Review by Ken Lam
He Says: “I do not work for any of the brands mentioned in the this review and I have not been paid to mention them. They are simply some of the products that I have used in the past and have found them to be good products.”
There was a time when male grooming products consisted solely of a bottle of aftershave, however, times have changed and the male grooming industry has turned into a multi-million pound business, having grown by more than 800% since 2003. Reports indicate that grooming products for men have been growing faster than any other beauty sector, and East Asia is partly responsible for the soaring sales. Asia is driving the global sales of men’s skincare products, with the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans being the highest consumers.
When deciding which skincare products to buy, it’s extremely important to choose the products that are actually suitable for your skin type. This is because skin type varies between people and the way the skin responds to treatment is different. If the wrong type of treatment is used, it can actually do more harm than good. The main difference between male and female skin is that male skin is generally thinner and drier due to the constant shaving that reduces the skin barrier. Furthermore, a difference exists between Asian skin and let’s say Caucasian skin. Asians have more pigment cells which means that Asians are less prone to fine lines and wrinkles etc. However, the downside is that Asian skin is more prone to uneven tones and inflamed skin caused by acne or shaving rash.
Here is a review of a list of products that’s been known to be suitable for the modern Asian male;
Shiseido Men Deep Cleansing Scrub – 125ml (RRP £22)
Shiseido is a high-end Japanese brand which has successfully entered into the western market in recent years. At £22 for a 125ml tube, it certainly doesn’t come cheap, but you get what you pay for, which is a fantastic face scrub. The scrub actually lathers up very well, so just squeeze a small amount such as the size of a 20p coin should be adequate for each use.
Although the general perception is that Asian skin tends to be smooth and clear, the reality is that Asian males usually have larger pores than their Caucasian counterparts. As a result of this, Asian men often suffer from visibly blocked pores and blackhead breakouts. This particular product is great in combating these problems, and since people of Asian descent have oilier skin and prone to scarring, the scrub doesn’t damage the skin because of the absence of alcohol and any unnatural fragrance.
Bulldog Original Face Scrub – 100ml (RRP £5.79)
Bulldog is a UK brand which has been rapidly increasing market share and have recently entered the Asian market by launching their products in South Korea. A great deal of face scrub products for men are either too soft or too abrasive, but the Bulldog Original face scrub seems to have got it just right.
The main ingredients include coconut oil and shea butter, so it creates an oily texture rather than a foamy lather. This product leaves the skin feeling clean, smooth and fresh and it doesn’t dry the skin out. If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to only use once a week. If you like the idea of using a skincare with natural ingredients only and looking for value for money, then this is the product for you!
Gatsby Moving Rubber – Grunge Mat – 80g (RRP £10.99)
The Gatsby Moving Rubber range is one of the most popular styling products in Asia. This particular product works especially well on Asian hair and is ideal for short to medium short length hair. It’s great for people who prefer a more natural look without any shine and it has a very strong hold which would last throughout the day.
Another plus point is that its specially formulated fibre called the ‘moving rubber’ allows you to restyle the hair without washing it and still keeping a strong hold even without applying hairspray.
It feels light and has a very pleasant fresh green apple scent but the downside is that when you run your fingers through the hair, it can leave the fingers feel a little sticky and when the product is stored in a place where the temperature is slightly warm, the wax would start to melt a little inside the container and tarnish the effectiveness of the product, so it’s essential to store in a cool dry place.
Hairbond Moulder – 100ml (RRP £13.99)
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Hairbond Moulder shaper will be the wonderful peachy smell that it gives off. The product feels very light and natural and only a small amount needs to be applied to create hold, separation and definition. Asian hair absorbs and retains moisture more quickly, so the matt finish look of the Moulder is ideal because it gives the effect of wax without the shine and greasy look.
If you have thick and short to medium length hair, the hold will be still strong enough to stay in shape for a whole day. Once you’ve tried using professional haircare products from high-end brands such as Hairbond, you’ll ’definitely notice the superiority immediately and won’t go back to using the cheaper alternatives that you can purchase from the supermarkets. The Hairbond Moulder is easier to washout than the Gatsby products, and feels lighter and less greasy, but if you like to restyle the shape numerous of times during the day, then Gatsby will be more suitable for you.
Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream – 100ml (RRP £9.99)
The main selling point of this shaving cream is that it contains an innovative ingredient called ‘decelerine’ which helps to reduce the thickness of the beard and slows down hair growth. It may seem quite expensive for a 100ml tub, but only a small amount needs to be applied for each shave because the lather it makes whips up very quickly and generously.
For best results, it is advisable to use with a shaving brush. Just a small amount on the tips of a wet brush will produce a cream that is rich enough to offer a good cushion between the skin and the razor blade and it stays on the face without disappearing like a lot of shaving foams do. It’s suitable for people who have sensitive skin but after rinsing with water, the skin can feel it lacks a little moisture.
Murad Cleansing Shave – 100ml (RRP £25)
The Murad Cleansing Shave is effectively a 2-in-1 product as it can be used as a facewash and it also doubles up as a shaving cream. After applying a small amount of the product onto the face, it quickly forms a fairly thick lather. Since the consistency of the lather is quite soapy, it acts as a layer of lubrication which lay directly on the surface of the skin and allows the razor blade to glide smoothly over the face without any irritation.
Murad’s exclusive beard softening ingredients ensures that the skin is kept warm and wet during the shave and creates a soft, smooth lather and fresh feeling skin. This product is ideal for people who have sensitive skin and who often neglect the application of a post-shave balm. This product is very similar to the Shiseido Cleansing Foam which has now been discontinued.
Biotherm Homme Cleansing Gel – 150ml (£18)
Biotherm is a French skincare brand that is owned by L’Oreal, but it’s actually better known in Asia than in the UK. This cleansing gel is most suitable for people who have sensitive and oily skin and is great when used prior to a shave because it tightens the skin and softens bristle, therefore the razor glides more smoothly without a drag.
Only a small amount of the gel needs to be applied as it lathers up really well and produces a good amount of foam. It contains a high level of vitamin enriched minerals so there’s quite a strong smell of zinc, but it’s a light wash and rinses easily. It is ideal for daily use to cleanse the skin and it thoroughly removes dirt and impurities without drying out the skin, and leaves skin feeling clean and clear.
Ren Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel – 150ml (RRP £17)
This cleansing gel is most suitable for people with combination skin problems. Combination skin means that the skin is dry mainly on the T zone or the nose and forehead, whilst being oily on the U-zone, which is the chin and cheeks.
The unique formula helps removing dirt and unclogging pores. Its light gel texture melts easily into the skin, however, it does not turn into a generous amount of lather. While this does not impact the effectiveness of the product, it may take a little adjusting to if you accustomed to other lather rich cleansers.