Admit it: In a pinch, you’ve borrowed your husband’s razor — and you suspect he’s dipped into your moisturizer on occasion. But all grooming products aren’t created equal! Here are six grooming items men and women shouldn’t share — and why:
“Sharing razors can be really bad news,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., New York dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. “Men’s double blades tackle coarse beards and sideburns — and exfoliate skin. Women’s single blades protect self-tanners and thinner skin. Use his and you can cut yourself, exchanging blood or inflaming hair follicles.”
In fact, it’s a bad idea to share any grooming tool, from hairbrushes to pumice stones (they can spread the virus that causes warts) to skin-cleansing machines. Keep your items separate and clean them regularly.
Another unintended side effect: Borrowing your husband’s tweezers or razor can also cause stress in your relationship. “We men become very territorial,” warns Matt Fugate, hair stylist at New York’s Sally Hershberger Downtown. “We have so few tools of our own!”
Shampoos and Conditioners
Women and men have different hair habits, and their shampoos reflect this. Men often prefer all-in-one shampoos and combination body-face washes for their thicker hair and skin, while women use separate products for every part of their body.
Hair cleansers for men and women also reflect their individual needs. Men’s shampoos contain ingredients such as mint and tea tree oil that stimulate hair follicles. “Men want that fresh, tingly feeling after a long workout, whereas women want hair soft and smooth,” Fugate says. In contrast, “Women’s hair takes a beating from styling products, hair dyes, blow-dryers and curling irons,” says Jaliman. “We need moisturizing and color-protective shampoos and conditioners. Use your man’s and you may strip color and dry out hair.”
Finally, if your hair texture is different from his — which often happens with couples — sharing shampoos can leave you both looking less than your best. The volumizing formula you use on your fine hair can make a mess of your man’s dense ’do. “The last thing thick, coarse hair needs is more volume,” says Philip B, creator of Philip B Botanicals hair care. “And if you use the rich conditioner that tames his wild hair, your fine tresses would end up glued to your head.”
Dabbing on his moisturizer or skin lotion can be worse than using no cream at all. “Men need harsher products because their skin is thicker and oilier,” says Aliesh D. Pierce, a makeup expert for Cloutier Remix Agency. “Those can irritate [women’s] dryer, thinner skin that’s been sensitized from exposure to so many products. Our richer creams clog men’s pores.”
The other problem with sharing lotions is the “ick” factor. Because some products are made without preservatives, bacteria can grow in the jar when you and he dip your fingers inside. Even for your own lotion, if it’s in a jar, use a mini-wand for application, and clean or replace it often.
Hair Color Kits
Color is color, right? Wrong! Guys’ dyes are made to penetrate and stick to their thick, short hair, and they lack the ingredients that add shine and subtle tones. “That dye is too strong and drab for women’s longer hair,” says Fugate. So when your roots start showing, buy a color treatment kit made for you rather than reaching for his touch-up.
Flat Irons and Styling Products
The two-inch-wide irons that women use for a smooth style are the wrong width for a man’s shorter hair. “Guys burn their fingers and hair trying to spike up their crowns,” says Fugate. And using your husband’s hair gel may leave you with helmet head. “Women like their hair to move — and don’t mind spritzing and styling midday. Men prefer firmer gels, waxes and pomades for all-day hold.”
Let’s face it: Men sweat and stink more than women do, so they need a heavier deodorant. “[Men’s] antiperspirants have more active ingredients to fight stronger odors. This can be harsh on women’s skin,” Jaliman says. “Plus, you risk germ-spreading.”
Philip B adds that some women use their husbands’ deodorant just because it smells good. “Fragrance can be a nice thing to share — not a lot of couples have a signature scent.” So if you’re fond of his ocean-breeze or piney brand, look for a women’s deodorant or perfume that matches the scent.
Photo: Corbis Images