Why You Should Be Using Charcoal On Your Face

Activated carbon

The idea of rubbing something you use for your grill on your face may be off-putting at first, but hear us out. Activated charcoal, an ingredient popping up everywhere right now in the skincare and health industries, has been shown to absorb dirt and impurities without leaving skin dry. Meaning that your skin’s integrity isn’t compromised.

Since the best primer for a wet shave a is strong, resilient skin, activated charcoal is an ingredient we recommend trying the next time you’re on the market for a facial product.

What is activated charcoal?

First, a little history lesson.

Activated charcoal has actually been used for centuries in Japan, India, and Egypt for cleansing and healing wounds and insect bites. During the Ming dynasty in China, healers would use bamboo charcoal to filter water for tea and to create medicines.

And it’s been a staple of hospital emergency rooms for many years. In cases of alcohol poisoning or drug overdose, charcoal attaches to stomach toxins and flushes them out before the blood stream can absorb them.

In terms of composition, activated charcoal is charcoal that’s been treated with oxygen, causing the charcoal to become more porous. This increases the charcoal’s surface area and thereby its ability to absorb toxins and bacteria.

Activated charcoal can absorb thousands of times its own weight.

What does activated charcoal do for my face?

Charcoal is a heavyweight, all-natural detoxifier. Similar to how it draws out toxins from the stomach, charcoal acts like a magnet for impurities, absorbing oil and dirt from your pores. These impurities then get washed away once you rinse your face.

Who should be using activated charcoal?

Anyone can use products with activated charcoal, but those with oily skin or skin prone to acne will benefit most because it’ll keep your pores clean.

Here are a few of our product recommendations:

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Crux Charcoal Grit Bar

Pumice and black walnut shell exfoliate to make way for activated charcoal to absorb built-up grime. Coconut oil and safflower oil restore moisture so your skin is clean, not taut.

SHOP: Crux Charcoal Grit Bar

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Ever Bamboo Charcoal Bar

Bamboo charcoal lifts dirt while lavender essential oil calms you down after a long day.

SHOP: Ever Bamboo Charcoal Bar

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Bichotan Cleansing Facial Mask

This fancy Bichotan Charcoal, made in the Kishu region of Japan, draws out all matter of impurities while absorbing excess oil. Free of synthetic fragrances, parabens, alcohol, and dyes, this face mask only contains 5 ingredients and is a treat for oily skin.

SHOP: Bichotan Cleansing Facial Mask

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Interview: Triumph & Disaster

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If you’re an avid reader, you may recall some familiarity with the phrase “Triumph & Disaster” – it’s from a line in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “IF.” Specifically: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / And treat those two imposters just the same.” The poem, which details a father’s advice to his son, is about humility, honor, risk, and reward.

Triumph & Disaster founder Dion Nash received the framed poem from his father when he was a kid. More than two decades later, he found the poem at the bottom of an old chest and merged these values – as well as the memorable phrase – into his New Zealand-based men’s grooming line.

In fact, Nash has a thing for memorable names. The former professional cricketer and skincare enthusiast (the two are actually more related than you’d think) dubbed his clay face scrub Rock & Roll Suicide (after a David Bowie song) and his popular facial moisturizer Gameface, a nod to his sports past.

Sourcing local indigenous ingredients from New Zealand, Australia, Polynesia, and beyond, Nash ensures each product is thoughtfully conceived and not harmful to nature or humans.

We were delighted to talk to Nash recently about many facets of his skincare line, from the line’s beginnings to product packaging to the importance of men remembering to take care of their skin.

Enjoy!

Tell us the story of how Triumph & Disaster began.

I started out in life as a sports jock. A cricket-mad sports jock to be precise. I chased this as far as I could and was lucky enough to play professionally and represent New Zealand for a decade before retiring due to a series of back injuries. In hindsight this was a lucky twist of fate as it gave me time to refocus and have another dig, so to speak.

After sports I ran into Geoff Ross and the guys setting up New Zealand Vodka brand 42Below and hung on to their shirttails long enough to learn a bit about selling, branding, and marketing, all of which sort of leads me to today.

Skincare was a more natural calling that you might think – it’s actually very close to a cricketer’s heart because when you stand in the sun and wind every day for hours on end you learn to appreciate the finer points of a moisturizer and sunscreen and the joy of exfoliation. So I felt like I had an industrial knowledge of the category, and I had learnt some skills I wanted to put into practice.

How did you come up with the name of your company?

The name comes from Rudyard Kipling. At about 13 years of age my father gave me a framed poem called ‘IF’ by Rudyard Kipling. The poem is advice from a father to his son on how to be a man. It is about humility, honour, risk, and reward. Values that would help mould a brand capable of reminding us that acts of ritual and preparation are worthy endeavours and that being well presented is something of which to be proud.

So when a tattered old poem that my dad had given me years before was uncovered in the bottom of an old chest and I read the line, ‘if you can meet with Triumph & Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same’, well, the deal was done and the brand was born.

The rest of story, as they say, is still ahead of us…

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You played for the New Zealand cricket team in the 1990s! Any special memories?

It all feels like another life ago now. I’m extremely proud of it and we had some wonderful moments (and some disastrous ones). Overall I just feel blessed to have had the chance to do it. It has given me a huge amount of confidence and also a very unique perspective on life and this adventure we find ourselves in.

Before Triumph & Disaster you worked for the vodka company 42Below for quite some time. Why the jump into men’s skincare?

Truth is Vodka’s a young man’s game : ).

Actually I just wanted to have a go at my own thing and as I have said I felt I had a real advantage in this category. I had used the products since I was 18 and had been exposed to/had to survive outdoors under the sun. I had worked out a routine.

At 42 below I learned about branding and marketing, so I really just put the two together.

Why did you decide to base your products in natural ingredients?

There really is no excuse to use synthetics and nasty chemicals anymore. Perhaps there never was. The lasted green science is better than anything else out there and utilizes ingredients that the body has become familiar with over thousands of years in nature. Therefore these ingredients are gentler on the body. It was a simple choice, especially when you start to dig into some of the ingredients that have become commonplace. Take denatured alcohol for example – it’s only there as a form of paint thinner. It has no place in skin care.

We hear your Gameface moisturizer contains natural ingredients traditionally used by Maori warriors?

We do use many indigenous New Zealand plants that were also used by Maori in their medicines. Many of these how now been clinically proven for their effectiveness, particularly in toning, antiseptic, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Gameface uses ponga fern, which only grows in New Zealand and has been proven to lift and tone skin – it’s awesome like the Maori.

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We love the vintage barbershop feel of your packaging. What was your aesthetic inspiration?

The challenge we set ourselves was this: The moisturiser or cleanser needed to be able to fall from our gym bag and not have us feel embarrassed, but rather have people say, “Wow, that’s cool! What is it?”

We referenced too many points to recount fully, but it was as varied as rock ‘n’ roll album covers, long-forgotten fonts, and old gig posters.

What are some of your accomplishments as a business?

We are now stocked in over 400 stores globally, including great accounts like Selfridges in London, Fred Segal in LA, and Harrolds in Sydney. We were voted by Details magazine as one of the top five independent brands to watch for, and Men’s Journal voted three of our products into their Top 20 Best Men’s Products (YLF got first, Rock & Roll Suicide got 3rd and Gameface Moisturiser got 9th).

More than those achievements, though, is the sense of growing a great and loyal team around the world. We all sense the best years are still ahead; we have a lot to get done.

What is one Triumph & Disaster product every man should own and why?

Rock & Roll Suicide. Firstly, guys really need to exfoliate, even more than girls. We have larger pores and generally oilier skin, so cleaning it out, drawing out the dirty oil deposits, and taking away the top layer of dead skin is essential to an oil-free surface. Rock & Roll Suicide is our all-natural exfoliator designed to do just this job. It has two types of clay and volcanic ash that act to draw out and then slough away the impurities. It is named after a David Bowie song and is a game-changing product – a must, must have. Use twice a week: Once for business, once for pleasure.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Start.

Any new product releases we can expect in the near future?

Hair care has just launched and we are focused on that at this stage. We also have a body moisturiser that has launched in Australia that will be made available this year to the rest of the world. Everything else is top secret : ).

Quick Question + Answer:

Right now, I’m obsessed with:

Smells, always smells, I think I have a predisposition or hypersensitive nose, but whatever it is I love smells of all kinds.

I’d love to visit:

The Ivory Coast – I know nothing about it, but it seems to me that the best way to find out is to visit.

Rule I live by:

Nothing comes from doing Nothing. – William Shakespeare

Learn more about Triumph & Disaster on their website. Follow Triumph & Disaster on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Shop Triumph & Disaster products at RoyalShave.

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Interview: Rex Wax

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Rex Wax founder Paul Branham’s journey to starting his own men’s grooming company involves some colorful twists and turns, including run-ins with the law while he was a traveling peddler of cannabis and a stint as a chef in Portland. Branham’s Long Beach-based line reflects his eclecticism, with beard oils and moustache waxes packaged in psychedelic prints and almost always featuring a miniature of his head as the mystical face of the brand. His products are exuberantly done and inventive in a market currently oversaturated with beardcare.

We recently had the chance to chat with Branham and discuss why he goes by the name Rex, the inspired process behind his first moustache wax, aesthetic influences, and much more.

Read on for our very elucidating interview with the founder of Rex Wax!

Where are you located?

I’m based out of Long Beach, CA.

When and why did you start this business?

It was 2009 and I had run out of moustache wax.  I was using two brands at the time, and against all odds, ran out of both, at the same time.  In my capacity as host of a popular restaurant, I had to maintain a certain image, and if I wanted to keep my moustache, I’d need some wax.

I had $25 to my name for the next two weeks, the cupboards were bare, and I had choices to make.  Being someone who never thought I’d be able to grow a moustache, I was keen to keep this one. It was born in the fire.

Essentially, the decision was made for me – I’d have to make my own moustache wax.  It took some trial and error, but I’m a fast learner, and came up with my first formula.   I made a few dozen tins and took them to work. I gave a few away and sold the rest over the weekend.  A business was born.  At that time, there were only a handful of makers worldwide who produced moustache wax.

You used to be a chef in Portland? Tell us more about that.

Portland is probably the best city in the United States for dining out.  The quality of food is unreal – the freshest,  most local ingredients at affordable prices.  You can go out to eat with a few friends at a top restaurant, order the entire menu (some places twice over), and have cocktails and only spend a couple hundred dollars.  The same experience in L.A., San Francisco,  or New York would be well over a thousand dollars.

That being said, the Portland food scene is hyper-saturated with restaurants and with eager, young, aspiring chefs.  This guarantees that you get worked like a slave and have virtually zero worker rights.  I also had a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong.

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How did you come up with the name of your company?

When I was younger, I used to be, shall we say, a traveling marijuana entrepreneur.  Part of my route took me to my hometown, and in an effort to keep my family’s name clean, I went by Rex.  A run-in with the DEA and half a dozen branches of law enforcement ended my career.  I had a lot of folks who still knew me as Rex.  As I was thinking of names for my new business, I decided on Rex Wax.   It was short and to the point, and it brought Rex out of the shadows.  Plus, Rex means King, and you can’t do better than king.

You have a very unique personal style.

Thank you.

How did you come up with your aesthetic and the aesthetic of your company?

My style evolved organically and draws inspiration from many elements, including: Georgian Era menswear, men’s work clothes from 1930s-1960s, and classic western wear, with a heavy psychedelic flair.  My company’s aesthetic follows a similar path.

What inspires you?

Beautiful music, magical books, epic films, and delicious food.

What are some of your accomplishments as a business?

I started with $25 and an immediate need for moustache wax. In a handful of years, I’ve grown Rex Wax into a respected global brand with an ever-growing range of products.

What do you believe makes a quality product?

A quality product begins with the finest ingredients available. They must be carefully chosen and masterfully blended.  Small-batch manufacturing ensures freshness and consistency.

What is one Rex Wax product every man should own and why?

Even though Rex Wax originated with a simple moustache wax, we have grown beyond the limits of facial hair to offer a full range of products, as we understand that not all men have facial hair.

But every man (and woman) has a set of lips.  The mouth is one of the most-noticed, most attractive features on anyone’s face.  If your lips are cracked and dry, you’re not making the best impression possible.   That said,  everyone needs a tube of Rex Wax Lip Balm; with its thoughtful blend of spearmint and peppermint essential oils,  combined with shea butter, mango butter, and beeswax,  Rex Wax Lip Balm refreshes, invigorates, and locks in moisture without feeling heavy or leaving your lips shining.

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What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don’t start a bandwagon business.  That is, if you’re hearing a lot of press about a particular industry and hear reports of unbelievable profits, that’s not the place nor the time to jump in for your piece of the pie.  If you heard that story, read the article, or saw the TV show and then got the idea for your business, chances are, there are thousands who had the same thought at the same time.

Find something that you have an existing interest in or passion for and look for unexplored avenues, find the unmet needs and meet them.  The world doesn’t need more people regurgitating the same ideas and goods, over and over again.   Be bold, be different.

Invent something that makes me want to give you all of my money.

What do you have coming from Rex Wax in the near future?

Hard to say, I have so many products and ideas constantly in the works. I can say that I recently launched a special beard oil and moustache wax combo, the Longhorn Blend that is a fundraiser for The American Cancer Society.

Quick Question + Answer:
Right now, I’m obsessed with:

Canter’s Deli and figuring out how to get into doing voice-over work with the least initial investment.

I’d love to visit:

The French Laundry (a restaurant in Yountville, CA).

Rule I live by:

My motto comes from the play/film “Harvey”: “In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

Where can readers find out more about your company?

Our website is a great place to start; then head over to our Instagram and Twitter and give us a “like” on Facebook.

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Best of the Web: 7 Ways to be Eco-Friendly Year-Round

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Happy Earth Day! In honor of the planet we live on, we’ve rounded up the best articles this week on how to easily tweak your daily routine to be more sustainable and budget-friendly. After all, the modern gentleman is the conscientious gentleman.

  1. If you live in California, you know we’re in a terrible drought. Fix leaks in your home to reduce almost 10 gallons of water per day per person. (USA Today)
  1. Go green with these easy, everyday tips, including adopting a dog and buying recycled. (The Bark)
  1. Can’t live without your Don Draper in place? Here are 5 ways to green your hairstyling routine. (Pomades Blog)
  1. Foodies rejoice – preparing meals in an eco-friendly way means you eat higher-quality food that’s healthier for you, too. (Tulsa World)
  1. Earth Day is a holiday that retailers celebrate by offering you enticing discounts. Get $10 off a $50 LivingSocial purchase and free technology, ink, and toner cartridge recycling at Staples, as well as many more deals. (Times Union Blog)
  1. Start – or continue – wet shaving. Doing so drastically reduces the amount of plastic you’ll be dumping into landfills. (Grooming Artist Blog)
  1. Purchase LED light bulbs that produce the same amount of light using far less wattage. Plus 8 more tips you may have not heard about here. (Huffington Post)

Whether you start with one change or several, it’s all incremental. And to help you along, the team at RoyalShave has curated an exclusive selection of our best natural and organic products. These are items that live up to the quality you’ve come to expect from RoyalShave while making a much smaller impact.

Check them out here.

Wishing you a dashing Earth Day,

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