June 5, 2007

This Just In - Baxter of California Clay Pomade and Hydro Salve: Lip Balm

baxterLipBalm.jpgclayPomade.jpgWho's sporting a clean shave? That's right you are! Now it's time for a little stylin' and profilin' with a couple Baxter of California accessories. I'm talking about Hydo Salve: Lip Balm for those luscious lips, and Baxter of California Clay Pomade - "Styling clay for men’s hair".

A blend of natural clay and wax gives hold and texture to hair. Leaves hair with a matte look.

Baxter of California's Clay Pomade was also a Best Styling Product winner in the May 2007 issue of Men's Health. I'm quite sure that the last time I had clay in my hair was in Mrs. Jenkins' art class in elementary school, and I didn't win any prizes.

Baxter of California Clay Pomade is $16 for a 2.5 oz./75 ml jar.

Hydo Salve: Lip Balm is $8 for a .5 oz./15 ml. tube. Way cooler than your black chapstick and comes in deliciously kissable mojito flavor.

Also, make sure you click over to the (almost) free samples when you're checking out. Great way to try a few new things or get some travel sizes for your on-the-road bag.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

Elemis Review Wrap-Up

elemisTraveller.jpg
Over the last three days we've cleanser, shaved, and healed. We've covered six of the eleven products which come in the Elemis Universal Traveller Kit. But there are five more.
  • Aching Muscle Super Soak
  • Sharp Shower
  • Lip Rescue
  • Bright Eyes Recovery Gel
  • Instant Refreshing Gel

My first reaction to the $139 price of Elemis Universal Traveller Kit was that it was a little steep, but the truth is you get a ton of stuff. And let's not forget the travel bag. This is one of the few travel bags which you'd actually want to keep and use.

I really enjoyed all of the Elemis products. If you're looking to try a new product line, the Elemis Universal Traveller Kit is a great way to sample a wide variety of all they offer.

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May 24, 2007

Review of Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask and S.O.S. Survival Cream

elemisMask.jpgYesterday we shaved with Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil and Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel. Today we're recovering with a mask and some cream.

Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask
With every other line of shaving products we've tried at ShavingStuff, the follow-up to the shave is some sort of moisturizer. Occasionally there's a toner thrown in for good measure. Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask is the first mask I've ever tried, and there's something so indulgent about it.

Here's how it works: After you're done shaving and you've rinsed your face with cool water, apply some Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask to your freshly shaven area and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse it off with warm water. Simple!

Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask isn't one of those big goopy green-colored masks that you see in ads for spas. In fact it's pretty much invisible once it's on your face. You can definitely forget to wash it off if you're not careful. I kind of wondered what would happen if I intentionally left it on, but on the off chance that something bad would happen to my face I never tried. Sorry readers. I have my limits.

This is definitely a decadence. If you're running around getting ready in the morning and don't have an extra 10-15 minutes, the mask ain't for you. But if you have a leisurely morning ritual and want to feel extra pampered, try the mask.

Elemis Post Shave Recovery Mask is $46 for a 75ml tube.

elemisSosCream.jpgElemis S.O.S. Survival Cream
We've reached the last step in Elemis's shaving routine - moisturizing. Scent is important to all Elemis products, and Elemis S.O.S. Survival Cream is no slouch. Key ingredients include Lavender Absolute, Myrrh, Meadowsweet, Centella Asiatica, and Rice Starch, but in the end it just smells manly. Kind of verging on cologne without being overwhelming.

Elemis S.O.S. Survival Cream is a little thicker than other moisturizers I've tried and slightly tacky. (The "sticky" meaning of tacky, not "poor taste".) The fact that it was slightly thicker was great for me because I often have sections of dry skin after a shave that need a little more than a light moisturizer. The tackiness was a little inconvenient since it left my skin a little sticky, but not a huge deal. I liked this stuff but it is a bit pricey.

Elemis S.O.S. Survival Cream is $72 for a 50ml bottle.

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May 23, 2007

Review of Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil and Skin Soothe Shave Gel

elemisShaveOil.jpgOK, so yesterday we got all buff and clean with Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash and Elemis Energising Skin Scrub. Today, we're shaving!

Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil
First up, Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil. This is a true shave oil, so for some men this is all they'll need. A surprisingly small amount of oil will cover your face and you'll be good to go. If you've got a light beard or especially resilient skin, this is a great option.

For the rest of us I'd recommend using Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil as a base for either one of their shaving gels. A layer of warm water, a couple drops of oil, followed by shaving gel worked best for me. Elemis recommends four drops. I usually used a few more. Who needs to be frugal when the price is nicks and razor burn?

As with all Elemis products, scent is key. Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil smells like some sort of wood oil. Something you might find in a wood-working shop. Key ingredients are Jojoba, Grapeseed, Meadowsweet, Sweet Almond Oil, Hazelnut Oil, and Rose Hip Seed Oil, but again I wasn't able to identify one predominant aroma. Instead they all just work together.

My one recommendation with this product is open the bottle before you start and your hands are still dry. The bottle's design is really cool, but the little metal nub at the top is hard to open once your hands are wet.

Elemis Smooth Result Shave Oil is $34 for a 35ml bottle. This is same size that comes in the Elemis Universal Traveller. Remember, a little goes a long way.

elemisShaveGel.jpgElemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel
Next up is Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel. Every time I shave with opaque creams I'm always so happy to return to a translucent gel. If you've never tried a gel before, and I don't mean a foaming gel, give one a shot. Seeing is believing. (That was kind of a pun.)

Anyway, the instructions for Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel say "Squeeze a small amount of Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel into palms. Rub the hands together to activate the micro-capsules." At first I didn't pay much attention to this, but then I noticed that within the green/blue gel were these occasional little white balls. Rubbing them in my hands broke them up and dispersed what I'm guessing are the capsules. Huh. I guess is pays to read the instructions. (And I guess I'm a typical man.)

The cool thing about the shaving oil and the gel is after you're done applying both, your hands will be slick with a mixture of each and you can really feel (in your hands) the lubrication that's on your face. Total protective barrier.

Again, aroma is huge. Key ingredients are Jojoba, Witch Hazel, Menthol, Aloe Vera, and Arnica, and here I think the menthol slightly wins out.

Oh, and the shave is great, as expected.

Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel is $34 for a 150ml tube. Elemis also has a Ice Cool Foaming Shave Gel for $34. I didn't get a chance to sample this, but I'd recommend the non-foaming gel to start, again because being able to see your skin is a big plus.

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May 22, 2007

Review of Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash and Energising Skin Scrub

elemisCleanse.jpgBack in February we got in the Elemis Universal Traveller kit which, as the name implies, contains travel-size versions of most of the Elemis men's grooming line. We've finally been able to spend a little time with Elemis, so for the next few days we're going to be reviewing these products.

As we mentioned in our original post, Elemis operates some high-end spas in London and Miami Beach, and recently created an online presence with TimeToSpa.com. Their men's line contains the full range or products from shower to shaving, moisturizers to masks. So it should come as no surprise that scent is a key component to each of their products. Each cream or gel has its own unique and distinctive aroma. They've clearly done their best to bring a little bit of the spa home to you.

Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash
Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash is a deep golden color and smells like clean. Clean in a bottle. Key ingredients include Oak Bark, Spearmint, Peppermint, and Milk Protein, although I couldn't discern any of these specifically. Instead you get the deep essence of clean. Imagine it being an aperitif to your shave. That's what Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash is. Oh, and it works too.

Elemis Deep Cleanse Facial Wash is $28 for a 200ml bottle.

elemisScrub.jpgElemis Energising Skin Scrub
Elemis Energising Skin Scrub is the exfoliant in the line of men's grooming products. Here again it's all about the aroma. Key ingredients are Vitamin E, Marine Phytoplankton, Hops, Meadowsweet, Shea Butter, Beeswax, but to me there was this warm, salty, putty-ness to it which I found fabulous.

As with all good exfoliants, Elemis's Scrub has tiny, fine grit which removes dead skin and lifts hair for better shaving. Too coarse grit will scratch your skin, but that's not the case here. Elemis recommends you use the scrub twice a week, and that seemed like enough to me. You exfoliate already by shaving, but that only gets your beard area. Foreheads and noses need some attention too.

Elemis Energising Skin Scrub is $46 for a 75ml bottle.

Tomorrow we shave!

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May 2, 2007

Review of Brave Soldier's Code Blue

codeBlue.gifWelcome to day two of our Brave Soldier review. Yesterday we shaved. Today we after-shave.

Sure, shaving gets all the glory. After all, it's the part with the razor sharp steel. But after-shave is equally important. After you've shaved, your skin is completely vulnerable. It's stripped of its protective fur, softened to ease cutting. You've got to throw some protective lovin' on there or bad things can happen.

Code Blue to the rescue!

Brave Soldier's Code Blue is a blue cooling gel which hits the spot. Highlighted ingredients include:

Witch Hazel, Lidocaine HCL (2.5% ), Tricolosan, Glycerin, [...] Aloe Vera Gel 10X, Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E), Tea Tree Oil, Menthol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Eucalyptus Oil, Comfrey Extract, Green Tea Extract, Hawaiian Sea Algae, Spirulina, Salicylic Acid (2%), [...] Eucalyptus Oil, Peppermint Oil, Quench T (guarana, mate)

One of my favorite attributes of Code Blue is its thickness. Many after-shaves we've reviewed are a little thin, and I often find myself needing to use a second cream around my lips and under my nose to handle some drier skin. Not so with Code Blue. One coating of its blueness was all I needed.

I liked Code Blue and I recommend it. In the interest of complete disclosure I feel that I should mention that I have a slight allergic reaction to it. Kind of makes my lips numb. Had the same reaction to Pacific Shaving Oil a while back. Still trying to figure out what the common ingredient is. That said I paid a little extra attention when I was applying it and the never had a problem again. This is good stuff, but don't eat it.

Brave Soldier's Code Blue is $18 for a 3.4oz (100mL) bottle.

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May 1, 2007

Review of Brave Soldier's Brave Shave

braveShave.gifA couple months ago we received a tube of Brave Soldier's Brave Shave and a bottle of Details for Men. Today and tomorrow we'll present out review.

History
First a little history. Brave Soldier is a California company with its roots in outdoor life, and treating the inevitable bumps and bruises which come from pushing yourself to the extreme. As we mentioned in our first post when these products came in, Brave Soldier's original product was an Antiseptic Healing Ointment designed for athletes who needed to treat scrapes, cuts, and bruises from their occasional missteps. Since then they've branched out to all forms of men's and women's grooming, including Brave Shave.

Originally formulated for athletes like bicyclists, swimmers and bodybuilders who shave their bodies, Brave Shave’s super-rich formula quickly caught on as the ultimate face shave.

Substance
Key ingredients include "Infusion of yarrow flowers, comfrey root, Jojoba oil, elder flowers, burdock root, chamomile, Aloe gel, vitamin E acetate, Pro-vitamin B-5, glycerin and panthenol."

Brave Shave is a white shaving cream with a slightly lemony scent. The smell is not offensive, but it does verge on antispectic. A reader wrote in a while ago complaining about the scent. I don't think it's that bad, but it's not manly soldier (if that's what you're expecting). It's lemony fresh.

The Shave
Lather up! As it says on the back of the tube, "Apply liberally to moist skin." If you're more of a red-state person, I'd suggest resisting your urge to "apply conservatively to moist skin" and use a little more. Brave Shave is best applied with your hands. It's a little too thick for a shaving brush, so fingers work best. Let it sit for 30-60 seconds on your skin before shaving so the ingredients have time to soften your whiskers.

The shave from Brave Shave is good. Little or no nicks or cuts. If you're worried about getting your razor all gunky with shaving cream then perhaps you'll react negatively to Brave Shave, but honestly if you're letting your razor get all gunky then you're not rinsing it enough. Rinse, stroke, rinse, stroke. Drop and give me ten, soldier!

Brave shave did a decent job of lifting my hairs up so I got a close shave. It's not a clear shaving gel but if you're shaving your entire face each day then there's no worry here. There was a decent amount of lubrication if I wanted to take a second pass, although I often threw a little more on there for a second pass of my chin, which has got some pretty stubborn hairs at times.

Final Assessment
Brave Shave is solidly in the good camp. At $15 for a 6oz. (177 mL) tube it's reasonably priced and a good value for your buck. For further reading there's a short positive customer review on Amazon and several positive customer reviews on Men Essentials.

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April 12, 2007

Review of Maine Shave Natural Gentle Daily Facial Moisturizer

maineShaveMoisture.jpgWelcome to day four in our four-day review of Maine Shave products. We've cleansed, shaved, and toned. Now it's time to moisturize with Maine Shave's Natural Gentle Daily Facial Moisturizer.

Packaging
Oh! What's that in the picture? A pump? Yes indeed! I am pumped. So easy to use. Need a little more? I can get that for you.

Ingredients
Time for the all-natural ingredient roll call:

It contains allantion to heal and soften skin by rejuvenating skin cells. Sweet almond oil, olive oil and shea butter preserve skin from moisture loss. Lemon and orange extract reduce inflammation and rehydrate skin by increasing circulation. Chamomile soothes and heals skin due to everyday shaving.

Scent
I am once again at a lose to describe the scent of this cream. There's only the slightest hints of citrus from the lemon and orange extract. I feel like I can sense the chamomile, but only because I know it's there. It might be floral, but only in the really natural pollen-like sense. Definitely not a fake flowery scent.

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April 11, 2007

Review of Maine Shave Natural Facial Toner

maineShaveToner.jpgStep three of Maine Shave's Four-Step Shaving Ritual is Natural Facial Toner. Tonify yourself. Tonification across the nation.

Our facial toner is a natural astringent that refreshes skin as it tightens pores and controls shine, while it brings skin's pH back to normal.

See, you've got all that shaving cream on your face, and while it's great for softening up your beard and skin, you really don't want to leave it on forever. Toner is a great way to start shutting things down.

Ingredients

Linden petals, (an anti-inflammatory) leave skin feeling fresh and calm. Birch extract soothes irritation caused by shaving and increases skin elasticity, leaving it feeling more supple. Rose petals leave skin feeling soft and cool to the touch.

Thoughts
I've tried a lot of toners from a lot of different companies, and I'll be honest - I really don't know if they help or not. I can tell a great shaving cream from a lousy one. I can identify an exfoliant which is too rough. But I haven't found the right way to judge a toner. So my recommendation is this. If you're curious about Maine Shave, get the Four-Step Shaving Ritual which includes the toner. If you want to pick a cream here or a cleanser there, you'd be ok to pass. I really enjoyed splashing the toner on my face after a shave, but partly because it seemed so decadent. My skin seemed to like it too, but I didn't notice a marked improvement over when I didn't use it.

The Skinny
Maine Shave's Natural Facial Toner is $18 for a 6oz. bottle, or comes as part of the Four-Step Shaving Ritual for $80.

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April 10, 2007

Review of Maine Shave All-Natural Intensive Moisturizing Shaving Cream

maineShaveCream.jpgDay two of Maine Shave review week and we're ready to shave with Maine Shave's All-Natural Intensive Moisturizing Shaving Cream.

Ingredients
Maine Shave's shaving cream is all-natural because it doesn't contain any of that poly-zantac-60 or mono-lipitors. Just oils and extracts from shea butter, sea kelp, grapefruit seed, coconut, olive, castor, jojoba, and more. Sounds delicious and nutritious as well.

Smell
I've had a hard time characterizing the smell of this shaving cream. It's manly but not Old Spice. It's soapy but definitely not floral. It verges on old-school without smelling like grandpa. I like the smell, but I can't describe it too well.

Application
It may be a little hard to tell from the picture but Maine Shave's All-Natural Intensive Moisturizing Shaving Cream comes in a short wide jar, perfect for use with a brush. The instructions on the side of the box say

Take a dime size amount and work it into a lather using a shaving brush or your hands and a small amount of water.

I found that the easiest way to shave with this shaving cream was to actually put the brush in the jar. I'd start with some warm water on my face. Then I'd get the tip of a shaving brush slightly wet, and swirl it gently around the wide jar getting a surprisingly small amount of shaving cream on the brush. After that I'd use the brush to apply the shaving cream to my face, which lathered up nicely after working it in for about 30 seconds. If you use this method you will be amazed at how little shaving cream you'll use and still get a uniform covering on your face. In my opinion this shaving cream is meant for a brush. I got a much better shave when using a brush and I used far less shaving cream. If you're not into applying shaving cream with a brush, I don't think you'll get the full benefits of this shaving cream.

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