A recent thread mentioned how the following ingredients might be beneficial for shaving.
• Camphor: a natural antiseptic that helps firm skin to lift the beard.
• Clove Flower Oil: helps open the pores while softening the beard to prevent scraping and tugging of the hair.
• Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate: add additional lubricity and hydration during shaving.
• Wheat Germ Extract and Yeast Extract: combat irritation and redness while reinforcing the barrier lipid layer."
Rather that argue the merits of these ingredients, I decided to try it for myself. I only found one or two products that had these ingredients.
dermalogica has two pre-shave products. A deodorant stick style "guard" that's known for gunking up blades, and a pre-shave oil. The pre-shave oil has some, but not all of these ingredients. The pre-shave guard contains all four ingredients, so I chose that. The first four ingredients (Water, Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Glycerin) are what you might except to find in a shaving cream. It makes me wonder whether you can use this straight, or whether you need a lather on top.
1. pre-shave guard
Water (Aqua), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Camphor, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methol, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl PCA, Eugenol.
2. close shave oil (has some, but not all ingredients)
Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone, Dimethiconol, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citris Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Ocimum Basililicum (Basil) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Flower Oil, Pinus Palustris (Pine) Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Oil, Eugenia Carypophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Melaleuca Leucadendron Cajaput Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Camphor, Limonene, Linalool.
I did a 2.5 minute hot towel prep, rubbed the pre-shave stick on my face, rubbed it in with a little water, and made a quick lather in a bowl--I usually face lather, but didn't want to gunk up my brush.
I did an aggressive two-pass shave, hitting my most difficult spots ATG. My difficult area is back to front on the sides of my adam's apple. I have to be careful in this area to get anything approaching BBS, relathering the area several times. It's typical for me to lather my cheeks and chin only once, and only relather my neck and maybe the moustache. I often get a little burn from an alcoholic aftershave when I go ATG around my adam's apple.
The shave was definitely more comfortable that it usually is, given the aggressive way I shaved. The alcohol burned normally, not excessively, and it should have been worse given how quickly and carelessly I shaved, and how quickly I made a shaving lather. Let's face it, this product isn't for very careful shavers, it's for folks that have trouble, so I tried to give myself a little. There's little doubt in my mind that this shave should have burned more. I wonder how much of this is from the anesthetic properties of camphor & clove oil. "Look Mom, it doesn't hurt" when shaving under anesthetic.
As for the gunk, it wasnt bad using my Merkur slant. It did stick a bit on my sink, but it rinsed off easily enough without any scrubbing. I could see a tighter razor getting gunked up, especially a multi-blade thing.
I don't want to put too much emphasis on a single shave, but this product seems to have a benefit. I've never seriously tried a pre-shave oil, so I can't do that comparison here and now. Those that do use pre-shave products might enjoy this poduct, if you can get past shaving to the scent of Vick's vapor rub.