I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
It's a BEARD CONDITIONER, because apparently that exists! It’s great because I love beards. I actually jacked it to a Rasputin documentary on Netflix just the other day.
I also like disgusting dudes in general. Like would-be f#@%-ups but with really amazing jobs. For instance, my boyfriend, whose idea of a "nice" work outfit is all white jeans and a t-shirt a la a HOUSE PAINTER, just flew to LA this morning to go skateboarding with some famous dude and shoot some hot model chick’s legs. (I would HATE for you to get hurt and twist an ankle while skating and not be able to shoot that hot model chick, btw! That would suck so hard! But you should really just go for it on all the really high ramps. Don’t puss out!)
He also extends belts (stolen belts, from my closet) with gaffers tape and wears them that way until somebody (ME) notices, and shames him into finding a new belt. I think he keeps his beard around just for me, because he’s always complaining about how hot and itchy it is. At least he used to before choosing love over comfort and investing in an entire beard-care regimen.
His biggest concern, beard or no, is the scruff on his neck. (He doesn’t like hair on his neck even if he is growing out his facial hair a bit. Is this how guys typically do it?) He’s been getting little neck bumpies after shaving (maybe ingrown hairs, maybe razor burn, maybe a bit of activity) since he was 15 and has even tried depilatories, which I didn’t realize was an option for dudes. His hair is super-coarse, curly, and kinky--on his head and face.
The bumps are all pretty much cleared up now, after he made some changes:
1. Soaking his razor
He keeps a glass of rubbing alcohol in the bathroom and leaves his razor submerged when not in use. This kills off all the bacteria in the harshest way possible other than, like, fire. He always rinses it off before using so as not to irritate his delicate freaking flower neck skin. He changes the rubbing alcohol out with a fresh jar once a week.
2. Tea tree oil shave cream
He’s obsessed with High Time products, and can only find them at shops that cater to African American beauty needs. This Moisture-Enriched Shaving Cream is super creamy to really get into his thick, industrial Velcro beard. Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and helps to clear any acne that’s going on in the follicle region, and the antibacterial properties keep it all nice and clean and he drags sharp blades across his bumpy skin.
3. Tend Skin
It’s basically a super harsh after-shave toner for manly man skin with something to prove. I mean, just smell it if you get a chance. It’s like rolling that rubbing alcohol that he rinsed off his razor earlier directly back onto his face. Does this make sense? No. But Tend Skin contains moisturizers, protective ingredients to prevent collagen breakdown and form a barrier against the nasty, germy environment and is a cult favorite for preventing ingrowns.
If your dude gets neck bumps, encourage him to buy this stuff--it’s the product that introduced Brayden to the High Times line and he says it works immediately. Instructions say to first remove any deep ingrown hairs with tweezers (Fun! Like Operation!), and apply twice daily to the irritated skin.
5. Cocoa butter moisturizer
Also from High Times, the Cocoa Butter After Shave Cream promises to heal, moisturize, and even out discolored skin tones, which can help with any post-bump scarring. It contains tea tree, peppermint, and camphor oils, and menthol for a gentle cooling feeling upon application.
Isn’t it great that a dude starts getting it in with a beauty editor and his product usage quadruples? It’s contagious!
But back to this beard conditioner: that’s the thing I think he needs to rethink because after doing a bit of research, I'm pretty sure it’s making me uglier and him hotter. Which, by the way, he likes. Apparently it takes some of the stress out of dating a really hot chick, making me more human and less intimidating. (Paraphrasing here, but these are basically his words and not my extremely vain interpretation.) He even says my zits are “cute.” Cute.
Right, this product is probably the reason that my skin has been looking so terrible lately, because it's not for neck bumps, but to be applied directly onto the beard, and thus will get directly onto my face when we make out. While the top ingredient (stearyl alcohol) is only considered moderately comedogenic, the next is isopropyl myristate, a synthetic oil known to aggravate acne.
The third ingredient is cocamidopropyl betaine, derived from coconut oil which is known to be highly comedogenic. It’s intended purpose is as an antistatic agent for hair, but studies indicate that it's an allergen.
Then there’s QUATERIUM 15, a preservative which LITERALLY RELEASES FORMALDEHYDE and can cause contact dermatitis. This explains why my skin has been in a general state of disarray, not just your textbook acne situation. UGH I’M GETTING ANNOYED EVEN TYPING THIS.
Parabens are thrown in for good measure, and we’ve had the paraben discussion before on the site so I won’t get into it here.
Generally I’m not too concerned with cosmetic ingredients. I can tell pretty quickly whether or not the ones I use on myself are causing adverse reactions and will then stop using them and won't use similar products. But Brayden bought this stuff to make me love him, so emotions are happening. Will discontinuing the use of the one thing that kept him comfortable with having facial hair effectively end our relationship? If he can’t have beard conditioner, there’s no way his whiney ass will grow a beard out just to make me happy. He looks like a wildly handsome 17-year-old without facial hair, and while that’s great, I’m creepy and only like disgusting old men, remember?
I’m thinking about having him switch to another brand of beard conditioner with less questionable ingredients. Which shouldn’t be too hard, because I’m guessing this particular product has been discontinued as I can’t find it online anywhere and I’m a champion at Google. My guess is that too many annoyed, pimply girlfriends barred it's use.
Recommendations? Concerns? Boyfriends? Boyfriend concerns? Boyfriend recommendations?