April 24, 2006

Review of Kiss My Face Key Lime Moisture Shave

Kiss My Face. I dare you... Go on... kiss it.

Kiss My Face is a line of skin-care products, "obsessively" devoted to using all natural and organic ingredients. They've got everything you'll need, from soaps to toothpaste, moisturizers to shower gels, and of course, shaving cream. And not just one - Key Lime, Peach, Vanilla, Lavendar, to name a few flavors. They've even got fragrance-free if somehow one of these doesn't appeal to you. For me, it's Key Lime. I've been using Kiss My Face's Key Lime Moisture Shave for a couple weeks now, and I'm ready to declare it a winner.

Now I should mention, I love Key Lime pie. When I was young my family took a trip down to southern Florida and the Keys. My dad and I went on a quest for the ultimate Key Lime pie, stopping at every restaurant and road-side stand which claimed to have the best. Some people might have gotten sick from this experience, never wanting to see another Key Lime pie in their life. And for others, like me, it only made my love stronger. So imagine my delight at finding a Key Lime shaving cream - the combination of two passions.

OK, as you probably can guess, I tasted it. And no, it's not delicious. In fact it's downright nasty. But I did it for the site, and you my readers. Aw, who am I kidding. I just couldn't resist.

So let's get down to business. Kiss My Face's Key Lime Moisture Shave foams up to a rich, white lather. It's a little more soapy than other shaving creams I've used in the past, but still contains a nice bit of oil to lubricate your skin against the razor. In fact, one of the things I really liked about Key Lime Moisture Shave was that my skin was still slick after the first pass of the razor, so if I missed a spot there was enough lubrication for touch-ups.

Key Lime Moisture Shave is chock full o' natural goodness and smells great. Check out this ingredients list:

Lime is a natural cooling antiseptic and also acts as an astringent. Our Key Lime Moisture Shave contains a moisturizing formula with antiseptic Peppermint to cool and stimulate, emollients Olive Oil and Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera for healing. Goldenseal heals and acts as an antiseptic. Arnica aids circulation. Lady's Mantle is an astringent and has styptic properties. Sage, Horsetail, and Orangeflower act as astringents and refreshers. Soapwort is rich lathering, effective with acne, and like Lemon Grass, cleansing. Vitamins A, and E, the nutrients so important for healthy skin, complete the shave.

Um... soapwort? Had to read up on that. Thanks Wikipedia.

My only issue with this shaving cream was that is tended to dry my face out a little. I'd recommend it for people with oilier skin, or maybe as a summer shave. Also, you should consider how foamy you like your shaving cream. If you like a rich, thick lather (soapwort!) , this stuff is for you. If you prefer a clearer, less-foamy cream which still shows your skin, use something else.

Key Lime Moisture Shave is available at KissMyFace.com, and also at many local natural foods stores, like Whole Foods markets. At $6 for 11oz or $4 for 4oz, it's one of the cheapest shaving creams we've endorsed. Just try not to eat it.

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

March 6, 2006

Review of Origins' "Blade Runner" Shaving Cream

When I first learned there was a shaving cream called Blade Runner, my inner sci-fi geek was overcome with joy. Finally, my odd demographic had gained enough cred to warrant a shaving/movie cross-promotion. Alas, Harrison Ford meets Gillette will have to wait. Instead we simply have Blade Runner Shaving Cream from Origins, filled with herbal extracts and exotic oils to free your face of unwanted hair. After several weeks' use and between 10 and 15 shaves, I'm ready to pronounce it... pretty good.

The most outstanding characteristic of this shaving cream is its smell. Somewhere between lemon and 1800s medicinal balm. If a covered wagon came through your town selling something called Dr. Sorenson's Stunningly Smooth Shaving Salve, you'd expect it to smell something like this. Now don't get me wrong, Blade Runner is not a placebo scam. It's just that the smell is something you really want to make sure you like. Aside from the hint of citrus, Blade Runner is scented with Coriander, Australian Eucalyptus, and French Peppermint. Breathe deeply and feel your congestion clear. I'd recommend stopping by your local mall's Origins store and asking for a whiff.

The feel and experience of applying Blade Runner is great. You scoop this light and fluffy cream out of a tub, smooth it into your face, and feel a slight tingle as it softens up your skin. Some other shaving creams I've used recently have been too soapy. Blade Runner is like cake-frosting - light, creamy goodness. And it doesn't completely obscure your facial hair so you can see where you need to shave.

The Shave
The shave is... well... average. A little above average maybe, but not anything to write home about. Honestly I'm a fan of a more oily shaving cream. Even though Blade Runner has both Kukui Nut Oil and Soybean Oil in it, I kept wishing it were just a little more slick and lubricating, so the razor would glide a little more easily over my face.

Wrap Up
So Blade Runner wasn't ideal for me, but Origins is a respectable brand and produces some great products. If you're a fan of their other products you might want to check this out. Blade Runner is available on the Origin's website in a 5 oz. tube for $14.00, and also in their omnipresent retail stores. Blade Runner used to be available in a 16.9 oz tub (which is what I used), however it appears they might be phasing that packaging out. If you can find it in the tub it will be significantly discounted. I saw references to sale prices as low as $22.50 (down from $47.25), however they were all sold out. Look for the tub.

Other Opinions
Finally, I found this great review of Blade Runner on Epinions from a woman's perspective, written by gatorgirlie. Definitely worth a read if you're on the fence, or thinking about using it anywhere else than on your face.

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

February 20, 2006

Review: Gillette Fusion from Shaving Stuff.com

FusionPowerSm.jpgI know you all have been eagerly awaiting this, so without further ado...

If you've been reading the articles about the new Gillette Fusion you'll know there have been several new innovations with this razor. Five blades for regular shaving and a lone sixth on the back for tough spots like under the nose and sideburns. More densely packed microfins under the blades to help whiskers stand up for a closer shave. And in the powered department, auto-shutoff after eight minutes, a low battery warning light, and an easier opening/closing to the compartment which houses the battery. All of these are truly quality improvements, but in the end all you really care about it is a better shave, right? The new Fusion does shave better than the Mach3, but with some caveats, so keep reading and see if you agree by the end.

FusionUnpowered.jpgFusion vs. Fusion Power:
I don't think there a noticeable difference in the resulting shave between the powered and the non-powered version of the Fusion. Where I do think there is a difference is in the act of shaving. I like power, and if you haven't tried it, I think you're missing out. The powered version vibrates, and that vibration somehow translates into less drag against your face. When you pull the unpowered version of the Fusion across your face, you feel a slight tug against your skin. With the powered Fusion, it's a smooth glide. I suppose it's a matter of personal preference, and the thickness of your beard, but I would strongly recommend trying a powered razor at least once before poopoo-ing it at your next party.

Now the other difference that people always talk about when comparing these razors is the fact that with the unpowered Fusion you get two cartridges along with the razor and with the Fusion Power you only get one. The cartridges are expensive and no doubt there's savings to factor in here, but seriously, the cost of one additional cartridge over the course of a year is really insignificant. I agree Gillette should have packaged the Fusion Power with two cartridges, but they didn't. End of story.

FusionPowerSm.jpgFusion Power vs. Mach3 Power:
Sounds like I'm repeating myself here but I don't think there's a noticeable difference in the resulting shave between the Mach3 Power and the Fusion Power. Where I do think there is a difference is in the act of shaving, and in the razor itself. The vibrations on the Fusion Power seem tighter and more powerful. I made sure to replace the battery in my old Mach3 before testing these head to head, and I think there's a slight improvement in the Fusion. Both give a seemingly frictionless shave, and both perform admirably after one, two, and three days' worth of growth, but somehow the Fusion Power's vibrations seem to stack up better. I'm sure they spent quite a bit time on the vibration mechanism and it shows.

Battery replacement on the Fusion is much easier than on the Mach3. With the Fusion it's a simple twist and the compartment locks and unlocks. With the Mach3 you feel like you're going to break the plastic when you're closing it up. Also, the auto-off feature it huge. You can finally travel with this razor and not have to worry about running down your battery accidentally.

Now let's talk about that sixth blade. Here's the most marked improvement in shaving. A return to the single blade. Shaving with the Mach3 can be a challenge in certain areas, such as under your nose and around your sideburns. It's hard to tell when in that paddle of a cartridge the aloe strip stops and the blades begin. You end up shoving this razor head up your nose to hopefully catch those errant hairs. With the single blade on the back, tough to reach spots are a snap. This single feature might just be the real reason to switch.

There was one area where the Fusion didn't hold up to its older brother, and that was in the life of the aloe and soap strip on the top of the cartridge. This is supposed to act as an indication of when you need to replace the cartridge, kind of like those toothbrushes with the blue bristles which lose their color with use. I found that the Fusion's aloe/soap strip wore off pretty darn quickly, after only three or four shave, while with the Mach3 I could go to five or six shaves and still have plently of that colored strip. Personally I don't think that strip adds much. As long as you're using a high quality shaving cream the effects of the strip are minimal. Just know that you've got a few more shaves in the cartridge once that strip is worn off.

So what should you do? Well, if you're a non-powered Mach3 fanatic who thinks the whole powered razor idea is a gimmick to sell more razors and batteries, stick with what you've got. However if you're at all interested in that sixth blade for the tough to reach spots, it might be worth the ten bucks to see what all the fuss is about. Then you can poopoo with first hand experience.

If you're a Mach3 Power user, I think you should check out the Fusion Power. The cartridges are not compatible, so use up your current stock before switching, but I think you'll be happy with the upgrade. Again, the vibrations are better, the auto-off is a welcome addition, and oh that sixth blade!

FusionBlades.jpgAnd remember, now that the Fusion is the premium brand, the prices on Mach3 blades will likely fall. It's a win win for everyone!

Last check on Amazon the Gillette Fusion unpowered was $7.99, the Gillette Fusion Power was $8.99, an 8-pack of Fusion blades was $24.99, and an 8-pack of Fusion Power blades was $27.69. Oh yeah, and I don't think there's any difference between the two types of blades.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (27) | social bookmarking

February 6, 2006

Gillette Fusion - What's in the Box?

Got my Gillette Fusion and Gillette Fusion Power yesterday at Target. The Fusion was marked $8.99 and the Fusion Power was $9.99, however I found another display in the store that held something called the Gillette Fusion Starter Kit (pictured, right), which, for $9.99, contained a Gillette Fusion (un-powered), an extra cartridge, a 2.5oz container of the new Gillette Fusion Hydra Gel, a shaving tips pamphlet, and a handy travel case (pictured, left, sans case). For an extra buck, it's a no-brainer. If you live near a Target, hunt around for the display with the starter kit. And if you don't live near a Target, one will be opening near you within the week.

As people have been reporting, the Fusion Power only comes with one cartridge. Kind of lame. If memory serves, the Mach3 Power came with an extra cartridge. There is a $2.00 dollar off coupon in the Fusion Power packaging, and it's easy to miss. It's taped to the clear plastic wrap which holds the razor to the case. Make sure you snag that thing. Blades ain't cheap.

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

January 30, 2006

More Gillette Fusion Reader Reviews

Blog-o-sphere Gillette Fusion update - fellow blogger Terry of TADspot has posted his first experience with the new Gillette Fusion Power, which he bought for only $9 at his local Safeway supermarket.

Can I tell any difference in the quality of the shave? Hell no, but now I do have the sexiest, most powerful, most bladiest razor known to man. Apparently putting all of those blades onto one cartridge has caused some sort of shortage because Gillette didn’t package even one extra cartridge...

OK, that's kind of lame. The Mach3 came with an extra blade, and so did Sensors before that.

Read all of Terry's review, and see the hot shaving action shots, at TADspot.com.

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

January 16, 2006

Review of Zia for Men, part 1

About a month ago we received two shaving gift sets from Zia, their Skin Clearing Set and their Skin Hydrating Set, both of which are available from their website for only $19.95. If you haven't checked out their site, Zia is dedicated to bringing you "natural skin care products using whole foods, pure essential oils and healing botanicals." Now you've heard me say in the past that I don't care what's in my shaving creams as long as I get the best shave, but with Zia you can have the best of both worlds. For the last month we've been testing the Skin Clearing Set and today we're declaring it a big winner. Great shave. Great products. Great ingredients.

Each Skin Clearing Gift Set contains:
  5 oz. ActiClean Face Scrub
  5 oz. ActiShield Shave Gel
  2.5 oz. DualAction Face Lotion

First the ActiClean Face Scrub - As you probably know, shaving works best on a clean face. But it also works best on an exfoliated face - one that's been clensed of that upper layer of dead skin and dirt. The ActiClean face scrub is your all-in-one solution here. Turns out corn cob and pineapple unblock pores. Who knew? Also, tea tree and willow bark fight breakouts and razor bumps. Again, did not know that. But they do. In the month that I've been using this Zia set my skin has been noticably clearer of breakouts, and while I don't usually suffer from razor bumps, I'm inclined to believe it will work there too.

Next up, the ActiShield Shave Gel - This is a shaving gel, so if you're one of the few who got the Conair Hot Lather Machine for Christmas, make sure you got the model which handles gel. Some are only made for cream. But I digress. The ActiShield Shave Gel goes on clear but works up a nice subtle lather as you work it in your face. What's in this one? I'm glad you asked - why, it's eucalytpus and plantain to treat razor bumps and breakouts. What else? Glycerin and algae to prevent razor drag. And I'll attest to that - the ActiShield shave gel worked great with a new and old razor, and after one, two, and three days of growth. Very few nicks in the entire month I shaved. Also, ActiShield worked great around common trouble spots - Adam's apple, under the nose, around the lips. I liked that it left a smooth layer of slickness after I had made my first pass with a razor, so if I needed a second clean-up pass I didn't need to re-apply. This is great stuff. Seriously. I would have no hesitation recommending this shaving cream to anyone.

Finally we come to the DualAction Face Lotion - I liked this so much I used it after a shave in the morning and then later in the evening after I washed my face before going to bed. 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 what's in this one? Would you believe extract of cork tree? Also more plantain and some barley.

Final summation - the Zia Skin Clearing shaving set rocks. And for $19.95, it's a steal. If you're into all natural products this stuff was made for you. If not, this stuff was still made for you. Again, I would recommend these shaving products to anyone.

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

January 7, 2006

Review of KENMEN products, part 2

I've been struggling a bit on how to write the second part of the review of KENMEN products. If you remember from our first review, we were very happy with the products they sent over. These next four, however, didn't live up to the first. It's always tough to write negatively about a product when a manufacturer has sent over a free sample, but no one ever said writing a shaving blog was going to be easy.

So let's talk about these products. Actually, let's first talk about the product names. You'll notice that the three tubes look quite similar, and each has a somewhat mystifying name. Even though the website calls the shaving cream "Baby Face Healing Shaving Cream", the tube says "Baby Face Cure-Gel Rasage". The website may say "Battlescars - Healing Body & Face Cream", but the tube says "Battle Scars Cure Detoxifiante". At 6:00 in the morning I had a tough time remembering which was for shaving and which was for after. A little bit of French might have helped, but I took Spanish in high school. Que lastima.

Next, let's talk about the actual containers. Each is a 6 oz. tube which unscrews and allows you to squeeze out the contents. There's a little plastic insert in the hole where the contents comes out which essentially makes the hole smaller. My guess is that there's one standard opening for the tube, and then this insert is added if you want a smaller flow of cream or gel to come out with each squeeze. The thing is, if you squeeze too hard, the plastic insert comes out, and you've got quite a mess on your hands. Not a huge deal if you're using the exfoliant in the shower, but a bit of a pain when you're cleaning up shaving cream from the sink. Squeeze these tubes gently, and mind the insert.

h20showergel.jpgSpeaking of exfoliant, H2O-Synergie Shower Gel & Scrub ($28) was probably my favorite of the three. A nice, gentle exfoliant for use on the face and the body. Smells a lot like ginger ale. I'm not kidding. But not in a bad way. And you can use it in place of soap.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review of KENMEN products, part 2"

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December 13, 2005

Zia in the Hizzouse!

A couple weeks ago we wrote about Zia's new men's shaving sets - the Skin Hydrating Gift Set and the Skin Clearing Gift Set (both $19.95). Well, the good folks at Zia sent over one of each for review and they arrived last night. Thanks Zia! We'll be putting them through our normal ShavingStuff test-drive over the next couple weeks and will have a review just as soon as it's ready. In the meantime, consider these gift sets at the holidays approach, especially if you've got a man who insisted on all natural ingredients.

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

November 20, 2005

Review of KENMEN Products, part 1

The good folks over at KENMEN sent us a bunch of their products recently and as you're about to read, my wife, herein refered to as "ShavingStuff wife," had about as much fun as I did trying them out. KENMEN has a wide range of men's products which cover the ordinary, like shaving creams and after-shaves, to the non-traditional, like eye gel and skin tints. See our earlier quick introduction for a few more details.

Now let's get one thing straight - these are advanced products. Basically you need to know what you're doing or be comfortable enough to ask. Me, I had to ask. ShavingStuff wife was very helpful, as was the KENMEN site. The KENMEN products all have clever names, like Battlescars, and Ener-C, however the bottles and tubes themselves don't always give the clearest indication of how they are supposed to be used.

flake-off.jpgTake Flake-Off Facial Exfoliating mask ($33), for example. ShavingStuff wife insisted that "flake-off mask" means you apply it to your face, let it dry like a mask, and then let it flake off. I, on the other hand, thought it was more like a regular exfoliant where you just rub it across your skin in the shower and then wash it off. Somewhat unclear, and since there really isn't enough product in the tub for a full facial mask, we eventually settled on regular exfoliant usage. One thing we could agree on - the stuff smells great - like you're covering your face in oatmeal cookie batter. Yum!

ArrowContinue reading: "Review of KENMEN Products, part 1"

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

November 7, 2005

Review of Billy Jealousy

hm_btn_logo.jpgI had an amazing shave this morning. In fact, I've had many amazing shaves over the last couple weeks. Jealous? Well, you don't have to be. There's enough Billy Jealousy to go around.

Billy Jealousy is a small company in Dallas with a line of "cosmeceuticals" for shave, face, body and hair. Naturally we focused on shaving, and in summation, we give them two thumbs up. We reviewed their Hot Towel Pre Shave Treatment, Hydroplane Shave Cream, and Shaved Ice - After-Shave Balm. Billy Jealousy also has Lightening Bolt Pre-Electric Shave if you're into that kind of thing.

sml_shv_shvdice.jpgOn the outset this is a pretty typical shave setup. Take a shower. Splash some warm water on your face. Add some shaving cream. Go to town. But as we've mentioned before, there's science in Hydroplane. Millions of tiny round silicone sciences, to be exact.

Historically, the best way to achieve a close shave was to create a thick foam so your blade would ride a cushion of bubbles. Today with the creation of water-soluble micro silicone beads, thick foam has become obsolete. Water-soluble means that water doesn't permeate the silicone. As a result, Hydroplane becomes slicker and slicker when you add more water as you shave. The upshot? Your razor now floats over your face without any razor drag or irritation.

Silicone. It's magic. I hear it's also used in computers.

sml_shv_httowel.jpgLook, this stuff works. There's very little drag even with a razor which is well past its prime. The shave is as close as any shaving cream I've used. And the stuff smells good. Not overly frangranced, just a slight essence of honey. "Ooo! I could get close to that," my wife said as she smelled my freshly shaven face. And she did.

Pat from Billy Jealousy suggested I try two approaches - first shave a couple times with just Hydroplane, then try a combination of Hydroplane and Hot Towel. I really liked the combination better. I put a dollop of both in my hands, mixed them up to form a white goopy mess, and then lathered up my face. The creams are somewhere in the middle of white and clear, so you mostly see your skin although the occasional spot becomes slightly obscured. This is normal for most shaving creams - just pointing out that it's not completely clear like some of the shaving oils we've reviewed before. Personal preference. Didn't bother me. Won't bother you.

Here are the two main points which stood out for me. One: I didn't get any cuts or nicks in five shaves with Billy Jealousy products. None. That's a ShavingStuff first. That's probably a personal first. I can't remember a time in my life where I've gone five shaves in a row without a single nick. And I used the same razor the entire time, so by the end that blade was looking mighty scary. If you're plagued with cuts, nicks, or razor burn, I highly recommend you try this stuff. Get both the Hydroplane and the Hot Towel. Killer combo.

sml_shv_hydro.jpgThe second main point which stood out for me was the shave around the Adam's Apple. I've developed several techniques for contorting my skin so this massive paddle of a Mach3 can cut the errant hair down there. These techniques aren't pretty, and they aren't foolproof. I was amazed that I didn't need to do anything to get a clean shave around my neck. No pulling of the skin. No craning my neck. Smooth shave around the Adam's Apple every time. Nice work Billy Jealousy!

The finishing touch is Shaved Ice - After-Shave Balm, possibly the most appropriately named after-shave on the market. I'm getting shivers just thinking about it. This stuff makes your face feel cold. Perhaps not the best feeling as we're heading into winter, but I can't wait to finish a shave in August. Shaved Ice is not alcohol based, so I don't know what makes it feel so cold against your face, but there's lots of natural goodness in there, from aloe and oat extract to several of your favorite citrus oils.

OK, so you like the car. Worried about the awkward negotiation? Relax. You're at a Saturn dealership.

Hot Towel Pre Shave Treatment - $22 for 6oz.
Hydroplane Shave Cream - $20 for 8oz.
Shaved Ice - After-Shave Balm - $25 for 3.5oz.

And remember, a portion of the price goes to supporting the arts and the environment. So treat yourself to something new. Or put together a shaving gift basket for a loved on this holiday season. Billy Jealousy is sure to please.

Russell Neufeld at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

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