Do Men Need Their Own Skincare? Why this brand is confusing (Part 1)

Sample Box

Brickell Mens Products. The brand has the potential to be amazing. They have some good ingredients lists I will be looking in to purchasing. But, and there is a but. Silly marketing, confusion with labels as well as a few uninformed ingredients choices have taken the focus away from the good they are trying to do.

It started with a Brickell Mens Products sample box. The offer is on their website. I requested unscented samples (you had the option or scented or unscented) and paid the £5 postage. A few days later I received the sample box through the door.

What are Brickell all about?

Brickell Men’s Products claim to use only the best quality natural and organic ingredients. They also claim their products have been designed specifically for men’s tougher, more porous skin. They are aiming to make skincare and grooming products specifically designed for the needs of men, whilst eliminating toxic and synthetic ingredients.

What I like about Brickell

  • They gave lots of samples. This is such a good thing! It gives the customer a real chance to make use the product and make an informed decision. This is particularly good in light of everyone having different skin issues. Some of the products are really expensive so it’s good to try before you buy.
  • The sample packaging box is recyclable as are the plastic containers.
  • They use a lot of beneficial ingredients and very little filler ingredients.  I haven’t even heard of a few of them (horsetail, for example). The ingredients lists are extensive and from what I have researched, they have some solid, beneficial ingredients (skin soothing, skin healing, anti-inflammatory, brightening, lightening, reduce redness, antioxidant).
  • You have the choice of buying some products scented or unscented.
  • They are trying to make it the norm for men to care about their skin.
  • They have a focus on not using ingredients they view as toxic and synthetic.
  • They are cruelty free
  • They claim to be basing their skin care on scientific facts about men’s skin being different, which is true. Men have thicker skin with more pores making their skin oiler and more likely to have spots and blackheads.
Aloe. Photo by Madison Inouye on

So what’s included that’s so great?

Aloe, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E, Olive Oil, Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Green Tea, Conenzyme Q10, Alpha Arbutin, Glycolic Acid,  Shea Butter, Niacinamide, Centella, Licorice, Peptides, Tamanu Oil, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Squalane, Cocoa Butter, Avocado Oil, Borage Oil, Rosehip Oil, Flax Seed Oil, Panthenol, Grapeseed Oil, Chamomile, Calendula. Now they also have lots of fruit and other extracts which are good such as Horsetail, Blueberry, Blue Tansy, Bearberry, Raspberry. The list goes on.

Now an ingredients list with all those beneficial bad boys is phenomenal. I haven’t seen very many ingredients lists or product ranges with beneficial ingredients like this all together. Slight downside, the more you put on your face, the increased likelihood you will have to developing a reaction. Natural or synthetic. It’s nature, it’s science, it’s fact.

Wait, there’s more…

Whilst researching on their website I started to get a bit confused about a few things…

Brickell’s claim from their website:

Our formulas have been engineered to deal with men’s tougher, more porous skin. Whether oily, sensitive, combo or acne – we have a solution for you”.

What I am unsure about is how the products that Brickell are producing are specifically designed for tougher, more porous skin. What is it they are doing that makes their products better for men, specifically? How are their products better for men than any other male brand? How are their products better for men than any other generic skincare brand for that matter?

I have questions but no answers.  I can’t find anything on the brand website that addresses this claim. I can’t find anything specific about the formulation of their products that make them specifically designed for men or their tougher, more porous skin. There is a reason they don’t discuss this claim in any more detail and it is because it’s not true. Men don’t need specific skincare. It’s all false marketing.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Are their products specifically formulated for tough, oily skin?

I can’t find anything specific that makes me think this brands’ products are designed specifically for tough skin. I do think the impressive list of ingredients generally will help to soften skin. However if men have tougher, thicker skin, wouldn’t the ingredients have a tougher time (see what I did?) of penetrating the epidermis? Perhaps that is why the brand use so many skin soothing/softening ingredients.

As men have oiler skin and are therefore susceptible to acne and blackheads as a result, I looked in to their acne range. I wanted to try and see if I could figure out if their formulations in this range backed up their claims here seeing as they made reference to porous, oily skin specifically. Again, I couldn’t find anything specific that would be a hero ingredient to help fight skin that is more porous and oily.  The reality is, the same ingredients that work on spots and blackheads on female skin, will work on spots and blackheads on male skin. Skin is skin.

Photo by Marlon Schmeiski on

I would have been looking for salicylic acid and niacinamide in this range at least. The acne range does claim to have 2% salicylic acid, however it is willowbark extract. This can be converted in to SA but it is not SA. There is nothing wrong with using natural alternatives to SA however they won’t be as effective. I do find it a bit unfair to be claiming it contains SA when it clearly doesn’t. They do have niacinamide in their Anti Aging Range but not in the acne products I looked at.

What about the ingredients they are marketing specifically on their packaging? Are they better for men?

Bricknell are also making it clear on their packaging that they are using DMAE and MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane is a sulphur compound so I understand why that would be used in their Acne range. It is well tolerated and a safe ingredient both topically and via supplement. The downside? Research is mostly on supplement use. There are lots of testimonies online stating the great impact MSM has had for skin however there is little research to back up the topical use of MSM for acne.

DMAE, or dimethylaminoethanol, is known for its ability to firm skin, or rather, reduce sag. Its effects are noticeable but not permanent and will wear off. The science of the ingredient also brings its efficacy in to question. In order for DMAE to be effective it’s pH needs to be alkaline, 9 to be exact. That pH is too high to maintain healthy skin as the skin’s acid mantle sits about 5. Thus, DMAE wouldn’t be overly effective and certainly not for the long term due to the pH of the skin lowering the pH of DMAE when applied to the skin.

It’s efficacy in skincare products is also questionable for the same principal. Skincare products are mostly formulated to have a pH close to the natural pH of the skin, which is 5, as I said. DMAE with a pH of 9 wouldn’t be able to maintain the pH it needs to be effective when in a formula sitting at pH 5. There are research articles on the ingredient so give it a read if it is up your street. Maybe the DMAE is encapsulated to protect its pH? I can’t say.

ph needs to be just right

Brickell made a big claim about their products being engineered for male skin. I can’t find anything that backs that up. I am all for brands making it socially acceptable for men to look after their skin without questioning their masculinity. The claim isn’t backed up as mentioned before because there is no truth in the claim that male skin needs different skincare. It’s a shame they have opted for the marketing approach they have because the products could be good if they re branded and reformulated a few products.The ingredients speak for themselves however one serum comes in at £70.00 and that is a lot of cash to spend on 30ml of uncertainty.

Part 2 coming soon.

S ❤

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