Four different tubes for you to shave?  That is the challenge that faced me three weeks ago when I received Osmotics Male Daily Essentials Travel Set, a male version of their renowned four step daily treatment. For a regular Truth In Aging reader, using four creams a day is probably easy or even slackish. But for a middle-age man without much cosmetics experience, this was a bit daunting.  “Try only the one you want” suggested Marta, our editor. She knew that this would prick my pride and trigger a wish to surprise her and do better than expected. So I decided be quite disciplined and faced the four tubes with slightly different hues. The color differences are not very stark and I ended up having to check every day if the tube in my hand was the shaving cream or the moisturizer…. Four tubes, four usages:

1 – Face scrub; 2 – Shaving cream; 3 – Aftershave; 4 – Moisturizer

I wanted to answer two questions: is this four product bundle useful and are the individual creams any good? I propose to first address the bundling concept in the present post and then to review each product in their own dedicated posts (to be published over the coming weeks).

Being one of the darkest curmudgeons ever to write about cosmetics, the Osmotics approach of bundling first alerted my skepticism. Am being taken for a ride here? Why spend $55 if I only want to shave? This was heightened when I realized to my amazement that it is impossible to buy only the shaving cream on the Osmotics website: you have to buy the four or nothing!! By the way, you can buy any of the other three individually, but not the shaving cream… Clever, I thought, most men only want to shave and they’ll have to buy the lot; very dedicated men may be interested one of the high-end other three products: two marketing approaches for two targets with the same set of products.

My curiosity being piqued, I was wondering where to start (my house cleaner had long sent the fairly plain plastic container to recycling, so I had no instructions). I browsed the manufacturer’s website and found that Osmotics is one of these firms which positions itself in the scientific realm of cosmetics; it has clinical advisory boards and over-uses the marketing word “Cosmeceuticals” (meant to represent the marriage of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals). Personally, I find their slightly aggressive marketing a bit off-putting. The founder, Francine, has a blog where she manages the feat of amalgamating three languages in one three-word title: “Skin Au Naturale” (I guess English, French and Italian, no?). In her blurb, Francine mixes fairly simple ideas (“chemicals can be harmful”), patronizing advice (“restrain your impulse”) and salesmanship (“sweepstake for a $200 gift”).

After a bit more research, I started to calm down as I found that one can easily buy the shaving cream by going to a number of third party online retailers. Perhaps there is a bug on the Osmotics website and I am seeing Evil where there is none… No prizes for the website though, neither for content or functionality. But that is not what matters here.

Most importantly, Osmotics is a well-known innovator of anti-aging creams, claiming many firsts, including a number of now-fashionable innovations like trans-dermal patches and the use of copper peptides (more about this later).  It uses quality ingredients, manufactures in small quantities and tries to exclude harmful or useless fragrances, colors and dyes. For the record, the ladies at Truth In Aging are fans of the brand and have reviewed favorably many of their products Osmotics (such as the antiaging body lotion and Age Defense for broken veins).

I also discovered that the four-product approach is not a random marketing packaging trick but an extension of Osmotics’ well-established marketing / treatment approach:  one needs to buy four products in order to achieve skin’s health because one needs to “cleanse, correct, defend and protect”. I have found my instructions and now knew where to start!

Adapting this approach for men in 2004, Osmotics packages these four “essential” products together. Whatever comment you’ll find in the four posts dedicated to each of the creams, this bundling approach does work. To my surprise, my skin is looking good and healthy; there are few burn marks from shaving (I have used three different razors to test this over three weeks); there are no black spots and zits; I cannot say if I look younger, but probably not any older.

Bundling these products has obliged me to scrub-clean my face daily, to follow up shaving with a very active aftershave treatment, to moisture my face thoroughly and to protect it from too much sun. In other words, I did what one is meant do as a result of bundling: so it works almost by stealth!!

That leaves us with having to decide on what bundle to chose. This depends on three key elements:

•            What does one want to achieve?

•            What is one’s skin condition?

•            What the best products?

When you dress, you do buy everything from one maker (Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin are not good at skirts and coats, Yves Saint Laurent shoes are hit and miss and anything from Hermes without leather or silk is not really Hermes). When you practice a sport, the best sneakers for you may come from Asics or Mizuno but the best shorts will be Adidas, the best tennis racket Wilson or the best bat from Rawlings. Likewise, when you shop for food, I hope not everything all the time comes from McDonald’s or Burger King…

Cosmetics should be the same, we should build our bundles of the products that have proven most successful individually and then figure out whether they work well together.

I have a feeling I will end up creating my own bundle, but in the meantime check back in few days to see how I got on with the first product.