From the Editor’s Desk: Battle of the Aftershaves ft. Avon’s After Shave Conditioner & Balm

     Dear Men of the World: do you remember your first shave?

     I certainly do; I was an unfortunate seventh grader with a tiny mustache I hated, and when Dad finally showed me how to run the razor in a manner just so delicate it was a revelation. These days whenever the occasion calls for a fresh baby-face (can you say, work?) I have a slew of products that help me achieve the smoothness I desire without all the bloody ickiness. As with many men’s routines, this includes an aftershave.

     Back when I began shaving I used to steal a splash of Dad’s Tommy Hilfiger Tommy aftershave, applying it to my freshly mowed face (ahh! It burns!). For a long time I thought that was how men wear fragrance, and not until I landed on Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue pour Homme did I realize there is a different between fine fragrance and aftershave.

     Then I discovered even further categories within the aftershave world: balms (A.K.A. lotion, gel, or conditioner) and splashes. So I set to find out which one works best in what I like to call “The Ultimate Battle of the Forces of Smoothness versus the Armies of the Razor Burn” (TUBOTFOSVTAOTRB, for short).

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Natalie at Avon Canada was kind enough to send me some goodies to try for this very purpose, and I put them up against a few other products to see which would give me the best results. I also listed the first ingredients of each and their common uses to help you decide which one is most appropriate for your needs.

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     The first product I tested was the Brut After Shave Balm & Facial Moisturizer, available for about $5 from practically any drugstore. Everyone knows the classic smell of Brut, a timeless aroma of the barbershop or something clean but not fresh – quite heavy, actually. The first thing to note about this particular product is that it doubles as a facial moisturizer, which I did not find to be a bonus because I just don’t care for a perfumed forehead. Instead I focused on how it made my skin feel after a shave. The result? A watery formula left some hydration to be desired, but it scored points for not burning my many cuts. The scent fades over time, and it is pleasant. A solid and affordable option.

     First ingredients: water, PEG-8 distearate (for cleaning), glycerin (for conditioning), polyacrylamide (for keeping the product on the skin), and C13-14 isoparaffin (for thickening).

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Next is the Avon Black Suede After Shave Conditioner. It was even thinner than the Brut one, but had a really pleasing, deep scent of slightly soapy musk and spicy nutmeg. This left my skin feeling smoother longer than the previous one but was slightly greasy to the touch. Four stars for a grownup smell and formidable smoothness of the skin, minus one for the oiliness.

     First ingredients: isopropyl palmitate (for thickening), glycerin (for conditioning), stearic acid (for thickening), glyceryl stearate (for lubricating the skin), and PEG-40 stearate (for cleansing).

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Also from Avon is the Wild Country After Shave Conditioner. It is identical to Black Suede minus the smell, which I surprisingly enjoyed a lot. Each of the conditioners was $4.

     First ingredients: isopropyl palmitate (for thickening), glycerin (for conditioning), stearic acid (for thickening), glyceryl stearate (for lubricating the skin), and PEG-40 stearate (for cleansing).

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Next from Avon was the Anew Men 2-in-1 After Shave Balm, which is over twice the price of the others at $10. Though it looks almost the same in the ingredients breakdown, this stuff blew me away with a cooling menthol-induced sensation. Just awesome after a shave, and oh-so invigorating.

     First ingredients: water, isopropyl palmitate (for thickening), glycerin (for conditioning), stearic acid (for thickening), and glyceryl stearate (for lubricating the skin).

© Gil Segev 2015

© Gil Segev 2015

     Finally I made my way around to the Skin Bracer Original After Shave, a $3 Wal-Mart bargain. You get what you pay for in this case, and its alcohol-based formula burned like there was no tomorrow even on uncut skin. The scent evaporated after a few moments, and my face felt dry and tight. Boo!

     First ingredients: water, alcohol denat (antifoaming agent), propylene glycol (for ingredient delivery), perfume, and menthol (for irritating skin).

     Verdict: I would recommend investing in the Anew Men 2-in-1 After Shave Balm, which has the best formula of the bunch. It is important to remember that oily-skin types will enjoy the drying effects of alcohol-based after shaves, but for anyone with dry to combo skin I would recommend a balm with an additional moisturizer. You never can get enough hydration! Make sure to check out Avon’s extensive after shave options at their website, linked below.


 

You can check out Avon Canada at their website or follow them on Twitter


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