Last updated on June 28th, 2021 at 10:20 pm
Men are finally paying attention to their skin care, and a lot of D2C brands have come on the scene to help. You can get subscriptions sent to your door for shaving, hair loss, ED, and many more common conditions. Startups like Fabric and Geologie are taking on popular incumbent brands like Kiehl’s by delivering high quality creams and cleansers online.
We took a closer look at each to see which one’s the best—or maybe just best for you personally. As a 28-year old who never invested in my skin care before, I started to notice persistent bags under my eyes and suddenly decided to look into my options. In this article I’ll share my research to try and help you compare the three brands for men: Fabric vs Geologie vs Kiehls.
Why should men buy a skin care kit?
Maybe you have acne or sensitive skin that bothers you. Maybe you’re not finding the right stuff on the store shelves. Or maybe you are new to thinking about your face because you are like me, and suddenly feeling a lot older! We’ll all start to notice some wrinkles and some bags under our eyes… it’s what we choose to do about them that matters.
Men’s skin care kits can help with everyday activities like cleansing and treating acne, as well as reduce signs of aging. The latter is a nice feature since most anti-aging products in stores target women. And while most men who are with-it-enough to buy anti-aging products probably don’t really mind using an item branded for women, that doesn’t mean that female products are actually best for men.
For example, a clinical research paper explained that currently, dermatologist researchers think that “the skin parameters of hydration, trans-epidermal water loss, sebum, microcirculation, pigmentation, and thickness are generally higher in men but skin pH is higher in women.” In other words, skin products formulated for females might not be ideal for men, and vice versa.
It’s also time for men to rethink the whole “skin care is a woman’s thing.” It’s 2020, ya’ll, and men are allowed to spend time in front of a mirror and care about their facial appearance in general. Men’s skincare and beauty products (more broadly) are now booming industries all over the world — so you’re clearly not the first man to want a smoother and clearer complexion.
Skin care kits for men make it easy to test an entire routine at once, rather than product by product. Since many items work best when applied together, it makes sense to buy them as a bundle. If you find yourself in a similar position to me — open to exploring ways to improve my skin, but not having the faintest clue where to start — kits from Fabric or Geologie make it easy to get started.
How do Fabric, Geologie and Kiehl’s skin care kits compare?
Ultimately men’s skin care kits have a range of purposes. The focus often varies by company, some designed specifically for facial cleaning and shaving and others on anti-aging. Each has a different set of items inside, so making sure the one you choose has the right combination of products inside is key. Here’s the breakdown of what’s inside kits from Fabric, Geologie, and Kiehl’s:
Fabric vs Geologie vs Kiehl’s: Skin Care Kit Comparison
|Products in each men’s skin care set|
Complete set: face wash, face moisturizer, body wash, deodorant, shave cream & aftershave balm.
Standard set: face wash & face moisturizer
Body set: body wash & deodorant.
Shave set: shave cream & shave balm.
Complete set: face wash, day cream, night cream & eye cream.
Personalized routines: products based on skin consultation that’s included with subscription; customized sets include various combinations of products in the complete set.
Nourishing Eye Cream: The antidote to being told “you look tired”, Geologie eye cream restores the delicate skin around eyes with a rich mix of kojic acid, peptides, antioxidants, caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
Desert Cedar Exfoliating Face Wash 2-Pack: cleansers strip away dirt and oil buildup, leaving your skin feeling renewed, exfoliated, balanced, and fresh.
Essential 2-Step Acne Treatment: A two-step acne regimen provides you with a clean and effective way to achieve that clear complexion you’ve been searching for.
Normal skin starter kit: facial cleanser, line-reducing concentrate, midnight recovery concentrate & facial cream.
Oily skin starter kit: facial cleanser, pore cleansing mask, line-reducing concentrate & gel cream.
Sensitive skin starter kit: cleanser, hydration mask, herbal concentrate & cica-cream.
Combination skin starter kit: face wash, hydration mask, line-reducing concentrate & facial cream.
Dry skin starter kit: cleanser, serum concentrate, midnight recovery concentrate & facial cream.
|Option for buying products a la carte?||✔️||✔️||✔️|
You can see from the chart above that each D2C company runs things slightly differently, so expect a unique experience from each one. I’ll do my best to summarize the distinction below.
Review of Fabric Skin Care for Men
Photo source: Fabric Skin care
Fabric focuses on basic skin/personal care and shaving products, without carrying anti-aging options. You can get a complete set with everything or choose individual products. Fabric’s regimen contains only naturally derived products so you can skip the “synthetic junk.” They offer a discount for subscribing, so you can buy a product, try it out, and then sign up for monthly deliveries, you can save around 10%.
Review of Geologie's Skin Care Kit
Geologie offers a trial set with all of its products. It sticks to four products, which focus on basic skin care and anti-aging. For normal orders after the trial, your skin care kit is personalized via an in-depth survey to cater to your direct needs. This personalization angle is really strong – they offer you an online diagnostic tool that only takes a minute to complete, then get you started with a low-cost trial regimen.
After the 30 trial (which is only $37), they’ll help you customize your routine to come up with the right products for your life – and face. Just like Fabric, Geologie makes it easy to subscribe monthly, so you never run out and can stay consistent.
Instructions that came with my Geologie Regimen #28 kit.
My favorite item in my Geologie kit was the under eye cream. Worked wonders for my tired skin.
Kiehl's Skin Care Products for Men
Photo source: Kiehl’s
Kiehl’s has five starter sets to choose from, and the variety allows you to pick a set based on your skin type and needs. The kits are broken down by normal, oily, sensitive, combination or dry skin. Each Kiehl’s set is slightly different, with a combination of products that focus on skin care and anti-aging, but not shaving. The brand does carry individual shaving products separately if you wanted to add those to your order of a kit. The starter kits only contain trial sizes of products, so you’ll still need to purchase full-sized products individually after you run through your samples.
Even though Kiehl’s is the OG skincare company, they offer an online discount for subscribing of 5%. Not as much as Fabric’s, but still, a decent discount for subscribing, especially to a product line you’ll probably need regularly anyway.
Fabric, Geologie and Kiehl’s all allow you to buy their products a la carte, so if you decide you just like certain products in a set and not others, you can mix and match and customize your skin care regime to your own exact specifications.
What makes Fabric, Geologie or Kiehl’s brand stand out?
Each brand has its own differentiators that might make you prefer one over the other. Let’s take a look at each brand’s unique selling propositions so you can see how Fabric, Geologie and Kiehl’s compare.
Fabric says it offers “high-quality basics at an incredible value.” It says it uses the highest quality ingredients, all for a competitive price. A distinction of Fabric compared to the others is that in addition to face products, it offers shaving products. The other two brands focus on skincare and anti-aging products that aren’t necessarily all-natural.
Geologie says it has “superior skincare personalized for your unique skin.” Their focus here is personalization. Your subscription includes a skin consultation, which helps you find the right products for your skin’s needs. Beyond their personal recommendation from their in-depth survey, you have the freedom to choose from a bunch of different kits.
But we like the fact that they’ll send you trials at a low cost so you can find the right ones for your face. Full disclosure: I tried out a sample skin care kit from Geologie — specifically for the bags under my eyes — and still use their product to this day. Although what works for me may be vastly different than what your skin needs to glow, I can’t say enough positive things about Geologie’s under-eye night cream with retinol.
Kiehl’s has built a global skin care empire on their apothecary roots, promising high-quality skin care products that combine nature and science. This company is a bit different from the others because it’s an e-commerce store selling mostly a la carte products with some kits available — the other two are modern D2C brands offering subscriptions of men’s skincare kits (and a la carte options secondarily).
With so much granular product specificity, Kiehl’s is great for men who want to actively mix and match treatments to craft their own perfect skincare formula. For many men, however, the number of permutations is just too complicated. As an example, they let you get a subscription on some products and not others. Oh, and you can find Kiehl’s stores in the mall, but you already knew that. 🙂
Fabric vs Geologie vs Kiehl’s: Best Skin Care Kits for Men
|Cost of Kit|
Complete set: $99
Standard set: $39.99, or $35.99 with subscription
Body set: $35, or $31.50 with subscription
Shave set: $32, or $28.80 with subscription
Trial set (30 days):$37
Complete set (90 days): $148
Custom sets: range from $66 to $120 depending on set
Get 50% off with code FINVSFIN50
Starter kit: $25 per kit regardless of skin type (contains trial sizes)
Regularly sized products: Sold a la carte with prices varying by item
|Subscription available?||✔️||✔️||No on starter kits; yes on regular products|
|A la carte products available?||✔️||✔️||✔️|
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How do the ingredients and effectiveness compare between Geologie, Fabric and Kiehl’s?
Fabric says its “ingredients are amongst the best (and most expensive) ones that can be sourced.” It uses effective ingredients without questionable chemical fragrances or parabens. When it comes to ingredient transparency and staying clear of toxic additives / chemicals, Fabric goes the extra mile.
Geologie says it uses all natural ingredients whenever it’s possible and that it uses a reduced number of ingredients with a focus on efficacy. It doesn’t test on animals and avoids questionable ingredients such as parabens and phthalates.
Kiehl’s says it uses skincare ingredients that are “drawn from nature and science.” It chooses gentle, effective ingredients that are beneficial to skin. It uses many natural ingredients and minimal preservatives. It doesn’t conduct animal testing. Its website prominently lists the names and images of natural ingredients it uses, but when you check the ingredient lists, you also see a long list of chemicals, including some not-so-great additives. Kiehl’s is a well-known brand that a lot of people trust and have used regularly for decades, so it’s hard to argue that their formulas are toxic despite some questionable inclusions.
By the way: Geologie had independent testing done by Beaker, which graded Geologie’s products far better than comparable Kiehl’s products on product efficacy, ingredient safety, and number of ingredients. Kiehl’s only sometimes came ahead on value (bang for your buck).
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Fabric vs Geologie vs Kiehl’s: So which is the best skin care for your face?
Hopefully, the charts and information about each of these companies will help you compare them and make the right decision for yourself. We don’t want to come out and say one is best because everyone’s skin care needs are very different, and each company caters to them in better or worse ways depending on what you deem important.
That said… within this comparison directly related to men’s skin care kits, we do fault Kiehl’s in a few areas. Firstly, it includes some less than natural ingredients and doesn’t specialize in men’s skin care. Secondly, it’s starter kits only contain small trial size creams and ointments designed to allow you to craft the best formulations for your face. While this may appeal to seasoned connoisseurs, it’s likely to overwhelm the average man who generally has no idea where to begin when it comes to caring for their skin.
Thus Fabric and Geologie seem superior to Kiehl’s in terms of their natural ingredients, exclusive focus on men’s skin care, and more convenient kits and subscription options.
Both Fabric and Geologie have men’s skin care kits that are good for the basic skin care needs of your face. After that, each company’s focus veers in different directions. So if you’re looking for additional products for your body (like body wash and deodorant) or for shaving, Fabric will have you covered. If you’re focused on finding an easy to use anti-aging products for your face (like I was!), Geologie is a solid pick. Don’t forget to use code FINVSFIN50 at check out for 50% off!!