Avaj was launched in 2015, “with the vision of providing a sophisticated, family-friendly and non-sexualised online environment in which gay men, their family and friends, no matter who they are, can buy gorgeous gifts for themselves and others which truly reflect their lifestyle”. Their new line, the avaj Grooming Gear for the Modern Gentleman, is a set of grooming products aimed at gay men, and they sent us some of their products from this range to try out.
The Carbo Carbonis Face Wash (£17 for 150ml) is one of the samples from the avaj Grooming Gear range that we did not expect to fall in love with. With a heavy charcoal element to it, it is a foaming face wash designed for everyday use that comes out dark grey and you have an expectation of it dying your skin almost, but when you wash it off your skin genuinely feels cleaner. Like if you had just used a facial scrub or something, but without the rawness that usually comes with it.
Mr Bright Eyes (£30 for 50ml) is an overnight eye serum designed to protect skin from line damage in the eye area. Now I am particularly terrible at using night creams as I always forget when I tumble into bed, however over the past week of haphazard nightly-use there has been a noticeable reduction in puffiness around the eyes, which can only be attributed to this serum. People of a filthy disposition should be warned that this part of the avaj Grooming Gear range tends to be over pressurised so tends to ejaculate when squirted out of the bottle.
One of the best moisturisers I have personally used is the Spray Mist – Sandalwood Body Moisturiser (£17 for 200ml), as it is designed to be sprayed onto the skin and absorbed directly, and not in the sun-cream ‘no need to rub in’ formula that you know that you will end up spending half an hour spreading over your skin. It literally just needs leaving and your body will absorb it, but the sandalwood smell is a bit over the top for a daily moisturiser, meaning you need to compensate with your aftershave to make sure you get the balance just right. If you like sandalwood then you will find it really good.
If you are into heavy duty moisturisers the Sumptuous Sandalwood body butter (£17 for 250ml) is probably for you. Designed as a weekly ‘luxurious’ treatment for harder skin patches like on the elbows or feet, this is the kind of thing you would apply if you were to have a bath and a night in, meaning it isn’t so much useful for me but for those who have the time to have a night away from work/social life/doing things then this is perfect. The sandalwood smell is just as potent as the spray mist, and hopefully other parts of the avaj Grooming Gear range is less potent (the Carbo Carbonis Face Wash is meant to be minty but is nowhere near as minty as my shower gel, so there is a good indication there).
The Strawberry Lip Shine (£5 for 15ml) is possibly the most ridiculous product, as a concept, on the list, not because of the fact that there is a problem wanting shiny lips or that there isn’t a market for those products within the gay male market – more that it is put on the same list as beard grooming products, which seems to create a beautiful androgynous assumption in the market base for avaj Grooming Gear. It is a very capable moisturiser, lip shine was not a high priority for me on a night out, but it is worn off very quickly on a night out so will need constant reapplication – think the chapstick you had at school.
Overall these products are very high quality, decent price for the quantity, and apart from stinking my bedroom out on account of death by sandalwood, work beautifully. The only downside is their containers – the body butter and the lip shine both use metallic jars that have twist tops and there is nothing more infuriating in the world than trying to do those fuckers up when you have just moisturised. Whoever designed them should be shot. Ignoring that, these are a beautiful and well-interpreted use of audience-led design.
You can buy the avaj Grooming Gear products through their website now