: Make Men’s Grooming Products
By Janice Cox
Clean-Shaven and Chemical-Free: Here are a few all-natural recipes for you to make at home using botanical ingredients. They also make great gifts when wrapped up with a new razor. Enjoy!
Alexander the Great encouraged his troops to shave to avoid “dangerous beard grabbing” during battle; he also felt it looked clean and tidy. Shaving is an ancient aspect of the male grooming regime, seen throughout history in art and photographs. That isn’t always reflected in the marketplace, but however much natural beauty products are aimed at women, guys need chemical-free, plant-based grooming products, too.
Today, the average American male wants more in his medicine cabinet than a deodorant stick and a can of shaving cream, and he can benefit from a selection of healthy skin-care products that will keep his complexion clear, toned and glowing. And although many skin- and hair-care products can be shared by men and women (shampoo, sunscreen and body lotion), men deserve their own set of cleansers, aftershaves, facial scrubs, and masks with bold, masculine scents and natural ingredients suited for their skin types.
Fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage and yarrow are well-suited for masculine tastes. They are all naturally antiseptic and cleansing to the skin. Yarrow in particular is a good choice to use in male product recipes as it is healing, cleansing and astringent.
Fragrance and skin type aside, men need specific products for shaving, since 90 percent of American men older than 15 shave. Spices are often found in aftershave products because they have anti-inflammatory properties and bold scents. Citrus blended with herbs and spices is also uplifting and sexy.
Shaving products have gotten more sophisticated, but little has changed when it comes to the daily ritual of shaving: removing hair from the face with a sharp blade and then soothing the skin with a splash of cold water or aftershave. Follow these simple shaving tips for a closer, more comfortable experience:
• Always shave in the direction of hair growth. Shaving against the growth can cause ingrown hairs and skin irritation.
• Before shaving, soften the beard with warm water or a hot towel.
• Don’t shave the same area over and over; this can be irritating and can damage new skin cell growth.
• Use a gentle facial scrub once a week to remove dead skin and ingrown hairs. Try mixing a teaspoon or two of cornmeal, ground nuts or oatmeal into your favorite cleanser or soap while washing your face.
• Use a facial mask monthly to deep-cleanse pores and help rid your skin of surface debris and dead skin cells. Try a natural clay mask to help draw impurities out of your skin.
• Rinse razor blades well after each use and replace often. Allow your razor to air dry to avoid the chance of bacteria growing.
Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt and Company , 2002). She and her daughter, Lauren Cox, co-authored a book, EcoBeauty (Ten Speed Press , 2009). Find them at www.herbcompanion.com/shopping.
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