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On visiting my bathroom a lot of my friends have asked me why I, a redheaded, white girl, have a hair removal cream specially formulated for black men on my shelf. I suppose it does seem a bit unusual, but the reasoning behind it is fairly simple. I, like most women, don't like having visible body hair and so make pains to remove it whenever possible. I found, however, that while razors are fine for my legs and armpits, if I shaved any other body hair I suffered from ingrowing hair and irritation, which looked worse than the hair I was trying to get rid of. Most depilatory creams in shops specify that they are only for use on the legs and underarms and so I couldn't use them as an alternative, and so was fairly stuck with my problem until somehow I stumbled across Softsheen Carson Magic Razorless Cream Shave online. It must have been recommended to me by a magazine or a website but I honestly can't remember how I first discovered it, now, only that I'm glad that I did. I bought it on Ebay as, with it being an American product which is normally only sold in specialist African or Caribbean shops here in the UK. It was advertised as being a secret of the adult entertainment industry, due to it being suitable for use on pubic hair as well as other parts of the body, although the product was designed as a facial hair remover. The fact that it is mild enough to be used on a man's face means that it won't cause irritation on other equally sensitive parts of the body and for me, therein lay the appeal.
I first bought this Magic Cream (as I will henceforth refer to it) around three years ago and have continued buying it fairly often since then, again from Ebay, as I have been impressed with the results. Using the cream is very simple : you apply a thick layer to the area you want to remove hair from, and wait for about ten minutes before simply washing it off in the shower. The tube continuously stresses that you aren't to use this cream with a razor, if that wasn't self evident, but that you also shouldn't use anything else to scrape the cream off with. The cream should take any hairs with it when it is washed off, but I've found that if any hairs are left in the skin they will easily come out if you use your fingers. Although the tube recommends leaving the cream on for 6-9 minutes I usually find that unless I leave it for 12-15 minutes, a lot of the hairs don't come out, yet I don't feel any irritation from having it on my skin for longer than the recommended time. After use I find that any redness subsides in a matter of hours and skin is left smooth.
I have been impressed enough by the effects of this Magic Cream in order to keep buying it, but it is not a perfect means of hair removal with a couple of disadvantages which I must point out. Firstly, it's quite hard to tell if you've gotten all the hairs covered by the cream, and occasionally you can be left with a patch after the rest has been washed away. This isn't too much of a problem if it's on your leg or arm, for example, but I imagine that if a patch of facial hair was left visible it could be very annoying and even embarrassing. Since you're meant to leave at least 36 hours between uses you'll have to wait a day and a half before you can remove the patch that remains. Secondly, although the results of the cream are good, they generally don't last for a long time, and depending on the body part, hair can start growing back in only a matter of days after use. You'll certainly not get the same longevity of smoothness as if you'd got a wax, for example, although it is pain-free and comparatively cheaper and easier. If you want to keep your skin completely devoid of hair you'll have to do this once a week if not more often, which can be a bit annoying. There is, however, a cream available in the same range with is designed to reduce hair growth and can be used even on very short hair, which I have found to work well. Thirdly, the cream smells awful. I don't know what its scent is meant to be but it's fairly unpleasant and lingers on the skin for at least a few hours after use, even though it's been washed off in a shower. The smell does bother me and I wouldn't want to go out of the house immediately after use in case people could sense it on me, and so if you're using the cream often this can be an issue. Lastly, the fact that I have to purchase it online and that it is not available in Boots, for example, is a bit of a pain, as I have to think ahead if I know I'm going to need some.
All in all, though, this is a great hair removal cream and is one that I will continue to buy in future. It can be bought on Amazon for £3.59 per tube, but since you have to pay postage on top of that price to the tune of an extra almost £4, it's usually cheaper to get it on Ebay. Sellers on Ebay often sell four tubes for the price of three or offer other deals as well as a wider range of creams, so I'd recommend purchasing from there in favour of Amazon. In conclusion, this is a great hair removal cream and is one that I recommend highly.
They say that men balding as they get older, is a sign of high testosterone. Although it is mostly men who are balding who say that.
Well, lucky little me then as, like many chaps, Mr ToTs once exuberant locks have been creeping back across his head like the sea at low tide.
So he did the sensible thing and started visiting the barber once a week for a good clip down. Boys please note - there's nothing wrong with getting a bit thinner, that crop can be a very sexy look, but you have to face reality and work with it. Trying to pretend you still have a full head of hair with comb-overs, extra volume hair mousse or carefully arranged 'do's that disappear at the first puff of wind, makes you look daft.
But then he got fed up with paying out £5 every week for a 4 minute strim. I did offer to buy some clippers but after consideration of my total klutziness, he decided that he would turn down my kind offer to approach his scalp with sharp blades.
So next came the 'grab a bic and shave it all off' phase. Bit of a pain in the bum and occasional pain (and blood) around the ears and other fiddly bits as well.
Then he returned home triumphant, new product in his pocket. The 'Softsheen Carson new Magic Razorless Cream Shave for bald head maintenance.' Yes, you got it, a hair removal cream just for men!
Whether it's any different to the hair removal creams for women, I'm not convinced, but it takes a very secure man to start buying leg hair removal cream in Boots, so I can certainly see the point of this product. So why am I reviewing a product I haven't directly used on my own body? Well...let's just say that Mr ToT hadn't had the benefit of years of experience with umpteen hair removal methods, and got a bit stuck and needed some help. In fact, I still help a wee bit by checking his coverage, so I am hands-on involved in using this product.
Softsheen Carson is a range of products that includes beard removal cream, and several variations on these two product types according to skin type. It is a range designed and marketed at black men (I'm not sure why other than niche marketing and the fact that black men tend to have a few extra problems with shaving bumps/ingrowing hairs) but of course it'll work just as well on men of any other colour. The product says 'helps stop razor bumps' and that it is better than a razor for a longer-lasting, closer-shave'. The variation we use has shea butter to moisturise the skin as well.
I see two advantages over shaving:
You don't have to do it as often
You don't get the razor bumps, spots, or ingrowing hairs as much as the skin is not being damaged or infected.
How to use it
I guess the men out there may not know how depilatory creams work (Mr ToT didn't) so essentially it is a cream that dissolves away the hair right down to skin level, and it takes a few days to re-grow to a point when you need to do it again. Women have been using creams like this for years. I don't know why the men are a bit slow on the uptake - I'd rather do this once a week or so than have to shave every day?
The instructions on this product are definitely aimed at first-time users as they keep stressing 'do not use with a razor', in case someone gets confused and thinks it's a shaving cream I suppose. Basically, you spread it over the dry skin and hair that you want to dissolve, wait 6-9 minutes, and then remove it with a damp cloth or a smooth plastic edge (womens kits often come with a plastic scraper, but what they are looking at you using is something like a baby's plastic 'first knife' - something with a blunt edge). Rinse. You should now have a head (or face) like a babies' bum.
This is where I had to get involved. After two attempts Mr ToT was about to throw this in the bin, but I checked what he was doing and he was applying a light smear. No. Boys - you have to slap this stuff on nice and thick, ensuring that all hair is completely covered, not just a thin layer on the skin. It can't dissolve what it isn't coating. So after a bit of advice, he tried again, I checked again, and found lots of bits he'd missed round the back. So I helped him spread on a decent layer all over. I had to do this a few times until he got the hang of it (hence I am able to write this review).
I smells about the same as any other hair remover cream, not too strong though, and not girly perfumed.
What do we think of it?
Mr ToT is thrilled with the ease of this, now he's got the hang of it, and the great result. He used to have terrible shaving bumps round the nape of his neck that would get very infected and 'nasty' (pus-y bumps, hmm, not a good look) but these started clearing up very quickly once he started using this cream instead of shaving/clipping the area. His head is nice and smooth, the hair is much softer and less bristley when it starts to grow back (as it's the natural hair end and not a sharply cut-off stub) and his skin is nicely moisturised.
It takes him about 15 minutes all-in to faff about in the bathroom every Sunday, and he is set for the rest of the week. He's now thinking of buying the one for his face as well.
One tube cost £2.69 and it has done 10 treatments, so a cost of 27p each time.
Could save you time
Gets a great smooth result
Better condition skin with less bumps and sore bits
I'm not sure how easily available this is, as a niche product. It is available in smaller shops that cater for black customers; he gets his from an African food shop. I'm not sure you'll find it in Boots etc. On the other hand, these small shops are booming in numbers so unless you live in the middle of nowhere, it shouldn't be too hard to find. Otherwise you can get it mail order; Amazon are doing it for £2.99.
It does have that 'hair remover' smell about it as well so the bathroom gets a little bit eyewatering for half an hour or so afterwards, best to open the window and let the fumes clear.
It's not always easy to try something new and I can see some resistance to this but honestly, it's well worth a punt and a try out in the privacy of your own bathroom!
Update: 2 years on and his skin is much improved with no bumps or sore bits.