Product Review: Birchbox Man

Birchbox

Men get bored easily. No matter how good a grooming product is, and no matter how much we like it, we’re always looking for the newest, hottest thing. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt or the excitement of a new conquest, but Birchbox has built a one of a kind delivery system around man’s natural instinct to choose and then fall in love with many partners.

Birchbox was founded in 2010 and helps consumers discover the best beauty, grooming and lifestyle products through monthly deliveries of curated, deluxe samples that are tailored to their grooming likes and dislikes.

Each box includes a mix of products across categories – from makeup and hair, to skincare and body – plus lifestyle extras. An important trend in the evolution of retail for both brands and consumers lies in the discovery experience.

Here’s how it works: For $20 a month, Birchbox will send you a monthly care package of high-end grooming and lifestyle samples from top brands. The contents of the package are determined in part by your Grooming Profile that you fill out on the site.

Every month, subscribers receive a box filled with 4-5 beauty, grooming and lifestyle samples from both up-and-coming and well-known brands. Each delivery will include a mix of categories. Samples are generously sized, with enough product to allow you to figure out if they’re right for you.

Birchbox allows consumers to try the best and latest products in their home, including hard-to-find international or niche brands, and provides a seamless way to purchase the full-size versions of the products they love.

You can buy full-size versions of your sample in the Birchbox shop. You earn a point for every dollar spent and 100 points translates to $10 to spend on more full-size products. You also earn points for submitting a review of the products you have tried.

For your first shipment, a “welcome box” is a Birchbox filled with best sellers that work for everyone. A welcome box is the first box sent for all gift subscriptions.

My welcome box shipment from Birchbox included Face Wash, Daily Mositurizer and Body Wash from Gentlemen’s Brand Co. and Hair Repair from Sachajuan Stockholm.

The Hair Repair was probably my favorite product and something I would use again. Thick but not heavy, it made my hair feel thicker and smoother, even into the day after I used the product.

The Gentlemen’s Brand Co. Daily Regime 3 Pack is a skin care system based off organic ingredients sourced from the Australian outback, comprised of organic oils like Coconut and Avocado that provide long-lasting hydration, while wild-crafted Kakadu Plum serves as a natural antioxidant and source of Vitamin C.

The thing I loved about all three of these products was the smell; it smelled natural and invigorating, and it made me want to use more than the standard application amount per use. So, I used each one heavily and couldn’t get enough.

The great thing about Birchbox is that I didn’t know anything about these products prior to my monthly shipment arriving. But now that I do, I can pick and choose and order full-sized version of the products at discounted rates, earning points for future purchases in the process. It’s a great system and one that adapts based on your own profile.

For more information, visit the website here. Also, check out the Facebook page and the Twitter account for more information.

  

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Product Review: New York Streets TAR Hair Product

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TAR is a texturizing hair product with a medium hold from New York Streets. And being from the streets of NY, it comes with a neck tattoo and a knife. I’m just kidding, those are sold separately. If you do rock a neck tattoo and a knife, “Go Ahead – Be Free,” which is what New York Streets is all about.

The first thing I noticed was the color of the product. The steel gray color reminded me of paint. And for the canvas of your head, isn’t your hair essentially paint, anyway?

Hair is ultimately a reflection of the person who owns it, and how you style your hair says a lot about your personal brand and how you interact with the world.

Mohawk? Hey, we love The Misfits just as much as the next guy. Tortured artist in an uncaring world? We celebrate Van Gogh’s entire catalog, from “The Starry Night,” to “Cafe Terrace at Night,” to “Self-Portrait with Straw Hat.” Edgy, unloved hipster coffee barista? We feel your pain. Now, where’s the bruschetta I ordered to go with my triple soy grande latte? I’ve got a big conference call and need it ASAP.

I really liked the texture of TAR. It wasn’t gloppy and stiff and you didn’t need to work it in your finger tips before application. Wait a minute, did somebody say “Work It”? Cue the Missy Elliot.

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Product Review: HUE Pomade

HUE+Pomade

Did you know that pomade was developed in the 19th century and was originally made of bear fat? Into the 20th century, the most common ingredients featured lard, beeswax and petroleum jelly.

Pomade in its original form was as natural as any hair product in history. But as styles changed, so did the demands expected of pomade, which caused heavier, less natural incarnations to be developed.  

Royal Crown Hair Dressing and Murray’s Pomade are examples of pomade born out of this development and period in history. The effect of those products was the slick, greased back look popular in the 1950s and was heavily dependent on petroleum jelly, its main ingredient.

The word pomade is from the French word “pommade,” which means “ointment,” and derived from the Latin word “pomum,” which meant “apple.” The original recipe for pomade featured apples, which explains the consistency and feel that men have come to expect over time, though it has also become less organic.

The pomade from HUE is a return to the original style of pomade, because it has a natural feel and consistency.

In terms of texture, it felt more like cocoa butter than any regular pomade. This isn’t the kind of pomade with super-sticking holding power that will last for a week after one application. There is no silicone or petroleum in this product, which means it isn’t as stringent or hard as what we have come to expect from pomade.

The scent is also a return to form. While there isn’t much of a scent, what can be detected has a fruity, almost citrus smell.

When first applying HUE, I used only a dab, which is what I would use with a standard pomade. As a result, the holding power was limited. So when I applied more the next day, I doubled the amount and it gave me the hold I was looking for.

By the end of the day, my hair wasn’t  frozen in the same position it was roughly nine hours earlier. I could run my fingers through it at any point and it felt light and free.  

Since HUE is so light and malleable, it can be used by men with any type of hair (coarse, thin, thick, etc.) regardless of their ethnicity. With products, and in particular pomade, that are naturally derived, free of silicon and free of petroleum. Hue offers hair care options “for every man.”

Check out the pomade and full line of products from HUE at www.hueforeveryman.com

  

Product Review: Hanz de Fuko Hair Products

You don’t even have to know anything about men’s hair care products to know that Hans de Fuko is something you want to use. From the names of the products, to the graphic design employed on the packaging, it just feels good to use. You feel hip, contemporary and like you finally have your hair game under control. And even if you don’t, Hans de Fuko has the product to look like you don’t have it under control either.

All six styling agents I tried are listed below, along with a notable person who exemplifies this particular hairstyle.

Hybridized Wax – Reminded me of a classic pomade look and feel, but felt and functioned more like a gel. Because it seemed more gelish, I assumed I would have to use a lot to get the style I wanted. But it had a surprisingly strong hold and gave my hair more of a shiny look. Think James Franco.

Modify Pomade – This was the stickiest, most responsive pomade I have ever used. While some pomade takes seemingly endless doses to get the look you’re trying to achieve, this took one application and I was done. It was very shiny in classic pomade style, but held very well, lending itself to thicker than normal hair. Think a young John Travolta.

Sponge Wax – This was probably my favorite thanks to the sponge-like quality of the product. It literally felt lighter than air and had the texture of some type of plastic rather than a hair gel. It just felt cool to put on my hands and run through my hair. It wasn’t flashy like a pomade, but was as effective. Think Robert Pattinson.

Quicksand – Perfect name for the feel and function of this hair styling cream. It’s gritty and rough like your mother-in-law, and very thick. It’s meant to hold firmly and cuts down on gloss or shine. It literally felt like it had little bits of sand in it to add to the matte look and added the appearance of volume to my hair. Think Simon Baker.

Scheme Cream – The Scheme Cream struck me as the perfect product for general use if you just wanted something to give your hair a moderate style, and nothing too extreme. Or if your look is looking like you don’t do anything at all. Think Xavier Dolan.

Gel Triq – This is the first gel I’ve ever squeezed out of a tube that wasn’t all watered down and was suitable to use. This stuff works. Definitely best for dramatic hairstyles heavy on spikes or mohawks, it lasted all through the first night and into the next morning. Unreal holding power, but still flexible if you want to change your look at some point during the day or night. Think Cristiano Ronaldo.

The line of products from Hans de Fuko gives you the chance to be an artist when it comes to your personal appearance. Each individual cream/paste or pomade accentuates a different feature of your hair style, bringing your look to life, and also giving you the ability to experiment with other looks and feels.

And at just between $15-$17.50 per product, it’s worth trying out. Visit the website here.

  

Product Review: PERT Plus Classic Clean

For a long time I thought PERT Plus was just for old people. I still remember seeing the crusty old green bottle in the corner of my shower as a youth. Nothing about it said “cool” or “refreshing” — it was sort of an 80s standard that my dad used religiously, right next to his ceramic bottle of Old Spice.

While Old Spice has recently rejuvenated and repackaged itself to much acclaim, PERT Plus is also attempting a comeback, like Newt Gingrich. But unlike Newt, being repackaged and reintroduced to the public is going to be good for PERT Plus because it has substance and has been developed further than its original incarnation.

Even though 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner products now proliferate the market, PERT Plus was actually the first one to ever hit the market, back in 1987. As a result, the product has had to progress and distinguish itself. Classic Clean is one of six different available kinds of PERT Plus 2 in 1, which now has specialized versions for specific needs: Volumizing, Classic Clean for general use, Moisturizing, Invigorating and Anti-Dandruff. There is even a 3 in 1 product containing shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

I received my bottle of 2 in 1 PERT Plus Classic Clean and immediately popped the lid to take a whiff to see what kind of a scent I was dealing with. I remember the PERT of my youth having a heavy chemical smell that singed your nose hairs and burned your nostrils, and the experience of using it on your head was not dissimilar to the scent. But I was pleasantly surprised, because the scent of the new PERT Plus was fresh and pleasant. The scent itself actually smelled the way the color of the bottle looked — clean, crisp and breezy.

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