Grooming Products for the Every Man

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.

And if you’re in the market for a gift for a friend or family member (or if you just need a travel kit for yourself), the Travel Kit is loaded and only costs $8.

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.

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook

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  • Chris

    These products are awesome, I’ve been using them for several months and I cannot complain! I first ordered them online after seeing them in a magazine and not having a nearby Target. Along with the fact that they sent me a free pack of the “wooden soap”, they have completely changed my morning/night routine. I have recommended these to every person who would listen!

  • Norman Kelley

    Justin! Good show!

    FYI, there is something a guy can use in a pinch for exfoliation: Lava Hand Soap.

    I’ve e-mailed articles from your column and referred guys to it. Feedback from them is positive. Nice work Justin! And to all the writers at PRIMER.


  • Andrew

    Thanks, Norman, that’s awesome! We all appreciate it.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Grooming Products for the Every Man =-.

  • Luke – AspiringGentleman

    While these are great products, I have two suggestions to simplify things.

    Firstly, depending on your skin there’s likely no need to wash and scrub together every day. I typically alternative wash/scrub every day, and I find that my skin feels better afterwards (kind of similar to the effect of washing your hair only every other day, etc.). Also, given that I’m a bit of a minimalist, you can likely make due with only one lotion. I have a good aftershave balm that surpasses any lotion I’ve used before.

  • Andrew

    Luke, great tip, I actually alternate between the wash and scrub also, and have found good results as well.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..Grooming Products for the Every Man =-.

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  • Pheramoan

    Exactly what i am looking for, the products should be beneficial for men and definitely i will use them.
    .-= Pheramoan´s last blog ..PheraMoan Review =-.

  • Ingrown Hair Remedy

    The only product that I have used is the face scrub but if the other products are just as good as the face scrub then I will have to get those too.
    .-= Ingrown Hair Remedy´s last blog ..3 Tips To Eliminate Ingrown Hairs In Your Pubic Area =-.

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  • Chris

    Not a fan of this stuff. Enough with the metro-crap! You’re not testing on animals? That means you’re testing on me and THAT is highly unethical. Honestly, lets allow the crying over animals to the ladies. Man up fellas you’re having steak for dinner anyway.

    No tallow??? You mean that you don’t use one of thee best soap making ingredients of all time? Tallow makes for a far finer soap than veggie fat. I can get far better for far less – try Yardley in the supermarket, dollar a bar.

    And you don’t need a “scrub”. Over the long run you’re sanding your skin – not good. Can lead to a build up of irritation. Just use a good TALLOW based soap in the shower in conjunction with a cotton wash cloth. Give your face and body a good rub with that lather and you’re good to go.

    I don’t care for “gels” in shaving. I’m a brush and soap man myself – I find it far better for my face and far more protective than most modern goo against a razor.

    You have dry skin? Here’s an old actor’s trick that runs all the way back to the earliest days of Hollywood: spread a tiny amount of Vaseline over your skin – wherever you have the problem – even on your face. Take a cotton towel and wipe it off gently. You’re good to go and you’ll stay younger looking for far longer.

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  • Casey

    I really like their products. However, I have never found anything that beats my old stand by for shaving- Baby shampoo applied with a badger hair brush. Works great, no soap and is hypo-allergenic. It’s also super cheap, too.

    • Andrew

      Cool idea, I’ll have to give it a try!