I was mentionning this yesterday with reference to straight men not spending money on things that improve their life, so I decided to create a list and guideline of my favourite products. This list is just my personnal recommendations and does not constitute clinical advice.
InStyle magazine does a yearly survey among beauty, hair and dermatology experts on beauty, haircare and skincare products and I don't always agree, mainly because a lot of the products they pick are also products that endorse the magazine or the experts. I am a completely objective since I am endorsed by no one and I uphold the highest standard of evidence-based evaluation, the Pasteur/Jenner/Marshall standard. That means that you personally test the stuff on yourself and your loved ones and take no one's word as gospell, but only personnal experience and observation, and you make sure that the results are reproducible. If doctors and scientists did this consistently, scientific and medical advances in the last 40-50 years would be monumental. I also have extensive experience evaluating efficacy and safety results for dermatological products.
But here are my favourite and most effective haircare and skin care products for different skin types for both men and women. I also strived for as many eco-friendly and non-animal tested products as possible. I only have included products widely available without a prescription.
Face Wash for normal to dry skin : Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser by Galderma. this cleanser is great, non-drying and non-comedogenic and is awesome if you have normal to dry skin. It shows up as a prefered product by dermatologists all over the world and when my skin is more normal ( versus oily and acne-prone when I encounter hormonal fluctuations) it is what I have used to great satisfaction.
Acne Products for Mild Acne for non-sensitive skin ( if you have sensitive skin your best bet is to consult with a dermatologist).
For mild to moderate acne: Acne Free by University Medical. This is a great product and highly effective. The wash and repair lotion contain 2.5 % benzoyl peroxide (BPO) which has been shown to be as effective in the treatment of acne as higher concentrations of this agent (Mills et al, 1986). Since it is a topical product(goes only on the skin) it does not have systemic side effects like oral antibiotics do, and BPO also has been documented as not inducing microbial resistance. Moreover, no topical antibiotic tested has been shown to be more effective than BPO (Gollnick et al; 2003). This is also a very cost-effective product ( 27 dollars a month or 29.99 for 3 months). The way I use it, I substitute the second step, the normalizing/astringent product ( which contains a somewhat effective ingredient, witch hazel) with a more effective 2% salicylic acid astringent for synergistic effect.
For moderate to moderately severe acne a product by the same makers is now available. AcneFree Severe Acne Treatment System with a higher concentration of BPO (10%) in the third step (repair lotion) and a retinol cream as a fourth step. This is completely consistent with consensus recommendations ( Gollnick et al, 2003). This is not a regimen recommended for sensitive skin or very severe acne. If you have those, consult with a good dermatologist. Please be warned that BPO bleaches clothes and linens so use a white towel to dry your face after using the wash and be careful with clothes and bedsheets.
I have been using AcneFree with success and satisfaction for 2+ years and so have several family members, both male and female. These products are available at Target and Costco.
Moisturizing products: L'Occitane en Provence Creme de Miel ( Honey Cream) face cream. This is a great moisturizing product with a pleasant texture and non-comedogenic. I use it in areas that are prone to dryness and wrinkles ( around eyes, lips, forehead). It has a mild and pleasant honey smell that makes it appealing to both males and females. Available at L'Occitane en Provence stores and Sephora.
Body Moisturizer: The Body Shop Hemp Body Butter. This is great for very dry skin or skin that has been exposed to radiation treatment. I gave it to my asshole ungrateful ex when I was nursing him after testicular cancer surgery and radiation treatment because his skin was irritated, dry, burnt and red. I gave him a skin care basket after he came home from the hospital ( I slept on the floor of his hospital room and assisted him to use to potty) and started treatment. I also fed him and gave him manicures and pedicures. It worked great and helped heal his skin. It has hardly any fragrance and is very moisturizing.
Anti Dark Circles/Bags product: Hydrazen Neurocalm Eye Contour Gel Cream. This gel-cream contains several botanical and somewhat pharmacological (caffeine) anti-inflammatory ingredients that help reduce the appearance of bags and dark circles. This is not a cheap product. I pay about 23 british pounds ( around 46-50 dollars) for a container, but I only use it PRN ( when I need it). It works like a charm. I buy it at Harrod's or the Duty Free at Heathrow airport.
Bar Soap: Dove White. This soap has been a "best kept secret" of both dermatologists and ob/gyn's who have told me repeatedly I should use NOTHING else because it maintain the natural pH balance of the skin and the "girl" region. This is the only product I use to wash my naughty bits and along with safe sex practices has allowed me to run a "tight ship" "down there" and avoid problems in the nether areas. Available at all supermarkets, drug stores and discount chains.
Body Wash for sensitive skin or people prone to skin problems: Johnson and Johnson Extra Care Moisturizing Body Wash. This is a great product and something that I use when I am under stress or before or during my period because my immune system is less strong. This is also a great product for people with immune problems because it is very mild and tends to not induce allergies or reactions. Available at supermarkets, drug and discout stores.
Body Wash for Normal to Oily skin: When my skin is normal I use Clean on Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel by Soap and Glory Cosmetics. This is great, has a fresh grapefruity, not overwhelming smell, has a built in mosturizing lotion and a mild exfoliating effect. This is what I faithfully use most of the time and the packaging is retro and way cute without the Benefit prices. About 9 bucks for 16.2 ounces at Target and Target.com. This is also great for shaving.
Shampoo for normal to dry hair: Dove Moisturizing Shampoo: There simply is not a better shampoo on the market, particlarly for the price point. I have dry, colour treated, kinky-curly ethnic hair and it is gentle, smells great and makes my hair soft and pliable and healthy. Available at dug stores, supermarkets and discount stores.
Shampoo for oily/dandruff prone hair :J.F Lazartigue Anti-Dandruff Shampoo.This is great and effective. Yet, again, I got this for my ex whose shoulder looked like Xmas time in Anchorage. And it did wonders to rectify the problem. 28 dollars for 8.3 ounces. Available in Salons that carry J.F Lazartigue.
Conditioner for dry or colour-treated hair: Boots Botanics 5-minute Deep Conditioning Mask. Best Deep conditioner on the market and works absolutely on the same line with much more expensive products like Frederick Fekkai. 8.99 for 15.2 ounces at Target.
Conditioner for normal hair: Tres Semme Vitamin E Moisture Rich Conditioner. Absolutely great and effective . Awesome for the price point. This is what I use when I need a switch or on an everyday basis and is comparable to much more expensive products. About 4 dollars at drug and discount stores.
Hair Spray and Styling Gel: Brit Style by Graham Webb. This is a great line although on the pricey side and both products rock. I have tested them on myself and gave it also to my asshole ex-boyfriend with the dandruff problem so it works or a variety or hair types and textures.
This about covers all the basics....I hope it goes a long way to improve the collective hair and skin care needs.