Can I enter the 'male blogging awards' now?: switching to male toiletries
Last week saw the release of a number of blogging award shortlists. Despite most people being happy, there were the standard complaints about there not being enough categories for everybody's niches. This year, however, there was an entire infestation of complaints from some (definitely not all, for real) male bloggers that there was no 'male blogging' category. Just to clarify, there's no 'female blogging' category either, but because the industry is saturated with women, and a large number of the bloggers on the shortlist were women, some people claimed it was unfair not to include a category just for men.
Now, a lot of male bloggers hit out against the complainers, stating (rightly) that the categories weren't gendered, and if a male blogger's content was strong enough for the category he would be in with a chance of being shortlisted. Luckily for me, I had a piece of content planned chatting about men's products, which is going to be useful to men, so does that mean I can enter the new category too? Or do I have to have a penis? Who knows.
Blogging drama aside, I really wanted to do this post to see how men's toiletries compare to women's. I know the majority of the market out there isn't specifically aimed at women, but when brands use 'feminine' colours, fonts and advertisements to sell their products, it's quite clear who their target market is.
For the last fortnight I've only used toiletries aimed at men, to see whether or not they were very different to women's at all, or whether things were simply packaged and priced differently.
My Liz Earle cleanser is my holy grail, and so I was a bit skeptical to switch it out for, well, anything really. I went for Nivea's sensitive facial wash for men and it really hit the spot quite well. I loved its fresh scent, and how gentle it was on my skin. I couldn't use it to remove any makeup as I would with my cleanse and polish tube, but as a normal wash goes, it was perfectly fine. It's the only product out of the lot that I'm going to continue using until it runs out.
Paired with this, I got Real Shaving Cos daily face scrub. Now, I don't know about you, but any face scrub that I've ever used daily is very, very gentle. You can barely see the exfoliants in it, and it's definitely not something that scratches. This however was something else (I'm pretty sure it can be found somewhere in the depths of hell tbh). It was as harsh as a body exfoliant, and within the first couple of days of using it I had the worst spot I've had since I was a teen.
Face masks are part of my weekly self care routine, and I really didn't want to go a whole fortnight without one. I grabbed one of the Montagne Jeunesse ones for men (we've all been there, stood in Savers picking the women's ones out for a sleepover as a teen, right?!). The pros were that it was vegan and ... well that was pretty much it. It smelt of spearmint, which was strange and made my eyes water a little. It took forever to dry and was the most painful peel-off mask I've used in a LONG time. I felt how those girls look on the viral videos of charcoal mask peel-offs. It was not pleasant.
Shower gel is something that I always splash out a little bit on. I rarely go for the £1 options because I love having a little extra treat in the mornings, so generally my shower gels come from The Body Shop or LUSH. I find that they actually last longer than the cheap ones as well, so it works out to be pretty cost effective.
I didn't realise how much having that little mini morning pamper affected my mood until I got rid of it. I tried out a few different men's shower gels, but mostly kept to Lynx's Excite. This is an entire brand that's really dedicated to men's toiletries, but I actually thought this product was the closest to one aimed at women that I tried the whole time. The gel was purple, it had quite a fruity scent (why are most men's toiletries herbal-scented though?!) and didn't feel like it was stripping my skin of all moisture.
I'm not too fussy when it comes to shampoos: I'm that person that buys whatever's on offer, providing I like the brand. I picked up L'Oreal's thickening shampoo for men, as I'd used a similar version for women in the past. But, again, it was very harsh. I've only used it for a fortnight, so I can't really determine whether it's helped my hair get thicker at all, but it was SO drying. It feels like all the moisture had been stripped out of my hair after every wash.
Overall, the majority of the products I used were a lot harsher than their feminine counterparts. My skin and hair feel like they've been stripped and scrubbed bare, and not in a good way at all. If you use products aimed at men all the time, and suffer with dry skin/dandruff from a dry scalp then I'd honestly recommend giving women's skin care and hair care a try to see if it helps. Obviously I only tried a very small sample of what's on offer, so I'm by no means an expert in the market, but I really did notice a massive difference in the state of my skin and hair.
I really didn't expect this little experiment to affect me mentally at all, but this wasn't the case. A few days in I was itching to get back to my normal products and my normal routine. I was sick of smelling herby and I wanted to switch back to products that genuinely nourished my skin. I was no longer looking forward to showering, or smelling fresh after washing my hair. I'm fully aware that marketing has clearly gotten to me, but for now, I'm content to continue using my normal products, and lay the ones aimed at men away for the time being.