Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review for Solo Noir for Men -- Grooming Products for Ethnic Men

Just a little over two months ago, I received a follow on twitter from @SoloNoirForMen. Like anyone else, I am subject to the occasional follow from a random company that has somehow tagged a specific keyword from one of my recent posts. They usually unfollow within a day or so after not having received a follow back or tweet reply of some sort. 

This time around, it was a little different. It wouldn't be long before I realized that I was being followed by the company because they had taken the time to really select their target. First I received a tweet from SNFM, which caught my attention for many reasons.
Ever since I was a kid, my dad would say, "Make sure you wash your face!" He would grab the bar of soap, work a good lather and then dig in to his own face and I would cringe. After trying a few times unsuccessfully, I never really made it my thing. I'd get soap in my eyes, or somehow taste it when trying to breath through my mouth and after I remember it feeling like someone had poured glue on my face and then let it dry! My face would feel, "tight" after. 

Well, a little over a year ago, I had gotten a bit more serious about taking care of my face. I've had products for about 6 years now that I would binge on (use strictly for a few weeks, then fall off) and I tried different products, but after talking to my good friend E-Kan (@Mistakan) he convinced me, it was time to get more serious. 

Needless to say, when I received that initial tweet from SNFM, my curiosity was piqued, especially after reading their twitter bio: 
A complete grooming line for ethnic men featuring natural 2-in-1 products to make grooming simple. Chicago · http://www.solonoir.com 

Additionally their about page on the website states: 

Solo Noir is a complete grooming line for ethnic men featuring 100% organic 2-in-1 grooming products. For years the ethnic grooming market has been overlooked and Solo Noir is the solution to the market's void. Solo Noir offers cutting edge skin care technologies coupled with ORGANIC ingredients to achieve skin perfection for our consumers. 

At the time, I can't remember the website being as detailed as it is now, but I think it is because the site has now officially launched.  I did a little poking around on google and found some additional info and I definitely was curious to test their product as it caters to, "Ethnic Men." Not only is the line DEDICATED to men, but more specifically, ETHNIC men. Double bonus! 

I replied and since their initial tweet indicated their product had not officially launched, I asked if they were issuing sample product to potential clients?  I had been testing a few other products and definitely wanted to test out SNFM.   I received a quick reply containing an email from the owner herself, Andrea Polk (@IAmDrea2) that instructed me to email my info. 

Within two weeks I received a nice little package. 

I opened it and found a very cool looking SNFM travel pack.   It is a little brown burlap sack, which looking at their website, is also available in black.   I've purchased a few travel packs in the past, and there really hasn't been as much care put into it.  They're mostly clear bags, but this packaging felt like another way to continue the branding of the Men's product.   There was also a HAND WRITTEN note to me!  I've received personal notes before with product, but I have to say, when I opened it and saw it was all done by hand, I smiled...a very nice special touch, good job Andrea!  

As soon as I opened it, I great smell hit me and I thought that Andrea went the extra mile to scent the package!   I realized that what I was smelling was actually THE PRODUCT and all but one had come loose and spilled a little!  Uh oh!  There wasn't much at all lost, but some definitely had been wasted, mostly the aftershave, which is the only liquid of the 5 products. I cleaned them off and sent off a letter to Andrea, just to warn her for any future shipments.  I ended up taking the product with me to Colombia and on the return trip, the same happened again. It didn't happen on the initial trip, but on the return, yes.  I thought I had tightened properly, but perhaps I hadn't. 

I notified Andrea that I'd be testing the product while I was filming in Colombia and I'd work them in with my current routine and product and I'm glad I did! Colombia is hot. Not only is it hot, it is SUPER humid. My current routine is done once in the morning, and once at night before bed, but having to take multiple showers a day due to the heat in Cartagena, I quickly found I'd be using SNFM as my mid-day product.   I would love to point out that each product has a unique name that also fits well with the branding. It also reminds me a little of THE ART OF SHAVING, not because of the name, but the aesthetic...which I LOVE! (I own plenty of product from THE ART OF SHAVING brand.) 

The product found in the travel kit are:

*DAPPER: Daily 2-in-1 Facial Cleanser + Toner removes dirt & debris leaving skin smooth, clean, and shave ready without stripping away your skin's natural oils. 

*SMOOTH: A lightweight daily 2-in-1 Skin Conditioner + Smoother enriched with Vitamin E to soften the skin assisting in ingrown hair prevention. Our unique formula improves skin elasticity, and leaves the skin feeling hydrated and healthy. Can also be used as a beard moisturizer. 

*REFINED: 2-in-1 Buff + Cleanse will deep cleanse and gently buff away dull skin, freeing hair before it becomes ingrown. Our organic facial scrub is infused with ingredients that help fight bacteria, assist in ingrown hair prevention, and address acne concerns. 

*SLEEK: 2-in-1 Pre Shave + Shaving Cream employs a unique blend of essential oils to help protect the skin from razor burns and ingrown hairs. Our non-foaming formula offers superior shaving accuracy and softens even the toughest hair shafts allowing for a closer shave. 

*BRAVE: Cooling Aftershave that quickly soothes irritated skin resulting from shaving and ingrown hairs. Uniquely formulated to disinfect skin abrasions. 

These are some of the key ingredients: Black Willow Bark > antiseptic and skin clearing- helps with acne prevention Aloe Vera > fights the aging process - healing abilities - blood circulation Witch Hazel > anti flammatory - help counter the damaging affects of UVA rays Coconut Oil > prevents drying and flaking - delays the onset of wrinkles Shea Butter > contains vitamins A and E - moisturizes the skin - promotes cell renewal - protects skin from dehydration Vitamin E > stimulates collagen, elastin, and glycoproteins Grapeseed Oil > anti-inflammatory - minimize blemishes - slows the aging process Marigold > wound healing - soothing antiseptic - great for acne oily and sensitive skin Blueberry Extract > antioxidants - collagen booster Cupuassa Butter > soothes and softens facial hair and skin Tea Tree Oil - helps reduce acne - soothes razor burn - antiseptic

I quickly found I needed the extra moisturizer and cleansing in South America. The products I used the most were DAPPER, REFINED & SMOOTH.  The product definitely felt different compared to the product I had been mostly using from Burke Williams. It almost felt a little thicker at times, which I think is attributed to it being 100% organic (Organic is a nice perk! ).  I felt like my skin was more hydrated compared to the time I was using the BW product. It also felt a bit more oily, but again, in the humidity it is tough to say since you begin sweating seconds after stepping outside. 

There is also a shaving cream and aftershave that come with the travel kit. Since I was shooting a movie in Cartagena and was maintaining some facial hair for the film, I could not shave my face with the product, but DID decide to try it out on my chest at one point. The saving cream and moisturizer worked very well, but the aftershave didn't leave me with any lasting impression. Some of the aftershaves I've used in the past have felt tingly, or cool...some even burned a little, but this one felt like I was just dabbing on water. Perhaps that is a GOOD thing because it was just silently doing its job. I'll have to use it on my face soon and test it again.  

If you are interested in checking out SNFM you can visit, like & follow
Website: www.SoloNoir.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoloNoirforMen
Twitter: @SoloNoirForMen

In closing, I was very thankful to have the SNFM product in Colombia and definitely recommend trying it out for yourself!  I'd love to also test out some of the other product the brand has to offer.  I really like the aesthetic and attention to detail put in by Andrea and the team & of course catering to ethnic skin is key.  I don't think there are enough companies like that out there.

I will also add that while we were filming, the makeup artist commented that I had great skin.

Thanks for helping to keep me fresh Solo Noir!  

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