“Follow the creative energy and return to Nature.” — Bashō

Respect for Nature runs deep in Japan. From sacred wood temples in lush forest settings, to manicured gardens with winding paths, to sparsely beautiful haiku poetry, Japanese culture often seeks out the harmony between Nature and humanity. At the same time, it also celebrates Modern advancements that improve human life. Blackwood For Men is rooted in both of these traditions.

The torii at Mount Hakone. Torii gates mark the entrances to sacred spaces in the Shinto tradition, which reveres the strength of nature. (via Britannica)

The Start

A few years ago our founders set out to create a groundbreaking line of multifunctional products for men inspired by Japanese style and sensibility. To meet the famously exacting quality and environmental standards of Japan’s beauty industry, they partnered with one of the top manufacturers in Japan (which had already worked with the likes of Shiseido and SKII) to develop premium men’s products with a perfect balance of Natural strength and Modern style.

Tsubaki Oil from the Japanese Camellia
Tsubaki Oil from the Japanese camellia has the perfect molecular weight to penetrate skin

Using the latest technology, they designed clean, cruelty-free, ocean safe formulas made to specifically meet men’s biological needs.

 

They also sought out potent natural ingredients with multiple benefits for men, with a special emphasis on Asian botanicals not found in most men’s products.

Now for the first time, men in the U.S. would get to feel the benefits of antioxidant-rich Swertia Japonica to increase scalp circulation and boost hair growth, Tsubaki Oil to strengthen hair follicles, or Tanakura Clay from the Sea of Japan to purify pores and balance skin oils.

 

Powered by these natural Botanical Boosts, this new grooming line would not only get guys cleaner, but actually make them healthier.

It was an innovative, holistic approach that took years to develop, but is now summed up in a 3-word mission and motto:

Cleanse. Restore. Protect.

The Style

For the look of the line, they incorporated classic Japanese elements like shibui (simplicity) and miyabi (elegance) for a masculine but minimalist design that’s unlike any other natural product. Add in advanced pumps with sturdy, high-grade recyclable bottles and you have an ideal blend of form and function that adds a touch of natural class to any bathroom.

Natural strength and Modern style come together in Blackwood (via shousugiban.com)

The Name

Finally, for the name of this new brand they took inspiration from another Japanese tradition that combines human ingenuity and Natural strength: yakisugi. Also known as shou sugi ban (for reasons that deserve a whole other blog) this ancient technique preserves wood by charring it with fire.

The result is something uniquely beautiful. It also happens to be more resistant to mold, toxins and heat.

It’s been transformed. It becomes harder and stronger, with its own individual features and complex character. Quite literally, it becomes black wood.

And the name Blackwood also fits our aesthetic in other ways. Black, the color of elegance, power and sophistication. Wood, a natural symbol of strength, shelter and vitality.

Wood also has special significance in Japanese society, where it is used to make everything from sacred Shinto shrines to world-renowned artworks.

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai. This famous woodblock print depicts Nature’s power and how people (in this case some badass fishermen) adapt to it.

Bathed in Nature

In Japan there is a practice called shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.” It’s pretty easy to try. All you have to do is find a forest setting, and walk around in it. Soak it in. Studies have shown connecting with Nature this way has real biological benefits, including improved immune function, more energy, and decreased stress.

Forest Bathing
The Natural Path

We can’t physically bring you to the woods in Japan and make you bathe in the natural benefits there. But we can give you the next best thing: a grooming experience powered by Nature, delivered with Modern precision to provide multiple benefits for skin and hair, while taking far less out of your pocket than other premium brands.

If you’re still wondering what this all means and whether it’s right for you, we’ll leave you with one more quote from the Japanese poet Bashō. He said “Learn of the pine from the pine; learn of the bamboo from the bamboo.” We’d add, learn of the Blackwood from the Blackwood. In other words, give it a try. If you need some pragmatism with your poetry, use the special code MADEINJAPAN and you’ll also get 25% off on your entire order! It’s the next step on the Natural path to healthier style.