We Test Out Mediterranean Unisex Grooming Brand Maapilim

In the Mediterranean, no less.


It's 30-odd degrees of still sunshine outside and I'm ocean-proofing my curls into tight Dutch braids, ready for Mediterranean waters to wash my afternoon away. I'm on vacation – fucking finally – and, fittingly, I've brought my new Great Sea products with me.

Maapilim's grooming essentials are made with the Mediterranean's iconic natural oils and extracts, known for their benefits to the skin and hair. Emphasis on 'grooming': the Tel Aviv-based brand is marketed mainly toward men. However, in a recent sea change (get it?), the products – those that aren't beard oil and mustache wax – are moving more into the unisex market. Look, a good product is a good product; it doesn't need to be pink, ribboned and smelling of roses for a woman to use it.

Together with the Hair Cream I'm slicking through my hard-to-tame locks, I packed the Face Cleanser, the Face Moisturizer and the Facial Mud Mask. Because this is a week for indulgences – gyros and pre-6PM ouzo included. And, since we could share the products, my boyfriend and I cut down on our travel toiletries. Double win.

Of course, although I would have loved to spend a few more weeks semi-submerged, semi-sunburned – and, let's face it, semi-sozzled – like a Greek mermaid, I inevitably had to return to the underwhelming Berlin climes to ride out the rest of the review. So, without further ado, here are my impressions of a month of Maapilim.

First Impressions

How many times has your online order been literally as small as your big toe and still arrived in a whole shoe box of styrofoam? You'll be glad to know that Maapilim does the total opposite; the products were packed in a little cardboard nest! Better still, to save on plastic, the Facial Mud Mask and Face Moisturizer are packaged predominantly in glass.

As you would expect from unisex products, the labels are unfussy with a hint of luxury, printed with angular fonts and atmospheric taglines like “Follow the waves of adventure to the unknown.” Not gonna lie, to my day-before-getaway mind, they sounded like cosmetic fortune cookies. But much less bland than an after-dinner biscuit, all of the products, packed full of seed and leaf oils and extracts, smelt amazing.

It's worth mentioning here, too, that Maapilim doesn't test on animals and offers a no-questions-asked satisfaction guarantee on all of its products.

Face Moisturizer

Maapilim's description: Moisture hides in the land surrounding the Great Sea—Nordau harnesses it. Nourish, moisturize, and soften your skin to look and feel fresh. Perfect for all skin types.

Scent: Coriander seeds, marjoram and bay laurel

Key ingredients: Jojoba oil, aloe vera and rosemary oil

First finger in the formula, the Face Moisturizer feels pretty thick. However, when smoothed onto the skin, the non-greasy product turns to a light consistency. Suffering from persistent dry skin, I wasn't expecting much from this all-skin-types moisturizer. I usually use a very rich cream – and even that doesn't bust the flakiness as it claims. I was also slightly concerned when I read that aloe vera was the main ingredient as, in the past, the pure juice has actually made me break out.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Maapilim Face Moisturizer, however. Despite not being targeted to dry skin, after a week of use, most of my dryness had disappeared, leaving only a little bit on my problem-area nose. The light consistency is great for summer and the few tiny pimples that usually populate my forehead left on vacation, too – contrary to the spot-festival I anticipated from the aloe. Of course, I've gotta give some of the credit to the other skincare products too.

Shop the Maapilim Face Moisturizer here for $28.

Face Cleanser

Maapilim's description: This face cleanser tones and soothes the skin. Enriched with Argan, Jojoba, and Rosemary extracts that cleanse and revitalize the skin.

Scent: Bergamot, jasmine and cedarwood

Key ingredients: Argan oil, rosemary oil and jojoba oil

For the past year or so, I've used virgin coconut oil to cleanse my skin and it's served me pretty well. However, after so long with a stripped-back skincare regime, I was curious to see what a 'real' cleanser could do. Initially I missed the slippiness of the oil, which allowed me to gently massage the fine lines around my eyes. I couldn't go anywhere near my eyes with the Maapilim Face Cleanser, but in terms of dirt-busting, the super-foamy and refreshing formula was a winner.

Before, I would use the coconut oil as a second cleanse after micellar water as, used alone, the oil would leave behind makeup residue. So, to see what the Maapilim Face Cleanser was made of, I went straight in on a full face of long-wear foundation. It worked incredibly! After one good lather and rinse – no cotton pad required – my skin was squeaky clean. I was pretty shook, since the cleanser, initially aimed at men, doesn't claim to remove makeup at all. Coming back to this after a salty beach day was so satisfying, too.

I noticed that the ingredients are pretty anti-acne – including aloe, witch hazel, and urea – so I can perhaps also credit this cleanser for the reduction of my forehead pimples. I did wonder whether these types of ingredients, traditionally targeted toward oilier skins, would dry me out, but that was definitely not the case.

Shop the Maapilim Face Cleanser here for $18.

Facial Mud Mask

Maapilim's description: Create your new, relaxing grooming ritual with our natural facial mask. Crafted with mineral-rich mud direct from the ancient Dead Sea, it cleanses and balances the skin.

Scent: Bergamot, jasmine and cedarwood

Key ingredients: Dead Sea mud, carrot seed oil and olive oil

There's always gonna be that novelty factor with masks, which is perhaps why the Facial Mud Mask was my favorite of all the Maapilim products I tried. But, much more than the one-dollar mud packs that punctuated your teenage sleepovers, this sensational-smelling product actually does something.

Of course, everyone knows that Dead Sea mud works wonders on the skin, so the mask already had that going for it. But its additional vitamin-rich seed oils made the whole experience really indulgent. I have to mention that, after trying it, my macho, mask-virgin boyfriend wouldn't let me use it without him. And it's really no surprise considering how radiant it made his 36-year-old skin.

As well freshening up my (slightly younger) face, the mask worked a treat on a hormonal breakout and even lifted some of the stubborn blackheads on my nose. I'm glad that a little bit goes a long way with this because I'm kind of addicted.

Shop the Maapilim Facial Mud Mask here for $38.

Hair Cream

Maapilim's description: Max adds subtle shine and light hold to a man’s hair. It’s perfect for a laid back style and effortlessly natural but refined look.

Scent: Cardamom and bergamot

Key ingredients: Frankincense oil, bergamot oil, bay leaf oil

I picked out the Hair Cream because, 'blessed' with unruly curls, I can never test out enough hair potions. When leaving my hair to go natural – which I did all vacation – I usually smooth hair oil onto individual curls and allow to air dry. I've used creams in place of hair oil to do this job before, and since the paraben-free Maapilim Hair Cream promises light hold, I thought I'd give it a go.

I have to say that, on wet hair, the product was a little underwhelming. It didn't define the curls as well as I'd hoped, and despite the plethora of natural oils in the formula, I missed the full-on moisturization of the oil.


On dry hair, it was a different story. The Hair Cream worked great to add moisturized shine, smooth out frizz and define dry curls. And, as I touched on before, it was the best product I've tried for slicking my hair into neat braids, keeping the hair in place without looking greasy.

As expected, it was my boyfriend who had the best experience with this one. With floppy fine hair, he has forever been searching for a product which holds the longer top section in place without gluing it together and leaving sticky residue. He absolutely loved the Hair Cream as it effortlessly added texture and style whilst still looking natural. With this in mind, I would most recommend the Hair Cream for shorter hair – or a treat for your man that you can use too!

Shop the Maapilim Hair Cream here for $32.


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