Looking for something a little more premium out of your skincare?
In this Oars + Alps Review, I’ll detail my month-long testing experience with Oars + Alps, a higher-tier skincare and deodorant line for men.
Oars + Alps sent some product over for testing and review. We’ve spent the last month testing their Face Kit and two of their Natural deodorants and offer our conclusions as to what works, what doesn’t and whether or not we’d recommend it.
We’ve not been compensated for this, so testing is objective and approachable. All opinions are our own.
About Oars + Alps
Oars + Alps was started in 2016 by Mia Saini Duchnowski and Laura Lisowski Cox, two Chicago-based friends whose husbands kept stealing (or spoiling) their skin and eye creams. The name came from their partners’ hobbies – rowing & skiing.
They offer a range of all-natural, cruelty-free skincare and natural deodorant for men, including their charcoal face wash and caffeine-enhanced “Wake-Up Stick.”
They position themselves as a slightly more premium product than the top shelf drugstore brands like Tom’s and Kiehl’s, but more approachable than the luxury tier. No caviar-based La Prarie here!
Business has been good for the company, which initially secured $1.3M in outside funding from local venture capitalists in Chicago. They expanded throughout 2017 and 2018 and in early 2019 landed their products in brick and mortar Target stores.
Most recently, the company was acquired by Wisconsin-based S.C. Johnson for a rumored $20 million.
So, the company has made some power moves, but how’s the product?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
The Oars + Alps Products We Tested
For about six weeks of the Oars + Alps Review, I tested two deodorants (California Coast and Eucalyptus Spearmint), the face + eye cream, a charcoal-based face wash, and the “wake-up” eye stick.
I used the deodorants (alternating scents) daily and compared them in longevity and residue to the Tom’s of Maine deodorant I’ve used for the last six months and the natural, charcoal-based deodorant from Schmidt’s I’ve also used.
In the morning I used the wake-up stick. In the morning and evening, I used the eye cream.
I used the charcoal face wash just before bed a few times a week.
Detailed Breakdowns of Each Deodorant and Skin Care Product
Oars + Alps Natural Deodorant (California Coast and Eucalyptus Spearmint)
Frankly, both of these smell fantastic. The “California Coast” has a crisp, clean, citrusy aroma. It’s very light and doesn’t have the lingering, syrupy smell that some of the drugstore varieties can give you. The Eucalyptus Spearmint is a pleasing counterbalance of cool and mellow.
While I wouldn’t recommend using them together, it’s nice to be able to experience two different varieties.
However, I’d like the experience to last a bit longer. In the course of sitting eight hours at a day-to-day office job, I can still detect a bit of Coastline at the end of the day. However, when walking from meeting to meeting and going to the gym, even on light sweat days after work, I notice the scent just doesn’t stick.
I’ve been blessed with little natural body odor, but even I find it sneaking through after 4-5 hours of wear and giving my pits a sniff. That’s a little surprising, but not much different than the Schmidt’s or Tom’s.
I’m not going to show you a picture of my pits, but it feels very light when going on. There’s no residue or the sticky wetness associated with gel-like drugstore deodorants. Additionally, this isn’t an ultra-dry, chalky stick pulling on the hair.
Important sidebar: make sure your pits are completely dry when putting this stuff on, otherwise, you will end up with a buildup. It’s easily wiped off, but just good to know.
No AZT, No Build-Up, No Pit Stains
Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly is the active ingredient in many antiperspirants. It works by, essentially, clogging your sweat glands and preventing them from doing what they do naturally. Not only is it not awesome for hygiene, but the aluminum causes a reaction resulting in the crusty, yellowed pits we’re so used to.
Oars + Alps has no aluminum, so no need to worry. I was more interested in potential buildup collecting on the underarms of my shirts. Schmidt’s Natural Charcoal-Magnesium deodorant, for instance, recently required three washes, baking soda, vinegar, and Shout to get out of a fine dress shirt.
I’m very pleased to report no buildup, white marks, or stains of any kind during the Oars + Alps Review.
Oars + Alps Natural Face Moisturizer + Eye Cream
Like the deodorant, it’s exceptionally light – among the lightest I’ve tried in the last year. This can be great for those with oily skin or if you tend to sweat.
It’s virtually unscented, which is nice. Too often, moisturizers have a fragrance that lingers under your nose and can mix unpleasantly with the cologne you’ve chosen for the day.
While the eye cream is light and unscented, it certainly doesn’t go unnoticed. I do feel there’s something there, and I feel the same smoothness at 8 pm as I do at 10 am. That’s actually quite rare, especially for something at this price point.
Oars + Alps Natural Charcoal Solid Face Wash
Also virtually unscented, this is sandy and gritty, but it doesn’t have the big beads of your wife’s Aveeno or the Clearasil you used as a teenager.
During the initial stages of the Oars + Alps Review, I wasn’t really impressed, but after a few weeks of use, it started to grow on me. I figured out a few tactics in order to make it work well:
- Be liberal with the stuff. Use a little more than you might think. I’m not saying ‘cake it on’, but don’t be afraid to smear it on like a Navy SEAL.
- Let it sit. I let the product sit on my face for 60-90 seconds before washing. That, basically, allows the product to work its way into your pores.
- Use water. The instructions say to use wet fingers to massage into your face and beard. That’s absolutely crucial here. That allows the product to emulsify into a kind of fine-grit paste.
If you follow these three guidelines, you’ll end up with a gloriously smooth face- particularly on your upper cheeks and under the eyes.
Oars + Alps Wake-Up Eye Stick With Caffeine
This is bizarrely cool, both figuratively and literally. It’s designed to de-puff under your eyes and includes caffeine(!) in the ingredient list. Despite sleeping really well, even as a new dad, I do wake up dehydrated and with puff.
The real kicker here is the tip of the applicator. It’s actually a metal ball that glides across your skin and provides a cooling sensation on contact.
I’m still getting used to using this one as well and outside of that wonderful feeling when going, I haven’t noticed any measurable difference in my face during the month-plus I’ve used it for the Oars + Alps Review.
Wrap Up: What We Loved / Didn’t Love About Oars + Alps
So, now that we’ve wrapped up our Oars + Alps review of their premium brand skincare products, what works well and what’s worth your money?
The deodorants do smell very nice – subtle, clean, and light. And no residue to speak of which is a significant plus for me. However, the scent doesn’t last as long as I’d like or expect from a premium product.
The face + eye cream is a pleasure to wear. It’s also light and perhaps the least greasy I’ve tried. I also very much appreciate how little fragrance it has. It’s certainly annoying to walk around with a fragrance, literally, right under your nose!
The charcoal face wash has certainly grown on me. I do very much enjoy using it and would certainly recommend you follow the guidelines above. An additional caveat though: do be sure to completely wash the product off your face. It will linger a bit on towels or sheets.
While the wake-up eye stick is a cool product and the metal rollerball is a unique (and fantastic) twist, I didn’t notice any significant changes in my complexion.
Of these products, I’d certainly recommend the eye cream and the charcoal face wash.
If you’re okay with reapplying once throughout the day, the deodorant can be useful for you.
Your turn, gents. Have you used Oars + Alps?
What’s been your experience? Let us know!
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