“ Brand: The Body Shop / Creams / Gender: for men / Type: Shave Cream / What it does: Smoothes, „
My husband does not wet shave and when this product was included in a Christmas box of goodies, it seemed a shame to let it go to waste so I tucked in!
Obviously I cannot comment on how it makes your face feel. After all, I am a lady and so only ever use wax on my face! ;o) I used this product on my legs and it was dreamy!
The shaving cream is rich and thick and creamy and coats your skin well. It lathers easily and shaves off easily, taking all those pesky hairs with it.
The smell is very light - neither particularly masculine or feminine and so suitable for the shaving of all hairs on all species (of human!)
I didn't really like the fact it came in a tub. I prefer a tube for ease of squeeze and because they stay neat and tidy. But it was nice and thick so perhaps it needs a tub rather than a tube.
I wouldn't necessarily buy this product because I am a woman and it says 'for men' on the tub but if I wasn't so shallow, I would definitely invest in some more. It was a very good luxurious shaving cream.
Now before I start, lets just make it clear. I used this product when shaving an area of my body that was not my face. However, the same principles should apply! I would normally wax, but when pushed for time, we have to cut the odd corner.
Anyway, cut to the chase, how did this shaving cream perform?
Well, quite simply, the best I've ever used.
The 200ml tub is a screw top and the cream can be applied by scooping some up in your fingers and rubbing it on to the area to be shaved.
The cream feels very kind to the skin. Soothing, slippery and moisturizing. All you need really! It works up a nice lather and covers your skin nicely. It only has a light fragrance, and is certainly not overwhelming.
The big plus of course, is that it is manufactured to the Body Shops strict ethical standards. On some products, this gives you a compromise on quality, but this is not the case with the shaving creme.
Many shaving products come with very strong colours or smells, but this creme is simply effective and kind to your skin.
It is slightly pricy compared to other cremes on the market, but It will last a long time and I guess you pay a premium for ethically sound items like this.
The ingredients are listed below in case they make any sense to you!
Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Coconut Acid, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Fragrance, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Retinyl Palmitate, Tetrasodium EDTA.
Scowled decades pre lube-strip, The Fall lyric . . .You won't find anything more ridiculous, than this new profile Razor unit, made with the highest British attention to the wrong detail. . . probably wasn't a specific critique of the increasingly preposterous modern disposable razor. Instead The classical, was to me a more general rail against commercial and political modernism and the self-deluding falseness masquerading as progress it brings. Within this, razors were a good example of marketing's contribution to the madness.
Shaving, i.e. the process of scraping-off body hair with a sharp piece of metal, is essentially a simple procedure. Yet, like most essentially-uncomplicated grooming rituals, it has been hijacked by the marketeers. The net result? A market plethoric with artificially-convoluted and utterly pointless technical aids. Witness: gee-gaws requiring batteries to sonorically pulsate hairs into erect scythe-fodder, or others with the cutting equivalence of miniaturised combined harvester. Witness too, their promotion by grotesque masculine stereotypes fostering blokey clichés to convince that shaves are better, easier, faster, more technical and sexier than ever before. Cobblers.
In this, we, the British public, have been brainwashed out of the opportunity of enjoying the simple art of shaving -that noble art -that is perfectly well served by and requires nothing more than a stick with a blade on it.
Oh and of course a luxurious shaving cream, which, with extracts of sesame and coconut, softens the beard and skin and which also, by nature of a glycerin base lubricates and moisturises leaving a hydrated complexion in the post-blade-scrape period.
A squat and rotund body shop tub, first encountered as a 1990's bran tub present, brought me all this.
Prior to this Christmas gift, I was a parky shaver. Miserliness oft saw me ignore razor manufacturer's guidance with respect to frequency of blade re-use. This and shaving foams/gels of dubious quality regularly saw haemorrhagic rashes on the jugular region of my jowls, lending my neck a complexion akin to the pimpled buttocks of obese Geordie footballers. Only a face scrape frequency of less than two per week could check this issue. Alas, this frequency led to days of ginger beard breakthrough, giving my chin, set against a pasty skin-tone, the appearance of a cigarette filter.
Body shop shaving crème changed all this. Best of all it did so in an understated manner. Essentially a thickly-unctuous, pale-yellow, semi-solid plonked in a tub, there is no brouhaha about or around it. Beautifully plain and simple there are no great attempts at engineering needless solutions to problems that don't exist. This product is what it is and nothing more a tub of cream. All it needs to spring to life is a few fingers to scoop, a few more to smear and of course its raison d'être -hairy parts.
Initially easy to dismiss decoratively; comprising basically a tub with a screw top lid and plastic protective insert. Yet in its rotund, puck-like dumpiness lies elegance of practicality. Other shaving products tend towards the elongated metallic cylinder form. They also opt for click-on caps that become too claggy with product and eventually fail to click. Rendered useless said tops then bounce all over the bathroom floor. Never more so then when a trailing elbow sets into place an aerosolised version of domino rally on the bathroom windowsill a cacophonous cascade in which modern shave cream dispensers are complicit.
In contrast Body shop's tub quite simply can not fall over; it would require a thwack from a hockey stick to dislodge it from its sink-nest. The screw top too, and its counterpart insert, never fail, this prevents solidification of the unguent at exit point and makes for a tidier compact toiletry abode. It is the embodiment of minimalism.
The only criticism form-wise, is in the reaction of airport security staff. Once, pre-war-on-terror, I bundled my shaving crème, razor, spare blades and alarm clock into one elastic-banded compact unit -this I placed in my hand luggage. I did have to concede as physically restrained by security that under x ray conditions the bundle did have a passing resemblance to a time-bomb, and when opened the Semtex-appearance of the shaving crème only reinforced the image.
But back to the product.
Efficacy wise a little goes a long way. The tiniest smidgeon is required to ruffle up a compact but effective lather. Less is more; it seems is the product's genius. Whereas other products particularly those hailing from supermarket tin-can-alleys generate more voluminous coatings, they tend to be all air and no substance. This crème forgoes such bluff and delivers substance where it is needed, directly to the skin and hair without the need for dramatic latherisations borne of gas.
Once applied, the ingredients (see appendix 1) kick into effect from the first face-scrape. Thick with glycerin, the cream allows the scraper to glide across the scrapee, reducing friction and thereby reducing niction and its capillary rupturing consequences. It does this not once but twice, thrice and more. Repeated strokes in the same areas are not a problem, the glycerin component adheres to the face to allow even the trickiest areas with multi-directional crop to be repeatedly and smoothly harvested to the bare soil. Marvellous.
This however may not be to everyone's taste. Once the shave is over, a significant amount of the product remains on the face and it can feel a touch gunky and a thorough wash is needed. I, however, like this and in fact I encourage it by agitating the remaining product into a thin lather, leaving it for a minute or two before washing off. This to me prolongs the hydrating nature of the product and helps keep the skin cooler for longer.
Overall the product is a shavers dream, it permits a more thorough shave while minimising damage, the skin is left soft and cool and in personal experience cuts are dramatically reduced.
Inevitably for a quality product it isn't cheap. £7.00 for 200ml initially raised my eyebrows, but with experience I see there is an economy to the product. Used correctly and sparingly a tub will last for months up to a year in some cases less if genitals, head, legs and face are regularly scraped. This compares most favourably to rivals, generally shorter lived and occasionally cut down in their prime due to propellant issues.
There is also conceptually the moral component to the price. Self-hailed as an ethical company, with environmental, anti-vivisectionist and equal opportunities at its core, the extra cost may enhance your middle class sense of worth. I can't comment on this, I hope they are true to their word, but something about big businesses shouting about their ethicality makes it seem more marketing than substance. Essentially I have to leave the moral cost worthiness for you to decide. I do however have a perspective on the ingredients, if you can be bothered see appendix 2.
On balance, the true value to me- lies in the honest simplicity of the product, it is effective and unencumbered by unnecessary engineering shenanigans. Furthermore it does its job discreetly, enhanced by packaging that boldly eschews patronising male stereotypes.
I'm not sure if Mark E smith would approve but for me this product definitely falls under the term classical.
Glycerin is the main ingredient, but it could not do the job without the following emulsion fellows:
Water this is essential for emulsion nature of the crème and also acts as a solvent/diluent for other ingredients.
Myristic Acid and Stearic Acid are emulsifiers which along with Coconut Acid ( a surfactant) allow the relatively immiscible water and glycerin to maintain a relatively happily cohabiting emulsion
Benzyl Benzoate acts as solvent for later ingredients that are not soluble in water
Tetrasodium EDTA is a chelating Agent which binds elements, usually metals that could degrade other components
Sesamum indicum (Sesame Oil) acts as an Emollient to soften the skin
Potassium Hydroxide, Triethanolamine and Sodium Hydroxide combine together to buffer the crème and maintain the acid base balance within the desired pH range. Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, and Phenoxyethanol are preservatives to prevent skankiness
Eugenol and Coumarin are components of the perfume which to me is barely perceptible
Retinyl Palmitate, and Panthenol respectively a vitamin A and Vitamin B5 product both enigmatically described by body shop as Skin Conditioning Agents.
Tocopheryl Acetate, a vitamin E product that is described as an Antioxidant, which may have some effects on skin but is probably included to enhance stability of crème.
Ingredients- wise there seems to be quite a few, and a fair few preservative in nature. Ordinarily this would be a negative point, until I consider why. Like an open wound, the products relatively exposed packaging could encourage micro-organism growth and exposure to other degrading elements oxygen for one. The preservatives are therefore essential to maintain the products integrity.
Alternative products are inherently more protected and conceptually require fewer ingredients. However to do this they must be encased in a hermetically sealed environment that maintains a positive pressure differential on dispensing. They then require some form of propellant to expel them. All of which necessitates manufacturing processes and chemicals.
And therein is the quandary, do you accept some preservatives to achieve a long-lived, low-packaging product? Or do you go for complex packaging and the attendant manufacturing processes in preference to a few preservatives.
I opt for the former.
Put it this way, if Body shop were sneaky they could call this an antibacterial shave crème and hey presto the preservatives become antibacterial, and much more socially acceptable
A coconut based cream with sesame oil that lathers up lightly for a smooth shave /