January 9, 2007

Review of aMENity Shave Cream

shaveCream.jpgIt's shaving time! Time to lather up. Or not. aMENity Shave Cream is actually a "non-lathering" shaving cream, which means that the squirt in your hand pretty much looks like the stuff on your face. aMENity Shave Cream is a loose, white liquid which easily goes on the skin but doesn't really work itself into a bubbly foam. It's not thick, which is nice since you can still see most of your skin if you're trying to retain some highly manicured facial sculptures. And if you're into shaving brushes, aMENity Shave Cream works well with those too. You'll get an ultra uniform coating with a brush.

aMENity Shave Cream's secret ingredient is PRO-FORM 6™, and before you chime in with the answer Mr. Smarty-Pants, no, it's not the agency that Sydney Bristow worked for in season one of Alias. PRO-FORM 6™ is aMENity's patent-pending formulation of Willow Bark Extract, Provitamin B5 Panthenol, Bisabolol, Hyaluronic Acid, Rutin, Lipsomal Vitamins A,C & E. "Each Amenity product features PRO-FORM 6 complex ingredients in a ratio blend specific to the product's function." I'm pretty sure even Milo Rambaldi himself couldn't have come up with anything nearly as good.

I don't know if it's the PRO-FORM 6™ or any of the other ingredients like Kava Kava in aMENity Shave Cream, but the stuff smells vaguely of beer. Maybe more like the barley or hops part of beer, but to my nose at least, definitely some fermented alcoholic beverage. And really, what's smells better to a guy than beer? Seriously, you gotta smell this stuff. It's nice and subtle. You won't reek of a frat party, but you will enjoy it.

The shave with aMENity Shave Cream is very good. Little or no nicks or cuts in the month I was using it. Not too much gunk in my razor after each stroke. Enough lubrication on my face if I wanted to take a second pass. No ingrown hairs. My one and only complaint was that you have to open the tube with the cap facing upward. Otherwise the stuff squirts out and you end up with a dollop of shaving cream in the bottom portion of the cap. No biggie. Just remember to turn the tube upside down before opening it.

aMENity Shave Cream is $25 for a 5.5 oz. (150g.) tube. Another great product in a great line of men's grooming products.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 8, 2007

Review of aMENity Gel Face Cleanser

gelFaceCleanser.jpgWelcome to aMENity review week! Five days, five products, five ways to improve your shave. We've been using aMENity products for about a month now and it's report card time. Please have this signed by your parents and bring it in tomorrow.

As you may recall, aMENity launched a revamped line of men's care products in the second half of last year. New look, new packaging, new formulations. We were fortunate enough to receive their Gel Face Cleanser (pictured, right), Shave Cream, After Shave & Face Moisturizer, Anti-Breakout Gel, and The Balm.

Today we're going to focus on Gel Face Cleanser. First thing you'll notice is the pump top. Love it. One squirt and you've got exactly the right amount. Genius. All products should come in pump tops.

aMENity's Gel Face Cleanser is completely clear, but when you work it into your skin it foams up into a nice light lather. The cleanser is the right level of mild yet effective and never left my face feeling too dry like soap. aMENity's face cleanser is fragrance free, but to me it has a very slight fermented smell, which I found very pleasing. Never smelled a product quite like this.

I always like it when products come with instructions, and aMENity has an instructions link on each of their products' pages. Click over to the Gel Face Cleanser page and then click on the red "Instructions" image on the right. I have to admit that I didn't always follow the instructions to the letter, but I thought the results were great. The cleanser went on easily, and more importantly washed off easily. Several cleanser's we've tried before work great but leave your face with a slight filmy slickness which won't wash off. Not so with aMENity.

aMENity Gel Face Cleanser is $27 for a 3.25 oz. (90g.) pump. Tomorrow we shave!

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 4, 2007

Quick Review of California North

razor_shave_thmb.jpgAs we mentioned last month, we got a bunch of samples in from Foreman, including several from a men's grooming line called California North. First, a history lesson:

The line was specifically designed to serve active men who were exposed to the rough outdoor climates of Northern California. The demanding tests on mountain climbers, mountain bikers, and sailors helped to define the function, ingredients, and quality of our products -- all of which help counteract the visual effects of sun damage, aging, environmental, and other life-style factors.

aftshvcr_4_thmb.jpgWell, I didn't spend the day mountain climbing, but I did spend Christmas with my in-laws, which by some accounts is equally as demanding. (Note to my in-laws: I'm kidding.) To prep I shampooed with Sea Blast Shampoo and followed it up with Watermint Conditioner. The shampoo smelled great. Conditioner was a little minty. Then again, it is "watermint".

It was a tough shave since I didn't have home-court advantage, but the Razor Shavecream performed admirably. And the Aftershave Care had a pleasing, lemony citrus finish. I only got one shave from these samples so I can't give you a full review, but at first blush California Northern products seem great.

Foreman sells a wide variety of California Northern products. Definitely worth trying.

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

December 12, 2006

Review of REN Tamanu Shaving Oil and Multi-Vitamin Aftershave Balm

renShavingOil.gifFor the past couple weeks we've been shaving with products from REN, courtesy of Details for Men. The first thing you'll notice about REN is the cool packaging. Clear plastic cylinders with pump tops - seals the contents inside so they don't oxidize; provides a clean and easy way to get a small amount out. Also, fits easily into a travel bag. Genius. Why can't more products be packaged like this?

Let's start with REN Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil. Can I just say was a pleasure it's been to shave with a clear product again? Guys - if you're using a white thick foam and can't see your skin under your shaving cream, come on over to the light side. REN goes on clear. It has a slight beige tint which allows you to see what parts of your face you've covered and what you've missed, but you see all your skin in all its glory. Trying to maintain a goatee? No problem. Got a trouble spot you always nick yourself on? Steer clear. Great shave. No mess. No gunking up your razor.

REN has a commitment to using high quality natural ingredients. Even items which sound foreign and chemical have their source sited. Butyrospermum Parkll?!? Oh, that's Shea Butter. Cetaearyl Glucoside?!? Ah, that's from corn. I love corn. Corn is nice.

REN Tamanu High Glide Shaving Oil is £15 at REN's website. Why anyone would want a 15 pound bottle of shaving cream is beyond me. I suggest you click on over to Details for Men and buy the $28/1.7 ounce version. Much easier to handle.

renAftershave.gifNext up is REN Multi-Vitamin Soothing Aftershave Balm. True to REN's natural ingredient commitment, this aftershave contains "no Petrochemicals, Sulfates, Parabens, Synthetic Fragrance, Synthetics Colors, TEA, DEA, Glycols, Silicones, & PEGS." ShavingStuff wife was all over this stuff. She's using it, and she's insisting that I use it. REN aftershave balm has a pleasing mild floral scent. It almost reminds me of lavender, but I could be picking the wrong flower here. Anyway, not meant for dad. Meant for you. Again, love the pump top. Your skin will drink this up. £19.50 from REN's website. $45 from Details for Men.

We highly recommend REN products for all types of shaves, shavers, and skin-types.

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

November 20, 2006

Review of Anthony Logistics for Men

It's review time again. For the last month or so we've been putting the products from Anthony Logistics for Men (which we got from our friends at Details for Men) through the ShavingStuff ringer. More specifically - the products from The Perfect Shave kit, which include their Glycolic Facial Cleanser, Pre-Shave Oil, Shave Cream, and After Shave Balm. An $83 value, yours for only $50. Act now and we'll throw in a black mesh dopp bag and a grooming instruction guide. Hurry! Supplies are limited.

Not really. They've got plenty.

GlycolicFacialCleanser.gifFirst up is the Glycolic Facial Cleanser. Broken record time - great shaves start with clean skin. You must wash! I was initially skeptical of the Glycolic Facial Cleanser. Most cleansers I've used from other men's grooming lines either foam or lather up. Kind of a visual confirmation that they're really doing something. This did neither. It just sat there on my face, no matter how aggressively I worked in over my skin. The thing is, it did the job well. Anthony's cleanser does in fact get the dirt and oil off your face, and actually washes off your face better than any other cleanser I've used. Most other cleansers leave your skin slightly slick, like you can't wash off that last layer of soap film. Anthony's cleanser came off clean. Good stuff.

AnthonyPreShavOil.gifOK, let's shave. The Perfect Shave includes both Pre-Shave Oil and Shave Cream. It also includes an instruction sheet, which I always think is a good idea. In this case, though, I think the instructions are missing a step. Step 1 is clean your face. Easy. Done. Step 2 tells you to "apply a thin layer of Anthony Logistics Pre-Shave Oil to help lubricate the skin and soften the beard hairs." Step 3 is to "apply a thin layer of Anthony Logistics Shave Cream." What they don't tell you to do, and what I think is really important, is to apply a little water to your face between steps 2 and 3. Not a lot of water will stick to your face, since you've got a base of oil in there, and what does stick will tend to bead up. But I found that Anthony's Shave Cream lathers up much better with a little water in the mix. Also, you'll get a smoother shaving experience - less tug of the razor against your skin. I tried it both ways - with and without the middle layer of water - and found that the water definitely adds to the comfort of the shave.

AnthonyShaveCream.gifThat said I have two complaints with Anthony's shave system. The first is packaging - the bottle which holds the Pre-Shave Oil has a wide mouth which makes it difficult to get a small amount out at a time. I ended up holding the bottle against my palm and tipping the entire thing over, getting a nickel size each time. However then the oil is in my palm and not my fingertips, making it more difficult to apply to my face. I would have preferred either a squeeze bottle or a smaller mouth.

The second complaint was with the closeness of the shave. Some of my beard hairs grow straight out from the skin, and some grow parallel to the skin. I've used shaving creams before which do a great job at standing these troubled hairs up. With Anthony's Shave Cream, I often would find myself looking in the mirror after I was all done and seeing an patch of skin which could have been shaved closer. The only thing left to do at that point was to get out the electric razor.

Anthony's Shave Cream foams up to a rich, thick, white lather, and there's enough left on your face for a second pass of the razor even when it looks like you've taken it all off with the first. That's good. If you've got facial hair like a mustache or goatee which you're trying to preserve though, you might consider going with a shaving cream which is a little more clear.

anthonyAfterShave.jpg Done shaving? Throw a little After Shave Balm on your face. Your skin will drink it up. This stuff is great. No complaints whatsoever.

All of the Anthony products we tested are labeled as "Fragrance Free", but all do have a noticeable smell. The Glycolic Facial Cleanser is slightly sweet and fruity, and the rest are all slightly minty. Overall very nice and not overpowering. I would definitely recommend the Glycolic Facial Cleanser and the After Shave Balm to anyone. I'm a little more hesitant about the Pre-Shave Oil and Shave Cream. If you've got a light beard or don't need to shave every day, they might work well for you. If you've got a heavy beard and are looking for the seriously smooth shave, I'd probably look elsewhere.

The Perfect Shave Kit from Anthony's Logistics for Men is $50. For the holidays, consider giving it to someone who needs to be broken from the drug store shaving cream habit. It would make a good entree into higher quality men's grooming products.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

October 20, 2006

Review of MenScience - Advanced Face Lotion

We've reached the end of MenScience review week, and that means we've come to the last product - MenScience Advanced Face Lotion. "Ultralight" and "Oil Free" they describe it, and right they are. My face literally drank this stuff up.

Restores suppleness and elasticity, and diminishes the appearance of fine lines

Yep.

Softens skin by combating dryness and rough areas
Check.

Gently smoothes and renews the skin, stimulating cell renewal mechanisms
That's cool.

Nourishes and helps protect from the damaging effects of free radicals
I'll take your word for it.

About the only thing this skin cream doesn't do is provide sunblock. (Check out MenScience TiO2 Sunblock SPF30 for that.)

Like all of their products, Advanced Face Lotion is chock-full of prime ingredients - AHA, BHA, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydro-Silicones, Glycerin, Green Tea, Vitamin A, C, E. I'm a big fan, and I think anyone who's looking to try something new will quickly become a fan too.

MenScience Advanced Face Lotion is $36 for 4oz.

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

October 19, 2006

Review of MenScience - Post-Shave Repair

OK, so you've shaved, you've rinsed your face with cool water, and you're about to use an after-shave moisturizer. Wait one sec! You've got a quick step before that. It's spritz time.

Allow me to introduce you to MenScience Post-Shave Repair, in a spray bottle! Love the spray bottle. MenScience Post-Shave Repair is a toner, and all the toners we've tried before come in an open-mouth bottle and are applied with a cotton ball. Have you tried applying toner with a cotton ball? If you're not careful, you end up with a wispy mess. But not with the spritz. Just remember to close your eyes while applying.

MenScience Post-Shave Repair "immediately calms redness and razor burn with anti-inflammatory ingredients." OK, maybe not immediately, but it certainly helps calm your face after it's been sliced with hot steel. It's also great at getting the last stubborn bits of shaving cream off your face. And it contains tons of the good stuff - Allantoin, Azulene, Witch Hazel, Aloe, Tea Tree Extract, Salicylic Acid, Camphor, and Rosemary. Check the MenScience site for the benefits of each of these.

Bottom line - do you need it? No. Do you want it? Yes. MenScience Post-Shave Repair is $28 for a 4oz. bottle.

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

October 18, 2006

Review of MenScience - Advanced Shave Formula

OK, so there's pre-shave and post-shave, but let's get to the shave already. We wouldn't be here otherwise. MenScience describes their Advanced Shave Formula as "foamless", which is definitely accurate. I was initially uncertain as this cream didn't seem to do much on my face. Many of the shaving creams and gels we've reviewed slightly transform on your face, either by foaming or lathering up. MenScience Advanced Shave Formula just kind of went on. The shaves were good, but it wasn't until a couple weeks later that I realized that I hadn't had any nicks, cuts, or scraps. You may remember a while back we received some products from a company called By142 which helped with skin and scar repair. They had suggested we use them after shaving to reduce razor burn and inflammation. The thing was, I wasn't getting any of that with MenScience Advanced Shave Formula, so I never had any reason to use the stuff. Kind of funny. If that isn't an endorsement for MenScience, I don't know what is.

MenScience Advanced Shave Formula is pretty much odorless, although it has a slight smell of Play-dough. Yum. Always loved that stuff as a kid. It's a little goopy, but it doesn't clog your razor, and it's pretty easy to apply. Using your fingers is the best approach. I tried using a shaving brush a couple times but it doesn't have the right consistency to be spread that way. MenScience recommends you wait 30 seconds after applying (which is always a good idea) to let the ingredients absorb into your skin and further soften your whiskers.

And what are those ingredients, you ask? Glycerin, Aloe, Allantoin, Azulene, Avocado Extract, Grapeseed, Salicylic Acid, and Tea Tree Extract. Clearly a lot of research has gone into making the best shaving cream possible with the highest quality natural ingredients. Sure there's the occasional phenophoxophuccinol, but for the most part everything is recognizable. My favorite - Glycerin:

Humectant with impressive capability to continually absorb water from the environment and bind it to the skin. Increases the skin’s softness, suppleness and elasticity. Its lubricating properties make it superior to foaming ingredients for shaving preparations.

Bind humectant, bind! Damn, that's impressive.

MenScience Advanced Shave Formula is $25 for a 6oz tub. If you've had it up to here with foam, or just want to try something new, MenScience Advanced Shave Formula definitely worth it.

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

October 16, 2006

Review of MenScience - Daily Face Wash

It's review time again, and this time we're stretching it out over a whole week. Welcome to MenScience review week! We received five products from MenScience. There are five days in a week. Perfect! If you need a background on MenScience, I suggest starting with this post. If not, read on...

First up is MenScience Daily Face Wash. As we've been hammering into your head, great shaves start with clean skin, and MenScience Daily Face Wash is a great way to start. Their face wash is a clear, thick gel which is easy to apply, and foams up to a slight lather when you work it into your skin. Key ingredients include Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Allantoin, Aloe, and Urea. That last one isn't as bad as it sounds.

Urea: Moisturizer capable of attracting and retaining water. Helps in the absorption of other ingredients. Credited with protecting the skin, due to buffering and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

Click on over to the MenScience Daily Face Wash to learn about all the ingredients.

MenScience Daily Face Wash did a great job on my skin. I only ever needed a tiny quarter-size amount, it was easy to wash off, and it never left my skin too dry. Subsequent shaves were great, but that's equally due to their shaving cream (which we'll cover on Wednesday). I've used it happily every day for two months and I'm barely half-way through the bottle.

MenScience Daily Face Wash is $25 for 8oz.

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

October 11, 2006

Review of Superior Brushes and QED Shaving Stick from Leisure Guy

LesiureGuy's been busy again. This time he's trying out a new shaving brush from SuperiorBrushes.com and a shaving stick from QED. He wrote in:

A couple of firefighters in Clovis NM make shaving brushes to order: 22mm, 25mm, and 30mm knot sizes, including silvertip. They turn the handles in the color and style you want, and the brushes are really reasonably priced. I have all three sizes and used the 22mm this morning---great brush, soft like an Omega Silvertip. I used it with a Mocha-Java shaving stick (soap in stick form) from QED and got a terrific and wonderful smelling lather.

Firefighers who make shaving brushes in their spare time? How did he find these guys? Brushes range from $40 to $100 and are hand-made of "100% real Asian badger hair imported from China". Is that even legal? You can ask them for custom requests too. More info here, and read LeisureGuy's full review here.

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

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