Think Like A Man


Girls, lend me your ears for like 10 minutes, tops. In the spirit of back-to-school (or back-to-fashion) excitement, I showed up to work yesterday with a shopping bag full of my favorite things. No one asked me to do it, but they're letting me riff. God Bless America.

News flash: all guys use, and, you know what?, even enjoy, beauty products. I get a big kick out of Old Spice High Endurance Body Wash, whose label says it "slams away dirt and odor"—as if men need to feel like a WWF wrestler in order to get into personal hygiene. If we can take anything away from Gillette's genius new campaign with Andre 3000, Gael García Bernal, and Adrien Brody, it's that the tides are turning and pretty boys are having their moment in the sun. It's cool to care. Call me gay (I am), but I always have.

All of that said, my must-haves include a handful of products that are tried-and-true. I need a beauty malfunction during Fashion Week like the world needs more street-style stars, which is to say, I don't. My daily uniform will likely include some composite of nerdy Nike running sneakers, crazy pants (especially from Warriors of Radness, but thesethese, and these are all cool), and solid-color Uniqlo polos. The perfect mix of business and pleasure. Oh, and the following:

1. D.S. & Durga Orris Root cologne. It's not a crowd-pleaser—Emily said it smells "old lady-ish," but pleasing everyone is not what I'm about when it comes to fragrance. I like it because it's simultaneously powdery and woody (cedar?). And it's distinctive—cab drivers always ask me about it, which I take as a compliment. I think orris root is technically the root of an iris plant; it smells like violet, which is one of my favorite scents (I love Tom Ford's Violet Blonde, too, and those violet candies that taste like soap). Unfortunately, Orris Root was discontinued, but I have two "tester" bottles that the nice saleswoman at In God We Trust sold to me earlier this summer. But, really, all of the D.S. & Durga men's fragrances are awesome.

2. I also like Le Labo's 15ml-size Bergamote 22, a floral-musky blend, which is a mainstay in my travel dopp kit and in my backpack when I'm running around to shows.

3. Bumble and bumble's Sumotech. It's a cream/putty hybrid that's totally matte and goes a long way in reigning in my hair. I use a quarter-size amount and warm it up between my hands before going root-to-tip with that shit, all over my head.

4. Tracie Martyn Shakti Resculpting Body Cream. A couple of weeks ago, celeb-facialist Tracie and her partner, Marius, invited me to get the fancy-sounding Red Carpet Facial at their Union Square salon. It was my first facial, and I liked it—especially Tracie telling me that I looked "definitely 12 years old" after she finished with the electrodes and LED lights and microdermabrasion. A facial so good, you'll look like a child. Anyway, the best part of all of that was their gift to me of a bottle of Resculpting Cream, which is meant for the body (it's a "firming thigh, neck, and jawline treatment"), but which Tracie recommended I use around my eyes, to tighten and firm, in the morning. As opposed to other eye creams I've tried, this one really soaks in to a matte finish (rather than that you've-got-something-on-your-face sheen), has a righteous rose/hippie smell, and seems to perk up my face. I just pat around the area under my brows, to my upper cheekbones. You know, when I'm not "slamming away dirt and odor," and saying, "Fuck you!" to grease, etc.

5. Dior's Skinflash Primer. Years ago, I read on GOOP about a men's version of YSL Touche Éclat, ingeniously called L'Homme Touche Éclat Pour Homme. I have no doubt it is the exact same thing as the women's classic, but this one comes in a tough, nickle-colored pen. It lends credence to my firm belief that ALL GUYS USE CONCEALER, EVEN STRAIGHT ONES. It was just OK for covering up under-eye circles, maybe a little heavy, but I just figured out that these are not really my biggest issue. Instead, I think redness around my lower and upper lash lines are what's doing me in, looks-wise. Skinflash Primer, which Emily turned me on to, is awesome for this. It's not a concealer—it doesn't sit on your skin, or fall into the creases under your eyes. It absorbs easily and just kind of brightens and evens-out the areas you're applying it to. The red rings vanish and I look a little less wiped-out.

6. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. This is the only lip balm I've ever come across that is completely matte—it doesn't look like you're wearing anything. (If you know of any others, holler at me.) This is of the utmost importance to me when it comes to chapstick. Gloss is not a good look on guys. Plus, the peppermint scent (it's formulated with the herb) is a great sub-in for gum.

7. Solgar Vitamin D3 1000 IU Softgels. Like everybody that works indoors, I'm super deficient in vitamin D. My doctor told me to take a supplement and, problem solved! I take extra special care to chug these softgels during Fashion Week, as harsh runway lighting is no substitute for the real thing. I'm also really into two-shakes-a-day of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein in Vanilla Ice Cream, but that's another story, and really between me and my body, or me, my body, and my trash-talking trainer, Joe DeGeorge.

8. My final essential: Axe Body Spray. Because these bros are promising that I'll "smell like a hunk of man candy all day long." [Update: JK!]

—Nick Axelrod

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • katemossdaily

    I love borrowing from the boys - cologne, accessories, button-downs, hair product, etc. One thing I'd never borrow is Axe. I'm sorry, but I can't stand it!

  • Guest

    Oh, bless. I speak for the gay male quotient of your readership when I say that Nick Axelrod is a total hunk.

  • A.S.

    Blistex RPM For Men is certainly in the vein of the "slamming away body odor" sentiment (RPM, apparently, stands for "repair, protect, moisturize", but at least the acronym is aggressive-sounding). It's basically the same texture as the Burt's Bees, but has the added benefit of SPF 30 for the odd time when you are able to soak up some Vitamin D! Also, the tube is tough-guy-gray.

  • Eve

    My husband's side of the bathroom cabinet is overflowing with products and I love him for it. This wasn't always the case and I like to think I am behind it. I'm glad pretty boys are having their moment in the sun, nothing sexier than a man who knows and owns a well groomed look!

  • Jpsiegal

    Holla! Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm (SPF 25!!!) Totally matte, and mint scented :)

  • Fairytalesandcoffee

    I am not a dude...but this was also awesome! And yes, I do not hesitate from trying out male marketed products...:whether they be t-shirts, hats, bags, skincare, whatever it is!

  • Procrastinator

    Nuxe Reve de Miel is completely matte!

  • Elise Vandrunen

    Hi Nick,
    I also love Violet and those weird candies that taste like flowers. I cannot find them lately since my CostPlus World market closed, sadly. But as for the scent... you don't have to buy it because it is called pour FEMME after all, but please go and sniff Bulgari pour femme, it is a powdery violet dream that smells so incredible especially as a contrast to the stuffy, humid air of the city at the end of summer.
    Your writing style and humour are similarly refreshing!

  • ClosetCravings

    I think the Jack Black line is great for guys. They're quality products with masculine appeal that doesn't punch you in the face like Old Spice (my hubby does find their commercials really funny though).
    Satisfy Your Cravings For Celebrity Style and All Things Stylish and Sweet

  • Kitchen afternoon

    Apparently Vitamin D also helps the body metabolise fats

  • Guest

    My husband turned 30 this year and I am starting to notice a few lines permanently creasing his brow. Unfortunately, his allergies and asthma make him hyper-sensitive to chemical or natural scents in beauty products. Could you recommend fragrance-free, anti-aging products for men or for women?

    • non disclosure

      There are plenty of all-natural, allergen-free skincare brands to choose from these days, though I'd say the quickest route is to go straight for the established German brand Dr. Hauschka. It's very low on scent and the packaging is almost medicinal plain and should therefore be less of a hard sell to a guy.

      I have horribly sensitive skin and can't even wash my face with regular tap water; my skin can't tolerate the chlorine.... Among the all-organic, nothing-added brands, this is the one that really delivers for me.

      • Oliver

        OK I have to jump in here and suggest Ursa Major of Vermont. We make 'super natural' skin care for men - premium natural ingredients (no parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrance, etc), sublime aroma and texture, and truly great performance. And btw women with oilier skin love our face wash & face balm!

    • Ona_in_Barcelona

      The Clinique Super-Antioxidant moisturisers are really good - unfragranced, and the packaging is definitely gender-neutral!

    • ITGNick

      Hmm. I'm not that experienced with anti-aging products, in part because I don't spend enough time with a single cream to find out if it's actually doing anything to my 'signs of aging.' Would I have to wait a year? 5? I think the key to keeping skin looking its very best is moisturizer (I'm not alone in believing this). Slather on more than you think you need and let is soak in. I like Aesop--the products DO smell (great), but I'm pretty sure the fragrances are naturally derived. All of that said, tell me if you find something that erases wrinkles!!

  • AsphodelJones

    MAC Prep + Prime Lip is also completely matte, but the packaging is crazy and breaks easily. I think I'll run out to Walgreens and get a Burt's Bees lip balm. I love this post. We won't get into what I think of Axe Body Spray, as it takes all kinds. ;)

  • Tabbii

    I'm so glad that ITG acknowledge that they have a significant male audience and this post is nothing short of hilarious AND informative/legit. Keep it up guys xo

  • VotreAmie

    Love boy products, well not that they are just for boys but there is something so sexy about the way they smell. I'd much rather walk around all day smelling like hot boy than girl. Is that weird?! ha!

    • AsphodelJones

      No, that's not weird at all. Me too, and surely others.

  • charlotte bentley

    I'm so happy that I'm not the only one that enjoys "soap candy".
    You should switch to Jay Robb's protein! it's delicious and it has no aritifical sweeteners (sweetened with stevia), so it is better for you.

    • ITGNick

      Ooh, I'm going to check Jay Robb's stuff out- I like the sound of 'no artificial sweeteners'... but how does it taste??

    • ITGNick

      Ooh, I'm going to check out Jay Robb's stuff- I like the sound of 'no artificial sweeteners'... but how does it taste??

      • Kat

        Well, apparently "delicious" :)

  • NeenaJ

    So fun to read! I bought Kiehl's Facial Fuel Lip Balm For Men for my husband and it's totally matte. I borrow it on days when I don't want a shiny lip. Kiehl's does great things with men's grooming products. The shave creams are so amazing that hubs won't use anything else.

  • Anci

    My boyfriend is also into the skincare, and it seems more and more companies are targeting the boys now ;) ahahah welcome to our world!!!
    The bf gets some of his stuff off of ...which has only stuff for guys, really cool website actually, all the stuff there is curated and mainly from independent companies and designers (referring to the clothes/accessories anyway)

    Love the blog, love the new layout :):)

  • AIS

    Really enjoyed reading about skincare from a man's perspective. It gives me ideas for what I can get for my boyfriend and even use myself. Refreshing post!

  • ROKderm

    Loved this! Will show my hubby.

  • Kat

    The Caudalie lip balm is matte too, as well as being the best lip balm. I have super dry, cracked lips, in winter sometimes so bad that I can't smile because they'll crack and bleed and that's just disturbing behaviour in the classroom. Balms like Burt's Bees and petroleum based balms just can't penetrate the skin in any kind of timely fashion - it'll take actual hours to work. Do I have time for that? (I really don't have time for that. Smiling! It's important! Also, talking.)
    On top of that, there is that thing where petroleum based balms work if you use them at 5 min intervals, but if you stop, the dryness is worse than before. The Caudalie one works in minutes, no matter the condition of my lips, and actually betters the whole thing for up to a month (in summer! In winter, maybe a day, which is also good.)

  • Melissa

    Weleda Everon lipbalm is completely matte to.

  • Oliver

    What's notably absent from this line-up is a little 'Great Bear' haha...

  • Dominique

    Nuxe Reve de Miel Lipbalm is completely matte and smells great!

  • Literarywitch

    I really enjoy your writing and your "voice," which is distinctive. It's what Emily was so good at when she launched the blog on her own -- a voice that is strong, assertive, stylish, but not trying-too-hard-to-be-cool.

  • Marissa Daniels

    if you like the matte finish of burt's, you MUST try the Nuxe reve de miele lip balm - comes in a pretty glass pot and is WAY more hydrating than Burt's. Just got it and I'm addicted!

  • Guest

    Weleda balm is also matte!

  • Maria

    "But, really, all of the D.S. & Durga men's fragrances are awesome." Awesome for women too! I use Italian Citrus and its THE best. Great find in Nottingham's 'Le Chien et Moi' for anyone in the UK ;)