I’m a firm believer in supporting Black entrepreneurs who are clearly on their A-game. So when I got an email from Andrea Polk, founder of Solo Noir, a provider of organic grooming products for ethnic men, I was curious to hear what she had to say. It turned out she was offering something I hadn’t tried before, but might be a solution to the problems I’ve had with dry and oily skin and shaver’s shadow. You know, the dark skin a lot of Black men get in the areas they shave their face and neck.
Andrea’s a graduate of Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a Master’s in Supply Chain Management. She’s also spent four years in the skin care industry, which assured me she didn’t just wake up one day and throw some banana peel and beaver extract into a bottle and call it a natural remedy. So I said sure, I’ll give her product line a try.
She sent me three products that I’ve come to love (Descriptions gathered from the website and paraphrased):
- Dapper – A daily 2-in-1 facial cleanser and toner that doesn’t strip natural oils from the face.
- Refined – A 2-in-1 buff and cleanser that feels like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub that many of us have gotten to know over the years.
- Smooth – A 2-in-1 skin conditioner and smoother that can also be used a beard conditioner.
I won’t lie. I haven’t been one to try new-to-the-market products on my skin. I’ve typically stayed with the big name brands with massive advertising and marketing budgets. So when I got these in the mail, I prayed to infant mocha Jesus that I didn’t break out into hives or end up watching my face melt before my eyes. And I’m happy to say that after three weeks of using the products, my skin condition has actually improved.
This would be a great place for before and after pictures, but unfortunately I didn’t think to do that until like…three days ago. So I’ll just give you a brief highlight of my experience.
During the first week, I used the cleanser and toner (Dapper) twice a day. After using it the first time, I was surprised that I didn’t feel my face get oily like 20 minutes later. So I said “sh*t, this is pretty awesome!” and went about my day. I didn’t use the moisturizer right away because they’ve traditionally caused minor breakouts. So I kept up with the routine of using it in the morning and evening. By the end of the week, I noticed my skin started to feel slightly dry. Turned out that Dapper was strong enough to use just once a day on my sensitive but not emotional skin. So I did that and gave the moisturizer (Smooth) a try. Good scent and doesn’t feel like I’m applying Eucerin or watery cream. Since then, I haven’t had any of the skin dryness issues. The key for me was to use the products in tandem. Most notable was the fact I haven’t had a breakout from Smooth. Jesus loves me.
I incorporated the buff and cleanser (Refined), which is intended to be used once every three days, during the second week. It was pleasantly (but still manly) scented and didn’t feel like toothpaste infused with uncooked grits. I couldn’t tell the result of it in combination with the other products until about a week ago when I gave a thorough look in the mirror. The shaver’s shadow had faded, the ingrown hairs were minimal, and my skin just looked clearer and better hydrated. (I wanted to say it had glow, but I’m not every woman or Beyonce.)
All in all, I’m happy I gave her product line a try. I hadn’t believed the hype about natural products until this experience. I’d recommend fellas take a look if they know the struggle or just like trying something new, and that the ladies consider it as a gift for the men in their lives. Solo Noir offers a few grooming kits, which you can check out here, as well as individual products I didn’t cover in this review. You’ll also find all the ingredients on the website. They include things like tea tree oil, black willow bark, and coconut oil.
And since sharing is caring, we’ve decided to give away two (2) facial kits (pause) to SBM readers. The kit retails for $56.00 and contains the same three products I discussed above. One will be available for the fellas. The other will be available for the ladies. To enter for a chance to win, like the Solo Noir Facebook page or follow the Twitter account via the raffle widget below. If you’d like to purchase directly from the site, you can get a 20% discount on products by using the code SBMSPECIAL. *Rubs face and let out a loud Rick Ross grunt*