October 10, 2006

This Just In - John Allan Shaving Products

Our good friends over at Details for Men have just sent over a tube of John Allan's Shave Cream and a bottle of John Allan's Calming Aftershave Balm. A history lesson, it you'll permit me... In 1988 John Allan branched out from New York's Jean Louis David International Salons and launched his own salon, store, and product line.

He designed his formulas specifically for the needs of men, and used the latest ingredients containing vitamins, botanicals, and marine plant extracts. John Allan also addressed the issues of performance, packaging and scent. In formulating his products, he used the best testing lab he could find - his thousands of New York City clients. Utilizing feedback from a select group of clients and members who splashed, spread, scrubbed, shaved, shampooed and showered with each and every product, John Allan and his team developed a high quality line with proven performance.

Well, we're not exactly one of his New York city clients, but we are ready to splash, spread, scrub, and shave. Currently in the ShavingStuff test lab we're finishing up our MenScience review, and up next is the Anthony's Logistics for Men shaving kit (also from Details for Men). There just aren't enough shaves in a day.

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September 26, 2006

ZIRH Post-Shave Products

If you're just tuning in, over the last couple months we've been testing out close to 10 different ZIRH products. We've had two reviews - pre-shave cleanser and exfoliant, and shaving with ZIRH cream and gel. Part three of our three part ZIRH review focuses on what to do after shaving.

"You have been erased."
OK, so you've finished shaving, you've splashed your face with cool water (got to close up those pores), and now you're ready for ERASE, "An after-shave tonic is designed to zero-in on shaving problems." I love words like tonic. So old-school. ERASE is great for removing extra bits of shaving cream on your face, and sets your skin up for the all important after-shave moisturizer that you're going to use next. Applying tonic right after you shave is really the perfect time. You typically apply a little to a cotton ball and rub it over your face. If you've got a little stubble, this can be shredded wispy nightmare. So applying ERASE after a shave is the way to go. I actually prefer using those little cotton pads over cotton balls. They're already compressed and flat so they seem to apply better. ERASE is $28.50 for 200 ml.

defend.jpg"Defend Yourself!"
What's the most important thing you should be doing with your skin? Moisturizing with sun-block. And DEFEND has got you covered. DEFEND is rated SPF 15, and I can vouch for its effectiveness. I spent many a day on the beach this summer and it's the only thing I used on my face. But DEFEND is also great for everyday use. In fact, it's really necessary if you want great looking skin as you get older. I've used this stuff virtually everyday for the last two months, and it's a real winner. My only complaint is that the smell borders on a lemony household cleaning product. However every other moisturizer I've tried with sun-block smells like sun-block, so in some sense this is a welcome relief. DEFEND SPF 15 Face Moisturizer is $28.50 for 100m. Get some and use it every morning.

Hey kids - don't forget that from now until the end of the year we've got a special coupon available to ShavingStuff readers. Simply enter the coupon code "ShavingStuff" at ZIRH checkout and receive 12% off purchases $40 and over.

Extra credit if you can identify the two movie quotes in the section headers.

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September 11, 2006

Review of ZIRH Prepare, Shaving Cream, and Shaving Gel

prepare.jpgTime for round two of ZIRH reviews. If you missed the first installment, we covered Scrub and Clean, an exfoliant and a cleanser from ZIRH. Didn't read it? Go ahead... I'll wait...

OK. Round two features ZIRH's PREPARE, a pre-shave oil; SHAVING CREAM, recommended for heavier beards; and SHAVING GEL, for more average folk. We've been test driving these products for close to a month now, so here we go.

First up - PREPARE Pre-shave Oil. Finally, a real pre-shave oil. We've been testing out some shave oils, which are commonly mistaken for pre-shave oils, but this was our first true pre-shave oil. And let me tell you, there's money in oil. I wouldn't pay $70 a barrel for this stuff, but I would gladly pay $16 to eliminate nicks, cuts, and razor burn. This stuff is great. You actually apply a small amount to your face before warm water (but after a shower), so the first layer on your skin is a slick surface your razor head can glide over. Then you add a layer of water. Finally a layer of shaving cream or gel.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review of ZIRH Prepare, Shaving Cream, and Shaving Gel"

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August 15, 2006

"Best of..." Week Next Week

Sadly, we're approaching the end of summer. According to my sources at AskMen.com, you've only got a couple weeks left to wear white pants. While the days don't appear to be getting shorter, mentally you're probably getting ready to hunker down. So take stock and stock up. Whether you're heading back to school or back to work, we've got you covered in the shaving world.

Next week we'll feature five "Best of" posts on topics like best razor, best shaving oil, best online shaving store, and more. Be sure to tune in for our shaving round-up starting this coming Monday. In the meantime, what are you doing on the Internet? Go to the beach!

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August 7, 2006

Review of ZIRH Scrub and Clean

The start of a good shave begins with a clean face, and to that end we've been trying out two ZIRH products - Scrub, an exfoliant, and Clean, a facial cleanser.

Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead skin, along with dirt and other junk that builds up there. It's also key to avoid ingrown hairs and other irritations from shaving. Exfoliation basically works by rubbing something slightly coarse and gritty over your skin, kind of like sand paper to wood. Only really gentle sandpaper.

I had bought this St. Ives stuff at my local Target, which I assumed was decent exfoliant. Then I tried ZIRH Scrub. Imagine going from rubbing gravel over your face to using confectioner's sugar. The grain in ZIRH Scrub is super fine, making it a joy to exfoliate, rather than a burden. ZIRH recommends you exfoliate one or two times a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is, and use it in the shower just before you shave. Even though ZIRH Scrub lists its key ingredients as "Aloe Vera, Diatomaceous earth, Sage," I though it had a mild banana smell. Deelish. Made me want to throw some vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce on my face and see what happened next. ($16)

Step 2 to a great shave is ZIRH Clean, a facial wash. Before we get into Clean, let's talk about the metal bottle it comes in. Love it! Look, there are plastic bottles which are recyclable, foil tubes like toothpaste tubes which you squeeze, and then there's industrial metal. Nothing says man-product more than metal. I have no idea if ZIRH Clean does better in metal than plastic. I have no idea if it's eco-friendly or not. I just know love this rock-solid metal jar sitting on my counter.

All right. That's out of my system. While the key ingredients are "Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Linalool, Malic Acid, Peppermint Extract, Salicylic Acid," I think you'll agree it smells mostly lemony. ZIRH Clean is thick like syrup, goes on clear, and then turns into a light lather on your face. They recommend you use it once or twice a day, depending on your skin's sensitivity and oiliness. Use a small amount. A little will go a long way. ($16)

Now even though these products are targeted toward men, they work great for women too. Women already know tons more than you about exfoliation, and will probably love to try your Scrub. ZIRH Clean can remove make-up in a pinch. If the two of you are fighting over counter space, muscle in with the ZIRH and reclaim some of your dominance.

ZIRH products are available online, and also at a bunch of store including Bloomingdale's and Sephora. Every time I've seen them there have been testers available for you to sample. Step right up and see what you like.

And don't forget - enter the code "ShavingStuff" at checkout and receive 12% orders off $40 or more.

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July 19, 2006

The Ultra-Popular Bodygroom, Reviewed by Popular Mechanics

How popular has the Philips Norelco Bodygrom become? Popular enough to warrant a review in Popular Mechanics. No, they don't go into the mechanics of the Bodygroom, but they've clearly tried it enough to learn the ins and outs:

This thing does exactly what it's supposed to—so long as you don't shave "against the grain," it clips body hair with nary a nick nor scratch. Particularly bushy regions (and against-the-grain operations) can lead to a few minor tugs. At first, you can't help but fear this tiny reaper. But you'll realize how painless full-body grooming can be.

Oof. Minor tugs. I don't even want to think about it. Read the entire review from Popular Mechanics here. The Bodygroom is available from Amazon for $39.95.

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July 17, 2006

Review of Baxter of California's Herbal Mint Toner

I used to work with a guy named Zak, who every day between 3:00 and 4:00 would wash his face with that harsh, industrial pink soap from the men's room dispenser, and then dry off with those dark, supermarket-bag-brown paper towels. Had I known about Baxter of California's Herbal Mint Toner then, I would have recommended it to him. Baxter's toner is a great way to remove a layer of oil without removing half your skin. And, it's quick and easy. No splashing water on your face and the top half of your shirt. No going to the opposite extreme and ending up with dry skin. Just pour a little into a cotton ball or pad, wipe across your face, and you're done. No need to even dry off.

There is one gotcha with all toners, not just Baxter's, and that applies to people who grow an especially thick beard. Rubbing a cotton ball in any direction other than with the grain can result in an annoying thin layer of white shredded wisps. I've actually gotten pretty good at applying toner over a five o'clock shadow, but be warned - if you've got a heavy beard, the first few times may lead to some unintended results. That said, I much prefer a quick application of toner than the wash, rinse, dry, moisturize routine in the late afternoon.

Baxter of California's Herbal Mint Toner is available from their website at $16 for a bottle. It's alcohol free, smells great, and a single bottle will last forever. If you get oily skin in the afternoon, or just want to feel refreshed at any time during the day, give Baxter's Herbal Mint Toner a try.

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May 22, 2006

Review of Baxter of California's Super Close Shave Formula

baxter_cream2.jpgIt's been nearly a month to the day that Baxter showed up in our house, and what a smooth shaven month it's been. We first learned about Baxter last September when ProductDose.com ran a week-long online shaving seminar with them. Well, now it's ShavingStuff's turn, and we're so efficient we can do it all in a single day. Here we go...

Baxter of California's Super Close Shave Formula is a soft, white, virtually odorless cream, which smooths over your warm, wet face easily. This shaving cream doesn't foam up, which is great because it means you can see what you're doing. If you've got some facial sculpting going on, you'll still be able to draw within the lines. Baxter recommends you wait 30 seconds after applying before you start shaving, to let the cream work its magic. And work its magic it does.

Here's a consistent problem of mine, and perhaps yours as well - instead of my beard growing straight out of my face, some of my hairs grow parallel to the skin. It's like they grow directly downward, and unless I do some crazy skin contortions or the dreaded up-shave (big no-no), these hairs remain like little black specks after shaving. Enter magic. The best thing about Baxter's shaving cream is that it somehow gets these mutant hairs to straighten up, enough to give me a darn close shave.

Now I know you won't believe me when I tell you that until moments before writing this review I had completely forgotten that the full name of this shaving cream is Super Close Shave Formula, but I'm telling you the truth. And so is Baxter. This shaving cream will give you a super close shave.

Because Baxter shaving cream is a nice and loose cream, I also started experimenting using it with a shaving brush. No need for precision technique here, just smear a little Baxter on your face and then use a slightly wet shaving brush to work the cream into your skin, creating a nice even coat. Takes an extra minute, but badger fur feels a lot nice than your fingers on your face.

So have I convinced you to try Baxter's Super Close Shave Formula? Do I have to bring in a hot Hollywood celeb? How about Party of Five's Jennifer Love Hewitt, seen here buying her sweetie a Baxter Shaving 1,2,3 Kit, which, for $50, includes 8oz of Super Close Shave Formula, 4oz of After Shave Balm (awesome stuff!), and a pure badger hair shaving brush. (Oh, and I guess something's going on with Nick and Jessica.)

So that's it. Great shaving cream, with or without a shaving brush. Super close shave, even in the face of errant whiskers. And just like Jessica, no nicks. Baxter of California's Super Close Shave Formula is available on their website - $10 for a 5oz tube. Get some. And while you're on their site, get a 6-pack of free samples for an additional $4.25 and try out a few of their other great skin care products.

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May 18, 2006

Review of Zia for Men, part 2

It's been a while since we first reviewed Zia for Men's Skin Clearing Set, which you may remember us giving some of our highest marks. For those of you who haven't read our first review, Zia is dedicated to bringing you "natural skin care products using whole foods, pure essential oils and healing botanicals." Well, now it's time for round two. In this corner, weighing in at a 12.5 fluid ounces, in the orange trunks, all the way from Boulder Colorado, it's the Skin Hydrating Set. And in the other corner, weighing in at 165 lbs. (on a good day), in the green towel, all the way from Blogpire Productions, it's ShavingStuff.

OK, now you know the rules. I want a good, clean shave. None of those little cuts and nicks. The first sign of blood and I'm calling it.

Ding! Ding!

(Is this getting dorky or what?)

hydraclean_facewash.jpgLet's start with the HydraClean Face Wash. The face wash is a clear gel made with sea algae, aloe, and chamomile, and enriched with vitamins A and C. Now when I say clear, I mean super clear. This stuff is so clear it's actually hard to see. Once you've got it on your face the HydraClean Face Wash lightly foams up to gently clean your skin. I would recommend this gel to all skin types, oily to dry. The thing is getting it on your face can be quite a challenge. The gel is so clear, and has such high surface tension, that it's actually really hard to get it to stick to your skin. And if you accidentally drop your little squirt in the sink, good luck finding it.

Now it may sound like I'm going off on this stuff, but the truth is that I liked it so much I completely finished the tube, and I'm ready to go buy more. This gel has my full endorsement. Just some advice to Zia - maybe add a little color, so we can see it more easily, and make it a little more mushy, so application is easier.

hydrasheild_shavecream.jpgNext up is the HydraShield Shave Cream, made from glycerin, algae, grapeseed oil, aloe, and chamomile for good measure. I'm just going to cut to the chase. I liked Zia's ActiShield Shave Gel better. Again, I don't want this to sound like a negative review, because I truly thought this shaving cream was good, it's just that ActiShield Shave Gel is better. For me, HydraShield wasn't as slick, and I didn't feel like I was getting the same level of protection against cuts or nicks. Both gave great shave in the end, it's just the HydraShield didn't leave that slickness which I like for the second touch-up strokes. Also, even though the HydraShield is fragrance-free, it has a slightly lemony scent which wasn't my favorite.

DualAction.jpgOK, last but not least, DualAction Face Lotion. This stuff kicks so much ass, I only wish I had more of it. I use it in the morning after I shave, after a shower when I don't shave, in the evening after I wash my face. I'm sure it also cures the common cold, solves world hunger, and is a renewable source of energy. I love it. To quote my previous review:

Especially great if you have an oily face, the lotion adds just the right amount of moisture and nothing more. None of the Zia shaving products have an overwhelming smell, but I think the face lotion is the most pronounced. Slightly lemony or citrusy with a hint of black pepper. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's good.

So there you have it. The Zia Skin Hydrating Set is $19.95 from their website, and is a total steal. I personally liked the Skin Clearing Set a little better, but I liked the HydraClean Face Wash from this set better than the ActiClean Face Scrub from the other. So get them both and decide.

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May 1, 2006

Review of Billy Jealousy's Fuzzy Logic

As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, our friends over at Billy Jealousy have introduced a new shampoo into their line of skin care products called Fuzzy Logic. They sent us a sample which we've been using now for about 5 days. Now I don't really know much about shampoo, or what to look for when reviewing it, but here's my one piece of anecdotal evidence - ShavingStuff wife remarked (totally unprovoked) "Hey, you smell good." after I used it for the first time. Is it possible that I've never smelled good before? Naw. Must be the shampoo.

Fuzzy Logic has a nice, pepperminty smell to it. It also has ingredients to block DHT, which leads to hairloss. (I had to look that up.) And, according to the back of the bottle:

Unfortunately, Fuzzy Logic does not come with a small stick to beat back your anxious hordes of admirers.

So, to rectify this obvious omission, here is a list of ShavingStuff recommended small sticks:

Fuzzy Logic is available now at BillyJealousy.com for $22.

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