Until very recently men had only two options when it came to grooming products like face wash: those that were one-size-fits-all, and harsh on many skin types or those so overly expensive no self-respecting guy could (or would WANT to) afford them. Well that’s all changed: we’ve found a grooming lineup that acknowledges the landscape of men’s skin types that’s also widely available on an entry-level salary.
The men’s grooming market still pales in comparison to the vast sea of products designed for women despite the fact that we’re all made of the same stuff (and some days I want to feel pretty too, dammit!). On top of that, the extremely few products that are made for men generally have one or more of the following problems:
a. the manufacturer of each product foolishly presupposes all men have the exact same skin type and thus, limits the options, chemistry, and instructions to the most common denominator
b. the products are marketed based more on their potential fantastical psychosexual effects on women rather than the products’ actual effectiveness
c. the products are saddled with the industry-wide standards of artificial additives, animal testing, and high prices
While ‘B’ would be a great selling point, modern science has not yet proven the existence of human pheromones that yield the sort of results shown in Axe commercials (among others). Plus, if these mind-bending chemicals did exist, do you think any company capable of reproducing them would do so for like $5 per bottle? I digress.
In addition to the flaws listed above, when it comes to bath and body products, guys are notoriously reluctant to try new brands. All of these problems sat on the table when I first encountered Every Man Jack.
The brainchild of Ritch Viola, Every Man Jack first appeared on store shelves in early 2007. Despite it largely being available only in Target and pharmacies like Walgreens, the relatively young company boasts a smart and stylish product line that, in short order, has shattered the flawed glass ceiling that currently hangs over the men’s grooming industry.
One of the most important wrinkles in this relatively young company: all of their products are devoid of dyes, parabens (preservatives), sodium lauryl sulfate (a chemical found in nearly all other oil-removing soaps/shampoos), phthalates (a common, apparently dangerous grooming product substance that actually has its root in plastics), and tallow (an ingredient in most soaps that is – believe it or not – nothing but a type of beef fat). Further, none of Every Man Jack’s efforts are ever tested on animals. Unfortunately, this sort of ethical responsibility is rare in the current corporate climate and the few brands that practice it deserve serious praise.
With no single product costing more than eight dollars, Every Man Jack is equally keen on an innovative business model, keeping their branding material simple and cool, choosing to focus more on what’s inside the bottles rather than what’s on the outside. That’s not to suggest that the packaging for EMJ is boring – it’s incredibly distinctive and is, in fact, what spawned my interest in their products, in the first place (the good-looking design convinced me to read the back of the products, which taught me the meaningful things like “natural ingredients, no animal testing”). The only question left after EMJ sent some samples over to try was whether or not this product line would work for me.
The answer? A resounding “yes”.
The 1-2-3 Skin Clearing system (Wash, Scrub, and Lotion) is a great, non-abrasive remedy to all common male skin conditions, from acne to dry skin. Used in the morning and at night, I found the Wash and Scrub to be particularly effective with a wet washcloth (both for application and rinse), clearing oil and dead skin without any irritation of any kind – no redness or tingling pain. My face hasn’t felt this smooth since I hit puberty in third grade.
The Shave Gel is extremely effective (and affordable) – razor burn and ingrown hairs (gross) were nowhere to be found after a few days of using the gel in conjunction with the Post-Shave Face Lotion (which I can say without hyperbole is a delight). I have not needed any moisturizer or aloe on my face since adding these five products to my daily rotation, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment, seeing as my adult face has perpetually been in need of moisture.
All things considered, from the manufacturing to the packaging to the pricing to the results out of the bottle, Every Man Jack is a respectable brand that delivers like few other companies do (especially in the market of men’s grooming products). Also: they make bars of soap that look like little blocks of wood – we should reward them for that.