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…
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- PGS products don't harm the environment. They are mostly organic, and they aren't tested on animals.
- 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!