For Halloween this year, I know a guy who could go in costume as the perfect Werewolf, Teen Wolf, Wolverine, or really any hirsute character, simply by not shaving for a week.  Hair sprouts up on this person's face freakishly fast in more directions than any razor has blades.  Knowing that this male specimen was the proud owner of a brand-new electric shaver and that it takes a full month for skin to adjust, I decided to make him the test subject of Sothys Homme Hydrating Active Care, which is specifically formulated for the sensitive skin of a newly shorn man.

As a man takes a blade to his face to remove his stubble, he in turn strips off the topmost layer of skin, where natural oils reside, and exposes the skin underneath to the elements.  To prevent dryness and itching, it is important to replenish these forlorn essential oils to facial skin.  Even though common sense would dictate that a man should always moisturize after shaving, I don't know too many straight males who do it regularly, unless it is at the prodding of their wise wives.  Whether it is because they dislike the feel or the smell or because they don't want to add another step in their macho shave-and-go regime, men are generally resistant to moisturizers.

That might be because they haven't met Sothys Homme Hydrating Active Care.  My test subject raved over the texture of the serum, which is neither creamy nor oily.  After spreading the light, fluid gel all over his well-cleansed face and neck until it was fully absorbed, he was delighted with the soft, refreshing feel and subtle masculine scent. The formula both hydrates and soothes the skin, restoring its hydrolipidic layer, conserving its suppleness, and repairing the damage inflicted by daily shaving.

A few dabs are enough to do the trick since the concentrated gel goes a long way, which is a good thing when you're 1 oz. big. Though I had made a happy customer out of Mr. Electric Shaver, I still needed to make sure that Sothys Homme's moisturizer is worthy of its $46 price tag, which is higher than some guys will pay for a pair of pants.  What I discovered is that its ingredients encompass a dual blend of good and evil:

The formula's emollient quality can be attributed to caprylic/capric triglyceride (CCT), a non-greasy dispersing agent drawn from fractionated coconut oil, and to isopropyl palmitate, a derivative from the palmitic acid in coconut oil.  Frequently used in moisturizers because it forms a thin layer and easily penetrates the skin, isopropyl palmitate is believed to enhance silkiness in hair and skin.  Another natural emollient in the moisturizer is squalane, a highly refined oil derived from olives, which is very compatible with the natural oils of the skin and imparts a suppleness without an unpleasant greasy feel.

One of the most effective ingredients at penetrating and transporting moisture to the skin, sodium hyaluronate is able to reach deep down into the dermis by virtue of its small molecular size.  Not only does it promote blood circulation and nutrient absorption, but it also increases the skin's volume and density, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

There is also a healthy helping of botanical ingredients.  Chondrus crispus, also known as Irish moss, is a species of red algae that is commonly used in cosmetics as an emulsifying and thickening agent.  Soybean oil, high in Oleic acids and Vitamins A, D, and E, is deeply nourishing and conditioning for skin. Lastly, wheat germ oil, which is very rich in vitamin E, moisturizes and promotes the renewal of new skin cells.

Moving on to the unworthy segment...This tiny vial contains enough preservatives to still be around when your grandchild's grandchildren start reaching into the medicine cabinet.  Chlorphenesin, which has antibacterial properties, is used as a stabilizer and preservative in cosmetics and may one day replace parabens.  Unfortunately, its long-term safety is dubious, having been implicated in cases of facial dermatitis and being known to depress the nervous system when taken orally.  Triethanolamine (TEA), which is used to adjust the pH, may cause allergic reactions and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.  A common preservative called sodium hydroxide, has a pH so high that it can be corrosive to skin, though it is probably not at a high enough concentration to be an irritant here. Finally, there's the potentially toxic but ubiquitous phenoxyethanol, the synthetic anti-bacterial triclosan, and not one, but FOUR, notorious parabens to round out its superfluity of preservatives.

Verdict: If you choose to ignore the preservative hype, this moisturizer will make a man's face feel baby-soft and soothe dehydrated skin post-shave.

Aqua (Water), Isopropyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, Squalane, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Betyl Alcohol, PEG-8, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Lecithin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Chlorphenesin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil Unsaponifiables, Parfum (Fragrance), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil Unsaponifiables, Butylene Glycol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Butylparaben, Triclosan, Sodium Hydroxide, Malt Extract, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Pollen Extract, Alcohol Denat., Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben