Skin is Skin

Gender has been a hot topic recently; as a society we’re finally starting to asking essential questions about gender roles and the meaning behind masculine and feminine associations. What do we mean when we call something feminine? What are we actually trying to say when we describe a person as masculine? And where did we learn these binary attributions in the first place?

Regardless of gender or identification, we all wash our face.

These are necessary conversations, mainly because constructs and norms change with cultures and with time. When we don’t allow ourselves to embrace new ways of thinking, we may find our rigid definitions are actually harming the way we think about our own gender, as well as how we treat others.

One surprising industry has a few emerging brands that are challenging these gender constructs and tired narratives: the beauty and skin care industry (regardless of gender or identification, we all wash our face). That’s why we love these conscious skin care brands for their unisex product lines. Because skin is skin. And whose skin doesn’t like to be pampered?


Features | All-natural ingredients, vegan, cruelty-free, give back company, packaged in glass bottles
Where to Buy | Online, stockists (available in boutiques worldwide)
Price Range | $18–$126

NOTO, meaning noted or notorious, is a Los Angeles-based skincare brand championing a fluid, non-conforming definition of beauty. Believing the world of cosmetics and skincare should be inclusive, as well as uncomplicated, this conscious company has developed a unisex, multi-use range of skin care products, including scrubs, moisturizers, oils, and cosmetics. NOTO is also committed to giving a percentage of profits to worthy causes—through the sales of their three-ingredient Agender Oil (organic hemp seed oil, vetiver and lavender), the brand gives to a non-profit that supports “those in need, the arts, and equality.”

For first-time NOTO customers, we recommend The Essentials Set, which includes body and hair oil, basil yarrow mist, and a calming face and neck serum. It’s uni-sexy.


2. Ursa Major

Features | Vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, made in the USA, naturally-derived ingredients
Where to Buy | Online, select retailers
Price | $12–$28

Ursa Major believes in products for all people. Their cleansers are as free from gender conforms as they are of sulfates. ‘Skin is skin,’ as they like to say. 

We’ve long been fans of Ursa Major’s plant-powered products, so we’re thrilled to share about their unisex skincare line; we especially love their Fantastic Face Wash. And fantastic it is. This wash exfoliates, soothes, and brightens, giving users super-fresh and balanced skin. It’s also free from parabens, synthetic colors and fragrances, glycols, silicones, and PEGs. Even the aroma of this formula is dreamy—hints of cedar, lime, and spearmint leave your skin feeling and smelling, well, fantastic. It’s probably why the face wash is loved by many (just read the reviews).

Shop Ursa Major


Features | Cruelty-free, select natural ingredients, made in New York, small business
Where to Buy | Online, brick and mortars in New York, California, London, and Hong Kong
Price | $10–$120

One of New York’s most beloved and local skin care brands for all genders and skin types, we can’t help but feel nostalgic about MALIN+GOETZ. The brand first opened as a brick and mortar shop in 2004, and the two founders—a couple who met at a bar in the East Village—interacted with each and every customer who walked through the doors of their Chelsea shop. They even enlisted the help of their two bulldogs at the time, Bob and Junior, who became international stars for the skin care company, known as the ‘dogs in the window.’

The intent behind the brand was (and still is) simple. “How do you take what history has provided in terms of how people have always shopped historically and make it modern?” The answer led the couple to reinvent the local, neighborhood apothecary experience. Instead of shopping for skincare online, Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz wanted to create a space for people to come and speak with chemists, to ask for skin care advice, and to discover products for specific concerns and conditions. 

Simple skin care solutions, made by locals, with natural ingredients, and for all people. That’s the MALIN+GOETZ way.


4. Aēsop

Features | Cruelty-free, vegan, select natural ingredients, outrageous transparency
Where to Buy | Online, signature stores worldwide
Price | $15–$250

Aēsop has an extensive unisex skin care line, ranging from cleaners and toners to exfoliants and masks. Packaged in trademark amber glass vials, the products are guaranteed vegan and cruelty-free, and the formulations contain many natural and plant-based ingredients, including witch hazel and essential oils.

We love this Melbourne-based company because of their outrageous transparency. Aēsop doesn’t shy away from answering (in detail) every question about ingredients, production methods, and environmental practices, and the company is making leaps towards becoming an even more conscious and sustainable brand. For that, as well as their range of luxurious unisex skin care products, we applaud them.

Shop Aēsop


Kayti Christian, a staff writer for The Good Trade, is a storyteller, creator, activist, and avid traveler hailing from Colorado, now living in London. With 30+ stamps in her passport, she is passionate about responsible tourism and is always looking for new ways to be a more conscious traveler. She is currently pursuing her MA in Creative Nonfiction Writing at City, University of London.