Here’s our unbiased, hands-on review of a skincare brand that might have flown under your radar.
Several years ago, the idea of skincare for men would have seemed far-fetched and even a little embarrassing.
Today, however, men’s skincare has been destigmatized, and there’s a thriving market full of brands that want to help guys look their best.
One of those brands is Horace, a French company that specializes in natural grooming for men. Since its start in 2016, Horace has been on a mission to remove labels of femininity from skincare while also representing all types of men.
There are a few key elements that set Horace apart. For one, the brand’s products are 95% to 100% natural. They’re free of parabens, silicons, and other harsh ingredients, and most products are certified vegan.
Horace is also a decidedly masculine brand, but it’s free of the trappings of most grooming brands that target men. The product models aren’t supermen with chiseled jawlines, and the marketing isn’t edgy or macho.
Horace’s branding piqued my curiosity, so I was curious to see whether its skincare would really deliver.
In this unbiased review, I’ll go over my impressions of Horace’s products so you can decide if they might be right for you.
What I Tried
Here’s the combination of face, body, and beard products I reviewed:
- Anti-Dark Circle Serum
- Face Firming Gel
- Mattifying Face Moisturizer SPF30
- Gentle Face Scrub
- 12h Protection Deodorant
- Beard Shampoo
- Patchouli & Cedar Beard Oil (discontinued)
Anti-Dark Circle Serum
I’ve had fairly noticeable dark circles under my eyes for a while, but I’ve become somewhat blind to them over the years since I think about them every day. For me, this serum fell into the category of “things I didn’t even know I needed.”
The Anti-Dark Circle Serum promises to reduce dark circles, puffiness, and decongestion under the eyes. It’s full of natural ingredients, including caffeine, aloe vera, and horse chestnut extract.
Impressively, the serum delivered on its promises. Of course, it didn’t make my eye bags vanish, but it did soothe and reduce my dark circles. The metal rollerball makes application easy and always leaves my face cooled and refreshed.
The serum rubs in completely and doesn’t leave any residue or tackiness behind, which is a big plus for me.
Horace’s Anti-Dark Circle Serum has gone straight into my skincare regimen, and I can’t see it leaving anytime soon.
Face Firming Gel
Usually, I shudder at the thought of skincare gels. I hate products that leave my face feeling wet, greasy, or sticky, so I was a bit hesitant about trying out the Face Firming Gel.
Horace recommends using this after the Anti-Dark Circle Serum as a moisturizer replacement, so that’s how I used it during this review. It’s meant to reduce sagging skin, provide hydration, and create smoothness.
To my surprise, this gel became one of my favorite products. It has a thick consistency but doesn’t feel slimy, and it quickly absorbs into the skin with just a bit of gentle massaging.
It leaves my face feeling hydrated with zero residue, and it really does feel like a firming gel. After applying, my skin is significantly softer, tighter, and glassier. It’s even more effective when used in tandem with the Gentle Face Scrub (see below).
I wouldn’t have predicted it, but this gel also went right into my skincare routine. It’s a nice bonus that this is designed to stand in for a moisturizer since that’s a product category I’ve had trouble with.
While it’s not an exact substitute, it hydrates my face well enough that I have no complaints.
Mattifying Face Moisturizer SPF30
The brand says that it hydrates the skin while protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
Unsurprisingly, the moisturizer feels a lot like sunscreen, although it’s less greasy and more creamy. It’s fairly light, and unlike many products with SPF, it rubs in easily and leaves little residue behind.
For whatever reason, this product didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t quite as hydrating as other moisturizers I’ve used, and it felt like it was closer to sunscreen.
This could just be my skin type, but in any case, I found it underwhelming.
This product obviously won’t replace your normal sunscreen, but it’s a solid go-to when you’re out and about in the sun.
That said, you’re probably better off sticking with normal sunscreen for beach outings and other outdoor activities in the summer.
Note: As of this writing, this moisturizer appears to only be available in Europe.
Gentle Face Scrub
Horace’s Gentle Face Scrub exfloiates the skin, removes impurities, and unclogs pores using natural ingredients like murumuru butter and argan seeds.
When it’s coming out of the tube, this scrub is thick and feels more like putty, but it transforms when applied to the face, breaking down and becoming much smoother.
What struck me about this scrub is how thorough yet gentle it is. It’s strong enough to exfoliate the skin without feeling harsh or abrasive. Like many of Horace’s skincare products, the Gentle Face Scrub rubs in easily and washes off quickly. (It’s also unscented, which is fantastic.)
This was another surprise hit for me. On the days that I used it — Horace recommends using it only once or twice per week — I noticed that my skin was much smoother and cleaner. File this one under “products I’ll keep using.”
12h Protection Deodorant
Lately, I’ve been abandoning my regular stick deodorants in favor of gel-type deodorants because they feel so much nicer (especially in warmer weather).
Instead of chalky bits, you get a smooth, refreshing application.
When I saw that Horace offered a gel deodorant with notes of eucalyptus, sage, and rosemary, I was immediately interested. (I’m a sucker for herbal scents.)
And sure enough, this deodorant smells absolutely divine. I was blown away by this scent’s complexity — it’s more on par with a fragrance than a typical deodorant. The herbal notes are woody and masculine and work extremely well for battling body odor.
Horace claims that this deodorant lasts 12 hours, and that’s been pretty much my experience. It’s pretty persistent, but it might not last as long for highly active guys.
I can’t recommend this deodorant enough for anyone who likes richer scents and prefers slicker deodorants that easily roll on. (I will absolutely be restocking when my review sample runs out.)
Another reason I was interested in Horace was the brand’s line of beard products. Unfortunately, while they’re not bad by any means, these products didn’t quite cut it for me.
I first tried the beard shampoo, which has a thick, gelatinous consistency that feels like the kind of slime kids play with. That goo-like feeling is heightened by the smell, which is almost plasticky. The description says that it’s supposed to smell woody, but I didn’t pick up that note at all.
The shampoo breaks down well enough, and while it lathers up nicely, it doesn’t make my beard feel all that nourished. There’s a slight increase in softness after use, but aside from that, this product didn’t do much for me.
Patchouli & Cedar Beard Oil
I picked up these beard products as part of Horace’s Soft Beard Trio. Since that bundle includes a choice of beard oil, I went with the patchouli and cedar scent. Unfortunately, Horse seems to have now discontinued that scent.
This was another slightly underwhelming product. The oil has a yellow tinge to it, but it doesn’t seem to leave any coloration on the skin or hair. Even though I used the same amount of oil that I always do, my beard didn’t feel as hydrated.
I was also disappointed with the scent. Patchouli and cedar sounded like a fantastic combo, but the actual aroma was rather muted.
On the one hand, I don’t really care since I prefer more subtle beard oils, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t have minded if the scent was a bit more present.
As a brand, Horace gets two thumbs up from me. I really appreciate the company’s ethos of making skincare more normal for and accessible to guys, and I also like the clean, modern branding.
When it comes to products, Horace excels at skin care and body, but it falters a bit with its beard line. I’m a big fan of the Anti-Dark Circle Serum, Face Firming Gel, and Gentle Face Scrub, and I have no plans to stop using them anytime soon.
The 12h Protection Deodorant was another home run for me — I can’t emphasize just how amazing it smells.
Horace’s beard products were easily the weakest of all the items I tried. I have a coarse, wiry beard, so it could just be that these products aren’t formulated for that hair type.
What I found most impressive was the fact that Horace got me to be more consistent with my skincare regimen.
As someone who has always struggled to find the right skincare products and maintain a routine, I was surprised that Horace’s products worked so well for me.
I actually found myself enjoying using them, which is something I haven’t experienced much before.
Overall, Horace left a fantastic impression on me, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the brand.
What products are part of your current skincare routine? Let me know in the comment section!