Eco Armour ($24, now in the TIA shop) is the name of three differently scented shaving foams that are aimed at both men and women. The product is relatively new and was created by wife and husband Zoe and Robert Benzinger (he seems to be the initiator but she is the licensed skin care person of the two…). I say “relatively new” because we received these products for free for the purpose of a review nearly seven months ago and I have been remiss in writing this any earlier. They are two reasons: (1) it has been a very exciting but very absorbing work period for me and (2) I liked using the product so much that I knew I would come round to reviewing it at some point.

The upside for Truth In Aging readers is that what you read results from a truly in depth test!!

Let me immediately kill the suspense: the feel of shaving with Eco Armour is far better and totally different that anything I have ever experienced over the last 35 years of daily shaving. Nothing short of a revelation. Pressing the top of the tube, almost without any shaking, extracts the lightest foam ever without any aerosol. Imagine you are eating at one of these high end Northern Spanish restaurants (like the now closed El Bulli) where every fruit or vegetable is reconstituted ethereal foam. This connection comes mostly from the texture but also from the rather strong scents (Eucamint or Pomango). Personally, I would have happily tested an unscented version if there was one, but the texture is such that I get the same sense of wonder every time. This weightless foam spreads very easily on the face. Magical.

I have found better results in working it into the stubble to soften the beard. In doing so, the air bubbles in the foam tend to crash and your face does not look covered with anything. But the product is obviously still there and working. Intriguingly, the directions for use suggest to a one minute break and a second spreading of the foam.

Some of my friends suggested that waiting for one minute was an unbearable burden that would delay their morning routines and a sacrifice that would make them too “metro sexual” for their own self-respect. This is baloney of course, as I quickly realized how many things are being done in the morning. Putting the first layer, walking to the cupboard to chose and pick up the suit and shirt for the day, then coming back to the sink to start again was wasting zero time at all…After a while, I found that I only did the double spreading when I wanted a particularly close shave anyway.

Eco Armour is very keen on being a 100% plant based shaving cream. I feel a slight unease in my ability to assess Eco Armour ingredients. The name of the plant from which each ingredient has been extracted is detailed but rarely the active ingredients themselves. To take one example that I believe to be safe, the first listed ingredient is Hamamelis Virginiana. This is nothing else than the latin name of the witch zazel plant. Hazel or spotted elder is a plant that can be used as divining rods (!) and its extract is indeed common as an astringent for hemorrhoids, nose bleeds or even an homeopathic treatment of depression (without FDA’s backing)… Witch hazel is common in cosmetics because the active components include tannins, flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol) and saponins.

This makes investigation a bit of a guess work. Let me reiterate that I do not suspect anything untoward from Eco Armour. Indeed, my research did not identify any red flags; I am simply suggesting a different communication approach. Instead of telling consumers that something is natural, wouldn’t it be more candid to state what the active chemicals are?

I, for one, never assume that natural products are good merely because they are natural. For obvious reasons, I will not eat a large salad of raw rhubarb leaves and I won’t share a glass of hemlock with Socrates or any of you. In the same way, bacteria are all natural, including the good ones (lactobacillus or bifidobacterium which all French women eat at nauseam) and the others (E Coli, salmonella or staphylococcus aureus). Nough said.

Shaving with Eco Armour is truly a luxurious feeling and totally comfortable. It will indeed change your shaving experience forever and for the better. The blade glides over the skin gently and smoothly.

The first upside from Eco Armour I noticed was the marked reduction of razor burns. There is a place on the lower right of my neck that seems to have been red from shaving for as long as I can remember, whatever the product of the razor.  This has almost entirely gone with Eco Armour. I wonder if the reason is that Eco Armour seems to act as a soothing face wash as well as a shaving cream and thus fulfills the face cleansing step by its mere application. This, if true, would save the time my friends thought they would lose with the one minute break.

One question, I am still struggling with is whether the shave is particularly close or not. Undoubtedly, a quick passage in the direction of the hair would require a brand new blade to be very close. Eco Armour suggests a weird approach to blade management: after shaving, drop some foam on your razor, do not rinse but pat the razor dry. It claims that it is “patent proven to dramatically extend the life of the blade”. That would be a great saving if this was true, but despite numerous attempts, I am yet to notice a significant impact (after 7 months).

So, my answer to achieving a close shave is simply to shave against the hair direction and/or to shave twice without adding foam. Now, either of these things are forbidden by the immutable rules of shaving as they guarantee a red face and infections. With Eco Armour though, this is a non-event and the skin does not react at all. Most amazingly, the skin is so smooth and relaxed, that I have considerably reduced my use of moisturizer or – God forbid for a bloke! – after shave perfume. Another block of time and sum of money saved!

In conclusion, Eco Armour delivers on multiple grounds: shaving becomes for the first time a pleasurable feeling for both sexes; the skin is protected, smooth and cleaned; the product seems to last forever despite its very low price: I still have not emptied my two sample bottles after seven months of usage.

Even if improvements are definitely possible, this is already and definitely one of the very best shaving products ever. Congratulations.

Ingredients: Witch hazel, water, potassium cocoate, potassium oleate, laurel betaine, coconut oil, vegetable glycerin, benzyl alcohol, potassium palm kernelate, palm kernel acid, palm kernel oil, decyl glucoside, potassium citrate, citric acid, aloe vera powder, essential oils of tea-tree, lavender, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint