Category Archives: Shaving

Zakia’s Morocco: Multi-tasking Argan Oil Wonders

Posted by:  Jordan

What is it about multi-tasking products that make me and Emily fall to our knees in praise?  It certainly isn’t because we want to streamline our products…what fun would our lives be without our beloved plethora of new products to discover and fall in love with?  Rather, it’s more like “well, if I were stranded on a deserted island, I could pretty much rely on just this one product to do everything.”  Or take traveling, for instance, when you’re limited to one little Ziploc baggie full of precious 3 oz liquids.  That’s when our multi-taskers really shine!  Emily and I agree that one our favorite multi-taskers recently has been an unassuming bottle of Argan Oil we received from Zakia’s Morocco.  I know we’ve been praising Argan Oil for a while now, but this is pure, simple Argan Oil–no fancy essential oils or other exotic ingredients added in.  And it’s simply wonderful!  I love to use it as my nightly makeup remover (massage a small amount over your face, giving your tense muscles a relaxing one-minute massage, and then tissue off), followed by a foaming cleanser.  It really gets my face extra clean without stripping it of moisture.  And because it’s my go-to multi-tasking product these days, I not only remove my makeup with it, but it obviously also makes for an unbeatable facial moisturizer after cleansing.  It’s absolutely perfect when traveling–two products in one 1.69 oz bottle (four really, if you also use it as a body moisturizer and a leave-in hair conditioner, which I do!)  If you’re a frequent traveler, I definitely recommend a bottle of this high-quality Argan Oil as your multi-tasker.

Speaking of 2-in-1 products, Zakia’s also makes an incredible Black Soap that doubles as the best natural shave gel I’ve found.  This soap, made from an olive oil and vitamin E base with Argan Oil, is just about the coolest texture I’ve ever seen in a soap.  It’s like a firm jelly which lathers up.  So much fun to dig your fingertips into!  The suggested method in using this soap is described on Zakia’s website:

First: Make sure your bath or shower is hot and as steamy as possible.  It is important for your skin to be already warm, moist and humid for best results.  Apply to your face and body in small circular movements.  Leave the soap for between five and ten minutes so that the Black Soap may assist in unclogging your skin’s pores and starting the cleansing process.  Rinse thoroughly.

Second: For extraordinary smoothing results follow the Black Soap wash with a thorough exfoliation using the Moroccan exfoliating glove or “Kessa” .  Rub energetically in a vertical motion (not circular) in order to remove all the dead cells.  You will see the dead skin peel away.  Rinse off and you will be amazed and delighted with the result. Smooth, silky and radiant.

Third: After drying, and for the perfect complement to the Black Soap treatment continue with a massage using Zakia’s pure Argan Oil or one of our special facial oils. Your skin will never be as silky and luminous.

I tried this out and, while I got a bit cold standing around in the shower for 5 minutes waiting for the soap to unclog my pores, it did make my skin extremely soft afterwards!  But I’ve found my favorite method is to wash my hair, giving my skin time to open its pores in the steam, then turn the water off and apply the jelly-like black soap with my hands.  While you’re waiting for the soap to detoxify and do all of its little tricks, use the lather on your legs to shave.  When you’re done shaving grab an exfoliating sponge (wet with warm water first) and massage your soapy body.  The results of all this work are worth it.  Not a daily ritual by any means, but as a once a week mini-spa experience, it’s fabulous!

Not only will your skin look and feel beautiful, but you can also feel good about using Zakia’s products, socially and environmentally; they make a true concerted effort to preserve the Argan Trees’ ancient natural forests while empowering local women by employing them at fair wages.  Zakia’s has several other products which I’m certain are just as lovely, but we haven’t yet tried–Jasmine Clay Mask, I’m looking at you!

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Filed under Cleansers, Cool Companies We Love, Moisturizers, Product Reviews, Shaving, Travel

Guest Post: Weleda Shaving Cream for Men

Posted by:  Matt (Jordan’s husband)

So, I haven’t done any of the research that my wife has into all-natural products. But I’d like to think that I have, in part, been a source of her enthusiasm for natural-ness. I’ve been eating all-natural (with certain exceptions like that incredibly delicious nacho cheese at baseball games) for over ten years now. My decision to eat naturally wasn’t based on any scientific finding or ethical principle. It was based entirely on urban legend and the hormonal logic of an 18-year-old boy.

I think the internet often gets a bad rap. I hear smart people talk all the time about how the internet isn’t a reliable source of information; how Wikipedia is written by a bunch of cranks in their pajamas. Well for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember a time before we had the internet, let me put on me get on my old curmudgeon high horse and tell you how things used to be. Before the internet, all we had for information was rumor. OK, maybe I’ve overstated my case, but I’ve based my gustatory principles on a rumor I probably heard at a taco bell over a chilito when someone told me that the Yellow 5 in Mountain Dew kills your sperm.  That’s it.  The whole reason that I’ve been eating all natural all these years. I thought it was absolutely crazy that Mountain Dew could serve up a sperm-killing soda and no one thought that there was anything wrong with that. Of course, from the perspective of an 18 year old boy, having your sperm killed off is about the best thing that could possibly happen. But who knows if all the other artificial flavors, colors and preservatives out there might actually do something really harmful to you – like give you zits.

I must admit that I’ve been slow to get on the all-natural personal care product bandwagon. And I think a lot of other guys would understand my lack of interest. As a guy, all I really want is to pick a product once in my life and then continue using the same product until the day I die. I don’t like “new and improved formulas”. I don’t like new packaging. I don’t like change.  However, I’m also opportunistic, and if my wife happens to have a new shower gel in the shower and I’m all out of my Lever 2000, I’ll go ahead and use whatever she’s got. That’s how I’ve come around on the Dr. Bronner’s–that stuff is great. And all that crazy philosophizing they’ve printed on the bottle makes for great reading while you’re in the shower.

But I’ve resisted nearly every other attempt Jordan’s made to convert me to all-natural products. I still use my ADA approved Crest toothpaste and my old trusty Speedstick. But a few months ago I thought, “maybe I should try to find an all-natural shaving cream to replace my Gillette shave gel.” My thinking was that the razor is probably cutting my skin at a microscopic level, and whatever is in my shave gel is probably going straight into my bloodstream.  So if it’s going to go straight into my blood, it should be all natural.

You obviously haven’t been reading this blog if you haven’t noticed my wife’s obsession with all things Weleda. So it’s only natural that Weleda would be the first shaving gel I’d try. My first impressions weren’t positive. When I squeezed the tube, out came a stream of beige cream. I tried to build a lather up with my fingertips, but the cream just disappeared into my skin like a moisturizer. I squeezed out a little more – thinking this would be a ridiculously expensive shaving cream if you have to use this much every time  – and tried using some water to build a lather. That didn’t help either. I was stuck. Maybe I need one of those fancy shaving brushes? I resigned myself to shaving without lather and tried rubbing what was left on my hands into my beard. I ended up with a pathetic little coat of shaving cream on my face and consequently ended up cutting myself a few times. Not a good first try.

Jordan persuaded me to persevere and to try it for a week. Eventually I had a break through. The key is to put the cream directly on your face without trying to build a lather on your fingers, and then rub it in vigorously, using the bristles of your beard to agitate the cream into a lather. Well… lather might be a generous word to describe what you end up with. It’s certainly not the blue-tinted clouds of cooling foam that you get with the synthetic Gillette foam, but it’s enough to get the job done without cutting yourself. And after a few weeks, the razor burn that I used to get with my old product started to disappear. Maybe the harsh chemicals were causing the burn? Who knows? But either way, I’m a convert. I’ve found the shaving cream I’ll use for the rest of my life.

Yeah right… you think my wife, the product junkie, will leave me in peace with my product? I’m sure I’ll be back here soon reviewing something new she’s foisted on me. I guess we all have our crosses to bear.

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Filed under Product Reviews, Shaving

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lemongrass Lime Shaving Gel

Posted by: Jordan
 
In trying to green up my husband’s currently chemical-laden products, I am searching for an all-natural shave gel that we can both enjoy.  I found this one at my local Whole Foods and decided to give it a try.  For $7.99 it wasn’t much more expensive than my old Trader Joe’s shaving cream that I had to give up because it didn’t meet my rigorous standards.  When I saw the Dr. Bronner’s shave gel–whose all-in-one organic castille soaps I know and love very much for their multitude of purposes–I got excited about the organic, safe, fair-trade ingredients and a unisex scent that we might both enjoy (also I was immediately sold on the Lemongrass–see, I told you I was currently a bit obsessed). 
My husband bravely tested the product first.  He popped open the lid, wrinkled his nose a bit at the watery brown colored “gel” that shoots out of the tube, and attempted to lather his beard (it doesn’t seem to create a very thick lather, certainly not as much as his paraben and PEG-happy Gillette).  Upon shaving, he kept dramatically wincing and claiming that it was very a uncomfortable experience.  Apparently it doesn’t allow the razor to glide very smoothly over his coarse stubble.  Ouch.
 
So then I tested it out while shaving my legs.  While I didn’t have as many complaints–it seemed to do the job well enough for me–it is a bit of a messy experience.  And seeing that I’m the one who cleans our bathroom, this weighs heavily in my review.  As soon as you flip open the lid, the product speedily pours out.  I think if it had more of a solid gel-like consistency it wouldn’t run out of the tube and through your fingers so quickly.  Using it in the shower probably also adds to the watery consistency since the temperature if very hot and humid.  As it is, I seem to get brown streaks all over our sink and shower walls every time we use it because it just launches everywhere when dispensing it, like a projectile-vomiting baby.  The actual shave itself was fine for me, but due to the thin consistency it doesn’t seem to stay in place on your leg very well.  By the end of one leg, the gel has nearly completely rinsed off.  Also, a quick comment on the scent…it’s not my favorite.  I can’t quite place the odor, but to me it has sort of an acidic muddiness to it.  If acidic muddiness is your thing maybe you’d enjoy it, but it wasn’t the fresh, clean scent I was imagining when I thought of lemongrass-lime.
 
It pains me to say anything negative about the loveable, yet crazy, Dr. Bronner.  However, I have to be honest for our readers and, in the end, I think the negatives of this gel outweigh the positives.  There are bound to be other natural shave gels/creams that both my husband and I can be more impressed with.  The search will continue upon completion of this tube.  If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

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Filed under Product Reviews, Shaving