“As soon as I was feeling less horribly sick every day, I started thinking, ‘How did I get this?’” Razook says. There’s no history of blood cancer, or any cancer, in his family. He started investigating potential environmental factors. Though the cause of leukemia is unknown, exposure to some chemicals such as benzene, which is found in many beauty products, are believed to put people at higher risk.
“I changed how I ate and swapped out different products I use daily,” he adds, eliminating anything that had parabens, sulfates, or formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing agents. His only options were products marketed to women. That is, until Razook created Jackfir, a line of men’s personal products.
“I’m a gay guy from New York City, so I’ll use women’s products, I don’t care about that,” he says. But that’s not the case for all men, says Razook, who saw this as an unmet need.
Launched in August 2022, Jackfir makes a men’s shave cream, cleanser, and moisturizer that are certified by NSF International as 70% organic and also verified by the Environmental Working Group as being made without harmful chemicals. They’re also GMO free, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and their tubes are made of 50% recycled plastic.
“I would love to one day have our own stores expand their retail footprint but also hopefully offer anything a man might need to clean up his lifestyle, whether that’s organic cotton clothing or supplements.”
— Charlie Razook ’09
Men might not have been open to thinking about skin care 10 or 20 years ago, but “gender norms and society norms are changing, and toxic masculinity isn’t the same anymore,” says Razook, who earned a degree in politics and certificate in Italian at Princeton. Almost every man will need to shave at some point in his life, he says, which is why Jackfir is starting with those three items.
Right now, Jackfir products are sold in its Manhattan location, which looks like a cabin (the name Jackfir is a mash up of “jack pine” and “fir tree”); at Fellow Barber, which has locations in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco; online at its website; and at a few boutiques in New York. The products are also carried by Onda Beauty, a beauty store with spa services co-founded by actress Naomi Watts. Razook says the company is focusing on expanding distribution and affiliate marketing, and planning to launch two or three more products this year.
And while Jackfir products can be used by anyone of any gender, Razook says he’s focusing on men because he sees it as a way of getting them to specifically think about their lifestyles.
“I would love to one day have our own stores expand their retail footprint but also hopefully offer anything a man might need to clean up his lifestyle, whether that’s organic cotton clothing or supplements,” says Razook. “There’s so many ways to make swaps from your daily life.”
He’s also, happy to say, cancer free.