Product Review: Portland General Store Grooming Supplies


Grooming is just as important as style. It's great to be dappered up in your favorite threads, but how can you truly feel confident without looking clean and smelling like a gentleman?

Recently, a company called Portland General Store asked if I'd like to use some of their all natural men's grooming products, free of charge.

I've never been one to splurge on organic, natural, or otherwise “alternative” grooming supplies, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a shot.

My normal skin care routine is pretty basic.
  • Facial cleanser (with acne-fighting ingredients) daily – once during the morning shower and again if I shower at night after a workout
  • Post-shower acne cream for any trouble spots
  • Oil-free SPF 15 moisturizer before my skin gets dry

That's it. I shave with a normal cartridge razor and good ol' fashioned Barbasol Shaving Cream. I use whatever shampoo is on sale and doesn't smell like flowers or fruit, and I never use conditioner.

Pretty standard, eh? For the past few weeks, however, I've been using Portland General Store products regularly. What follows are my thoughts on a few of them…

Portland General Store Review

Thick Shampoo and Conditioner

I have to admit, I was a little weary of a shampoo that doesn't contain synthetic foaming agents and chemicals, but this stuff works great. It smells nice too (natural, not overly fragrant or cologne-like).

The Thick conditioner softens up your hair without leaving any residue, which is nice because most conditioners seem hard to rinse out.

Face Bomb Cleanser

Unlike many facial cleansers, Face Bomb doesn't dry my skin out. In fact, my face feels extra soft after using it. (Note: I've confirmed this with females. It is, in fact, extra soft.)

This stuff is gritty. It actually contains ground up walnuts that exfoliate your skin.

PGS Face Bomb

Much to my surprise, I prefer this over my normal cleanser. That said, It hasn't been any easier to keep my skin clear with this product. I still have to use a salicylic acid gel on any trouble spots.

(Quick note: I've never had bad acne, just the occasional mild breakouts that everyone deals with.)

Racer Shave Cream

I've never been a fan of non-foaming shave creams in the past. I like a nice thick layer between the blade and my skin. However, I like Racer cream.

It almost tingles and leaves your skin feeling soft. Unlike other gels that are translucent, Racer cream has a beige tint, so you know when it's thoroughly applied.

The only thing I don't like about this product is the fact that it comes in a jar instead of a dispenser. You have to unscrew the lid and scoop out the cream with your fingers. It's much easier to simply pump cream or gel from a pressurized canister.

This is a minor inconvenience, and I suppose you could use a brush for application if you'd like.

Whiskey Aftershave
PGS Lisa at Work

PGS Founder, Lisa, at work.

Honestly, I never used aftershave in the past. I always thought it was unnecessary and a waste of time.

But I love this stuff. It smells nice and manly – like you just got back from chopping wood with a handmade axe that your great-grandfather used to fight grizzly bears.

Seriously, it smells fantastic. Since I started using this aftershave, I've had a couple of real-life Axe commercial moments. (It sure does feel great when a woman grabs your face, nestles in close and says: “You smell sooooo good!” Talk about a confidence boost!)

Aftershave also helps heal your skin after the damaging act of shaving, but I'm using it for the scent, which seems to last all day. Who needs cologne?

It's Not Just About Grooming

Before accepting any Portland General Store products for review, I asked Lisa (the founder) an important question: Why should men pay for higher priced grooming products when we can save money by sticking with the normal stuff in the hygiene aisle at the grocery store? In a nutshell, she offered three compelling reasons:

  1. Natural ingredients (and the absence of chemicals) are better for your skin, especially sensitive or allergic skin. Also, unlike chemicals, natural ingredients don't have any unwanted effects on testosterone and fertility.
  2. PGS products don't harm the environment. They are mostly organic, and they aren't tested on animals.
  3. Everything you buy from Portland General Store is made in the USA by a small, hardworking company.

All things considered, I recommend Portland General Store for any man who wants to get into natural grooming products by supporting a sustainable, homegrown American company. If you want to learn more about PGS, my friend Andrew over at Electrogent has written extensively on several of their products.

What do you think about natural grooming products? Have you tried Portland General Store? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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  1. excellent blog!!!!..well, it’s about time!!!! LOL…..hmmm, “all good things come to those who wait ,” i guess. LOL. kidding!

  2. I’m going to order the facial cleanser, shaving cream, and aftershave. I hope to experience the Axe Commercial moment too. LOL 😀

    • Nice! I think you’ll like the aftershave a lot. I’ve been using it regularly. Let me know what you think about it.


      • I just purchase the products you recommended. Looking forward in using them. Will give you a full report in couple week! 😀


  3. I have been using the facial scrub, the shaving cream, and the after shave for the past 2 weeks. Even though I have used organic-made products, I am extremely please with Portland General Store.

    After using the facial scrub, my face feels very “clean”. The gritty texture did a nice job cleaning my face. It wasnt as abrasive as other over-the-counter products found in the stores. The best is that my sensitive skin didn’t react with the product. Typically, my sensitive skin reacts with many products, including organic products.

    Using a thin layer of the shaving cream, I found a better shave. It is a cream and it is not meant to be used like a foam or gel shaving product. A thin layer is all you need to get a nice close shave.

    The aftershave has a slight but pleasant woody smell. It isn’t overpowering but the aftershave can be used for the day or night. I am still waiting for the “Axe” moment. LOL. However, since I don’t usually use aftershave or colonge, I did get some compliments from co-workers.

    Thanks Brock for the recommendation. Portland General Store get “two-thumbs up!!!!”

  4. Brock, I always look forward to reading your latest. I’m all about natural grooming products. However, its been my experience that most of these “artisanal” .com’s have poor business and poorer customer service models; PGS included. My communication with the owner was spotty at best. And that shouldn’t be the case if you have questions that their website can’t answer. Shipping was slow; not the fault of the USPS but rather, you have to make the effort to get your product out the door to the customer. Buyers deserve better from a company charging a premium for a 2 oz bottle of cologne; handmade, or not.

    • Steve,

      That’s too bad. Sorry to hear your experiences were less than stellar. I agree that service, shipping, etc. should be top notch with any boutique/high end company. Hopefully your experience was an anomaly and not the norm.


  5. Pretty upset with Portland Generalstore. I paid with PayPal, which, due to an oversight on my part, had a previous shipping address still assigned. Yes, this was my fault, but I caught it seconds after confirming the order and sent 3 emails and called twice, trying to fix the problem. I never once heard from them, until receiving confirmation that it had been shipped… to the wrong address. When paying such inflated prices for hand cream, one should expect to, at least, be able to get someone on the phone or email. I will not buy from them again.

  6. Doug Lee says:

    Ordered the Whiskey Shaving Soap and the 8 piece fragrance sampler. Drove my wife and daughters crazy by trying the different scents and asking their opinions. They thought they all smelled very similar, and not that great. The Whiskey Shaving Soap was just O.K. for shaving. But it had an odd odor. Kind of a combination of pencil shavings and burnt motor oil. Not that impressed. Just one man’s opinion.

  7. I’ve been frustrated just trying to communicate with company. They sent me a cologne sampler and one of the samples leaked out. It’s been a month and I can’t get a replacement, refund, or response.

    I wouldn’t buy from these guys.

  8. I echo not buying from this place. I ordered from them two weeks ago. They charged me immediately and still have not sent the product. I have now sent them three separate emails asking for a status update and I have just been ignored. I now have to dispute the transaction on my credit card, given they charged me, haven’t sent the product, and are completely ignoring any attempts to contact them. Steer clear.

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