I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Inspired by Anne Marie’s Sexism in the Soap Aisle article, I went on a hunt for gender neutral toiletries--that's how I found Sam Farmer, a cosmetic scientist who's developed a unisex line specifically for teenage skin and hair.
Reaching out to Sam to find out more about his products and the origin story was beyond simple: he includes his personal contact information on the website. Did you all hear that right? His personal cell phone number.
The Story On Sam Farmer
I asked Sam why it was important for his products to be unisex and the answer he gave was quite personal.
“[As] a stay at home dad, I went to buy my kids their first teenage personal care products and saw rows of pink, pouty, and submissive packages aimed at my daughter and steel gray, macho stuff intended for my son. I was shocked. I'm not sure my children took me seriously after I stormed out of the shop, dumbfounded by the sexist stereotyping marketing we were confronted with, shouting, 'That's all bullshit, you're both equal!' and assuring them things were about to change as they ran for cover. So, I went back to school, qualified in Cosmetic Science, and created six unisex products, specifically formulated for adolescent skin and hair.”
The Product Line
The Sam Farmer line includes, shampoo, face wash, conditioner, moisturizer, body wash, and deodorant. The packaging reflects Sam’s vision: A clean white base with a solid block of color, no pink, black, or steel in the line.
The labeling, too, is straightforward, with all caps, Arial font that clearly states the product type. “I’m a very straightforward person," says Sam. "Cosmetic ingredient misinformation doesn’t affect my formulations, as I’m not interested in marketing nonsense. I will use scientifically proven and efficacious ingredients if they are sustainable and right for my children.”
Sam's line is specifically formulated for adolescent skin. Take his face moisturizer, for example: "I use an active--ester derived from avocado oil--that helps to reduce the amount of sebum the skin produces. As you know, teenage skin over produces sebum due to the hormonal changes they undergo in adolescence and this leads to increased breakouts."
Meanwhile, in his deodorant, he uses polyglyceryl 3 caprylate, which he explains as, "A vegetable-derived, odor reducing active, which means I can half the amount of traditional active and maintain the efficacy." He also steers clear of silicones in his conditioner.
Currently, Sam Farmer products are only available in the UK, but he mentioned that he is looking to expand to the States in 2015.
Until then, we’ll have to envy our “across the pond” friends. When I asked him if his unisex marketing and brand has been well received, he told me, “Young people are growing up in a world of gender equality and the using of sexual stereotyping just isn’t relevant.” Preaching to the choir, Sam. Let’s just hope more companies catch on.
- What are your favorite unisex products or brands?
- Who wants to call Sam and thank him?