With minimalism rampaging through the conscious community, it’s hard not to feel guilty about an extensive beauty product collection.
The other day I told my husband to come into the bathroom. “Look at how uncluttered it is!” I said proudly, sweeping my arm to indicate the window ledge with nothing but a plant, bath salts, and Juniper Ridge Cabin spray; and the counter with nothing but hand soap, a jar with q-tips, and an electric toothbrush standing by itself. (I’ve had to resist the urge to buy a new Quip toothbrush just so could stick it up on the mirror like my husband’s and so make my bathroom more organized.) I’ll be honest, I feel morally superior to friends who have Container Store shelves in their bathroom housing dozens of gunky products.
But this idyllic scene breaks down as soon as you open our medicine cabinet. Products crowd the shelves: essential oils, medications, face clay, toothpastes, argan oil, skincare products for my morning and different skincare products for night. Let’s not talk about the cabinet under the sink. That’s where we store all our backstock.
This problem is literally why I stopped personally reviewing beauty products. I’ve settled on my favorites and don’t want more. So what would convince to me to personally review another personal care product line? The promise of minimalism.
That’s what Akamai brings to the table, with a simple trio of non-toxic products – toothpaste, shampoo-shave-soap bar, and skin-hair-aftershave oil – that promise to multitask so well that you can jettison up to nine products. Send it on over. I see the promised land!
I presented the three products to my dude and asked him to try them out alongside me for review. Here’s what we found:
This toothpaste has a minty taste and a grey color, because of its clay based formula, which purports to absorbs toxins and fight bad bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. It also has 72 trace minerals; fulvic acid, which may have immune-stimulating and antioxidant effects; and liposomal CoQ10, a substance your body makes that can be used to treat heart problems, high blood pressure, and gum disease. Akamai says it gently whitens and polishes teeth while reducing plaque and tartar, and it has no SLS, fluoride, glycerin, artificial chemicals, silicas, cheap fillers or sweeteners. It’s 100% biodegradable and safe to swallow.
It’s… different. I eventually got used to the texture, and the taste is still minty. But my husband refused to use it again after one try. He’s sticking with Tom’s, even though another toothpaste brand I reviewed (and he rejected) said Tom’s isn’t really that clean. (Tom’s is top-ranked on Good Guide, second only to Fig & Yarrow’s bizarre tooth powder.) Akamai founder Marni Shymkus said in an email that I should watch out for toothpastes with glycerin (which Akamai does not have), “which attracts plaque and prevents remineralization.” I researched this theory and this was the most compelling information on the topic I could find, from a dentist who says he’s found no evidence of this theory and it seems to emanate from one man’s conjectural work.
I’ve continued to use the toothpaste and it’s just fine for me. The only thing is that because it is grey and clay-based, it tends to very noticeably dirty up our bathroom sink more than white toothpastes. We don’t have a house cleaner and we’re busy and lazy, so this is a serious issue for me.
Overall, the toothpaste doesn’t replace more than one product, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a big believer in clay.
This bar is supposed to replace your shampoo, soap, and shave product. I actually don’t use soap or bodywash, though. I quit seven years ago during the beginning of the no soap movement, just using water to rinse my body off. I only use soap when I’ve gotten really dirty for some reason, or I feel like I need to wash of potentially dangerous germs, like from rolling around on a sweaty, shared mat at the gym. But I smell great – not one person has ever given me negative feedback. My husband used the soap for a little bit but switched back to another brand. It wasn’t kind to his very particular, sensitive skin.
We also tried it on our hair. I have super thick hair that I need to use anti-dandruff and clarifying shampoo on. So, it wasn’t right for me. My dude also tried it, and said, “It would work in a pinch.”
But for shaving, the Akamai bar is amazing, we both agreed! I had been trying to use another regular soap to shave, but it wasn’t working so well, so I switched to a shave cream. Akamai’s bar has a super nourishing, slippery feel that is perfect for guiding a razor. So it replaced both our shaving products.
Made with only six natural ingredients and no fillers, emulsifiers, fragrances, preservatives, nuts, or toxins, this nutrient-rich, all-purpose light oil promotes healthy skin and hair as it moisturizes, conditions and soothes. It’s supposed to replace your moisturizers, aftershave, hair conditioner, and beard oil. Well, maybe not your beard oil, but someone’s.
It’s definitely a light oil, with lightning-fast absorption. I emotionally connect more with my argan oil products, if that makes sense, because they’re so luscious. But this would do as an anti-frizz, shine product. Like I said, my hair is thick so I would continue to use regular conditioner in the shower and then layer this on top afterward. And while it’s definitely moisturizing for the skin, I need my anti-aging products at night, and anti-acne products in the morning/after my shower.
However, when I went back to the bathroom to find it to write this review, it had disappeared. Turns out, my husband put it in his DJ bag to smooth on his hair after he’s done DJing. He doesn’t use it as a moisturizer, because he’s never moisturized his skin. So it merely replaced the argan oil for him.
Akamai is based on the premise that we are being oversold to when it comes to beauty and personal care products, that we don’t really need the arsenal we think we need, just a few basics. And that is true. There is some major shoddy science out there that pushes an ever-increasing load of must-haves on us. But having tested hundreds of personal care products for this blog, there are a few products I have come to require that target my specific needs: super thick hair, 30-year-old skin that still breaks out without the right care. I have a whole routine born out of trial and error and earnest but failed attempts to go no-‘poo and simplify. Plus, going through a five-step process before bed is a luxurious form of self-care I don’t want to give up. For my husband, the opposite was true. His routine is already so simple, that Akamai couldn’t help him simplify more.
But for camping or backpacking? Sure! These products would probably do everything you need, better even than Dr. Brommer’s soap – and save you some room and weight in your dop kit. That probably tells you everything you need to know. If you’re the kind of person who loves backpacking – the lifestyle that demands simplicity and low maintenance – then you’ll love this kit. If you’re like me and have settled into a luscious routine you enjoy, this kit might not be for you.
But do buy the soap for shaving. It’s amazing.