Product details updating

Over this summer we will be auditing our product details and revising information as we add a new tabbed feature layout to all our own branded products.

As we have grown, it is time to convert all ingredient details to the FDA INCI standards. These are the approved botanical or scientific names larger cosmetic makers are required to use to establish uniformity and consistency to ingredient listings. Because of our size of business we are not required to use this system, using the common accepted names for all ingredients it its place. The intent was to be able to convey to consumers our ingredients in a manner that is very easily understood. We could legally still use our current system but as we wish to expand our marketplace it is sensible for us to make this change now. As always, we wish to be upfront and honest about our ingredients as well as our processes.

New Product Information Tabs

Our mission is to make our main product page easier to read and for you to get to the information that is most important or relevant to your search first. Our format always had a structured tab system, but it was one that was not editable in a manner that we felt was beneficial. We have added a back end feature that will allow us to fully customize our product information tabs.

For most products you will see 3 key tabs: Description, More Details & Use, and Ingredients. Description is the first tab all will see when viewing a product. It will contain the general purpose of the item along with basic details and call-outs for benefits and key ingredients.

Next tab will be More Details & Use. A place where we will describe the best or more common use or application of the item and dig into product details such as suggested storage, additional uses and added benefits. Our instructions on how to use a product are based upon the designed purpose of the product. Many of our products have multiple uses and it is good to know what else you can use it for. NOTE: We will alert safety concerns that relate to proper uses, if any. If an item is used outside of the noted methods of use, it is outside our Terms & Conditions and we can not guarantee its performance or safety.

Ingredients is our last custom tab. This is where all base ingredients are listed. For scented items, we keep the details concerning scent on our SCENTS page as they are shared among many products and would be far too lengthy to add into each product listing. Scents are covered under INCI as “fragrance” and are not required to be detailed. We will also call out packaging details and suggest recycling for commonly recyclable packaging components.

The Reviews tab will remain and is moved to last. Reviews are very important for sharing your experience with others. The more reviews a product receives, the more trustworthy it can become to a new customer who is uncertain about the experience they may encounter using our products.

We hope to provide comprehensive information about all our products to help shoppers get the information they want as well as set the right expectations. We do not have an in-house team of content writers, nor have we contracted a 3rd party to do this task. Like everything we do, it is by our small team of people that work behind the scenes to keep us running. By small, I mean pretty much one person. This process will take time and may have some hiccups along the way. Please pardon our “dust” as we make these changes. If there is information or details you would like to see, put it in a product review and we will address it right away.

Our take on “Utility Oils”

We get it; men like it simple when it comes to their grooming regimen. Preferring one product that can be tasked with more than one duty. We embrace this with many of our products where it makes sense; where each task is performed well and you get the best results for everything it does.

It seems there is trend out there of a grooming product collectively referred to as Utility Oils. Utility oils perform the duties of beard oil, shaving oil and skin moisturizing oil. Sounds great, right? Well, when it comes to soaps, shampoo, many creams and lotions such multitasking is sensible. A good body wash can work well as a shampoo. Even our shampoo bars can be awesome body bars. But when it comes to beard oil and shaving oil there are very distinct properties that you should be looking for in each that are at opposing ends of the spectrum.

The best beard oils are light and thin. They will spread easily and evenly through your beard and absorb more quickly into the skin as well. On the other hand, an ideal shaving oil will be thick and viscous. It should become a barrier between the razor and the skin, creating a slick surface for the razor to glide upon. Although it being an oil, it will still absorb into the skin and moisturize; but it will also feel greasy if used as a lotion.

A utility oil is either a beard oil tasked with being a shaving oil, a shaving oil you can use on your beard or a blend of the two. One may think a blend would do the trick but when you think it through you are actually getting a thinned down shaving oil that works as a thickened beard oil. Tasking one to work as the other means it is only doing one job well. Why pay for a product that only does one job well in place of buy 2 products that do their respective jobs very well independently?

An answer may be that it is less expensive while keeping down the clutter in your bathroom. And here is the GOTCHA! – these utility oils are often more expensive than buying an oil for each task. A 2 ounce bottle of a “premium” utility oil can run $40 to $80 anywhere you go. The average 1 ounce bottle of beard oil is about $20, most shaving oils are about the same for a 2 ounce bottle. In our case, each will run about $16 each and come in the same sizes.

Quality of the oils is also important. Castor oil is the ideal oil to use for a shaving oil. It is also one of the cheapest oils used in grooming products. That is why a shaving oil can be twice the size for the same price as a beard oil. A premium beard oil will use mostly argan, almond, apricot and avocado oils to give the performance punch. By the way, if your beard oil does not have at least 2 of those in greater proportion, you should find a better beard oil.

The biggest factor into pricing of any of these products is marketing and pricing to match a desired image. If we get down to the core, with all parts being equal, you are paying more for less with a utility oil. The only thing you are saving is space on your bathroom counter, or wherever you would store your grooming wares.

J&L Pogonotrophics’ Shaving Oil [2 scents, 2oz. $16] and Beard Oil [3 formulas, 17 scents, 1oz. $16]

We provide 3 great formulas of beard oils that vary in viscosity to target the best conditioning you may need. Separately we offer an amazing Shaving Oil that stays slick as a foundation to a great close shave. For skin conditioning we offer Junk Oil as an wholly different beast as well as varying skin lotion formulas. Save the money, give up a little space and do yourself a favor and buy your beard and shaving oils separately. You are likely not needed them both on a daily basis anyway.

Why keep it a secret?

We have good amount of loyal fans of our products and our values. People really seem to love that you can get high quality bath & body products without spending a small fortune. Although I personally don’t see our prices as being inexpensive when compared to your national available mass produced products. It was never our intentions to be on the same price level and there is no way at this point in time for us to even come close. When you look at luxury, salon and boutique brands that are often only sold in limited stores or online, our prices are often shockingly lower for comparable ingredients in a product.

J&L has very loyal fans and followers. Our list of customers who keep coming back for more continues to grow. They often tell us how much they love our products and our prices; and we hope they are telling their friends and family as well. But we have a favor to ask of all of you that do love our products. Please, tell strangers what you think of our products. The best and easiest way to do such is to review the items you have tried on our website and with Google.

Strangers will trust another stranger’s opinion far more than anything we can say about our products. While browsing our site they can see what other users have to say to help them decide if they wish to buy a product from a brand they may have never heard of before. On Google, it not only helps potential customers evaluate our products but helps us spread the word through our own listings. The more and better reviews we get through Google the higher they place us on searches for our products for others to find.

In a way, we like being that little secret brand that maybe folks aren’t sharing too much for fear that we may grow too big and become more expensive and lower quality. We truly wish for that to be the reason. The fact is, you don’t need to keep us a secret. We have the means to easily scale up production to provide more product. As we do so, we are able to buy our supplies and ingredients at even lower prices which will offset the increased manufacturing costs. It may even be possible to lower prices or offer more premiums, discounts and sales.

But, honestly we know you are busy people and may not have time to go back online to give a review for products they just bought. Maybe it was a gift and you hate to ask how much the recipient likes it. Maybe you’re scared that giving us any rating than 5 stars will upset us. (Actually, it will drive us to make it better).

To review us on Google, just search for us (J&L Pogonotrophics) and you should see a box to the upper right in your browser window with company details. There should then be a place where you can enter a review. For any of our products, next time you shop you can easily give a review as you browse for each item.

We thank you for this assistance and hopes this will help other shoppers to give us a try.

Advanced Skin Care is here!

We listened to what you were saying. Over the past few months we have worked on developing formulas for very specific skin care products that truly bring depth to our catalog of products. Current trends are pointing to simple and natural means to bring spa quality products to the home that are affordable. This speaks to us loud and clear. We are always trying to find ways to make higher grade, premium or even luxury level goods to more people. Simplicity and being natural is our style as well!

In mid June we introduced the first 6 products of this new branch of our skin care line. Designed to work together to be a complete face and skin care cleansing regimen. We look for this line to expand over the next year.

  • SERUM H.A. – 2% Hyaluronic Acid serum that penetrates and restores. A tiny bit of this alpha-hydroxy goes a long way to work with your skin to deeply moisturize and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
  • TONER – a simple oil-free toner to remove dirt and oil that soap leaves behind. Water based formula that is very light on the alcohol. Contains Witch Hazel, Cucumber Extract, Green Tea Extract (still to come)
  • TONER with 2% Salicylic Acid – the same as our basic toner but with added acne fighting power.
  • FACE MIST – a great way to refresh the skin and prepare it for your care regimen. Ideal for those who have dry skin to prevent a dry feel from other products.
  • CHARCOAL FACE WASH – a specialized version of our FOAMING FACE WASH where we added the cleansing trio of Activated Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil & Lemongrass Oil. Each works to ensure as much dirt, oil and residue is removed before you go forward with your daily face regimen.
  • FACE WASH – a liquid face wash built upon our organic liquid soap base. It’s light, lathers very well and rinses away super clean.
  • FACE WASH with 2% Salicylic Acid. Our new face wash with acne fighting power of beta-hydroxy Salicylic Acid.

All of these products are free of added fragrances. The formulas are kept to the fewest ingredients possible and are designed to be a total daily facial regimen.

We are very excited to introduce these new items to our Skin Care line. With our Clay Mask System, Lotions and Scrubs we offer a very comprehensive collection of total skin care all priced attractively while offering equal or better quality than most known luxury brands. Produce in small batches to ensure you get a fresher product.

Why your expanded assortment item takes more time:

In select products we offer “Expanded Assortment” options for scents. It literally means we are able to expand upon or normal assortment of in-stock offerings with items that are made to order. These additional items are scents we have made in the past as regular stock that had limited popularity or are scents some have requested but do not warrant full production.

Most of our items are easily customizable. We produce an unscented base that can be scented and packaged later, as needed. This permits more flexibility in our offerings without increasing our production costs exponentially. This is how we are able to offer Expanded Assortment. As long as if we have the fragrance ingredients we can continue to make the finished scented item. Unlike our normal inventory, where we produce an amount to satisfy anticipated demand for a span of time, expanded assortment items are produced the day we receive your order.

Whenever we package products, whether for inventory needs or for customized orders, we need to wait an extra day to ensure the product set as expected and meets our quality control standards. When adding fragrance and essential oils to our bases it can result in unexpected changes to the product. This is chemistry and if the ambient temperature and humidity levels are not ideal it can cause the base to react differently. This is extremely rare, but possible! Gently adding any amount of oils to our liquid soap base can cause the bonds of the ingredients to break and make the soap too watery. With beard oils & Original Beard Butter it can cause the ingredients to separate or layer.

Whenever we make an expanded assortment item for you, it is scented and packaged and set in a cool dark place overnight. The next day we open the package and inspect for any changes to consistency as well as fragrance accuracy before we commit to fulfilling your order.

By being able to provide this service, we are able to reach more people and provide more options to our customers. It also allows us to ensure you get a fresher product that has not sat waiting to be shipped for too long. We wish to continue to offer more items in more options for you. Sadly, we cannot bring these options to bar soaps, solid shampoo, creams, and lotions.

So, this is why it takes at least 1 extra day to process your order when you order an Expanded Assortment option.

New Beard Shampoo & Conditioner

We are really excited to bring 2 very new products to our J&L Pogonotrophics line; our all new Beard Conditioner and our improved Beard Shampoo which replaces Quotidian Beard Wash. These are all new formulations designed from the bottom up to meet the very specific demands of beard hair.

While others will take a simple shampoo formula, natural or other, and bottle it as a beard shampoo. We dug deep into the needs of the average beardsman and paired the right ingredients, in the right amounts to address those needs. We began with our organic wash base, which in itself is an awesome liquid soap and as good as any other premium wash, and added key moisturizing oils that can penetrate the cuticle of the hair and nourish it from the inside out. We also added Pro-V B5 (aka Panthenol), which is found in many quality hair care products. Panthenol works by improving effects of hair elasticity, moisture retention and flexibility; and can improve damaged hair. Beard hair often takes a lot of abuse from the environment and from grooming habits.

This new Beard Shampoo is an example of the leading edge we take when it comes to quality premium beard care products and is priced very competitively. Compare to Bluebeard Shampoo’s ingredients and right away you will see the difference. You won’t see Hemp, Avocado and Macadamia Nut Oils – all proven to be amazing hair moisturizers! Nor will you see the number of organic ingredients like we offer. You also see they use Propylene Glycol, which can irritate the skin.

A sensible pairing for our Beard Shampoo is our all new Beard Conditioner. A super luxurious and THICK conditioner that is packed with all the best moisturizing agents you can find for nourishing hair. It took months to work out the idea conditioner that can penetrate the beard hair and leave it soft and manageable. This conditioner is so amazing that you may not need to use a beard oil as often. We bring over many of the same conditioners you find in our Shampoo, but kick them up with Jojoba Oil, Mango Butter, Shea Butter and Coconut Oil. You will also find a more Pro-V B5 to help ensure those moisturizers get to do their best work. There is no serious comparison to the quality of this conditioner!

Both of these new items are in stock in our store today! Each are only $10 for 120ml – 4 fl oz bottles. While the Beard Conditioner is unscented, the Beard Shampoo comes in our 8 core fragrances.

Again, we are setting the bar high for what beard care can be!

Changes to US shipping rates

This year a dramatic increase to USPS shipping rates took effect. This increase was even more than we had anticipated. Our recent price increases on a few items was motivated in part by the anticipated postal rates increase; which we based upon the percentage of increase for 2018. These new 2019 rates increased 3 times what we had planned.

Until we are able to create a shipping rate structure that applies a fair discounted rate for all without necessitating an increase to the prices of our goods, we have decided to cease the “Free Shipping for orders over $50” option.

To be transparent on this topic. The heaviest items we make are also the items with the smallest profit margin. Any order that contains one of these items costs no less than $11.00 to ship and completely erodes any money we make if that order qualifies for free shipping. The lowest USPS rate we pay for Priority Mail is $8.00, Parcel Select is $4.00, with rates going as high as $18 for our largest orders. We do not treat Shipping Fees as a profit generator, nor do we wish to inflate prices for all, and it is a necessity that our online prices match our retail prices.

This past summer we introduced a $3 “Saver Rate” that applies to any order that only contains our lightest of products – no matter how many are in your order! At the same time we added an $8 rate if an order contains our heaviest of products. Our $5 rate is applied to any order that contains our lightest of items along with our “average” weight products. We feel that these rates are rather fairly distributed and help keep costs down for our products while providing a value to our online customers.

We rely upon USPS as our carrier for many reasons. Not only are their rates far lower than UPS and FedEx., their services integrate flawlessly with our eCommerce system. Most often, our packages will fit in your mailbox. For those that live in dense urban areas, there is a higher chance your package will get to your home when you are not there, not tag left on the door. To date, we have never had a complaint about a package tossed over a fence, hidden behind a bush or stolen off the porch. USPS provides reliable tracking and if you use their mobile app you can get consistent updates on your order’s journey to you. I personally have worked in Shipping, Receiving and Fulfillment for longer than I care to mention and I can tell you many reasons why USPS is far better to work with, even when they mess up.

There is discussion among us here at J&L about creating a Membership Plan, akin to Amazon Prime, where you get free or greatly reduced shipping and modest discounts on our most popular items. Once we iron out the best price to charge for this service and exactly what the policies will be, it will be brought to you to give us more feedback. This may be the only way we can provide Free Shipping to our higher volume customers.

Thank you for your understanding,
John C Dodge
Proprietor
J&L Pognotrophics LLC

To our Chicago friends:

At one point in time we offered a Free Pick Up option that allowed you to save on shipping at pick up your order at one of our resellers. We unfortunately had to end this arrangement when the reseller stopped promoting our products due to changes in their business focus.

It was very sad for us to loose this reseller for many reasons, but it is really sad that we can no longer offer this option. We are continually looking for a means to bring this option back as soon as possible.

We cannot offer Pick Up from our offices. We are a very tiny business where our offices are not in a facility that permits public access, nor do we maintain hours that would be compatible with most. We generally leave our offices the same time most other people leave theirs. During the day we may be in production at one of our “drop in” facilities we use making it even more difficult to pinpoint a reasonable time for us to be available. In essence, it is a logistic nightmare trying to track us down during the day. 

Knowing all these issues is why we are working diligently to open a retail and production space that is all ours where we can have published hours of operation where you can come to browse, try and buy directly from us.

This scenario is why we created the Saver shipping rate. This $3 flat rate is applied when your order is below our Free Shipping threshold and all items in your order are light weight and small in size – must be below 14 ounces. With most of our products being 5 ounces or less, this means we can pass along the lower shipping rates to you when possible.

A note about our shipping rates:

Minimum postage we pay USPS for most packages is $7.25. A package going to the west coast can easily be more than $15.00. We are still too small to qualify for any bulk discounts from any carrier. Our Flat Rate Shipping is now $5 for orders under $50. This means we have to roll $2.25 into the cost of the goods we make and sell. The fee does not cover the cost of shipping labels, packaging and other incidentals. We know other online sellers offer flat free shipping on all orders. In most cases they are comparatively more expensive and ship a higher volume therefor paying less to ship. To offer free shipping on all orders we would have to raise the prices of our goods, not only online but in pop-ups as well.

I didn’t think we needed to say this…

Since our founding we have taken great effort to share every possible nuance about our products, what goes into them and how we make them. Within our niche industry it is necessary as a means to set us apart from the “big guys”.

What is our niche industry, anyway?

We see ourselves among a special segment of the cosmetic and personal care industry that includes the makers of small batch natural personal care products. This is our foundation and where we are today. Although, we are aiming higher to be a strong regional brand of natural personal care products that are all made in-house – versus being made by a contract producer. We intend to always be the actual developer and maker of our goods.

While we often make point to call out that we avoid ingredients that are deemed undesirable or are proven to have a potential to cause harm, we don’t speak about our production and product testing methods.

We are cruelty free!

We do not test any of our products or their ingredients on animals. We do not acquire raw goods (ingredients) from any supplier that submits their products for animal testing. We didn’t think we had to make a big deal out of this as we figured it would be obvious.

With the bulk of our raw goods being 100% natural ingredients that are commonly used for food and soap making there is no point in testing them for potential harmful properties. We follow strict guidelines on how we use each item and never come close to meeting any risk threshold. This can be a concern with some essential oils.

All our testing is done in house with our J&L family. We give products to those close to us, as we trust they will be honest with us about how our products perform and how well they meet our expectations and reach the desired results. Scents, texture, viscosity, and a whole bunch of other properties are reported back to us to ensure we are making a product that works and is not harmful to you or the environment when used properly.

So in addition to our products being as natural as possible and free of the “bad stuff”, we are proudly cruelty free. We honestly didn’t think we had to make a big deal about it.


One man’s trash…

Using glass has many benefits for us and for our products; but there are benefits for the environment as well. We strive to encourage all of our packaging to be recycled. We hope we can inspire you to support our vision with one way glass is being reused.

Glass is one of the most capable packaging items for recycling and today there are so many more uses for recycled glass. Previously used glass was merely ground up and melted into new glass to make more bottles and jars. Now there are some really cool ways that colored glass is being made into surfaces for your home.

When selecting countertops for our kitchen we wanted something more durable than granite and learned about recycled glass countertops while shopping. Similar in nature to quartz surfaces which uses a mix of granite dust and recycled granite pieces into colorful marble-like surfaces. Glass is being used in much the same manner; sorted by color and mixed into a resin base to give a very modern and more durable surface than granite. The glass pieces can be fine to chunky which can give sparkle and more depth than real stone.

Glass can also be embedded into concrete for countertops and other surfaces. This can even be a D.I.Y. project for yourself. First step is to start collecting the colors of bottles you wish to use. It’s easy to find ideas on home improvement shows on TV or articles on the internet.

We strongly encourage the recycling of our bottles, glass and plastic. Just think how amazing they would look as someone’s kitchen counter. If your community does not have curbside recycling, please find a local drop-off location. Let your trash become someone’s treasure.