I am suspicious of products I first hear about through a social media promotion. But I couldn’t help but order a free sample kit of 17 products from Brickell Men’s Products that I saw on Facebook. I figured it would be a good addition to my travel kit if nothing else. I have been using some of the samples for a couple days and here is a quick review of a few.
Note: I have no connection to Brickell and I received nothing for this review (not sure they would love everything I have to say anyway). The kit is free to anyone if you pay the $7 shipping. It’s actually a really good deal and I recommend getting one. I’m intentionally not posting a link to their website to minimize the inevitable accusations of shillery.
I basically expected this to be imported products with clean packaging and a hefty social media marketing budget (sorry for the cynicism Brickell folks). But that’s actually not the case at all. You can read Brickell’s story in their words, but basically its a couple of guys who bootstrapped a line of natural men’s products, struggled for a couple of years as they got off the ground, and have eventually become pretty successful.
The products are all natural – or at least nearly all natural – and organic in many cases. I purchased the unscented kit but the products also come in scented versions.
Shave Cream and Aftershave
I’ll start with the Shave Cream and Aftershave since this is what I care about the most.
The Shave Cream is a pudding-like yellow gel that is made from aloe, plant oils (coconut, shea, castor), and plant extracts. It is a non-lathering cream/gel that applies thin and transparent and has no scent to speak of (at least the unscented version).
I tried to lather it with a brush, even though the Brickell instructions say not to. It turns out they were right. It doesn’t lather at all, which makes sense because it is not a soap. It is more like a shaving oil that is suspended in aloe gel.
I was pleasantly surprised at the performance. It was pretty slick and I did get a good shave. People who shave around goatees or beards may also appreciate that it is completely transparent.
In terms of the quality of the product, this is a huge step above synthetic canned aerosol. But people who enjoy the ritual of traditional wet shaving will obviously miss the latherability. I like to lather, so this will probably not end up in my regular rotation, but I could see it finding a place in my travel bag.
$24 for 5 ounces is steep, especially given the broad availability of artisan soaps and creams, but I do appreciate that this is an all-natural product and quite different from the rest of my shaving creams/soaps.
I liked the Aftershave and I will continue to use my sample. It looks similar to the shaving cream but a little thinner. The main ingredient is aloe and it also has plant extracts, a little olive oil, and some glycerin to moisturize. It reminds me of an all-natural version of Proraso sensitive aftershave lotion, although it is a little heavier than Proraso.
I liked the soothing properties from the aloe and the plant extracts. It did have a little bit of a sheen, but no more than most aftershave balms. It was 90 degrees today, so I found this balm to be a little heavy, but I find that to be true of any balm in mid-July.
This balm is $24 for 4 ounces, which I find to be reasonable. I like to keep an unscented balm around the house and I would actually consider using this one.
Note: they also included a sample of a Balancing Toner which is primarily aloe, cucumber juice, and witch hazel in a splash. It smells just like a cucumber. I haven’t used it yet, but I imagine it would be a good post-shave splash.
Purifying Face Mask
This took me pretty far outside of my routine. The Purifying Charcoal Face Mask is primarily a mix of clays (kaolin, bentonite & magnesium aluminum silicate) and charcoal. It is intended to pull impurities out of the skin, but I read that it is especially helpful for oily skin – which can be a problem for me in summer.
The mask is a thick paste that looks like portland cement and has the texture of modeling clay. You apply it to your face and wait 15 minutes before rinsing. In that time it dries out leaving your face feeling tight and a little crusty. But after rinsing my face did feel cleaner and less oily.
There was a time not long ago that I would have laughed at a guy using a clay mask. In fact, it still feels a little out of the ordinary. But here is the reality – I’m not getting any younger, and my skin sure as hell isn’t reverse-aging. I’m opening up to the idea of putting a little more effort into skincare if it helps over time. I’ll use the rest of this sample and I wouldn’t be opposed to buying a tub. I don’t know if $35 for 4oz is reasonable or not.
Face Scrub, Face Wash & Night Serum
This kit has 4 different products for washing your face – a clarifying wash, a scrub, a charcoal purifying wash and a hair/body/face 3-in-1. I have tried the clarifying wash and the scrub.
The Clarifying Gel Face Wash smells like minty honey and works pretty well. It is like a thin liquid soap . It has a little lather but it is not a true soap. Of all of the ingredient lists I have seen so far, this one is the most elusive, with several ingredients I don’t recognize.
Clarifying Gel Face Wash Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis* (Aloe Vera), Centella Asiatica* (Gotu Kola Extract), Equisetum Arvense* (Horsetail Plant Extract), Pelagonium Gravoleons (Geranium Extract), Taraxacum Officinale* (Dandelion Extract), Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate & Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Chloride, Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Levulinate, Capryl Hydroxamic Acid, Sodium PCA, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Oil, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass) Oil.
Regardless I thought this face wash worked pretty well and I wouldn’t hesitate to use it. I would prefer a product with salicylic acid to clear out the pores, but the clarifying face wash is a product I would use.
The Face Scrub, on the other hand, was a little rough in my opinion. It is translucent paste that has a lot of pumice for exfoliation. I actually liked the smell of it – kind of like a health food store. But the pumice was overkill. I know it is meant to exfoliate, and my regular facewash has scrubbing beads, but the pumice in this formulation was a little rough on the areas I shave – not so bad on the forehead, cheeks and nose. Even though I liked the scent I personally would not purchase the scrub.
The Night Serum might be the weirdest appearance in the lineup. It looks like thick carrot juice. I can’t really give a fair review of a product that is supposed to work over time, so I’ll let you make your own assessment.
But…cough…this stuff costs $75/oz. I don’t know what kind of face magic can justify $75/oz, but hopefully I see it by the time I reach the bottom of my 10 ML sample.
Shampoo & Conditioner
I realize that every guy’s hair is different, but I just can’t get on board with the Brickell Shampoo & Conditioner.
I felt like the Shampoo was ultra-clarifying, but not in a good way. It removed the day’s pomade from my hair, but it felt like it also removed every semblance of moisture. It gave my hair an odd tacky feel that made it tough to run my fingers through even when it was wet.
The shampoo is supposed to be strengthening, and it might be a fantastic product for people with fine or thin hair. But my hair is pretty thick and I typically look for a smoothing shampoo, not a strengthening one. I didn’t like it, and I’m not inclined to finish the bottle.
The Conditioner was equally disappointing for my hair type. It is aloe thickened with carrageenan, with several plant extracts. It is ultra lightweight, so maybe it is intended to not weigh down thin hair. But it really doesn’t have any of the conditioning, smoothing, or moisturizing properties that I look for in a conditioner.
You should absolutely order a sample kit from Brickell. It is an insanely good deal and you will probably find some products you like. In my opinion some were winners and others were losers, and you might find the same. But I think this company is making an honest effort at producing high-quality natural products. I have no incentive to recommend ordering a sample kit, but I think people would be crazy not to.
There are many products in the kit I haven’t tried yet like the Anti-Aging Cream, Eye Balm, and Body Lotion. I look forward to trying more of these in the coming days.
The goal of this blog is to share the benefits of traditional wet shaving because I believe it has significant benefits for men. Brickell shares a similar goal that I can appreciate – sharing the benefits of proper skin care, even if it takes men out of their comfort zone.
I’m sure many of us treated our skin like crap for decades of our lives (I used to wash my face with Irish Spring in college). I think its probably a good idea to give our skin a little more attention and I applaud Brickell’s efforts at spreading the word.