Article by Maggie McGlinchy
Self-care is everywhere. The term “wellness” is the darling of every marketing agency in the country, seeping into everything we read, eat, and watch. But when we think of wellness or self-care, men aren’t in the forefront. Why?
If Queer Eye has taught us anything, it’s that American men don’t prioritize self-care in the same way that women do. We love watching Jonathan Van Ness open a medicine cabinet featuring no more than a razor and a tube of toothpaste and watching the transformation ensue: The magic of moisturizing! Green concealer! Contacts! But why are we only turning towards femme men for advice? First-generation Queer Eye grooming expert Carson Kressley was decidedly the most femme member of the Fab Five and Netflix’s revival of the show has given us the gift of JVN who loves to blur gender roles. These men inspire all people to upgrade their routines in front of the mirror, but are these the only men we can learn from?
I spoke with some male-identifying Lauren's All Purpose Salve users to find out where LAPS fits into their routine and what self-care means to them.
Dan Fox, a comedy writer and producer, uses Lauren's All Purpose Salve as an all-natural hair product. Initially drawn to the product because of its design and organic ingeredients, it was the scent that locked in Dan’s support. When applied to damp hair, Dan is able to style his tresses in a way that doesn’t feel artificial or, worst of all, crunchy. To Dan, self-care is to treat yourself “like my own friend.”
Eric Lotzer, an artist, especially loves LAPS for his color-treated hair, which can get dried out from harsh processing. “It really rehydrates the follicle,” says Lotzer. “It’s not like a pomade where it’s super stiff and greasy, it’s more like a natural oil in your hair. It kinda feels like a three-day, not-washing-your-hair look, which is what I liked immediately.”
Unfortunately for Eric, not only does he struggle with dry hair, but also dry hands. Paint is especially drying and a big part of his life in the studio is washing and scrubbing the paint from his hands with a very grainy soap. Lauren's All Purpose Salve brings tenderness back to his mitts, his hair, and even his face, when he uses LAPS as both an aftershave and a beard balm. Aside from LAPS, Eric says his favorite form of self-care is sleep.
A maybe less obvious culprit of dry hands is field dressing, something I learned from graduate student and business owner Wes Stedman. Part of his hunting preparation is applying LAPS to his hands the night before, which helps protect his hands and his cuticles from the bloody, but drying, innards of the white-tailed deer and elk he hunts. Wes’s self-care routine doesn’t stray far from the basics, like flossing and shaving, but LAPS is the exception. Wes’s favorite element of LAPS is the jar packaging, which allows more product control than a squeeze tube. But his most interesting use for LAPS? Firearm lubricant. Really.
Lauren's All Purpose Salve saves lots of hands from dryness, but don’t forget that feet are also transformed from salve sorcery. Scott Willson, self-proclaimed biggest
LAPS fan and Lauren’s father, scuba dives for several months at a time in places like Thailand, Indonesia, and Mexico. Before LAPS, Mr. Willson’s feet would bleed from dryness. “My feet would get really nasty,” said Willson. His “nightly ritual” includes LAPS on his feet, covered with cotton socks, LAPS on his beard, LAPS as aftershave, LAPS for mosquito bite relief, and LAPS for general moisture. “It works on my feet, it works on everything! But I’ve seen what plastic has done to our oceans,” says Willson, “and I think what I love most is the recyclable tin.” In addition to LAPS, Mr. Willson’s self-care routine includes practicing Tai Chi on a regular basis.
Self-care doesn’t always translate to a 12-step routine. But one-size-fits-all products are usually restrictive and for-men grooming products are limited. In 2020, do we really need to gender our products? This is part of the magic of LAPS: it can replace various products in a beauty arsenal in a way that is inclusive and open. There are no rules with LAPS, it can be whatever you want it to be! A beard balm, an aftershave, or even simply a moisturizer. Everyone can use a tender touch, especially men.