beauty

I Tried Men’s Grooming Products For A Week To See How They Compare To Women’s

by Kendra Beltran

Being the only girl between two boys, I’ve always found gender roles, norms, and ideas very interesting.

My mom never made my brothers do the dishes, but she made me help out a lot (and I bet she’s pissed about that now that my brother is a 25-year-old slob still living under her roof).

Housework aside, gender comes into play in so many other facets of our lives that we probably don’t even think twice about it. That is, until someone points them out.

Take grooming, for example. Women have aisles upon aisles of shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, sprays, razors, lotions, creams, and so forth.

Men, on the other hand? There are far fewer options. That said, men’s products tend to be significantly less expensive than women’s products. Strolling my local drugstore, I found that while men’s and women’s Dove deodorants have the same exact ingredients, the men’s was 50 cents cheaper and 0.1 ounce bigger than the women’s! Plus, if you bought four of them, you got a $5 gift card. That was not the case with the women’s.

I also find it interesting that, in the men’s aisle, it’s easy to find two-in-one bottles of a bunch of things. Body wash that doubles as shampoo, shampoo slash conditioner, body slash face wash. You get the point. Women didn’t have that option at all!

All of that makes it seem like men have such a low-maintenance, low-budget way of life. So I had to find out if it’s easier to live that way. It was time to trade in the array of products I use on a daily basis for a more “masculine” regimen.

Instead of using expensive women’s grooming products, I would swap them out for the equivalent men’s grooming products. Not only would this save me money, it would also probably be just as effective. Right? Time to find out.

Thoughts Beforehand

Thoughts Beforehand

There couldn’t be that much of a difference when it came to what we use on our bodies to get clean, right? As long as you don’t smell like a hot mess, the cleaning products have done their job. The only real difference is the marketing. As the back of the 2 in 1 Hair & Body Wash asked, do you want to smell like a real man?

The Supplies

The Supplies
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Here’s what I bought myself for the test:

Day 1

Day 1

Body hair is something I cannot live with, so it’s important that my razor brings its A game. The men’s razor was fine, but there was a clear difference between the shaving cream my legs were accustomed to and the Barbasol. The Barbasol cream is clearly for when you are out of the shower and shaving your face at the sink.

Day 1: Post-Shave

Day 1: Post-Shave

A razor can only do so much. It held up its end of the deal, but that Barbasol was dismal. I wound up wearing pants to an outdoor festival — a festival that went from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Day 2

Day 2
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

The festival was almost 12 hours, but come the next morning my armpits were still as fresh as Will Smith in the ‘90s. I have to admit, though, I’ve been wearing men’s deodorant for years now. I realized a long time ago that while the ingredients were the same, there was a clear difference in how they worked. Perhaps it is the scent? Maybe the amount of certain ingredients? Whatever it is, men’s deodorant is a necessity for women whose pits are more hardcore than others.

Day 3

Day 3
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Considering that I have curly hair, I rarely use anything harsh on my hair. By the third day, my hair was as dry as John Mulaney’s stand-up. My curls were not happy about what I was putting them through. When you go to the store (Target in this case), men don’t have many products aimed at their hair. There are a few gels and pomades (aka, things for men with straight hair), but not much for men with curls like mine.

Day 4

Day 4

Within 48 hours, I knew I hated the body wash. It wasn’t until the fourth day that I realized I’d itched after every shower since the switch. While my Suave 2 in 1 was more expensive and had similar ingredients to my normal body wash, there was something about it that made me feel like I was wearing wool pajamas.

Day 4: Men Itch Too

Fox

At first, I thought the itching was just me, but my fiancé started to itch soon after getting out of the shower, too. That was all he had a problem with, as his hair and beard were better than ever. He’s basic, though, and has straight hair that requires nothing more than water to style.

Day 5

Day 5

The 2 in 1 Hair & Body Wash is great if you want to itch and have dry hair, but by this day I’d had enough of my curls being a hot mess. Like I said, men don’t have too many grooming products for their hair post-shower minus gels and pomades. Those do not fly in curls. So I had to do something.

Day 5: Rescue Mission

Day 5: Rescue Mission
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

However, there was one thing — something I’ve used for a long time — that was under the “Men’s Hair” marquee at Target: Garnier Fructis Leave-In. I’d never noticed it was in that particular section. So I grabbed it from the shelf, and luckily it helped to balance out the dryness caused by the 2 in 1 product.

Day 6

Day 6
TBS

I will say I loved the cologne. The scent lasted a hell of a lot longer than my body spray and always reminded me of my main dude. In fact, men’s grooming products have better, stronger scents all around. You’d have to pay a ton of money to get a women’s perfume that had the same lasting effect.

Day 7

Day 7
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Hair and skin aside, I went back to the razor and found that while it sucked on my legs, it was great on my arms and armpits. The extra strip on it that provides extra nourishment for the skin really did wonders in the pit area. While my razor needs to be paired with a glob of cream to work, the men’s razor was fine with just water.

The Verdict

The Verdict
Courtesy of Author for LittleThings

Despite being paid more at the office, men have it cheaper when it comes to grooming products. Go figure. Men spend less on the basic essentials commonly found in bathrooms all over the world, but some are complete wastes of money.

Combined hair-and-body washes should be banned. Not just because they use sulfate (which can be horrendous for your skin and hair), but because they leave you feeling super itchy. While it didn’t mess with my fiancé’s hair in any way over the week, it set my curls back. In the coming weeks, you can catch me with my Mixed Chicks and Carol’s Daughter products trying to revitalize my life.

Barbasol should only be used as a last resort, since it doesn’t hold up in a shower when it comes to your legs. Deodorant and razor, though? If the men’s ones are cheaper, go ahead and get those! There is literally no difference, and frankly, men’s deodorant works a hell of a lot better than women’s.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts
SBS

Grooming shouldn’t be about what’s masculine and feminine but more about what works for you personally. Just because society has put you in a pink or green category (so many men’s products are more green than blue), it does not mean those products will work best for you.

While I will go back to my normal hair and skin care products, I won’t ever use a deodorant aimed at a woman because I know that crap does not work with my body. As for the razors? I’ll use whatever is in the bathroom when I’m ready to rid myself of body hair, because a razor is a razor, no matter the color. But the shaving cream? That’s a whole other story. Find what works for you, not your gender.