Here is a strange experience for a tester who is usually very quick to form an impression about a new product and further testing generally confirms the original reaction. My assessment of Dr Bronner’s Magic Organic Spearmint Peppermint Shaving Gel ($7.99) was contradictory and ever changing from love to hate and hate to love… for nearly six months of daily usage until, finally, a very positive final judgment. Indeed, I heartily recommend Dr Bronner’s Magic Shaving Gel, if not quite unreservedly.

First the brand is well known and inspires both confidence and reservation. Confidence because of its long history (1858!) and green, organic, fair trade and animal friendly manufacturing. Reservations because there is definitely something quirky about the Bronner family and its ”philosophy”.  For a quick laugh, here are three oddities I want to share:

•  Dr Bronner offers an “Organic Baby Unscented Shaving Gel”… a shaving gel for babies!?

• “Dr Bronner’s urgent message to realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides”, eh?

• Look at Dr Bronner's picture (above)!! Many of you will remember Dr Strangelove in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie!

Second, the ingredients (see bellow) are truly reassuring. The possible big letdown of all this organic goodness is that the texture of Dr Bronner’s Magic Shaving Gel is totally unpredictable when coming out of the tube. Its color is a rather unsavory gray-yellow-brown. The first time you try it, it is hard not to be a bit put off. It has a strong scent from the natural ingredients. Even though it doesn't have any perfumes or even essential oils, it is very distinctive, but not unpleasant. You don’t suffer the normal pitfalls of mainstream cosmetics: a “girly” flowery smells which shames me or a fake “manly” mint or tobacco smell which seems ever so cheap.

Its texture is ever changing, sometimes a rather dry lump of wax and sometimes a runny liquid that runs between your fingers and makes a mess in the sink. I have not been able to figure out when I would get one or the other, so I resorted to “massaging” the tube prior to extraction in order to pre-mix the gel, but this was not always effective. Don’t worry; the texture does not seem to impact the result (see below). This two paragraphs above justify the “HATE” word in the title of this review!

The word “LOVE” in the title comes from actual shaving. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Shaving Gel delivers excellent results consistently.  The gel acts in a unique way. It does not exactly foam, but emulsifies a little bit and remains light when massaging on the hair. As such, it covers the skin very well without much depth and makes the razor very easy to rinse. I could sometimes complete shaving without even one rinse (it takes eight or nine rinses with a typical thick gel): fast and efficient.  The blade glides smoothly and, critically, delivers a very close shave. A once-a-day shave is definitely achievable and remains satisfactory, even for my wife! Lastly, the shaving gel leaves my face feeling soft and less irritated than when shaving with regular gels or creams. It does not moisturize on its own but does not dry out the skin either.

Lastly, the “value for money” of Dr Bronner’s Magic Shaving Gel is simply outstanding: you’ll pay online between $5 and $8 for a large tube. A little goes a very, very long way: indeed, this so-called “potassium soap” requires less water to liquefy, and can thus contain more cleaning agent than many liquefied sodium soaps. I achieved six months of daily shaving!! That is so much better that you’ll achieve with the cheap and nasty mass-market brands from our local big box store (such as EDGE, about which I'll be posting a review soon).

Hard to pass. This is one of my top five shaving products ever.

Ingredients

Organic Sucrose, Organic White Grape Juice, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide (which encourages the saponification of fats, see below), Organic Olive Oil, Organic Shikakai Powder (which comes from the seed pods of the South Asian Acacia tree), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Corn Starch, Organic Peppermint Oil, Organic Spearmint Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol (some form of Vitamin E generally extracted from soybean oil).