Post Riposte: Toiletries

Reader Benjamin recently wrote:

“I’ve been reading a lot lately about all the cancer causing ingredients in men’s toiletries and have decided to go all-natural. Any brands or products I should check out?”

Hey Benjamin, thanks for getting in touch. Between the petrochemicals, artificial colors / fragrances / preservatives and various other man-made nasties found in most commercial grooming products, all-natural is definitely a good way to go. Below are some of my personal favorites, all of which I use on a regular basis.

Dr. Woods Soaps
Though similar to Dr. Bronners, there are a few key differences that put Dr. Woods on top in my book. Firstly, the soaps are much thicker. Secondly, I like the scents more. And thirdly, the packaging isn’t covered in religious scripture. Add to that a rock-bottom low price, certified organic ingredients, and multiple uses (they make a fantastic shampoo), and you’ve got one of the best all-natural soaps on the market.

Portland General Store
Given its popularity amongst menswear bloggers, you’ve probably already heard of Portland General Store. The brand offers a wide range of fragrances, soaps, shampoos and shave products, all of which are made without any synthetic or artificial ingredients. I’ve been hooked on their Whiskey Cologne for almost two years now, and to this day, am still totally enamored with the scent. They also make a damn fine Wet Shave Soap, for all your brush users.

Since 1982, Rhode Island’s QED has been a go-to for shave connoisseurs the world over (yes, shave connoisseurs are a real thing). The store’s in-house QEDman range is produced in small batches, using essential oils, organic herbs, and all-natural moisturizers. The Shave Stick – arguably the co.’s most popular item – is an especially good pick-up for anyone that travels a lot. I also recommend the Organic Hyrdrosols for post-shave.

Coastal Classic Creations
California’s Coastal Classic Creations doesn’t mess around when it comes to the purity of its products. From ingredients, to manufacturing, to packaging, the co. goes out of its way to make as little an impact as possible. The men’s line includes shave-soaps, fragrances and moisturizers. I’m particularly fond of the Horizon Shaving Bar, which both smells great, and is super gentle.

Duggan Sisters
The Life Stinks Deodroant Powder from the Duggan Sisters is hands-down the hippiest product I use, but holy cow is it good. It’s taken me years to find a natural deodorant that actually works. I’ve used the Crystal (in solid, spray and roll-on form), I’ve used Toms, I’ve used countless tiny health food store brands. Nothing comes close. Admittedly, slapping powder under your arms does take some getting used to, and the price is downright astronomical. But, it’s some of the safest deodorant out there, and, one can will last you between 6 and 9 months.

Quick word of warning: if you’ve never used natural deodorants before, there will be a short detox period after you switch, during which you will smell the worst you ever have – that’s just your body cleaning out the toxins from your old products. My advice is to switch over during the winter, when you’re not sweating as much.

Honorable mentions:
The soaps from Chicago’s Smallflower Trading Co. are affordable, smell fantastic, and are completely natural (Himalayan Cedar & Cinnamon is a personal favorite). The Mangrove Hair Conditioner from Keys is vegan, chemical-free, gluten-free and works great as a leave-in / styling product (I use it instead of pomade). And lastly, the Sandalwood Eau de Toilette from Art of Shaving is made with nothing but essential oils and alcohol, and smells great (better price here).

Got a question you want answered? Send an email to brad[at]well-spent[dot]com.

  • Emily

    I’ve never heard of this brand before, but the products seem like they are good quality. It’s nice to see all natural and organic products for a change.

  • A.M.

    Really appreciate you for this list! Looking forward to trying so of this stuff out.

    • Brad

      Enjoy it!

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  • Spencer

    What about some hair gel options?

  • Spencer

    You’re two steps ahead. Much appreciation from KC.

    • Brad

      Much appreciation backatcha from CHI.

  • Allan

    What do you use to wash your clothes with? Semi-related, I think.

    • Brad

      Dr. Bronner’s, Dr. Wood’s, or Trader Joe’s brand laundry detergent, depending on whatever I have the most of.

  • Allan

    Thank you! I’ve been using organic soap nut shells in a satchel lately, but I need something with a bit more washing power.

    • Brad

      I usually throw in a tablespoon or two of baking soda too.

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  • Al

    Hey Brad,

    What are you using as your daily face moisturizer? Been considering the Keys Luminos but not really into breaking the bank.

  • Al

    Thanks, Brad!

  • Locke

    Whats your pick for sunscreen? I’ve used zinc based sun screens before, but I really don’t like the feeling…