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Male Order: Dermalogica Pre-Shave Guard

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Face Care for Men
Reviewed by Marta March 3, 2009 5 Comments
My husband, Pascal, learned a new word recently. Or perhaps I should say the word took on a whole new meaning. The word was emulsify and its meaning has become associated with "mess", "one step too many", "too much like hard work" and "only just worth it". This is all due to Dermalogica's Pre-Shave Guard, a pre-shaving cream that is supposed to soften stubble and prevent razor burn.

Razor burn is the bane of Pascal's life. His neck, in particular, is prone to erupt in an angry, red rash after every weild of the blade. And this despite a brush made from hapless badgers and some fancy "gentlman's" soap from England. He is so cursed that he was pretty much up to try anything legal and he went for Dermalogica Pre-Shave Guard with earnest enthusiasm.

Several months later, the packaging and the pot say it all. Both are covered with white sploges and gloop. Open the pot and inside it is to be found one of the sorriest specimens known to male grooming: a splintered and broken white plastic spatula (snapped so many times that only aboit half an inch of it remains). You see Dermalogica, in its infinite wisdom, decided to make a product for the male of the species (not the most patient, nor even the most practical) that requires preparation. Baaad idea.

This is how it works. The pre-shaven man is required to take said plastic spatula and scoop from the pot a quantity of the thick pre-shave cream. Now when I say thick, you may have to recalibrate your first assumptions. Thick and creamy is is not. Think thick and rock hard. The spatula was, of course, no match. I'm not really sure what would be. Equally mysterious is how something so impervious can get everywhere. There are smudges of it on my keyboard as I type this.

Once homo-hirsute has managed to obtain a glob of Dermalogica Pre-Shave Guard, he has to get past the smell. We are talking Vick's Vapor Rub. We are talking a vast vat of Vick's Vapor rub that brings a tear to the eye. And then our man must master the art of emulsification. The cream is transferred from the broken spatula to the palm of the hand, which is then rubbed against the other palm in order to emulsify the product. I think that, in this case, emulsify really means "desparately try to create a consistency that is, in some way, usable". Easier written on the side of the pot than done. Chunks of the stuff end up on the bathroom floor and our man is left with a greasy smear that he tries to eke across his stubble.

The great irony of this yarn is that Pre-Shave Guard does actually reduce razor burn quite considerably. But at the cost of never wanting to hear the word emulsify ever again.

Water (Aqua), Stearic Acid, Myristic Acid, Glycerin, Camphor, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methol, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl PCA, Eugenol.
  • March 6, 2009

    by pvolle

    Well, then… this is the husband with his 2 cents!!

    Marta’s description is ’spot’ on as always. One must add that, once the face is unevenly smidgened, flaked, speckled, peppered or spoiled with the granular matter (you cannot say slathered, it would be a lie), it is very difficult to get normal shaving soap to foam on top of it. My only hope is that, now that Marta wrote her story, I am allowed to give the stuff up. BUT…

    But, this pre-shave business may actually hold some promise. Could you guys (and gals) suggest something that works?

  • March 5, 2009

    by Julie Kay

    /laughs* I was actually suggesting the metal scoop for Marta's husband, whose plastic one has been used to bits, but that is a dramatic image!

  • March 4, 2009

    by Niall

    Yeah, and then I'd drop the scoop in the shower and step on it and fall down and become a quadriplegic, and wind up being shaven by a very expensive attendant in a 24 hour care facility.

    I'd rather skip that part.

  • March 4, 2009

    by Julie Kay

    Lotioncrafters sells those little scoopers in metal... just sayin' =]

  • March 3, 2009

    by Niall

    In general I think Dermalogica's new shaving products are really good. Except this one. When it first was introduced, it was packaged in a tube. Which just led to a holy mess, since it wouldn't cohere in that form, and I wound up shaking, shaking, shaking that damn tube in the vain hope I would get something other than runny glop out of it. Dermalogica quickly repackaged it in the tub, and it's an improvement. Yet I still find it very awkward and difficult to use. I'm in the shower (that's where I shave). I have water in my eyes. I have to screw off the top of the tub, be sure water from the shower doesn't spatter the product while the top is off, apply the product, screw the top back on, etc.

    It's big pain in the five o'clock shadow. So I just decided to skip that step altogether. Now I just use the scrub and the shaving cream. Know what? No difference at all in the outcome. And I have very sensitive skin, very prone to redness. This product is both poorly designed and in no way essential to getting a good shave.

    I'm just sayin'.

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