Despite men’s skincare and grooming becoming a huge market for both consumers and producers, the presence of spas devoted to male-focused therapies are still something of a rarity. However, there has been a great deal of growth in the number of spas offering treatments for men and companies like The Refinery solely producing their own “Men’s Collections” to satisfy the growing demand for high-quality, male skincare.
I was lucky enough to get hold of a selection of their male skincare products, all of which promised a high quality, natural experience tailored to mens’ tastes. Having reviewed a variety of ranges like this I was somewhat dubious, more often than not these products feel like re-perfumed and re-packaged versions of their female counterparts. However, I decided to test the collection over a two week period, including in both my day and night skincare routine to ascertain whether The Refinery kept their promise of a natural luxury skincare package for men. A summary of my thoughts and opinions, based on the usual criteria, can be found below:
Quality – 5/5 Straight out of the tube/bottle it’s clear The Refinery mean business. The thick, creamy look and feel of each of their products is immediately obvious and represents their 15 years of experience in skincare. It’s hard to describe but they actually feel natural, not artificially creamy or aggressively exfoliating, they feel as though they are made carefully and naturally.
The “Mattifying Moisturiser” is a clear standout here as a product that boasts excellent performance, on first application it feels light and cool whilst quickly being absorbed into the skin. After 60 seconds you are left with skin that feels healthy, moisturised but most importantly dry. You aren’t left with any shiny residue or sticky feeling skin, there is only the feeling of dry, naturally matte skin.
Fragrance – 5/5Given enough time and resources, I could go on about the fragrances used in these products for ages. The theme of “natural ingredients showing their strength” is continued. No sporty smells here or overly potent, artificial florals. Instead the products have wonderfully masculine fragrances that smell exactly like the ingredients. The face mask smells sweet and nutty thanks to the almonds used in its production. The moisturiser has a musky, smoky aroma reminiscent of the frankincense oil used in its production.
Above all of these, however, sits the shave foam. There are many foams, gels and creams on the market but I have never used one that smells this good. The use of cloves, peppermint and aloe vera creates an incredibly masculine scent with wonderful, wintry notes that make the shaving process a real joy. If I could advise you to do anything it would be to bin the Gillette foam sat on your shelf and invest in this, I guarantee you that you will not regret it.
Packaging – 4/5
The people at The Refinery have decided to let their products do all the talking and, as such, have kept the packaging beautifully simple. A cream backgound with black lettering is all they need with no flashy logos or ridiculous names. It’s not brash or overly shouty, but quiet and subtle in its presence and would fit on any bathroom shelf or wash bag without embarrassment.
My only issue is that the moisturiser pump feels a tad plastic-y and that cheapens the experience slightly, though this is only a minor gripe within a shower of praise. I have said before that a boy will shout to demand attention, a gentleman whispers and earns it and these products are material proof of that.
Pricing – 4/5
I’ll be honest, this isn’t a range that will be universally appropriate for men and the pricing is indicative of that fact. With prices starting at £18 for the cheapest products and working their way up to £50 (if you include P&P) this is not cheap by any measure. However, you are paying for quality and I am a complete supporter of spending more money on products that offer a great experience.
As a gift to yourself or a loved one, this would be perfect and exudes good taste over flashy marketing. If you want to try an individual product first, I would recommend investing in the shave gel as it offers a taste of the experience given by the whole collection. Also, as it is the cheapest it requires the least investment if you’re unsure to begin with.
The Refinery have provided a rare service in today’s market dominated by the likes of Nivea, Gillette and L’Oreal, by creating a range of products that speak to men who desire quality over cheapness, subtlety over loud packaging and naturally-driven performance over false promises. It is a giant leap in the right direction for men’s grooming from a small Mayfair company and, because of that, it is already a firm favourite for me. This is a collection for the refined gentleman and one that will be a must-have for those who try it.
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