Being youthful-looking and naturally handsome, I've never really felt the need to buy male cosmetics. However, the constant washing is taking its toll on my hands and the lock-down has left me with more time to indulge in pampering myself, like a very manly man.
The TOPBOX personalised grooming boxes I received from Hype normally retail at £24 each – with the idea being that you fill in your age, facial hair status and haircut length on their site, allowing them to tailor the selection of grooming products that they include. They aim for you to subscribe to these boxes being delivered every month, but you can try a minimum of two months (£48) without any further commitment. Each box claims to contain goods worth up to £70 – making it good value for those that already spend a lot on cosmetics.
So, I filled in my details – early thirties, clean-shaven, long hair – and hoped for the best. Within a few days, my package had arrived,
Morgan's Pomade Face Wash (normally £9.50)
I tried this a few times – it has good credentials about being made from high-quality ingredients and leaving your skin's pH levels balanced. Nevertheless, it did leave my skin feeling slightly sticky, despite having washed it off thoroughly.
Organic & Botanic Mandarin Orange Facial Serum (normally £18.00)
This smelt beautiful – I can't say if its claims of 'counteracting visible skin damage' are to be taken at face value, as I don't really have any damaged skin to try it on, but this felt very soothing nonetheless. Liked the medicinal look of the product.
The Coffee Scrub Co. Peppermint Coffee Body Scrub (normally £10.00)
Why aren't there more coffee-flavoured products? Everyone loves the smell! This one is actually made with coffee grounds, amongst other things. I'm not normally a body scrub-user, but this felt very natural and did leave my feet, which I tried it on, feeling very smooth. Package was quite difficult to re-seal, however.
Bullet & Bone Protective Moisturising Spray (normally £13.99)
Supposed to be used 'pre-workout, post-shower' (confusing, as I typically have my showers after I exercise), this was inoffensive and didn't feel sticky.
Below the Belt Instant Clean Balls (normally £5.95)
Definitely trying too hard with the 'manly' branding – I wouldn't buy this product because its name would attract unwanted attention and comments from anyone who happens to use my bathroom. I appreciate that it's designed to court publicity, but it's a bit niche for me.
Somersets Razor Repair Post-Shave Face Balm (normally £7.80)
I liked this a lot – it definitely seemed to work and its scent was natural and well-balanced.
Total : £65.24
MONU Skin Salvage Men's Moisturiser (normally £26.50)
This claims to have a soothing effect on sore areas and I can say that it works well, in that capacity. Delicate aroma.
Vir Original Body Wash (normally £8.99)
I didn't really detect much of the black cherry smell or notice the caffeine extract that this product is supposed to have, but it worked well enough as a body wash. Glad that it's vegan.
Pure Purpose Hemp Face Masque (normally £24.00)
I had never tried a face mask before – this was quite fun to use and left my skin feeling soft and fresh.
Good Day Organics Purious Witch Hazel Water (normally £6.99)
I think this was my favourite product, mainly because it reduces any bags under your eyes. It's also vegan and organic (which, in my opinion, all cosmetics should be).
Rogue Male Grooming Lip Balm (normally £6.99)
I don't really use lip balm – it's certainly not cold enough in London, right now, for me to need it - but this felt pleasant and didn't have the usual overpowering sickly smell.
Milano Cento HIM Eau de Toilette (5 ml sample - normally £29.50 for 50 ml – value approx. £2.90)
I really liked this zesty, bergamot-infused scent, but could have done with a bit more of it!
Both boxes entailed a significant saving on buying the individual products and, aside from the perfume sample, came in quantities that most people would struggle to use up in two months. Plenty of men need all the help they can get and this would be a great way to kick-start a grooming regime. This may also be a good way of doing Christmas shopping for any male relatives you might have, as you could potentially cater for several of them with all the stuff you get.
Overall, I felt that whilst each of the products was high-quality, I did find that there was a lot of skincare stuff (I don't have any skin issues, so this wasn't really a priority for me). Due to the 'tailoring' process, I think they probably bulked the package out with these, replacing the beard products that I might otherwise have received. As a man with long hair, some conditioner or other hair products would have been a good idea. More eau de toilette samples would be another suggestion – I realise that these may more expensive than the others, but they are also much more likely to be used within two months. Nevertheless, if you use a lot of grooming products, TOPBOX is excellent value – and there is no need to commit to more than two boxes!
More Info: Topbox Website