Grooming

This New Year, Be the Self-Preserving Gentleman With Organic Grooming Products

Look au naturel by going all natural
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Some horror stories come bottled, and we don’t mean your hazy regrets from last night. We’re talking the stuff in your bathroom cabinet, because whatever you put on your skin often gets under it, too: carcinogenic parabens from facial wash, disruptive phthalates from aftershave, allergenic formaldehyde from shampoo, and other subtle villainies that quietly bide their time before unleashing bodily havoc. This is why the self-preserving gentleman should unabashedly go green.

Green grooming isn’t new ground for an industry traced to crude Egyptian concoctions. Nonetheless, as personal care evolves commercially, so do the definition of natural and its technicalities. Essentially, natural describes products containing ingredients from Mother Earth, with lab-produced chemicals kept to a minimum. Organic highlights the ingredient itself, ensuring zero connections to synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetic modifications. The latter is a government standard, requiring certification from the USDA to make such a claim. But with companies targeting the health-conscious, it’s tough to tell whether an ecological label—particularly the unregulated tags of natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic—carries true or false marketing schemes, hence the call to find honest brands refusing to compromise outward results for internal hazards.

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Lush Cosmetics, for one, admits to using some safe synthetics, but when the main ingredients are still derived from fresh produce, sourced sustainably from communities across the globe, who can complain for long? Especially when the offers are this interesting: the Five O’Clock Whistle Shaving Cream, where jojoba oil and lime juice allow for a smooth trim; solid Toothy Tabs with spearmint as a quirky toothpaste substitute; or Hair Custard for an egg-based protein boost on your man mane. Under Lush’s Dirty range for men, things are environmental and eccentric, aimed at the guy who’s at least half as daring.

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If classic mixes are your speed, however, consider Kiehl’s’ 165-year history with botanicals. “We have relied on a blend of uniquely efficacious ingredients, derived from both natural and man-made sources, in the formulation of our products since 1851,” says the brand’s Asia Pacific retail and education director, Patrick Liew. “Our targeted treatments, found primarily in our Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions collection, are powerful yet safe preparations which work to correct or treat specific skin needs or concerns.”

Kiehl’s understands the nitty gritty of everyday skincare. Put on their Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, powered by white birch and peony extracts, to prove that whitening isn’t just ladies’ business. For overnight restoration, the Midnight Recovery Concentrate combines evening primrose and lavender to prepare you for the next day’s face-to-face. Come morning, the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream provides a light touch of hydration, or you can treat your mug to a citrus-menthol cleanse via the Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash.

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Yet, there’s always more for the man of principle, as award-winning British retailer Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR) finally brought its organic options to Manila recently. The company holds the distinction of scoring a perfect 100 for ethics from The Ethical Company Organization, as well as having certifications from the USDA and the Soil Association. “Organic ingredients contain the highest levels of beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients,” explains Calum Mackay, NYR’s director of international sales. “We know exactly where our ingredients come from and who grew them.”

In addition to NYR’s signature Frankincense line for anti-aging, Calum recommends the White Tea range, which boasts a facial mask, mist, and eye gel packed with protective antioxidants. “It’s a range that covers all the basic skincare needs without having a full-on skincare regime,” he says. “Perfect for busy men!”

Busy guy that you are, we’ve unfortunately discussed all this assuming you’d note the details of your daily scrub. But here’s a life lesson applicable even in this context: Complicated chemistry spurs risky relationships. Skin reactions, human interaction—whatever you’re trying to avoid or amend, the forecast suggests returning to the natural roots of what makes things work. And you’ll need to look beyond the label to determine that.

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Kiehl’s, Greenbelt 5; Lush, Glorietta 4; Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rustan’s Makati.

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About The Author
Annicka Koteh
Annicka Koteh is a Palanca-awarded essayist in the Kabataan Division who jumped from running her high school newspaper to being Esquire’s summer intern. At present, she is an Ateneo freshman out to prove that a business degree and writing aspirations can fruitfully coexist—while she tries to resist gastronomic Facebook videos and Twitter food feeds for productivity’s sake.
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