The Truth (and Lies) about All In One Shampoo / Body Wash Combos
These days with so many products on the market, ranging from beard scrubs to shampoo and conditioner combos, men’s body wash and shampoo / body wash in One, it is hard to see the truth behind all the alleged savings. For years I had been using a shampoo / conditioner compound. I’d lather up my hair, then let that sit while I use the same exact product all over my body.
Not only did I find that my over the counter, box store combo body wash didn’t leave my head hair particularly soft, but I also found that my skin was often super dried out, especially on my forearms and parts of my legs. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it. This is just life, I told myself. I know when I was younger I didn’t deal with a lot of this as much. I didn’t have to worry about dry skin or dandruff or beard itch. But over the years, I figured what had changed was just me: my skin type, how oily my hair was, etc. It was all me--or so I thought.
My First Trip to the Dermatologist
Finally, after my wife goaded me into seeing a dermatologist about a patch of red skin that had been chronically on my cheeks (think the wife feared rosacea or lupus, which the doctor told me was not what I was dealing with at all), I worked up the courage to broach the subject.
It’s always fun when you have those kinds of moments of truth that lead to an epiphany. And over the years I’ve found myself being more honest with my doctors and specialists, and honestly, I wish I had started a long time ago.
So after finding out my rosy cheeks were no big deal and I probably just needed to try a special face wash with a particular acid in it, I decided to ask about the rest of my skin. After all, here’s my thinking: if I needed a special soap for my face, maybe I needed something special for my scalp and for my arms and legs too.
My dermatologist had clearly come across this question before and due to years of study and actually observing various skin types, she had some great tips and knowledge for me.
First off, it turns out that there are a number of different skin types out there. I kind of figured, right? Some of us have oily skin, while others have drier skin. Some have sensitive skin, and others have skin that is very hard to irritate. And of course, your skin type can vary as you age.
Most of that seemed like common knowledge, and I felt like I knew this already. But she didn’t stop there. It turns out that you can have different types of skin across your body!
And I about did a double take. What did she mean?
Various Skin Types: Even Just on your different Body Parts and Regions
Well, my idea about my own skin for my entire life had been that I had overly oily skin. I had good documentation and life experience to prove this. For instance, if I don’t wash my face regularly, I’ll get a plethora of black heads on my nose and cheeks. I fight these little bastards on the regular, in fact. Likewise, if I skip washing my hair for just one day, it gets noticeably oily. I can almost style it without any product at that point. Not that I’d ever do such a disgusting thing. Lol.
However, while the doctor told me that I was correct about my face and scalp and hair above my neck, I was dead wrong about the rest of my body. Most of the rest of my skin, or at least any skin that wasn’t in a particularly hairy place on my body, was much more dry skin, especially when compared to the skin on my head!
You can imagine my shock. And so I wanted to know what I could do about it?
Choosing the Right Body Wash
For starters, she explained that I needed a stronger acid based facial wash and there was no getting around it. But then she said I needed something a bit milder for my skin and head / facial hair.
The doctor taught me that most hair shampoo was a bit milder than the soap I needed for my skin type and to get dirt out of my pores. On the other hand, I didn’t want to go to harsh on my hair or skin either cause that would really dry me out.
I had a conundrum. Afterall, I had kind of always been that guy who used the same shampoo on my head hair as I did on the rest of my body. Had I been doing it wrong this whole time? Probably. But was there a true all in one product like this, an all encompassing body wash I could use on my hair, my beard, and even the rest of my body? To find out, my dermatologist told me I would have to consult the ingredients of the products I had been using and try to avoid certain chemicals.
In other words: I was going to have to read!
She gave me a list of ingredients to avoid and ones that I should look for in the perfect potential product for me and honestly most guys out of their adolescent stage, once you’ve stopped growing and your hormones settle in a bit more. So here we go down the ingredient do’s and don’ts train.
SLS Free: Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
The main culprit for dry skin and even brittle hair was fairly easy to spot: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, SLS. Sometimes this is also listed as Sodium Laureth Sulfate. You can spot this one on the ingredients list near the very top on most major over the counter box store style shampoos, two in ones, and yes, even most body wash, especially men’s body wash. I guess the scientists just figured that most men don’t have dry skin or something. But let me tell you, even if in your youth you didn’t struggle with this problem, over the years, using this harsh chemical irritant can cause you to get dry skin.
Here’s how it works: this strong chemical sulfate as well as all of it’s cousins, such as Ammonium Laurel Sulfate and Laureth Sulfate, is the agent that makes most body washes and shampoos lather up with bubbles. That’s how common it is. If the product ends up sudys and white with bubbles, there’s a strong chance that SLS or one of its types is a main ingredient.
SLS is a known skin irritant. It is often included in body wash and shampoo because it is very good at removing dirt and oil from your hair and skin. However, for many of us, it might be too good, leading to conditions such as dry skin, itchy scalp, and even worse issues such as eczema and dermatitis. Good times.
So why do major companies put this ingredient into so many of their products?
It’s cheap and effective at cleaning skin and your hair. However, this leads to many issues down the road. The obvious issues are similar to those I have been dealing with: dry and irritated skin. Sure, my legs and arms were clean, but they were also itchy and flaky. Not fun, nor attractive, I might add.
Secondly, this often leads to me having mild to severe dandruff depending on the time of year. There’s nothing great about that either. And here I thought my cheap shampoo was not the cause of the problem but rather I needed to shower more or use additional hair products to clean it up--even washing my hair twice every time I showered. Nope. That probably made it even worse, come to think of it.
Finally, there’s that weird redness on my cheeks on my face and the build up of oil on my nose and around it. I, as the ignoramus I can be, asked the dermatologist if I should use something strong like an SLS based face wash since my facial skin was just so darn oily.
She nearly smacked me, I swear.
Turns out that using SLS or other harsh sulfates on your skin can actually cause these already oily locations, such as those around your nose and cheeks, to become even worse.
What happens is after a product like this strips away all your natural oils, your sebum glands start to overcompensate, producing even more oil. And before you know it, you’re in a vicious cycle of harsh irritant followed by even more oil production.
Indeed, my doctor even told me that both my excess blackheads and my red cheeks may be a byproduct of using these harsh chemicals on my hair and skin for years. Good times.
So I clearly needed a product that was sulfate free. Check box number one.
So now I knew the most likely culprit for most of my skincare woes. Thanks so much, big hair care and body wash brands, for using the cheapest and worst chemicals possible for my skin.
Next, I wanted to know if there was anything else I should steer clear of, and the doc had one more major ingredient I needed to avoid: Paraben.
This one is a bit harder to define, and apparently, that’s the point. It turns out that Parabens are ingredients that the FDA has sort of lumped all together, and they are largely used as preservatives to prevent microbial and bacterial growth. While the FDA has set strong limits on how much of this product can be found in most products, they’ve not set any limitations on how many parabens can be included in any product considered to be cosmetic.
Overtime, repeated exposure to parabens has been linked with everything from hormone dysfunction, to increases in cancerous growths and even toxicity in reproductive organs.
Again, why do these companies use these ingredients then? They are cheap and effective at preventing bacteria from growing in a product that might sit on the shelf for years, even decades. So if you’re mass producing a large batch of shampoo for instance, the most economical way of making sure the shelf life of that product is long is to use something in the class of a paraben.
The solution to this is so simple though and two fold: one, use a different, non-toxic preservative, and two, buy a small batch product, instead of something at a major box store.
Please note that parabens have even been shown to mimic estrogen, leading to weight gain in men and messing with your testosterone levels. Yikes! Hence that hormone line above. And again this is a product you will likely be using daily: body wash and shampoo!
To the Store
So I headed straight to the store after my visit to the dermatologist. I had all this great knowledge in my mind and was ready to start doing it right. So you can imagine my chagrin when I got down walking down the shampoo aisle. Every single product on the shelf at this big box store, whether a men’s product, women’s shampoo, or a uni-sex body wash, had either parabens or SLS in it. Every. Last. One.
I did the only thing I could think to do: I turned to my boss over at Morouk, and I suggested we needed to expand our product line as soon as physically possible. We needed a body wash / shampoo that didn’t have SLS or any parabens and was strong enough to remove dirt from your skin and gentle enough not to damage facial hair and remove too much natural sebum oil from your hair.
We got to work, and…
Blackbeard was born!
How did we do it? Two fold: one, we started, as we almost always do here at Morouk, by returning to nature. While the crazy mix of ingredients on almost any shampoo or body wash can be confusing and hard to read, we knew we wanted to try to keep it as natural as possible and make it in small batches to avoid parabens.
We turned to one of the best lathering and soapy natural chemicals around, derived from coconuts: sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. Again, it sounds super technical, but it comes from a salt derived directly from mother nature: coconuts. And it produces a copious amount of foam and cleaning power. However, it is not nearly as harsh as anything like SLS. And it’s our main ingredient in Blackbeard.
From there we kept it as natural as possible, adding in Ivy Extract, Arctium Lappa Root, and Butylene Glycol, and just a splash of Citric Acid. We topped it off with some rice protein to help strengthen the hair follicles and a bit of smoky bourbon scent that won’t overwhelm but also won’t leave you smelling like a lady.
The new product was unique on the market. It was strong enough to clean your skin, but hydrating enough to prevent it from drying out. Our shampoo was great at cleaning your hair without stripping out all of the natural sebum oil that you need for healthy head hair and facial hair.
We had done it: produced the first and, to our knowledge, only combo hair, beard, and body wash, and we’d done it with largely all natural ingredients.
The smoky whiskey like scent as well as the brown viscous texture inspired us to come up with the name: Blackbeard.
It’s a dark scented and tinted liquid, and it works on even the wildest hair and beard. Inspired by the infamous pirate himself. And from their our product description just kind of poured out, like the infused shampoo we had created.
And it goes a little something like this:
Blackbeard Hair, Beard, & Body Wash
Tame your wild man mane with a potent, smoky bourbon shampoo and body wash fit to tussle with the likes of the famous pirate of its namesake: Blackbeard, himself, the legendary skallywag of the Caribbean. Leave behind traditional store bought fruity body washes and take a wild ride on the Queen Anne’s Revenge. This SLS, Sodium Lauryl, and Paraben free man wash will leave you ready to set sail and tackle anything the day might throw at you, including sea shanties, raiding merchant ships, and even popping the cork on that bottle of rum.
Yo ho. Yo ho.
A pirate’s life for me.
Does not contain Bourbon or a map to Blackbeard’s buried treasure.
Get your Pirate On!
And what more can we say than that. Blackbeard has a great mild scent, a solid cleaning ability, and no harsh irritants that will dry out your skin or leave your beard stripped of natural oils. There’s not much more to add except to ask you why you haven’t tried it yet. It’s time to stop damaging your skin, scalp, and facial hair. It’s time to let your natural oils maintain your beard and pores. It’s time to stop buying the cheapest all in one body wash and shampoo from those box stores and get something that’s actually designed for a man’s hair and skin, by men like you who’ve had the same exact issues and wants and desires as we all have: to look good but act like we aren’t even trying.
Start living the pirate life today.
Order up your first bottle of Blackbeard, and spread the word. Welcome to the Queen Anne’s Revenge. Welcome to our Crew.