For as long as I can remember, my bathroom cabinet and beauty routine has been dictated by whatever gets the job done best. Often, that has meant buying and using products regardless of what gender they’re marketed to. I first started using “men’s” products as a teenager in order to fill needs that women’s products hadn’t yet met—in my case, that started with razors.
My gateway was the Mach 3, which offered three blades (or one more than anything sold “for women” at that time) before I graduated to Gillette’s Fusion 5 five-blade razor, the first on the market to feature that many blades, and that I discovered gave me the closest shave for my legs and underarms.
From there, if I found something lagging with the “women’s” products in my cabinet—such as deodorant, shower gel, and razors, I would try men’s versions and I often found myself more satisfied in the performance as well as the fragrances (not every woman digs florals). Here’s what I keep stocked—and why—marketing aside.
1. Degree Men 48-Hour Antiperspirant & Deodorant Stick
Sure, there are benefits to sweat—I appreciate its natural cooling abilities, especially in tandem with a nice gust of wind. Still, there are times I’d rather not be sweating. My current deodorant option came only after I exhausted my selection on the “women’s” side of things. It’s the only antiperspirant I’ve found that can effectively block out sweat, despite Secret’s whole catchphrase, “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.” I tried it and it definitely wasn’t strong enough for me.
Degree Men 48-Hour Antiperspirant has been keeping me dry and odor-free for over 10 years now. It’s not only a deodorant that adds a pleasant smell, it also blocks the sweat glands with antiperspirant, meaning my underarms stay relatively dry even on the hottest days. No more stained shirts!
I cycle through different scents every time a stick runs out. Right now, I’m using “Extreme Blast,” but I frequently keep “Cool Rush” on hand, both of which have fresh, clean scents. Neither fragrance is overbearing nor does it linger, so the results are generally odorless from application until the end of the day. And, yes, it does the job the name claims it will. I’ve noticed that if I skip a shower for a day and fail to reapply it the next day, I’m still able to bask in its benefits. Get the Degree Men 48-Hour Antiperspirant & Deodorant Stick at Target for $2.49
2. Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Massaging Soap
I have sensitive skin that’s prone to eczema, which means I have to be especially careful of what items I integrate into my routine. Finding a suitable body exfoliator proved to be quite the long-term task, and then I found Jack Black’s Charcoal Body Bar Massaging Soap. I use it directly on skin for a full-body cleanse in the shower and then lather it into my hands first before applying it to my face.
Before this bar, I was using basic soaps like Ivory or Dr. Bronner’s, making sure to keep things as plain as possible to play it safe. I was thrilled to discover that this bar soap, made of charcoal, glycerin, jojoba beads, and seaweed, doesn’t irritate my skin and leaves it feeling soft and fresh. During the first couple of weeks of washes, the raised dots on the underside of the bar work to make the shower experience physically feel good, but it has small jojoba beads throughout to keep its exfoliating properties even after the bar has worn down.
Get the Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Massaging Soap at Sephora for $15
3. Bulldog Lemon and Bergamot Body Wash
I’ve never been one for body washes, but the Bulldog Lemon and Bergamot Body Wash changed everything since I tried it on a whim in March. I’ve since sampled a few other scents, but this is the one that won me over! It’s enticing without being overpowering, and it doesn’t trigger my sensitivity to fragrances. Used in combination with a double-sided scrub mitt, it keeps my body feeling fresh without drying out my skin and it hasn’t triggered a single breakout of my eczema. I also appreciate that it’s a vegan product. After trying this, I waited awhile to replace my bar of soap again, but now I use them fairly evenly. I tend to pick up the body wash on hotter days because I feel like there’s more to cleanse from my skin due to sweat and heat.
Get the Bulldog Lemon and Bergamot Body Wash on Amazon for $6.99
4. Jack Black Reserve Body & Hair Cleanser
Once I became a body wash convert, it seemed only logical to try out an option from the makers of my most-used bar soap—and the cardamom and cedarwood scent sold me. The ingredients make for an alluring aroma that doesn’t linger in or after a shower, which (if you haven’t already caught on) is a top attribute for me. Plus, at its 33-ounce size, I have a feeling it will last me all year, making the heftier price tag worth it.
While it can be used for both skin and hair, I use it exclusively on my body and appreciate that it leaves my skin feeling clean and supple—likely because it has some crossover ingredients with the massaging bar soap, like jojoba oil, aloe vera, and shea butter to moisturize the skin. Depending on my mood, I’ll reach for this one or the Bulldog interchangeably.
Get the Jack Black Black Reserve Body & Hair Cleanser at Sephora for $52
5. Philip’s Norelco OneBlade
Just as my first foray into using men’s products began with a razor, I still incorporate the Fusion5 into my routine to this day. But I’d always been curious about electric razors and wondered if they could make my life easier in the same way they’ve benefited former boyfriends.
Eventually, I took the plunge. I’ve tried out a couple models with varying degrees of success, but the Norelco OneBlade is the standout. Sure, it takes a few passes over legs—same as a traditional razor—but I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing is ever going to make shaving body hair less laborious for the surface area it covers. For me, though, the OneBlade’s best use is for achieving a tidy bikini line without razor burn or instant ingrown hairs, which feels like nothing short of a miracle. The OneBlade offers a comfortable shave experience with smooth results, both same-day and in the days that follow.
The razor is usable in both wet and dry conditions, and no shaving cream is necessary. That’s proved to be a benefit for me because my bathtub isn’t the most spacious spot, and the shower curtain renders everything a low-light experience. With this, I’m able to shave outside the tub with more room and better light.
Get the Philips Norelco OneBlade Hybrid Electric Trimmer on Amazon for $34.97
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.