Shop Swap: The Men’s Products That Women Will Love (And Vice Versa)

Gentlemen, admit it—you’ve secretly slathered on some of that exfoliator you found in the shower. And ladies, you know you’ve always at least wondered whether his razor might give you a smoother shave. The editors here at Birchbox aren’t afraid to experiment with products that are technically made for the opposite sex. Here, we share our discoveries about which beauty and grooming products work for both girls and guys.

In this debut column, senior editor Cristina confesses to her desire for a more masculine shaving routine and associate editor Adam admits he’d like to steal a thing or three from ladies’ skincare regimens—specifically for acne.

Cristina’s beauty dilemma

I am not a big fan of shaving to begin with (it takes too long, I always manage to miss spots) and I am definitely not a big fan of the girly pink razors and baby powder scented shaving cream. Plus, I need a blade that can handle my unapologetically thick Italian hair!

Adam’s recommendations

I think C.O. Bigelow’s classic razor is sturdy enough for the job—I’ve seen it hack away full facial scruff with aplomb. As for a cream to soften those thick hairs, Cristina should try Ursa Major Stellar Shave Cream, which I like for its transparency, even when lathered. Plus, it’s got great earthy ingredients like vetiver, ginger, and fir that won’t leaving you smelling like a boudoir. To end the regimen, Jack Black Post-Shave Cooling Gel uses aloe and is alcohol-free, so it will moisturize legs without drying skin out.

shave products

Cristina’s take

First of all, I love the ivory color of the C.O. Bigelow razor—it doesn’t scream, ‘This is for a dude!’ And it’s compatible with Mach3 blades, which is exactly what my stubborn hairs need (and conveniently what my husband buys in bulk.) I liked that the shave cream didn’t lather but I could still see whether I was missing spots, and the formula seemed to soften my hair so it was easy to glide over. There’s no sting with the cooling gel, which dried so much faster than the normal lotion I use. The herbal scent totally clinched my conversion to men’s shaving products.

Adam’s grooming dilemma

For some reason, acne eluded me until after puberty. Now, as a grown man, I get a few pimples a week. The men’s products that I’m used to are more about the skincare regimen itself—cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize—, as opposed to direct treatment, not to mention the need for temporary cover-up. I’m not shy about wanting to use a concealer, because I certainly would prefer not having red bumps on my face.

Cristina’s recommendations

Adam’s acne-prone skin could benefit from a deep-cleansing mask like DDF’s Sulfur Therapeutic one, which saps excess oil and clears pores in just ten minutes. I’d also have him apply Jurlique’s Calendula Redness Rescue Restorative Treatment Serum daily, to smooth over any skin irritations and minimize redness. And for those times when he wants to hide any blemishes, Miracle Skin Transformer’s Treat and Conceal is a one-two punch—it calms any inflammation while hiding pimples in the meantime.

acne products

Adam’s take

Until now, I have never used a mask that instantly felt like it was doing its job. This one started tingling as soon as I applied it¬ and—in one word—my skin felt healthy after I washed it off. I am kind of sad I only get to use it once a week. As for the serum, it’s like a super-moisturizer that uses organic ingredients such as calendula and chamomile to heal and prevent any redness, and it was easy to incorporate into my routine. I’ve always worried that a concealer would just slow or hinder the healing process, but the MST treated my pimples while covering them up.

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