Meet Byrdie Boy Andy Verderosa. Each month, we'll be sending him new beauty products to test and review. Ahead, his thoughts on a 2-in-1 body wash/shampoo, natural deodorant, and charcoal peel-off mask.
As social distancing has confined me inside the four walls of my apartment, I’ve become acutely aware of the everyday structures of my life and how they affect my physical and emotional wellbeing. For example, I shower every morning. I know, I know, hold your applause. Rinsing away the sleep, it's a hard reset. Back to factory settings. Whatever may have happened yesterday, now swirling down the drain.
At least, I used to shower everyday. In QuaranTime, there are no rules. There is no time. No god, no masters. There is laptop and there is kitchen. My schedule—something I didn’t really even know I had—has been replaced with a swirling abyss of meals and Zoom meetings. Things can occur at any hour. I’m watching the morning news like a '90s TV dad. If you need to reach me, I’m both incredibly busy and liberatingly free. I’ve FaceTimed with people I haven't talked to since high school. This is all to say that I’ve had trouble penciling in a shower every day. If I’m going to give up my schedule, I am at least going to commit to showering every calendar day. This is our new normal.
It’s also forced me to think about who I’m showering for. Before COVID-19, I would’ve believed I was showering for myself. But is that really true? I was showering for my co-workers, for my fellow commuters...for society! But let me tell you—stepping into a hot shower at 2:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. or 11:30 p.m., then getting out and putting back on the exact same clothes you were before? That is self-improvement only meant for me. I can say with confidence that I am finally showering for myself. And at a time like this, I find comfort in that.
Andy Tries: Kelsen
Another new wrinkle to my life is that I am not in any rush in the shower. With all the time in the world, I am free and divorced from my phone, finally able to get some real thinking done. Luckily, Kelsen sent me a few new products to aid in my attempt to stay in the shower as long as possible. Kelsen makes environmentally-conscious men’s products. Organic ingredients, no synthetic fillers, microplastic-free—you get it. They are a natural alternative to traditional drugstore products at an inoffensive price. I received the Kelsen Collection, which consists of a shampoo/body wash, a conditioner and a light hold pomade. Having seen the memes about guys who use 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash, I was a bit leery. But it would seem the scientists at Kelsen may know more than people on the internet, because my body and scalp felt refreshed each time I used this product (probably because of the brand's patented 100% microplastic-free Marine Performance ingredient blend). I’m currently not exactly pressed for time, but in a pinch, it's nice to just have one product to lather everywhere and kill all the birds with one product. Plus, as its packaging says, Kelsen removes buildup without drying you out, which is ideal when my skin is stuck inside recycling the same indoor air every day. And speaking of recycling, the shampoo and conditioner comes in a bio-plastic tube, which is derived from sugarcane and is 100% recyclable.
On the subject of conditioner, I usually don’t use too much because it flattens my hair which is very thick, yet prone to fizz. But without anywhere to go, I’ve been generously applying the Kelsen Weightless Hydration Conditioner, which has produced some of the smoothest hair I’ve felt on my head in years. You can even see the shine from my Zoom calls. Both the bodywash/shampoo and conditioner are scented just so—a hint of a ceder and a note of citrus. Enough to remind you of the outdoors. but not so strong that I get tired of catching my scent all day. Sometimes I find the woodsman-ification of male scents to be a bit over-the-top, but Kelsen products don't seem to linger or sting the way others have.
Andy Tries: Each & Every
Of course, it's not just the shower that I’m doing for myself. It's my entire routine. One question I found myself grappling with was whether or not to apply deodorant in a time when I’m taking less than 70 steps a day. It’s a tricky one because it makes me come face to face with the true source of my perspiration—being alive. I kind of just sweat, even if I’m not doing anything. This month, I’ve been testing Each & Every—a natural, aluminum deodorant designed specifically for people with sensitive skin. Switching from my aluminum deodorant has been one of those items at the very end of my to-do list for a while. I’ve known I need to do it—it's just that switching deodorant feels a bit like switching my dominant arm. I’ve been using the same Fresh Blast-scented Right Guard Sport deodorant since I was nine. But if ever there was a time for changing up the way we do things for long-term self-preservation, it is while locked in the minimum-security prison that is Coronavirus. Each & Every comes in 11 different scents—everything from Cedar & Vanilla to Cannabis & Green Tea. And while it’s quite weird to catch a whiff of a scent that's not Right Guard Fresh Blast as I turn my head, I’ve felt fresh and new strutting around my one bedroom apartment smelling like Sandalwood & Blackpepper, or Black Spruce & Fir. These are times of reinvention, and while I’m definitely not getting my 10,000 steps a day in right now, it feels good to know I’ve done good to lower the aluminum I'm putting on my body even under lockdown.
Andy Tries: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
When it was first announced that COVID-19 is spread by touching your face, I had to have a hard look in the mirror. I have restless hands. I always have to be holding, bouncing, touching something. Usually, it ends up being my face. It’s a problem that is only exacerbated by my newfound quarantine beard, which is just begging to be scratched at nearly every moment of the day. Even knowing this, it’s been the Zoom calls that have drawn my attention to how often my hands are glued to my face. Seemingly every time I look over at my little video in the corner of the screen, I see my head somehow resting on my palm, or scratching my chin, contemplatively. It’s a problem, to say least, both for my skin but also now for my health.
For a real pore clean out, I turned the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask. With powerful ingredients lik activated charcoal and vitamin C, it’s exactly what I needed in order to combat all the gross face-touching that’s been going on over the past few weeks. This was my first time using a black peel-off mask, and I found application is much easier when you can really see where you’re spreading. I left the mask on for a good 30 minutes as I made dinner looking like the fifth member of KISS alone in my apartment. It peeled off very easily, taking with it more blackheads than I’d like to admit, leaving the area around my nose visibly brighter and without any oil. In fact, for the next few days, I found my face to be way less oily, even as I failed to break my face-touching habit. I may have just found my new Sunday night routine—if only I had an idea about what day it was anymore.