Outstanding products, and within arms grasp (Part 1)
A quick overview of some inexpensive and outstanding products you can pick up at your local drugstore!
The newest "gotta have" rare-handmade products from the tiniest factories all over Europe are great and all, but often they're over-hyped and over-priced. Many fellas forget how many outstanding products we have available at our local drugstore. From aftershave splashes, to balms and moisturizers, we actually have a good array of quality products within arms grasp - and at a fraction of the price of the foreign stuff. Part one (this article) will touch n the very common product you can find at local Walgreens, Wal Marts, Rite Aids, etc. Part 2 will uncover some of the outstanding products available at health food markets that aren't widely known, or discussed but can be found locally by digging around some local beauty supply stores, or salons.
Aftershave splashes, balms, and moisturizers......
Aqua Velva Classic Ice Blue
This is a really lovely aftershave splash. Smells quite lovely, comes in a nice glass bottle, provides a bit of a moisturizing, fights razor burn and irritation like a raging bull, has a great cooling/menthol effect - and is dirt cheap. What more can you really ask from an aftershave? Aqua Velva reminds me of Floid Blue (the Itallian stuff) yet is a mere fraction of the cost. In fact, the only real mentionable differences between the two products is that Floid smells different, comes in a different bottle and has a different name. Being that Aqua Velva is every bit as good as Floid, that puts it in the top running for the finest aftershave splash. Cost aside, Aqua Velva is outstanding stuff and shouldn't be looked at as merely a "bargain buy" but seen as an exceptionally high quality product that has seen so much success, it is available at a tremendously low price due to its mass production. All American wetshavers should have a bottle or two of Aqua Velva residing in their toiletry locker.
Ok - so it's Aqua Velva again.... so what? While this doesn't have the menthol punch as delivered by the classic blue, it does have a killer scent (my favorite of the bunch) and provides an outstanding option for those not "ga-ga" over the classic scent.
Akkk - Aqua Velva again? Ok - broken record time... but hey, at least only one more product from them will show up after this So what's this one all about? Well - a different scent, with the same cooling menthol as the classic, and a few vitamins added to help heal/calm your face. This has a "sportier" younger scent, which I am personally not as fond of, but it's still quite nice. Those who prefer oceanic/marine scents will quite enjoy this one. I'm guilty of liking quality packaging, and unfortunately, this version comes in a cheap feeling plastic bottle. Cest la vie... it's cheap
Cheapie bottle like Aqua Velva Sport, but hey.... at least it's not Aqua Velva again! So this is a totally different beast, in that it has a SERIOUS punch of menthol. In fact, I think the only more mentholated product that can be used as an aftershave splash I have experienced is Osage rub. Suffice to say - this makes your face feel like someone blasted you with nitrogen... for you fellas in the Polar Bear Club - this is your cheap ticket to Antarctica. The smell is quite nice, and certainly a classic with a crisp woodsy scent. This, like the Aqua Velva splashes is an outstanding "daily" splash. For the price of a bottle of floid, pitralon, musgo real, etc - you can get all of the splashes above, and still have some money left over... oh, and you can merely drive to the store an pick 'em up, instead of having to scour the net, then wait a week or two for it to be shipped to you.
"Who told you to put the balm on?
Anytime I hear the world "balm" I always think of Kramer (of Seinfeld's) attorney Jackie, all sorts of ticked off spouting off "Who told you to put the balm on?" What's the point? Well... a good balm heals, and makes a big difference. Like Kramer's burn that was quelled - a good balm makes a big difference.
Wait... it's not Nivea balm? Sorry.... i've got 2 words for Nivea aftershave balms "You Suck!" They have their fair share of fans, but they smell like chemicals, don't work so great, and leave quite a bit to be desired. Are they better than the gillete fusion balm garbage? Sure, but so is a splash of water. Alright - back on track - this Brut aftershave balm is REALLY outstanding.... provided you like the smell of brut, as it has a strong scent that doesn't seem to fade....ever. Other than the potent scent, this balom is perfect. Loaded with butters (Shea and Aloe butters) beneficial vitamins, oils, etc - this is a tube of delight for wetshavers. Killer moisturizing properties, sinks in the skin quickly, fights irritation, works great, and is quite inexpensive. Pending you're a fan of the scent, you'll be a big fan. If you have skin as dry as dust, you'll be hard pressed to find a more moisturizing aftershave balm.
I warned you it was coming back, didn't I? This has a scent similar to the classic balm with more of an oceanic influence, yet unlike brut, the scent seems to fade quite quickly. This balm also has a light cooling effect which is quite nice, and does a superior job (to the brut) fighting irritation/razor burn. In fact, this is among the top 4-5 razor burn fighting aftershave balms out there in my opinion. The biggest difference between this and the brut (other than the fading scent) is this is far less moisturizing than Brut. Don't get me wrong, it does a great job moisturizing, and is suitable for fellas with oily skin, but the brut is on another level - and if you face is exceptionally dry, it won't cut the mustard like Brut. If you have normal to oily skin, this is a tough balm to beat.
Ok, so there is one Nivea product mentioned. So as you can tell, I'm not a fan of Nivea.... but this product is too good to not mention. What is it? Well... they call it a "hydrogel" but they don't really tell you what to do with it, when or what it's really designed for. Basically they say it's for when you're face needs to be "refreshed" - which to me, means their marketing team bickered over what to release the product as - and they said screw it, lets send it out there in a confusing manner, and make this fine products destiny sure to fail So what is it? Well... it's kind of a gel like skinfood, but doesn't leave any residue and doesn't "seal" the skin. I think the best way to describe this is a cheap smelling aftershave, moisturizer, mid-day pick me up - skin conditioner, swiss army knife of mens grooming. It works good as an aftershave, provides enough moisture to be used as an aftershave (sinks in quick and clean) or as an all over the face moisturizer. It's efficacy is really quite impressive, and the pump bottle is incredibly handy, but the scent (at least for me) is really underwhelming. I have a feeling this product won't be around long (due to the bonkers marketing, or lack there of) so pick up a bottle whilst you still can.
Stay tuned for Part II next week, which will cover some of the more advanced, and "wonky" products worth hunting down at local health-food stores.