/  Lifestyle /  Home

FREY Review: Can Laundry Detergent Really Replace Cologne?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post containing affiliate links. We received compensation and courtesy product from FREY in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own. Learn more.

William Barton

Style, Grooming, Fitness, Boots, Workwear

William has been covering men's style, grooming, and fitness topics for The Adult Man since 2018 as both a writer and photographer. Based in North Carolina, he's also the face of premier men's boots website BootSpy.com and the popular BootSpy YouTube channel. If William could only wear one outfit for the rest of his life, it'd be slim blue jeans, a green fitted oxford shirt, Chelsea boots, and a nice watch. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Apr 4, 2024
8 min read
frey soap suds on bottle

Manly detergent. Sounds like a gimmick, right?

Well, our Frey review might just change your mind. Or confirm your suspicions.

The Adult Man Image/Icon Image Source: FREY

Bottom line: FREY’s laundry lineup and shower essentials may change the way you wash your clothes and your body. And because their products all come with a signature scent, you’ll enjoy a pleasant masculine smell even without cologne.

Ratings: The Adult Man Image/IconDesign The Adult Man Image/IconQuality of Materials The Adult Man Image/IconValue for Money The Adult Man Image/IconCustomer Service The Adult Man Image/IconPackaging
  • All products have a pleasant, manly smell
  • The fragrance and ingredients across all products are made with natural ingredients
  • 10% of profits are donated to charity, plus the ingredients have less impact on the environment
  • Paraben, phosphate, and phthalate-free
  • Subscription plan available
  • At first glance, some may find the price of the personal care kit a bit steep

When I lived in San Francisco, I hated laundry day.

I’d have to lug my clothes three blocks to the laundromat and sit for hours watching my clothes tumble.

Seriously, if you’re a busy guy in your twenties or thirties, you know how much a three-hour laundry detour really cuts into your weekend.

Now that I’ve moved to North Carolina, I have in-unit laundry. What a time to be alive.

And over the past two years, I’m becoming more intentional about my purchases. I’m starting to question why I buy what I buy.

Maybe it’s because it seems like every other day some random company is getting in trouble for throwing a bunch of chemicals together, slapping a colorful label on their product, and discovering after the fact that it’s actually poison.

But recently, I’ve started to look carefully at what I use to clean my body, my apartment, and my clothes.

So when FREY offered to send along some samples of their natural soaps and detergents, I was game.

They claim their products are better for your body and better for the environment. What’s not to love about that?

The big question is: does it actually work?

I put FREY’s laundry and personal care system to the test. Read below for my take.

What Is FREY?

Founded by brothers Leif and Erin Frey, FREY is a laundry and personal care brand originally designed for men.

They started with a focus on upending the detergent industry by creating a product that didn’t smell like lavender and fresh meadows. Instead, FREY’s signature scent is a blend of cedar, oakmoss, and amber—a combination they landed on after studying the most popular men’s fragrances on the market.

Believe me, I love a fresh meadow, but sometimes us guys prefer something a bit more traditionally masculine.

frey laundry box black with suds

Since their beginnings with detergent, they’ve expanded (it helps they’ve had some massive backing from VC funds like Y Combinator).

To round out the laundry process, they’ve added dryer sheets, fabric conditioner, stain remover, a de-wrinkle formula, and a spray meant to keep your gym bag fresh.

FREY isn’t sticking to the laundry room either. They’ve also released essentials for the bathroom, including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and deodorant.

What really stuck out to me, though, was the scent. All of these products are available with the same fragrance.

Usually, my soap smells like peppermint, my clothes smell like Fresh Mountain Spring (whatever that smells like), and my shoes just smell bad.

So what’s it like having soap, detergent, and a spritz of freshener to keep everything smelling manly and clean?

To be honest, I didn’t think I’d care too much. I just wanted natural detergents that I could trust. Well, I got that but I learned something, too.

FREY Unboxing & Review

frey laundry box in black

FREY sent me their Classic Laundry Package and a Personal Care Kit. These products all share two things in common. They’re made with natural ingredients, and they have the same cedar, oakmoss, and amber scent.

Part of FREY’s mission is to keep its environmental impact to a minimum. These formulations don’t contain any dangerous chemicals that will wash down the drain and into our waterways.

And gentlemen, if you think having paraben-free laundry detergent and body soap is just for the environment, you’re wrong.

Parabens have been linked to poor sperm quality. That’s right. So, you know, if you’re interested in having a legacy or continuing to be your virile self, you may want to switch up what you use in the shower.

FREY Laundry Detergent and Laundry Set Review

total laundry package from frey


FREY got their start with laundry detergent. Even before the company FREY was around, the Frey brothers were working to create a product for men.

Part of their reasoning was that all laundry detergent marketing was directed at women.

And because of that, most people who bought detergent were women.

And because of that, detergent companies made their scents and formulations to please women.

Surely, there were guys out there doing their own laundry.

frey laundry detergent on white background

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first hearing about a detergent for men. But since giving FREY a shot, I’ve been sniffing my laundry more than usual.

I get it.

I sent my first load through the wash and was really pleased with how it came out. Most importantly, my clothes were all clean—but that’s pretty basic criteria.

frey laundry detergent washing clothes

The soap left just a hint of scent left on my shirts and jeans. It’s nothing overpowering (thankfully) and I’ve found that it works with or without cologne.

I’m a big believer in cologne, but I don’t wear it every day.

Having a musky, manly scented detergent actually adds a little fresh-factor to my overall smell.

I wanted to get an unbiased opinion, so I didn’t tell my wife about the new soap.

She noticed it within seconds and said, “did you get a new cologne? Smells good.”

When I explained that, no, it was laundry detergent, she was pretty impressed.

Dryer Sheets

In my opinion, dryer sheets are a “must.” They reduce the static buildup which is particularly helpful in keeping any cotton shirts or underwear looking clean and new. I think of them as clothing protectors.

These dryer sheets have the same scent as the detergent. After I dried my clothes, I had an epiphany.

Why have I been mixing my scents up between my body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, cologne, etc?

Everything I put on my body smells different.

I mean, good for me for being clean, but it was pretty eye-opening to do a full load of laundry where everything smelled the same.

Stain Remover

close up frey stain remover

Rather than write about the stain remover, I’m just going to show you this picture:

Stain vs no stain before and after

What else can I say?

Wrinkle Releaser

Wrinkle Release Before and After

As you can see in the pictures above, the wrinkle releaser did a fairly good job of smoothing this t-shirt out.

I probably used 10 sprays, and while the shirt isn’t perfectly wrinkle-free, there’s a big difference.

I don’t think I’ll use the Wrinkle Releaser regularly because I have a steamer and an iron at home, and those are much more effective at wrinkle-busting.

But I’m adding this to my travel Dopp kit. There have been so many times where I wished I had something quick and simple to get out those stubborn wrinkles—usually when I’m traveling to a wedding.

Nomad Freshener

freshening chelsea boots with nomad freshener

I keep a cabinet in my apartment for our shoes. It’s great because there aren’t shoes lying around the house, but it starts to get pretty dusty and raunchy smelling over time.

This Nomad Freshener took a lot of the edge off that smell. Plus, I gave a few sprays to my gym bag and for the first time in my life, my old workout clothes were actually pleasant.

I also freshened up my car, which is nothing short of completely life-changing.

I’ll be keeping this bottle around in my laundry room so I can randomly spruce up anything that’s difficult to wash and starting to build a funk of its own.

(And for you denim-heads who wear your jeans for 6-months straight—this stuff is a way better alternative to Febreeze.)

FREY Shower Essentials and Personal Care Kit Review

Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash

frey shampoo with blurred background

Earlier, I made a brief mention that the soaps we use can damage our sperm. It’s ok if you missed it—but I’m saying it again because I think you want to know something like that.

Since I first heard that factoid, I’ve been wary of parabens, synthetic dyes, phosphates, and phthalates in anything I use on my body.

Not that I’m looking to have kids any time soon, but I don’t want any part of a product that affects my body that way.

soap suds on frey bottle conditioner

So FREY’s shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all hit the mark for my shower routine. With ingredients like saponified coconut oil, argan oil, sacha inchi oil, and macadamia oil, these products do a great job of cleaning and moisturizing without synthetic chemicals.

frey bottles in white box top down

These shower essentials all come in the same cedar, oakmoss, and amber scent as the detergent and dryer sheets, so I love the smell-consistency I’m getting.


FREY also sent me one of their aluminum-free deodorants, which I’ve been using for the past two weeks.

It’s a natural deodorant, so it doesn’t stop you from sweating. I personally don’t have a pit-sweat problem, so this stick works fine for me.

If you’re a heavy sweater or you’re self-conscious about your body odor, you may want to step up to something a bit more heavy-duty.

The FREY deodorant starts to lose its effectiveness when I’m just finished up with my workout around 7pm. I usually shower around 6am, so that’s at least a solid 13 hours with exercise thrown in. Of course, it’s winter so it may not last as long once summer hits, but it seems like it’s plenty effective for my day-to-day use.

My Overall Thoughts on FREY

What I Like

  • I enjoy the deep, musky scent of these products. And best of all, it wasn’t overwhelming. Since I don’t always wear cologne, having the cedar, oakmoss, and amber scent as a base is perfect.

  • FREY uses natural ingredients, so nothing in these bottles is hurting my body or the environment.

  • The brand donates 10% of profits to charities that help clean and clothe folks in need, plus they plant a tree for every purchase.

  • The subscription plan will come in handy. I’m not the type who’ll give much thought to my laundry process. I’d rather the items just show up on a regular basis.

What I Don’t Like

  • The personal care kit (i.e. the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash) is a bit on the pricey side. For anyone who doesn’t wear cologne regularly, or just wants an natural soap that smells great, it’s worthwhile. But you’re paying extra for that quality.

The Verdict

FREY has changed laundry for me.

I used to buy whatever product was cheapest without giving any thought to what I was actually washing my clothes with.

I’ve been careful with my shampoo and body wash, since I knew harsh chemicals could damage my health, but I hadn’t applied the same logic to my clothes.

Once I gave FREY a shot, I realized I should be paying just as much attention to what I wash my clothes with as what I wash my body with.

As an unexpected benefit, the cedar, oakmoss, and amber scent replaced the daily need for cologne. I’m not saying that FREY products are as strong or give the same effect as cologne. But since I don’t wear cologne every day (I save it for special occasions) it was nice to still have a pleasant masculine scent on my body.

So if you’re looking to revolutionize the way you do laundry, jump into the FREY


FREY’s laundry lineup and shower essentials may change the way you wash your clothes and your body. And because their products all come with a signature scent, you’ll enjoy a pleasant masculine smell even without cologne.



What are FREY detergent ingredients?

FREY Detergent is made with 100% pure essential oils and ingredients. These include: plant-derived surfactants (like saponified coconut oil), stain-fighting enzymes, essential oils and fragrance.

How do you use FREY detergent?

For a medium load, I used six pumps. If you’re doing a larger load, you can use seven or eight pumps. The detergent leaves a very slight scent. When you use the dryer sheet, the scent becomes much stronger.

Is FREY detergent safe?

FREY detergent is safe, even for folks with sensitive skin. Because it contains no parabens, phosphates, phthalates, or synthetic dyes, you don’t have to worry about unintended health consequences.