Man, I can’t wait until I have a job again, so I can shop for gear and kit again. I was asked to review some things from MenEssentials a few of weeks back. I’m a shave geek, so I jumped at the opportunity. They sent me some stuff to try out in exchange for a review of their products, and I am happy to report my results.
A little about Men Essentials first, though. They are a supplier of high-quality products for skin, face, and body-care products, fragrances, and accessories geared toward the discerning gentleman. They carry wide selection of some of the best-known brands in the market, as well as some interesting-looking up-and-comers.
In the interest of full disclosure, I used everything for a couple of weeks before I sat down to write the review. I wanted to be able to present the good as well as the bad, and I finally had to admit that I didn’t find anything that I was disappointed with. Even the shave cream lather was fantastic, which is hard for me to since I have some of the hardest water in the country.
First up: Bloc Osma Alum Block Truth be told, there’s not much to be said for an alum block, particularly if you’ve used one before. I’ve been using one for a couple of years, so the experience wasn’t new to me. Alum is a nice astringent after-shave treatment for your skin, and it has the added benefit of helping stanch any nicks that you may have. One thing that stands out about this block, though, is that it’s so darn cute! This block is about the size of my two thumbs side by side, and one thumb-width deep. Actual measurements are about 1.5′ W x 2.25″ T x 1″ D
One thing that I noticed when using this was that I didn’t sting and burn after the shave. I’m attributing much of this to the fantastic lather that the shaving cream generated, given my hard water.
Next up: LEA Classic Shaving Cream in the metallic tub. When I got it, I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I hadn’t ever used this brand of shave cream before. Also, I am not, historically, a fan of sandalwood, since it is so often very perfum-y in my experience.
However, since it is made with lanolin and glycerin, I had high hopes that it would be slick and smooth, as well as skin conditioning. I was most definitely not disappointed. I shave with some of the sharpest blades on the market (Feather) and use a moderately aggressive razor setting, so I’m used to a little sting and burn after a shave (I should really change that). Add to this a bit of a menthol zing and this was probably the best shave cream I’ve used. The only negative thing that I can say about it (and I’m reaching here) is that the scent was pleasant but not memorable. Everything else about it was a home-run.
The Elvado Wild Mint Lime Classic Aftershave Balm only shows on the MenEssentials website under their “Lifestyle & Accessories/Organic And Vegan ” category, so you need to look for it. They also carry the Fragrance Free and West Indies Bay Rum
Some aftershave balms are greasy, some are heavy, some are both. This was neither, and it was intensely soothing even without the slight menthol burst. Aloe, witch hazel, tea tree and shea butter, along with some other really great herbal additives, make this balm second to none. One pump gave me just enough product for one half of my face, and it absorbed well and quickly, leaving no sticky or greasy residue. Just fantastically soft, smooth, and comfortable skin.
I will certainly look for more of this once I run out, though I might go for the Bay Rum scent. Yes, I’m a sucker for Bay Rum.
My last several shaves with these products have been the best of my life. Like I said, I’m used to a little roughness afterwards, based on my shaving style, but these left me with no discomfort at all, not even a bit of alum sting. I would like to thank Alex and Nathan from MenEssentials for inviting me to review their products. I know where I’ll be shopping the next time I start to run low on something. Or, to be honest, when I get brave enough to try a straight razor.
One last note: MenEssentials also has a blog, their “Shave Cave” with lots of advice for the well-appointed male, regardless of how he wears (or doesn’t) facial hair.