Do Men Need Their Own Skincare? Why this brand is confusing (Part 2)

I wrote an earlier post on the Bricknell Brand, discussing some of the confusion I had around the brand. Give it a read here!

So let’s get in to some of the other issues I have with the brand and its claims.

What about the natural ingredients they use?

Lavender does not belong on your face. It belongs in your garden. Photo by Pixabay on

Brickell use a lot of natural ingredients, which is their aim, so it makes makes sense.  The ingredients lists on some products are, generally speaking, full of soothing, calming, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant ingredients. Natural can be good and this is the case for a lot of their ingredients.

Can you sense there is another but coming?

But natural is not always good. Some of the products are formulated with lavender water and oil, sandalwood, cinnamomum camphor wood oil (why?), peppermint oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, frankincense oil and citrus extracts. While extracts are not as bad as their volatile, potent oil forms, of which there are both in these products, they can be irritating and sensitising.

Are natural ingredients better than synthetic?

I wish brands would stop assuming natural is always good and better. It is such a shame they have done this as their products have the potential to be amazing and consumable for all. However, those, like me that refuse to use products with fragrance and essential oils won’t be using these products. It’s a large portion of the market ruled out for the sake of putting lavender in the mix.

They’ve added in Sandalwood, for whatever reason but don’t use parabens, mineral oil or silicones in their products.  These safe, science backed ingredients have been removed and volatile, irritating, sensitising, photosensitive, unstable ingredients such as oils and citrus extracts have been included? Does it make sense to you, because it doesn’t to me? Again research is vastly available on the problems fragrance causes.

The need for fragrance is not a priority in today’s world and brands need to realise that consumers aren’t daft. We aren’t being sucked in to buying something simply because it smells nice. Consumers are becoming savvy when it comes to ingredients and are educating themselves on good and bad ingredients. Instagram, Youtube and Blogs are making sure of that. Gimmicks don’t work and Ingredients lists don’t lie.

Beware of false marketing claims

The demonising of safe ingredients needs to stop. Just like the hype around natural ingredients being better for the skin needs to stop. There are far more reported allergic reactions to plant based ingredients than there are to parabens.  I use silicone, mineral oil and parabens in my skincare and would choose these ingredients every time over products with lavender oil, peppermint oil, sandalwood, cinnamomum camphor wood oil and frankincense oil. Skincare brands need to realise they are in the art of skincare and not fragranced candles.

I can’t understand the labels

To round off my confusion let’s chat about labelling and marketing.  To nit pick, some samples have volumes on them and some don’t. The volumes are just my pedantic self.

Some tubs also state whether they are scented, unscented or naturally scented whilst others have no mention of it. How your products looks is everything. There needs to be more attention detail.

There is no way to find out what the company means by their terms “scented”, “unscented” and “naturally scented”. If fragrance is a deal breaker for you, like it is me, this is not the brand for you. It’s a great idea to offer scented and unscented versions. But the unscented products still have essential oils. The best thing would be to check the ingredients list yourself but you meet a road block again. Products with the option of scented or unscented only have one ingredients list available on their website.  How is anyone to make an informed choice? The skeptic in me wonders if they even have different ingredients lists at all…

To add more confusion the sample tubs have their fragrance preference on them. However some of the samples marked as “unscented” aren’t available to buy online with a fragrance preference at all.

Lastly, I have a sample of the “eye balm”. I quite like this product so researched it on their website. The site only has the option for an “eye cream” or “eye serum”. There is no eye balm on their website. I assume my sample pot is the eye cream, but who knows? The brand really needs to tighten the reigns on quality control here. It’s really poor to be sending out samples of products that are labelled wrongly.

Eye Balm or Eye Cream?

The gimmicky descriptions of “Revitalizing”, “Strengthening”, “Purifying” etc. are also a sticking point that I won’t go in to. They aren’t needed and I’m not falling for it and neither should you.


Be careful what a brand claims to be able to do. Don’t be fooled by bold claims and gimmicky marketing such as a “revitalizing serum”. It’s a serum, not the fountain of youth here. Be realistic.

Check the ingredients. It’s the best thing you can do. Learn skincare ingredients and look for them. If it’s full of texture enhancers and thickening agents with very little beneficial ingredients, put it back on the shelf where it belongs.

Look for beneficial ingredients in the top 5, if not 8 at a push. Anything below that will be minimal in percentage and strength and likely won’t yield effective results. For example, if you want an effective acne face wash, try salicylic acid. If the ingredients list has 20 ingredients and SA is 15 on the list, chances are it won’t be doing a thing. If you are looking for a niacinamide serum, expect it to be one of the first ingredients otherwise it’s not really a niacinamide serum.

Skincare is skincare. In my opinion, I don’t see how you can really put a gender on a serum. Glycolic acid can’t tell if it’s a female or male face. Unless Brickell have found a way to formulate their ingredients in a manner that enhances penetration (of male’s thicker skin) which they claim to do I’m not believing their claims. Let’s be real here, if they have found a way to do it, they would be making more noise about it. They have made a claim to try and entice men in to buying their product over any other brand.

Make decisions about skincare that suit you. Don’t be fearmongered in to assuming because a brand refuses to use silicones that silicone must be bad for you. Silicone, mineral oil and parabens are good, safe ingredients.

Likewise, don’t get sucked in to “clean” beauty marketing nonsense. Natural is not always good. Lots of things in nature aren’t good for us. Essential and citrus oils and extracts yield more issues than benefit. There are lots of safe beneficial ingredients out there so we don’t need to play Russian roulette with essential oils. Fragrance is not your friend. Natural or synthetic. It has no purpose in skincare.

Is it a complete bust…?

In Summary:

The good ingredients are amazing and are abundant.

I feel as if the brand is a bit confused. They would benefit from re-thinking what they are claiming and trying to achieve, reconsidering the gimmicky marketing of the products as well as ensuring consistency in labelling.

I haven’t found anything specific about their products that would make them more appropriate for use on tougher, porous skin.

I haven’t found anything specific about their acne range, or other product ranges that would be overly beneficial to target oily skin or spots or blackheads.

You have the option to buy scented or unscented versions of some products. Different ingredients lists aren’t available online to check the differences in scented and unscented versions. Packaging on the samples stating their fragrance preference isn’t matching what is available to purchase online.

No definitions are available to explain their fragrance terms.

Essential oils and extracts appear to be used in most products. Products labelled “scented” and “naturally scented” both contain essential oils. Essential oils are volatile and potent and can cause reactions, irritations, sensitisation and contact dermatitis.

You can have a reaction to any chemical, natural or synthetic. Parabens, silicones and mineral oil are safe with low risk of reaction.

MSM and DMAE have limited research.

No evidence to prove the claims made about using high quality ingredients or if they are indeed organic. There is no certifications on their site to state this.

There is hope…

In spite of the issues I have raised in this post, I think with some tweaking the brand could be really good. Do I recommend anything?

The eye cream has coconut oil near the top and lavender and citrus closer to the bottom. That being said, I did like the results. My dark circles did improve however I did get little red spots with a white head when using the cream. The formula is oil heavy so maybe too comedogenic for me. The anti aging cream is fragrance free and the night serum has an impressive ingredients list (unsure on sage and thyme however). At a whopping £70 for the serum, be sure to do your research.

S ❤

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