Product Review: Birchbox Man

Birchbox

Men get bored easily. No matter how good a grooming product is, and no matter how much we like it, we’re always looking for the newest, hottest thing. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt or the excitement of a new conquest, but Birchbox has built a one of a kind delivery system around man’s natural instinct to choose and then fall in love with many partners.

Birchbox was founded in 2010 and helps consumers discover the best beauty, grooming and lifestyle products through monthly deliveries of curated, deluxe samples that are tailored to their grooming likes and dislikes.

Each box includes a mix of products across categories – from makeup and hair, to skincare and body – plus lifestyle extras. An important trend in the evolution of retail for both brands and consumers lies in the discovery experience.

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Product Review: Sebamed Sensitive Skin After Shave Balm and Deodorant

Sebamed first hit store shelves in the 1960s, which makes it about twice as old as Sabretooth, famous archenemy of X-Men character Wolverine. Maybe if Sabretooth used Sebamed, his pH levels wouldn’t be so out of whack and he wouldn’t be as vicious. He would at least have better skin.

Speaking of which, healthy skin has an intact protective barrier which defends against environmental irritants and guards against dehydration. In fact, the surface of the skin is covered with a hydrolipid film called the acid mantle that is slightly acidic (pH 5.5). The acid mantle is essential for supporting the barrier functions of the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. And you thought the acid mantle and stratum corneum were obstacles you encounter during the Tough Mudder.

“Acid mantle? Stratum corneum? What is all this stuff, Paul?  The active ingredients in Sebamed sound like something straight out of X-Men. But it’s just another facet of aging, and as you age, you start to care about stuff you never thought you would. Like warranties, APRs and how rezoning of the local school district may impact what school your daughter attends. You also want to avoid crow’s feet and other examples of skin pushed to the limit without the intercession of a tender hand. And that is where the tender, caring, nurturing hand of Sebamed makes the difference, just like the tender hand of Professor Charles Francis Xavier aka Professor X.

Disruptions in the skin’s barrier function can lead to sensitive and dry skin. The skin then becomes susceptible to outside (allergens, irritants, weather, infection) and internal (stress, hormones, diseases) factors which can trigger skin inflammation. Moisture is lost through unprotected cracks in the outermost layer of the skin and the skin is also more prone to infections.

I tried the Sebamed for Men After Shave Balm and the mix of botanical phytosteroles and chamomile extract had a soothing effect, like a fat tax refund. It didn’t dry my skin out because it isn’t loaded with alcohol or mentholated.

But the product that I really enjoyed was the Sebamed Balsam Sensitive deodorant. What I really liked is that it is aluminum free. Amazingly, almost all name brand deodorants contain aluminum, and I just don’t think there’s any way that is good for you, unless you are Magneto, primary villain of the X-Men. It was also applied via roll-on applicator and reminded me of Certain-Dri in terms of consistency and application.

Sebamed isn’t going to wow you with an awesome marketing campaign like Old Spice’s “Mom’s Song,” but that’s not their brand. Sebamed is the old standby that doesn’t jump up for attention, like Mystique, who is there and you’re glad, because they hit the mark every time.

For more information on Sebamed, click here.

  

Product Review: Smooth Naturals Moisturizer

You’re 30 years old — you’re not seriously going to consider using Noxzema again, are you?

You’re a man now. And since you’re a man, your use of Noxzema should’ve gone the way of Teen Lines, Debbie Gibson and friendship bracelets… 20 years ago.

Don’t know what to use to moisturize that dried out piece of roast beef that looks like it’s seen the rise and fall of a million suns, AKA your face skin?  Well, dummy, it’s not hard to figure out. If my neighbor Bill can figure it out, that means you can too.

Bill is a man’s man. He operates a crane for a commercial construction company. Sometimes he has to sit in the crane for so long, hundreds of feet in the air, that he has to bring an empty bottle to piss in because once he’s up there, he’s fuckin up there. This is a man we’re talking about here, guys, not dudes like you or I — a fuckin MAN.

So, the other day, I’m leaning on my chain-link fence between our yards, talking to Bill and we’re smoking, and he says to me, “Paul, in less than a year I’m gonna be 60 years old. Can you believe that?”

I say to Bill, “Hell nah, man. I don’t believe you.”

Bill seriously looks 40, tops. You would never guess that shit.

“Oh yeah buddy, I could easily be your dad,” he says. “But that’s not my point. My point is this: you wanna age gracefully, you gotta use moisturizer. Paul, I wouldn’t shit you.”

“As you age, your body generates less and less of everything, but in this particular example, your face generates less and less oil, so your skin dries out faster and stays dry longer than when you are young.”

Bill casually put out his cigarette with two fingers and flicked it into the street.

“So, that means as you get older, you’ve got to start using moisturizer. A lotta guys don’t figure that out until it’s too late.”

“Whoa,” I said, flummoxed at all the new data entering my brain, synapses firing away. “I have been such a fool.”

With that, Bill hopped on his Harley and sped off into the crisp, clean, early Saturday night evening air.

The next day, I checked the mail and a small package arrived from Smooth Naturals. And guess what was in the package? MOISTURIZER.

The mentholated smell in said moisturizer from Smooth Naturals was outstanding, almost as good as a menthol cigarette at dawn. I didn’t know whether to smoke it or apply it to my face.

After I applied it to my skin, the tingly sensation of a billion tiny menthol fingers cascaded across my face and sent a chill down my spine.

I can only hope that when I’m 60, I look as good as Bill.

For more information, check out the Smooth Naturals Facebook page.

  

Product Review: eShave After Shave Soother

What’s better than e-mail, e-dating or Eazy-E? eShave’s line of skincare/shaving products!

Recently, eShave’s line of After Shave Soothers won Best Post Shave Lotion by Men’s Health magazine in their 2012 Grooming Awards. It marked the third year in a row that eShave was recognized by Men’s Health, previously winning Best Pre Shave Lotion last year.

The After Shave Soother was probably my favorite of the multiple shave products I’ve tried from eShave. It was at least the one that distinguished itself the most from other similar products. So many after shaves on the market are not sufficient with just one application — after you put it on once, some of them even dry your skin out even further and you’re forced to apply some lotion or an additional product. But the eShave version was thick without being gloppy and felt great. I only had to apply one coat and I was good. My skin wasn’t dried out 15 minutes later; it was still firm and moist. It just felt good.

There are four different scents of After Shave Soothers: Lavender, Verbena Lime, Orange Sandalwood and the Fragrance Free version. For this review I tried the Verbena Lime.

After I shaved, I loaded up my face with the After Shave Soother — not that I had to out of necessity, it just felt really good on my skin. The soother is marked as “greaseless” and it is definitely that. Another nice feature is that it doubles as an all-over body moisturizer for areas that can be notorious for dryness (i.e., ears, elbows, nose and forehead). I even put some on my shoulders and arms after getting out of the shower.

But as an after shave soothing cream/gel is where this product excels. It made my skin feel taut without feeling dried out, and extended the fresh shave feeling that you should be getting every time you shave. More than that, it created a layer of protection on my skin prior to venturing out into an outside world renowned for its savagery.

The Verbena Lime is the most popular scent and I could see why. It had a crisp scent that actually dissipated so soon that you wanted to smell it again. To say it isn’t overpowering is an understatement. It’s just enough for a quick, good smelling whiff for when you have to share an elevator ride with that attractive woman from your office.

To order yours today, or to check out the full line of eShave products, click here.

  

Product Review: Schick Hydro 5 Power Select

I’m not going to screw around here, guys. The Schick Hydro 5 Power Select razor is the best razor I have ever used. I could seriously just end the review right there.

Was it the battery-powered, multi-speed vibration that gently eased and spread the whiskers from my face during the shave? Was it the LED Digital Interface that lit up to show the multi-speed vibration between three different settings? Was it the “Fliptrimmer” razor with the flip-top back that allowed me to flip back and shave to the contours of my face and precisely trim any area I desired?

It could have been any one of those aforementioned features, but there were a few more in particular that caught my attention.

How about five blades, hence the name Hydro 5? For years, I have been using the Gillette Mach 3, with nary a negative thing to say about it. But I had never used a razor with five blades before; I immediately realized that three were inferior. Yes, five is more than three, wisenheimer. But I mean in terms of feel. And not just on the relatively contour free, non-sensitive areas like your neck or sideburns.

For me, the most sensitive area is where my mustache would be if I could grow one (if I were a man), i.e. the area right below my nose, above my upper lip. I anticipate this will be a painful exercise literally every time because it has been for about 15 years; the only way to numb the pain was to load up on high quality shaving cream (or whiskey) and have at it.

But with the Hydro 5, I glided over that area with absolutely no problem, and almost no friction — I couldn’t believe how well it worked. The combination of slight vibration of the razor with the ridiculous amount of blade-age left me with mouth agape in amazement. Almost on cue after I finished my shave, a neighbor came over to my house and used the bathroom. He came out holding the Hydro 5 in hand (which I had left on the sink), accompanied with a look of bewilderment on his face.

“Five blades! Five fucking blades, man?” he sputtered. “That is why you have such a clean shave — those grimy hairs don’t stand a chance!”

What aided those five blades was the Hydrating Gel Reservoir at the tip (which is water activated), just preceding the five razors. If there was ever a gimmick, I swore this was it as I perused the package prior to opening the Hydro 5. As men, how many times have we heard about “cooling gel” or some other “lubrication strip” that proves to be nothing but slick marketing?

Not only could I feel the effects of the gel, but I could see the gel coming out of the razor as I pressed it against my skin. The gel is comprised of vitamin E and aloe, which is even more soothing in use than it sounds in print.

The most amazing thing about the Schick Hydro 5 Power Select is that it retails for only $12.99. Even though it’s priced along the lines of a disposable razor, just holding it in your hand and feeling the weight of it proves that it is anything but and can hang with any of the overpriced razors on the market.

The following day I had two separate people comment on how smooth my skin looked, with one person asking me if I had “gotten a haircut or something because I looked different.”

Buy the Hydro 5 Power Select from Schick. It is the best money you will ever spend on a razor. For more information, click on this link.

  

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