Let me first admit that I had no idea what I was testing when I received Menscience’s Post Shave Repair. In my simpleton’s mind, I thought “post shave” was “aftershave”. No? Well… not quite.

I tend to break down the universe of aftershaves between alcohol-based lotions (or perfumed) on the one hand and moisturizers on the other hand. I personally do not like most of the first category; they are easy to apply but they leave the face taught and dry, they accentuate redness rather than soothe the skin. Worst of all, the scent is always strong which I find socially embarrassing for an unreconstructed men like me -- although, in private, I am known to enjoy old-fashioned colognes!

Menscience’s Post Shave Repair is a transparent liquid that you spray first and then tap on your face (no rubbing!) and so I expected something of the lotion aftershaves but the product is 100% alcohol free! This comes as a surprise as the effect is pleasant and the skin is notably more comfortable. Another plus is that it has no noticeable smell, as a consumer mentioned: “it smells normal” (sic).

The second category of aftershaves, the moisturizers, consists of either inefficient, light and lovely creams or very effective heavy duty, thick stuff that needs to be worked into the skin. Assuming you get the latter, the upside is that the skin recovers well from the daily “trauma of shaving”. But Menscience’s Post Shave Repair does not have much moisturizing impact and the spray evaporates immediately. This means that I tended to re-apply it an hour after the first application as if my face was “hungry” for more.

After a few weeks of testing, I decided to go the website to address my confusion. It turns out that Post Shave is intended as a soothing and anti-razor-burn spray rather than a complete aftershave solution. The company mentions in the small print that it may be appropriate to use a moisturizer in addition to the post-shave. Now you tell me!!

The ingredients list has many that are natural, mostly well-known plant extracts, but I am a bit uncomfortable with the website’s presentation of rosemary as the leading ingredient whereby it appears last in the actual list of ingredients… no big deal. The spray also contains a 1% concentration of salicic acid (BHA). As we explain elsewhere, salicylic acid is a powerful and very common ingredient used often in the treatment of acne and other ailments like psoriasis. The Cosmetics Database highlights that it dries the skin badly and notes “concerns regarding cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, enhanced skin absorption, neurotoxicity, organ system toxicity, and irritation” but with the 1% concentration in the MenScience spray, it should not be too much of an issue. Interestingly, the same article also suggests that “People using formulas containing this ingredient should use an oil-free moisturizer in conjunction with the cleanser or acne treatment to combat these side effects”, so, here we are, the same advice that the company gives on its website!

The spray is also laden with a variety of parabens. As Marta discusses in multiple articles, she is not a complete paraben phobe. She goes along with the EU decision in that there isn’t enough evidence against parabens to panic about them. And an important consequence of paraben paranoia has been that cosmetics look for alternatives that seem to be even worse, such as phenoxyethanol. Still, she’d rather not have too many parabens in her life: we know that they can be irritants and environmental pollutants.

The spray is truly light on the skin and does not leave any residue on the face. Being like a liquid, a little goes an extremely long way. I was still using the products months after the first try. This is good news because, at $28 for 4 ounces, the spray does not come cheap. One of the main claims of the product is to treat in-grown hairs. I am not suffering from this problem too, too much as I have long understood that the main cure for in-grown hairs is good hygiene of the skin; cleanse thoroughly and often. In the small areas where in-grown hair would sometimes show up, I did not notice any improvement from Menscience’s spray. However, I sometimes nick myself when shaving and the Post Shave was truly a soothing and pleasant cure.

In short, this is a great product for the face immediately after shaving and may be a legitimate part of long-term personal care. I want to acknowledge here that I enjoyed it so much that I used it to the last drop and I am tempted to get more. But it does not replace a proper moisturizer and, as such, it is not clear that it is an absolute necessity for most of us.

Ingredients:

Acqua purificata (purified water), Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) gel, PEG40 Hydrogenated castor oil, Polisorbate 20, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Phenoxyethanol (and) Isobutylparaben (and) Butylparaben, Matricaria recutita (azulene) extract, Cinnamomum camphora (camphor) extract, Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) extract, Salicylic Acid, Rosamarinus officinale (rosemary).