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10 men’s products with a cult following–and why they’re worth it

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What makes a man? I don’t know, and I’m willing to bet that you don’t, either!

I mean, I could fill this buying guide with whiskey stones and novelty golf paperweights, but does the world really need another one of those lists? If you identify as a man, chances are there’s more to you than the hobbies and interests people assume that you enjoy.

So I’m going to propose something different: Rather than fill your screen with the sort of stereotypical sea-drift you’ve scrolled through time and time again, I’m going to offer up some much-needed practicality. These thoughtful things have been tried, tested, and talked up; not just by me, but by scores of folks everywhere—many of whom are men.

Not everything here may be for you, but some of them might be precisely the game-changer you never knew you needed. If you don’t identify as a man, please stick around—you might find something, too!

1. Beard shampoo & conditioner that just works

Zeus Beard Wash Set

Credit: Zeus / Amazon

Reviews: 147
Average rating: 4.6

While you can often find me with a beard, I don’t particularly enjoy thinking about it more than I need to. I’m trying to wear this thing, not turn it into a hobby (though if you consider yourself a beard enthusiast, it’s certainly no hair off my chin). When it came time to find a decent set of beard shampoo and conditioner, my criteria was simple: I didn’t want anything heavily scented and I didn’t want anything tested on animals.

The Zeus beard shampoo and conditioner set was an immediate winner. Although it’s available in three different scents, my preference is “Verbena Lime,” which offers a subtle, fresh, citrusy scent that won’t linger long after you step out of the shower. Since I started using it, my beard is soft to the touch and free of flaky, dried skin. The best part? Zeus’ products are cruelty free and made in the USA.

It might not have thousands of user reviews just yet, but this up-and-coming brand has all the makings of a future favorite for fellas with facial hair. If you’ve been searching for a beard-washing set that gets the job done, look no further.

Get the Zeus Beard Shampoo & Conditioner Set (Verbena Lime) for $28.90

2. Beard balm that won’t leave you feeling greasy

Honest Amish Beard Balm

Credit: Honest Amish / Amazon

Reviews: 7,554
Average rating: 4.3

While we’re on the subject of beards, let’s talk about balms and oils.

In my quest to find an effective beard conditioning balm, the hardest part was tracking down something that didn’t coat my face in oil or leave behind a strong, pervasive fragrance. I don’t need my face to smell like pine, cedar, or any other scent deemed “manly” by a boardroom full of business suits—I just want a product that leaves my follicles feeling fine and my whiskers looking wonderful.

Amish Beard Balm has racked up over 7,500 reviews on Amazon (most of them positive) for a reason: The stuff is perfect for softening, strengthening, and maintaining a beard. Just put a dab between your fingers, work it into a liquid, and apply. The fragrance—which I’m happy to report is on the subtler side—has traces of herbs, pepper, and clove, but don’t expect the smells to linger all day (and thank goodness for that).

And, not for nothing, but Honest Amish doesn’t test its products on animals, either.

Get Amish Beard Balm for $11.43

3. The only shaving razor you’ll ever need

Edwin Jagger DE89 Safety Razor

Credit: Edwin Jagger / Amazon

Reviews: 4,756
Average rating: 4.3

My colleague Mark Brezinski recently wrote about the benefits of shaving with a straight razor, and consider me a convert—never again will I cave to the costly cartridge lifestyle.

Why make the switch? I’ll let my good buddy Mark break it down for you:

“Cartridge-based blades have anywhere between two and seven blades and wrap their razors in plastic buffers. Have you ever tried to shave a clean line with a multi-bladed cartridge? Not only do the lubrication strips obfuscate where first razor actually starts, it’s really easy to overshoot and wind up with a small notch in an otherwise neatly groomed line.”

“Since safety razors have just a single razor that sticks out, it’s easier to both see and feel where you’re about to shave. It’s very easy to gently line up the blade exactly where you want it to be, resulting in smoother, straighter, and more consistent lines.”

So what does Mark recommend as a solid entry-level razor? The Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor (DE89) is his pick, and given its average rating of 4.3 over 4,500 reviews, it seems that other folks out there agree with him. When it comes to refills, Mark recommends Astra razor blades (which, coincidentally, also enjoy thousands of positive reviews on Amazon).

Get the Edwin Jagger Double Edge Safety Razor (DE89) for $28.08

4. Luxurious shaving cream to liven up your grooming routine

Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream

Credit: Taylor of Old Bond Street / Amazon

Reviews: 294 (for the “Grapefruit” variety)
Average rating: 4.5

All right, I’ll stop talking about shaving in a minute, but first, allow me to gush about one of my favorite luxury items: Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream.

I always wince whenever I have to fork over the cash for this stuff, but I can’t bring myself to shave with anything else at this point. It lathers spectacularly, smells incredible while in use, and treats my sensitive skin with the respect it deserves. Personally, I lather up with a shaving brush, but you don’t necessarily need one to experience all of the good vibes that this cream brings to the bathroom.

I’m a fan of the “Grapefruit” version, but it’s also available in a number of other scents, including sandalwood, lavender, cedarwood, and fragrance-free (though the scents vary in price).

Does it cost more than your average, run-of-the-mill shaving cream? Absolutely. But it’s worth it.

Get Taylor of Old Bond Street shaving cream (Grapefruit) for $12.34

5. A daily face cleanser to keep your skin looking fresh

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser

Credit: Kiehl’s

Reviews: 633
Average rating: 4.5

Kiehl’s—a premium skincare brand with a cult following—offers a lineup of facial care products that are as effective as they are pleasing to use. Kiehl’s products not for everyone (and usually come with a fairly hefty price tag), but if you choose to go down this road, you’re probably gonna have a hard time leaving it.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser is a fantastic entry point into the Kiehl’s family of products. I have to admit: Not every Kiehl’s product I’ve tried has been a slam-dunk, but this particular cleanser is worth the relatively steep price ($10 to $20, depending on the size).

Get Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser (5 oz.) for $17

6. A gadget that’ll stop your shower drain from clogging

TubShroom Drain Stopper

Credit: TubShroom

Reviews: 18,589 (!)
Average rating: 4.3

Clogged drains aren’t just a problem for long-haired people; if you’ve got hair, there’s a good chance that gobs of it will eventually circle the drain.

Why not address the problem head-on like the thousands of people who use (and swear by) the TubShroom? This ingenious little device fits in most bathtub drains and catches hair while allowing water to sluice.

I must admit that, even after reading the overwhelmingly positive reviews of the TubShroom, I balked at the idea. “I don’t need this,” I thought to myself. “Even if it works, I am a short-haired boy.”

Reader, I was wrong. Two calls to the plumber later, I decided to give it a whirl. And I’ve not had a clogged drain since.

Get the TubShroom for $12.99

7. A travel bag for all of your bathroom gear

Herschel Travel Bag

Credit: Herschel

Reviews: 523
Average rating: 4.7

Folks, listen up: When traveling, you need to stop packing all of your toiletries in plastic freezer bags.

Herschel specializes in simple, fashionable bags—from backpacks to duffle bags. This swanky-looking travel bag will keep all of your bathroom products in one easy-to-stash place, and it’ll look good doing it.

It comes in an array of colors, but all of them feature a fabric liner and waterproof zipper. With over 500 reviews under its belt and an average Amazon rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it’s the perfect excuse to ditch the sandwich bag.

Get the Herschel travel bag (Navy) for $23.50

8. Collar stays for staying sharp

Smooth Stays Collar Stays Set

Credit: Smooth Stays / Amazon

Reviews: 2,002
Average rating: 4.7

Nothing drives me crazier than a curly, creased collar that won’t stay in place. Collar stays—the thin tabs of plastic that you’ll often find slipped into the fabric of a new shirt collar—go a long way in preventing the unwanted misshaping of said collar. Unfortunately, the ones that typically come with the shirt are flimsy, and due to their size and nature, often go missing.

I once found myself at the office without a collar stay and, after much anxiety, opted to use a jumbo-sized paperclip instead. Crafty? Perhaps. But not a solution I wanted to turn to ever again.

This set of stainless steel collar stays comes with 36 of them that range in size. I use them and love them, and so do thousands of other people, too. Is it the most exciting thing on the list? Hell no. But with any luck, you won’t be caught by your coworkers with a misshapen collar, or worse: shoving paperclips into your shirt.

Get the Smooth Stays Stainless Steel Collar Stay Set for $7.95

9. A shower cloth that isn’t totally disgusting

Salux Nylon Bath Towels

Credit: Salux / Amazon

Reviews: 1,015
Average rating: 4.6

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about that filthy ball of nylon mesh hanging in your shower. In fact, I’ve been known to spontaneously bring up the horrors of these things to friends, family, and total strangers on the street.

Shower puffs do a fantastic job lathering up soap and body wash, but because of their design, they’re also a breeding ground for bacteria. You can’t really stop this from happening, either, since they live in one of the best places in your home for bacteria to fester: your warm, humid bathroom. Dermatologists feel similarly and urge people to seek alternatives.

The solution? Ditch your disgusting, dank nightmare ball with a cleaner alternative. The Salux nylon wash cloth is similar in texture to your filthy shower pouf, but can be draped over a surface for fast-drying or tossed into a washing machine with the rest of your towels if it gets a little gross.

The best part about it, however, is its length, which makes it easy to exfoliate those hard-to-reach spots on the back of your body. If you suffer from occasional acne on your back and shoulders, I can’t stress enough how much of a difference this cloth makes. It’s cheap, longer lasting, and way better for your skin.

Get the Salux Nylon Wash Cloth (1-pack) for $4.94

10. The best boxer briefs I’ve ever worn

Me Undies Boxer Briefs

Credit: Me Undies

Reviews: 629
Average rating: 4.6

If you’ve listened to a podcast in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the hosts rattle off advertisements for Me Undies, a Los Angeles-based underwear company that sells premium underwear at a premium price.

I used to think that no underwear could possibly be good enough to warrant a price tag over, say, $10, but then I caved and ordered a couple pairs from Me Undies and it completely re-wired my brain.

Look, as someone who struggles to pay my bills on time every month, I’m never going to feel comfortable forking over the cash for a pair of boxer briefs. But I’m always going to feel comfortable wearing Me Undies—they’re the softest pair I’ve ever worn. It’s a tradeoff, I guess.

Even having been through my apartment building’s cheap, destructive washer and dryer units, these boxer briefs still feel as good as they did the first time I wore them over a year ago—there’s not a single unravelled seam to be found. Is it my favorite brand name to say aloud? Absolutely not. In fact, I try not to move through life without having to say the phrase “Me Undies” to anyone, ever. But if you want a cushy pair of underwear, I can’t recommend these enough.

Get a pair of Me Undies boxer briefs for $24

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, product reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.





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The iPhone 11 Pro Max is great

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Check out the Dbrand Grip at https://dbrand.com/LinusDropTips

Protect your hardwood floors from your gaming chair and get 15% off your order with offer code FUNLINUS at https://myruggable.com/funlinus15

The iPhone 11 Pro is the most expensive iPhone you can buy today – Is it a worthy successor to the previous most expensive iPhones you can buy or is it a rehash worth skipping?

Buy an iPhone 11 Pro Max:
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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Can J.J. Abrams stick the landing?

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Will the Dark Side of Star Wars fandom accept J.J. Abrams’ latest?


LucasFilm

This December, after a staggering 42 years, the Star Wars trilogy of trilogies comes to a close. With J.J. Abrams once again at the helm, the ironically titled Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the nine-movie Skywalker saga. 

Here’s the big question: Can Abrams stick the landing? After his generally well-received first Star Wars effort, The Force Awakens, and the decidedly controversial Rian Johnson follow-up, The Last Jedi, Abrams has the chance to send the trilogy — and the entire series — out on a high note. Maybe the highest note. 

No pressure. 

Can he do it? Will he tell a story that’s at once thrilling and satisfying? Give us answers to burning questions? Drop a few surprises along the way? 

Let’s discuss. Don’t worry, no spoilers. But to fully understand my predictions and perspective, you need to know me a little better. Here, then, is my Star Wars origin story. 

It’s 1977. I’m 9 years old and dragging behind my parents, who have told me nothing about the movie we’re about to see. Star … Wars? Sounds wholly uninteresting. Granted, movies hadn’t yet played a formative role in my life. I remember laughing at Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Silver Streak and Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. In fact, the latter opened the same weekend as Star Wars, and I’m sure I saw it first. 

But on that fateful day, I’d experienced precious little science fiction, save perhaps for a few Star Trek reruns. I liked the spaceships, sure, but beyond that it held little appeal. Hence it was a very glum little Ricky who plopped down in his seat. No runaway trains? No Trans-Ams? No, thanks. 

I don’t remember how long it took for my brain to catch fire. Was it when the Laurel and Hardy robots strolled through a flurry of blaster fire, causing the theater to erupt with laughter? Or when the monstrous figure in a black cape hoisted a man by the neck, causing a collective gasp? My overall memories of that first viewing are a blur, but I know this for certain: Two hours later, I emerged transformed. Overnight my world became Star Wars and every ancillary aspect of it: computers, robots, technology, outer space, spaceships, movie tie-in books, magazines, action figures, soundtracks. 

I distinctly remember going batshit crazy when a TV commercial announced The Star Wars Holiday Special. (Little did I know what I was in for.) I distinctly remember arguing with friends who insisted the movie was fantasy, not science fiction. (Technically, they were right — because The Force — but they were also snobby dorks. When I think of sci-fi, I think of Star Wars.) 

Flash-forward to 1999. I’m 31 and, like everyone else on the planet, holding a ticket to see The Phantom Menace, the first of three Star Wars prequels. Three! If the original movies looked incredible with 70s and 80s technology, imagine how they’d look on the cusp of the 21st century. 

Two hours later, I emerged… well, like everyone else on the planet, confused and disappointed. What… the hell… was that? Trade disputes? Midichlorians? Jake Lloyd? 

Eh, OK, even George Lucas can whiff once in a while. He’ll pull it together for Attack of the Clones. And Revenge of the Sith.

Nope. And nope. I’m not saying the prequels are bad, just that I have no desire to watch them ever again. They’re dull and soulless and dumb and I hate them I hate them I hate them. 

Flash-forward to 2015. Star Wars continues! Blessedly, with George Lucas’ misguided pen nowhere in sight. Instead, The Force would reawaken under the careful eye of J.J. Abrams, the man behind Alias, Lost, an excellent Mission: Impossible outing and a damn fine Star Trek reboot. This is gonna be good. 

But it wasn’t good. Although The Force Awakens had more nuance in its pinky toe than all three prequels combined, it gave us flat characters and a nonsensical (to say nothing of rehashed) plot. It asked us to love Rey and Finn not because we felt for them or identified with them, but simply because they were the stars of a Star Wars movie. Nothing about the story felt organic; instead, we were force-fed (sorry) our heroes, villains and plot points. The Millennium Falcon is just sitting around with the keys in the ignition? Finn and Poe Dameron are BFFs after spending, what, five minutes together? And, come on, another Death Star? 


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Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker trailer tees…



2:04

I won’t say much about The Last Jedi, because that was a Rian Johnson joint and we’re here to talk about Abrams’ latest. I’ll give it praise for at least trying to mix up the formula, even if it failed miserably at times. Its worst offense: turning our innocent Tatooine farmboy-cum-Jedi, our beloved hero, into a dick. If you’re going to dig up Luke Skywalker, don’t make him grumpy and unlikable. And if you’re going to kill him at the end, figure out a way to do it that doesn’t leave everyone scratching their heads. “Huh? He died from… Force-projection exhaustion?” 


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First look at D-O, the interactive Star Wars toy droid



4:17

Low hopes

So here we are, one movie left, with Abrams quarterbacking again. Sure, I’m hoping it’ll be great, or at least good, but my inner child — who’s been sulking in the closet ever since 1999 — is dubious. The truth is I have low hopes for The Rise of Skywalker, in part because Abrams has a mixed track record when it comes to closure (see: Alias, Lost, etc.). 

But the larger problem might be the script: Abrams co-wrote it with Chris Terrio, who penned Batman v Superman and Justice League — a pair of incredibly bad films. Some (maybe most) of the blame there goes to director Zack Snyder, but I fear The Rise of Skywalker has rot in its bones. There’s no solid foundation on which to build, no way to conclude a story which, let’s face it, concluded at the end of Return of the Jedi. Where I’m aching for something original, or at least logical, I expect we’re in for more nonsensical moments (a decades-dormant R2-D2 suddenly wakes up because … the movie’s about to end and it’s time to find Luke?) and intelligence-insulting action sequences (the First Order’s fleet can’t catch the Resistance ships until they run out of fuel?!). 

Ah, but what about the trailers? They look cool, right? I’ll have to take your word for it, because I don’t watch trailers. Trailers ruin movies. I don’t want any jokes spoiled, visuals revealed, surprises telegraphed. I want to go into the movie cold, with close to zero idea what’s coming. The more you’ve seen in advance, the less you’re going to enjoy the film. Period. 

Full disclosure: I briefly broke my rule, only because I’m feeling pretty “over it” about the whole franchise. I watched the first teaser, the one with Rey staring down, then running from, a land-skimming TIE Fighter, which just seemed ridiculous out of context.

Then I heard that familiar, menacing cackle at the end, and that’s when I knew I was in for another disappointing Star Wars outing. So Emperor Palpatine is alive, apparently? How original. The Force Awakens gave us Death Star 3.0; looks like The Rise of Skywalker is going for Big Bad 1.0. Yawn. 

There’s another shadow looming over The Rise of Skywalker, one that’s sad and inescapable: However the movie handles the death of Princess Leia, it’ll feel artificial and contrived as it forces us to remember dearly departed Carrie Fisher. It’ll take us out of the story for that collective in-memoriam recognition. 

Think of Star Wars’ best moments. Luke and Leia swinging across the chasm. Han appearing at the last second (“Yee-haw!”) to give Luke the all-clear. Yoda raising the X-Wing from the swamp. Darth Vader spilling the beans; Luke’s gut-wrenching reaction. The shock of Lando’s betrayal. Vader saving his son from the Emperor (before George Lucas ruined it with that insipid “Noooooo!”). 

No modern Star Wars movie has given us a single goose-flesh moment to rival any of these, and that’s all the evidence I need that the Skywalker saga will go out in a blaze of Force-push, with very little pull. Prove me wrong, Abrams. 

Originally published Oct. 12. 



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HuffPost is reportedly on the auction block – TechCrunch

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Late last night the Financial Times reported that HuffPost, arguably one of the crown jewels of Verizon Media Group’s remaining network of media properties (which includes TechCrunch), is up for sale.

Verizon has been shedding media properties in a retreat from the strategy that it had begun to execute with the acquisition of AOL for $4.4 billion back in 2015. Through the AOL deal, then-chief executive Tim Armstrong became the architect of the telecommunications company’s media and advertising strategy.

Armstrong’s vision was to roll up as much online real estate as he could while creating a high technology advertising architecture on the back-end that could better target consumers based on their media consumption (which the telecom company would also own).

The idea was to provide a broad-based competitor to the reach of ad platforms on Google and Facebook which were also targeting users based on their browsing history and interests. The benefit that Google and Facebook had was that they had a more holistic view of what consumers did online and they positioned themselves as a distribution channel between media companies and users — essentially redistributing their articles and videos and hoovering up the ad dollars that had previously gone to those media companies.

The multi-billion dollar land grab continued when Verizon paid $4.5 billion for Yahoo in 2017.

Now it appears that Verizon has a multi-billion dollar case of buyer’s remorse. Part of the billions that Verizon spent on Yahoo was for the early social network Tumblr, which Yahoo had acquired for $1.1 billion back in 2013.

Earlier this year Verizon unloaded Tumblr for the cost of a luxury Manhattan apartment. That $3 million sale was presaged by the significant fall from grace of other former high-flying media and tech properties.

Vice was once worth $5.7 billion at the height of the media investment bubble, but earlier this year Disney wrote down its stake in the company to virtually nothing.

At least Vice is emerging as a survivor. the company has rolled up Refinery29. Vox Media is also doing well in the new world of media. It bought Recode back in 2015 and recently acquired the publisher behind New York Magazine to expand its purview into paper publications and get its hands on the popular New York websites Intelligencer, The Cut, Vulture, and Grub Street.

Other publications like Hello Giggles, which was founded by the actress Zooey Deschanel, were sold to Time Magazine. High-fliers like Buzzfeed, HuffPost, Vice and Vox have all had to lay off staff in recent months.

It’s been a wild ride for HuffPost, which began in 2005 as a collection of celebrity bloggers brought together under the auspices of Arianna Huffington, from whom the site took its name.

AOL acquired The Huffington Post back in 2011 in a deal that was valued at $315 million less than a year after picking up TechCrunch for $25 million.

Verizon announced layoffs across its media properties at the beginning of the year. It cut roughly 7 percent of its staff — or around 800 jobs — including some at HuffPost.

In a statement to the Financial Times, Verizon said that it would not comment on rumors and speculation.

Neither Verizon Media nor HuffPost responded to a request for comment by the time of publication.



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