About the author: Dave I. has been a Dappered reader for several years. His interest in fashion started with shoes and expanded to encompass watches, suits, and general mens style. When not thinking about his next purchase he can be found enjoying a pint of locally brewed craft beer.
One of the good things to come from this whole #menswear dealio is the crush of grooming products aimed at men. Whereas in the past, if you wanted to wash your face with anything but soap and water, you had to sheepishly take a bottle of St. Ives to the cashier. And, why-oh-why was it always on the shelf with all of the other female grooming products?
Thankfully times have changed; now there is a plethora of products aimed squarely at men. It’s as if retailers suddenly realized that men like to take care of their skin too (or, that they also have skin, and perhaps they can be convinced that it might be worth taking care of). On the ground floor of improved men’s grooming is facewash. It’s what replaces the bar soap that you scrub on the rest of your bits, and should hopefully help keep your mug in the best condition possible. Here’s a breakdown of three popular, easy to acquire options…
#1. Bulldog Skincare for Men – Original Face Wash – $8.50
About the brand: Bulldog products are produced out of the UK. The company prides itself on using Cruelty Free products and making sure that none of their products contain parabens that are often found in other skin care products. Another good thing about Bulldog products is the price. A tube of 175ml/5.9fl.oz face wash for $8.50? Not as cheap as a bar of soap, but cheaper than most other high-end face washes on the market.
Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Bulldog’s Original Face Wash works quite well on the face. A nickel to a quarter size amount produces a good lather. The scent is mild and not at all unpleasant. Plus, once the wash is rinsed from the face there is no lingering aroma. Final verdict: the Original Face Wash does everything as advertised. Leaves the face feeling clean without being overly drying.
#2. Jack Black – Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser – $19.00
About the Brand: Jack Black products are likely familiar to many menswear geeks since they’re available in many locations, as well as often promoted in magazines such as GQ and Esquire. Not necessarily some heritage brand that’s been around for decades, but they’ve been a strong player in recent memory.
Verdict: 4/5 Stars
The Daily Facial Cleanser combines a toner and cleanser in one, which may appeal to guys who are in a rush to get out the door and want to save time. Ingredient-wise the product contains a slew of organic components and is paraben free. How do all those organics (minus parabens or course) feel on the face? Not bad. Not bad at all. With a small amount of product – maybe a nickel’s worth – a good lather can be obtained. The smell is a light sage scent and not at all bothersome to the senses. Once out of the shower the scent stays with you for a few minutes before going on its merry way. As facial washes go, the Pure Clean Daily Facial Cleanser is a good one. But it’s the cost that might make some balk. A 177ml/6fl.oz bottle goes for a steep $19.00.
#3. Kiehl’s – Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash – $22.00
About the Brand: Kiehl’s was founded as a pharmacy in New York in 1851. Yes, mid 19th century. Half a century before the Newsies were causing a ruckus. Fast forward a hundred and fifty(ish) yearse, and they were purchased by L’Oreal Group in 2000, but still maintain the old-time shelf presence they’ve had since their beginnings.
Verdict: 3/5 Stars
The Energizing Face Wash is part of Kiehl’s larger Facial Fuel line. The Face Wash contains caffeine, menthol and vitamin E, as well as a paraben derivative and other ingredients. The Energizing Face Wash works well enough, and was the only product to feel tingly on the skin during and after use. This is likely due to the menthol. While I liked the sensation at first, I found my skin to be excessively dry after use and I can only equate the dryness to the menthol. After all, menthol is an alcohol and alcohol has drying properties. The cost for the Energizing Face Wash is a reasonable $22.00 for 250ml/8.5fl.oz.
The Bottom Line
Everyone’s skin is different, so to label one of these three as a definitive winner wouldn’t be fair. And each product stands on its own merits. Yet most who try Bulldog’s original face wash will appreciate its effectiveness, as well as its price. The company does not test on animals, uses wholesome ingredients and is reasonably priced. It’s the type of face wash that might make even the most ardent bar-soap proponents consider switching to the bottle.