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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April 9, 2007

Review of Maine Shave Natural Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser

maineShaveCleanser.jpgWelcome to Maine Shave review week! We've been using Maine Shave's Four Step Shaving Ritual - which includes a facial cleanser, shaving cream, toner, and moisturizer - for about a month now, and the verdict is in. We'll profile one product each day over the next four days, so be sure to check in throughout the week.

Natural Ingredients
First up is Maine Shave's Natural Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser. Natural. That will be a common theme this week. There may be some big words on the ingredients list, but they're always followed by a friendly source. For example - "Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein." My spell-checker had a little trouble with those first couple words, but it did fine with "wheat". Hey wheat - thanks for making my face clean!

Packaging
As you can see from the picture Maine Shave's Natural Gentle Daily Facial Cleanser comes in a handy pump. Love the pump. I've said it before. More products should be packaged like this. Two or three squirts and you're off to the races.

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March 14, 2007

Review of John Allan's Shaving Products

I've been using John Allan's Shave Cream and Calming Aftershave Balm now for about a month, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. When I started using these products I had a preconceived notion that since they came out of a membership club/spa, the products would be an afterthought to the stores and the services. Well, I was wrong. John Allan's products are top shelf.

John Allan's Shave Cream
John Allan's Shave Cream is a white, almost fluffy cream, which smells like oats. Reminds me of those Molton Brown Oatmeal Soaps you sometimes find in fine hotels or restaurant bathrooms. The cream goes on easily and remains visibly white on your face, although it doesn't foam up so you can still easily see your skin underneath. Best to use your fingers when applying. It's a little too thick for a brush, and despite your best efforts (with fingers or with a brush), the cream will never look truly uniform on your face. I was initially concerned about this, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The shave is great. Far fewer nicks and cuts than other shaving creams. Great lubrication - no razor burn whatsoever. Also, John Allan's did a great job of lifting even my stubborn hairs up, so I always got a smooth, close shave.

As I said before, I was initially unsure about product. Boy was I wrong. John Allan's Shave Cream is great stuff and I would highly recommend it to anyone. John Allan's Shave Cream comes in a 4.1oz tube for $14.50.

John Allan's Calming Aftershave Balm
John Allan's Calming Aftershave Balm is a very light aftershave which has a slight scent of grapefruit (at least to me). It does a great job of restoring your face to normal after you've taken a hot blade to it. This is purely an aftershave balm, and I occasionally need a little more moisture. I found that I would apply a layer of Calming Aftershave Balm first, and then after a minute or so if my face was still feeling tight I'd go for a light moisturizer. I actually prefer this approach to a heavy aftershave/moisturizer since you can target the areas which are a little drier.

John Allan's Calming Aftershave Balm is $22.50 for a 4oz/118 ml bottle.

John Allan's Mint Invigorating Hydrating Conditioner
johnAllansConditioner.jpgIn addition to these two shaving products, the good folks over at Details for Men sent over a bottle of John Allan's Mint Invigorating Hydrating Conditioner. I really don't know much about conditioners so I'm not going to pretend to give an educated review. Instead I'll defer to other experts in the field, namely Esquire magazine, which named John Allan's Mint Invigorating Hydrating Conditioner best conditioner of 2006. How's that for an endorsement?

John Allan's Mint Invigorating Hydrating Conditioner is $17.00 for a 12.6 Ounce/375 ml bottle.

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February 14, 2007

Review of Urth Travel Kit - Part Two

urth_shave-formula.jpgIf you missed yesterday's post, we're looking at the four items in the Urth Perfect Travel Kit. Yesterday we covered Urth Face Wash and Urth Scrub. Today we're talking about the remaining two items - Urth Shave Formula and Urth Face Balm.

Shavin' time! Can't touch this. Urth Shave Formula is a white... formula. I think that's a great word for it. It's certainly not a gel. It's not a paste. It's kind of a cream. And yet it's not as smooth as a cream. It's a "formula". And boy does it smell great. Key ingredients include

Soy, Safflower Oil, Lavender Oil, Menthol, Tea Tree Oil, Spearmint Oil, Bergamot Oil, Chamomile Extract, Ginseng Extract, White Tea Extract, Green Tea Extract.

Oh white tea... You'll be amazed at how little Urth Shave Formula you'll need. And if you've got a nice badger shave brush, you'll need even less. Urth Shave Formula doesn't exactly lather up, but it does seem to multiple itself like soap into a nice even coating on your beard. If you're thinking about making the switch to a brush, don't stick with your current stuff. Get Urth. It'll show you the power of the brush.

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February 13, 2007

Review of Urth Travel Kit - Part One

UrthPerfectTravelKit.gif
A couple months ago we got the Urth Perfect Travel Kit in from Details For Men, which was called simply that - the Urth Perfect Travel Kit. Now it's advertised on the Urth website as the "TSA-Compliant" perfect travel kit. There's no such thing as inconvenience when it comes to marketing - only opportunity.

But the Urth Perfect Travel Kit is more than a gimmick. In fact it's downright solid. As we mentioned in our previous post, you get travel sized versions of Face Wash, Shave Formula, Face Balm SPF 15, and Face Scrub. Plus, they come in a handy mesh travel bag for easy storage. The mesh bag is actually pretty nice, although it's small enough that you're probably not going to replace your current travel bag with this one.

Today we're going to focus on two products - Urth Face Wash and Urth Scrub. Tomorrow we'll cover Urth Shave Formula and Urth Face Balm.

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February 8, 2007

Review of the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer

panasonicER421.jpgI got a new electric nose hair trimmer recently. Let's just say that I was embarrassed about how old my previous Braun electric nose hair trimmer was, and the Braun wasn't even a wet/dry. That means it really hadn't ever been cleaned. Yeesh.

So after a little Googling and reading, I settled on the Panasonic ER421KC Nose and Ear Hair Trimmer, Wet/Dry, Lighted, which Amazon is still offering for $14.99. Well rated. Cheap. Wet/dry means I can clean it. And what's that "Lighted" feature all about?

Cut to the chase - I miss my Braun. The Panasonic feels underpowered (if that's even possible for a nose trimmer). While I really do like the fact that I can rinse it out afterwards, I don't feel like this guy does as good a job of cutting those nasties out of my nasals. And the light? It's a joke. One of those cheap LEDs which belongs on the front of your VCR. That's right. The VCR you threw out two years ago when you switched to DVDs.

Does Braun even make ear and nose trimmers anymore? The only thing I could find was this page from Amazon UK about a discontinued Braun. Sad. So sad.

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February 7, 2007

Review of Marvis Toothpaste

marvisAquatic.gif
ShavingStuff. A site about all things shaving. That's our mission. But when it comes to reviews, we often look at several products from a single men's grooming line - from cleanser to exfoliant, toner, shaving cream, and after shave balm. What am I saying? I'm trying to segue into this review about toothpaste. Sure, it's not exactly shaving related. But it is related to premium high-quality brands, and it's sold at many of the sites we like. So indulge me.

A while back we got a shipment of two Marvis toothpastes from Details for Men - Aquatic Mint and Classic Strong Mint. I've always been a Colgate Winterfresh Gel man. Until they stopped making it. Now I generally choose whatever seems least offensive at Target.

Enter Marvis, an Italian toothpaste with five flavors - Fruit Mint, Classic Strong Mint, Aquatic Mint, Ginger Mint, and Jasmin Mint. (Yes, that's how they spell "Jasmin".) Notice anything missing in this list? Where's the "whitening" toothpaste? Where's the one with "breathe-scrubbing flavor crystals"? Not there. How refreshing! A toothpaste that's just a toothpaste.

I'm not expert that this stuff, but here's what I like: the favors of the ones I tried - Aquatic Mint and Classic Strong Mint - are subtle and clean. None of this over-the-top minty explosions in your mouth. These are mature adult toothpastes. So mature in fact, that realtors put them in the bathrooms of luxury Manhattan condos when they're trying to sell them. (Read that in a recent New York Time article.) Are they approved by the American Dental Association? Probably not. Do you think Italians make sub-standard products? Let me refer you to my friend Enzo Ferrari.

My personal favorite of the two was Aquatic Mint. Just a cool, smooth flavor. Classic Strong Mint is good too, and don't be fooled by the word "strong". In America that means "Altoids". In Italy that means "predominant flavor".

Marvis Aquatic Mint Toothpaste is $9 for a 3.86 Ounce/75 ml tube or $4.50 for a 1.29 Ounce/25 ml travel size. Same for Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste.

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January 12, 2007

Review of aMENity The Balm

amenityTheBalm.jpgWe've come to the end of aMENity review week at ShavingStuff. The last product we'll look at is aMENity The Balm - the "‘granddaddy’ of heavy-hitting moisturizers". And they're right on every account. The Balm is a thick, almost waxy, cream for use on places like elbows, kneecaps, knuckles, and heels. The places on your body with the thickest skin. I tried it a couple times on my face after a hot shower, and while it does work, I'd recommend something a little more smooth. Working this stuff into your skin takes effort, and on your face you want something which gets absorbed a little faster.

aMENity's The Balm is virtually odorless. Aside from the secret formulation of PRO-FORM 6, The Balm contains Shea and Mango Seed Butters, as well as Liposomal Vitamin E. Typical usage is probably twice a day, but if you're trying to treat some really rough spots, aMENity recommends up to four or five usages a day for a week.

aMENity The Balm is $35 for a 5.5 oz. (150g.) tube. If you've got some major dry skin or are often plagued by eczema, check out The Balm. Otherwise consider this a "nice-to-have" but not a "must-have".

So that's it. I hope you've enjoyed aMENity week on ShavingStuff as much as we've enjoyed their products. Click on over to aMENity and see for yourself.

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January 11, 2007

Review of aMENity Anti-Breakout Gel

amenityAcne.jpgDay four of aMENity week and we're going to explore a different grooming product - aMENity Anti-Breakout Gel. The first thing you'll notice about this product is the packaging. (Notice a theme to these posts? Someone did a good job on the recent aMENity redesign.) aMENity Anti-Breakout Gel comes in an "airless pen", which looks a lot like those Tide instant stain removers I got in my stocking this Christmas. (By the way, thanks for the Tide instant stain remover this Christmas.) Take the cap off one end, push down on the other, and a squirt of clear Anti-Breakout Gel pops out. aMENity has definitely taken some time to think about serving size, and then designed containers which dispense the right amount each time. I think it's only right that we take a moment and recognize that.

Beat

The gel itself is worth recognizing too. Back in high school I used that Clearasil stuff. It had the tendency to bleach anything it came in contact with - the neck of my shirts, pillow cases, towels. It also dried my skin like you wouldn't believe. Or maybe you would. What else was there back then? aMENity Anti-Breakout Gel is completely clear and doesn't dry out your skin at all. Sadly, I still get the occasional breakout from shaving. (Oddly enough it seems to happen more from weekend shaves.) A couple squirts from my airless pen and I was all set. Didn't eliminate every pimple, but I noticed a marked reduction.

I need to clarify one point with the packaging of aMENity's Anti-Breakout Gel. On the bottom of the pen - the opposite side from the cap - is a curved arrow and the word "open" on a piece of the pen which does rotate slightly. I don't know why this is there, but it's confusing and should say "push" without the arrow. When I first got the pen I thought I was going to break it in half trying to twist it open. Luckily ShavingStuff wife was there to show me how to use it. It's always good to have a smart wife around.

aMENity Anti-Breakout Gel is $28 for a 0.25 oz. (7g.) "airless pen". Remember, push, don't open.

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January 10, 2007

Review of aMENity After Shave & Face Moisturizer

amenityAfterShave.jpgWelcome to day three of aMENity week. We've cleansed, we've shaved, and now ready ready to heal. It's aMENity After Shave & Face Moisturizer time.

This "two-in-one" after shave and face moisturizing gel is commonly described as Gatorade™ for your skin because it replenishes naturally occurring skin lipids and improves moisture retention.

Now I have to admit that I only got about four or five samples of aMENity After Shave to try instead of the pump dispenser shown on the right, so I don't have a huge wealth of experience to draw on for this review. However what little I used was great. Clear and gel-like, my face drank this stuff up. Often times I've tried aftershaves or moisturizers which are too light, and I'll have to supplement them with a face cream a few minutes later when I realize that my skin is too dry. Not so here. One application was perfect. And if this pump is anything like the Gel Face Cleanser pump, you'll get the exact amount needed each time. Love the pump. Have I mentioned that before?

How does this stuff work? Click on over the to "How This Product Works" section of the aMENity After Shave & Face Moisturizer page and read about the ingredients. I especially liked the section on liposomal vitamins. "If it doesn't start with the word 'Liposomal' and it's a vitamin, it's not going to work." Well all right. I'll bet there are a lot of unhappy vitamins out there right now, but suck it up. "...non-liposomal vitamin applications stay on the surface and do nothing." The truth hurts. Liposomal. Ask for it by name.

aMENity After Shave & Face Moisturizer is $37 for a 3.25 oz. (90g.) pump. I think you're going to like this stuff.

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