Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Product Review: Godrej Cool Menthol Shave Cream

A household name in India, Godrej has been manufacturing shave cream since 1969. Although highly sought after by wet shavers throughout the world, this shave cream is extremely difficult to find (let alone purchase) outside of the Indian subcontinent. There 3 main varieties: Menthol (blue), Lime (green), and Sensitive (red). I'll be reviewing Godrej Cool Menthol (commonly known as Godrej Blue). 

This cream is regarded as one of the more upmarket shave creams in India. The cream comes in a 60g plastic tube with a screw type cap. The one I was testing had 30% extra free, so the overall tube had 78 grams of cream. the quality of the tube is quite good compared to other Indian / Pakistani shave creams. The first thing that struck me was the scent. Very clean, slightly woody, and with a hint of menthol. 

I squeezed out a large pea size blob of cream into an 11cm double wall shave bowl and set to work with my badger brush. Lathering is super fast and and very easy. This has to be about the easiest lathering cream I have come across.  Just add in a few drops of water to get the shine and work it up till you see those fluffy peaks. I must admit at this stage that I was slightly disappointed with lack of menthol scent coming off the cream. I was expecting the menthol effect on the skin to be rather mild. I could not have been more wrong.

Being a fan of menthol shave creams (especially Proraso green), I had heard good things about the cooling menthol 'zing' from Godrej blue. The menthol scent might be mild but cooling effect is excellent. As soon as I applied the lather to my face I felt the coolness - not too icy but just right to cool you down on a hot summer morning. 

The lather provides excellent cushion, and the slide is very good. Only slight drawback is that the cream does leave some residue on the face. I found the Godrej lather lasted long enough for 2 passes without drying out. The skincare properties are very good. Godrej combines lanolin with glycerin and these ingredients soften and moisturise the skin. My skin felt really soft and refreshed after the shave. I normally rinse off with cold water and this, combined with the menthol shave cream, gives a chilly wake up call in the morning. 

Overall, this is an excellent shave cream that has earned quite a reputation. The price point is slightly higher compared to other Indian / Pakistani shave creams, but keep in mind this product is rarely found outside of the Asian subcontinent. River Valley Trading have stock of Godrej Cool Menthol, and Godrej Sensitive (love the scent!) . You can also buy both as a Bundle Pack for better value. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Sunday, 14 September 2014

How it's Made: Double Edge Safety Razor Blades

This is  a nice video showing how Double Edge Safety Razor blades are manufactured. As you can see it's quite an involved process.

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Shaving Tip: The Broken Tube Cap

This is a fairly common problem for most of us who use shave cream tubes (or any other tube product). The inner screw thread on the cap breaks off the lid and gets stuck to the tube. If you don't have any spare caps then the only option is to squeeze out the entire tube into another container. Remember, shaving cream left uncapped will dry out. 

Here are two tips to help stop this: 

  • Always clean the screw thread of your tube before putting the lid back on. This stops the cap from becoming stuck to any shave cream that has dried around the top of the tube
  • Rub some Vaseline (petroleum jelly) around the top of shave cream tubes before closing them. This stops the cap and the tube from becoming fixed together.  

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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Product Review: Vasmol Extra Lather Shave Cream

Vasmol shave cream is manufactured in India by the Hygenic Research Institute and they have been making cosmetics since the 1950's. The shave cream comes in 3 different varieties: Lemony Splash, Cool Mist, and Extra Lather. For this review I was using  the Extra Lather. 

The cream comes in a standard plastic 125 gram tube with a twist off cap. The scent is fresh and clean. It reminds me of a mix between fabric softener and shampoo. Quite different from the Pakistani creams (Jolly, Samsol, Oxford). 

Now to get down to business - I used an almond size drop of cream and lathered it up in the palm of my hand using a Simpson's Duke brush. I was impressed. The lathering was quick and very easy. The scent also opens up a bit more as you work the brush. Add in a few more drops of water and the cream begins to shine (in every sense of the word). The lather becomes rich, tight and amazingly slick. The cream also lives up to it's name. There was plenty of lather. More than enough for my usual two and a half pass shave.

I lathered up my whiskers, let the lather sit for a bit, and went about the job with a Weishi 9306g loaded with a Treet Platinum blade (this combination seems to be a match made in heaven). The shave was silky smooth thanks mostly to the super slickness of the lather.  No nicks, cuts or irritation. Just a good clean shave with hardly any soap residue left on the face. 

In addition the brilliant lathering qualities, this cream has excellent skin conditioning properties as well. You will notice your skin feeling very soft after shaving. Your brush will also feel soft and flufffy (as if it's just been given a shampoo treatment at a salon). 

The more I use this cream, the more I like it, The scent, cushion, glide,  and the baby soft skin feel afterwards make this an excellent shave cream. The lathering properties are amazing and a little will take you a very long way. Excellent for wet shaving beginners. Just bring a wet brush anywhere near this cream and you will get lather. The 125 gram tube costs R29.99 and is well worth it. 

For all your wet shaving needs check out our product listings on BidorBuy

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Shaving Tip: Help With Shaving Bumps

Shaving bumps and ingrown hairs are reality of life for shavers (both wet and dry). This problem affects beginners and experienced shavers alike. Here are some tips to help you smooth out the bumps in the road:

  • Spend a few extra minutes on face prep.  Try shaving after a hot shower or use a pre-shave oil /balm. 
  • Apply a damp hot towel to your face before shaving. 
  • Always use the right tools. A single blade razor and good lather are the key to a clean irritation free shave. 
  •  Using a dry toothbrush, work the bump in a circular fashion with light pressure. This helps to loosen up the ingrown hair, and soften the bump.
  • Crush a Disprin tablet and add a few drops of water to it. Mix it up into a smooth paste and apply it to the bump on your skin. Let it sit for a few minutes then wash it off.  Most anti acne products use salicylic acid - the main ingredient in Disprin).
  • The method I find works best is using a 'drawing' ointment. The one I like to use is called 8-Trek (this is a South African made product and you can buy it at most chemists). The ointment contains bituminol and is primarily used for drawing out splinters, boils and soothing general skin irritation. It also is highly effective in drawing out ingrown hairs. Application is easy - gently work the ointment into affected area before you go to sleep at night. It increases blood flow to the affected area and softens up the skin around the bump. (Be warned this stuff does smell like a bit like tar!)

Note: It is not recommended (no matter how much the temptation) to pluck out and ingrown hair. This could cause bad scarring and may take weeks or even months to clear.

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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Product Review: Nivea Mild Shave Cream

I have a bit of a soft spot for this cream because my Grandfather used it. He bought it on a trip to Saudi Arabia, and from then on had only one request for anybody who was going to the Middle East: "bring back some Nivea shave cream!"  

Although Nivea in South Africa has become more associated with canned shave gels and foams, Nivea tube shave cream has been around since the 1930's. It is most widely available in Germany and the Middle East. The tube that I am currently using was purchased while on a trip to Jordan. 

Nivea Mild cream comes in a distinctive blue and grey metal tube.  One can only describe the scent as 'Nivea'. Very similar scent to the Nivea aftershave balm that is widely available here in South Africa. 

I found the best method of lathering this cream was in the palm of my hand. It gives a bit better control over the lather consistency. I squeezed an almond size blob of cream into the palm of my hand and started working up the lather. I  was using a Simpson badger brush. The lather builds up fairly quickly, though I do like to take an extra minute to work this cream. Adding in a few drops of water gives the lather the perfect shine. The feel of the lather is tight and slip is excellent. More than enough lather for three passes

Shaving with this lather is excellent. The cushion is great and the glide is near perfect.  The best part about this cream is how it leaves your skin feeling afterwards. It really does have some great skin conditioning properties. Your skin feels baby soft and very supple.  

Overall, this is an excellent shave cream. A good performer and is commonly found on supermarket shelves in Germany and the Middle East. The main problem, however, is availability - this cream is very hard to get anywhere else. The internet has made life a bit easier but finding anyone who wants to ship to SA is a bit tricky. A great shave cream if you can get your hands on it. 

* We are currently making enquiries with Middle East importers and we hope to add this our product listing soon.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Shaving Tip: 'Breaking In' A New Brush

Getting a brand new brush is always an exciting experience but the joy is somewhat tempered by the initial 'breaking in' period. This is the time when the brush is still new and might not be performing at its absolute best. However, after a period of regular use, (and wet/dry cycles) the bristles will soften, become conditioned and better for working up that rich tight lather. 

The best way to break in a new brush is through daily usage, however there are few handy steps to speed up the process: 

Step 1: Fill a mug or bowl with warm water and add in some household dish cleaning liquid soap (eg. Sunlight). Swirl your new brush around in the soapy water and let it soak for 20-30 minutes. then rinse off the brush thoroughly. 

(If  you have a synthetic fiber brush, you can skip step 2 and go right on to step 3)
Step 2: This step requires a small investment - a bottle of pet shampoo. It won't go to waste as pet shampoo is excellent for cleaning your brushes every 3-4 months. Shake off the excess water from the brush and then put a small amount of the pet shampoo in the palm of your hand. Lather it up vigorously, ensuring the shampoo soaks deep into the brush bristles. Rinse the brush thoroughly and then let it soak in warm water for a further 2-3 minutes. 

Step 3: Shake off excess water from the brush and using the shave soap / cream of your choice, work up a lather (in a bowl or in the palm of your hand). Make sure the lather gets deep into brush. Once the brush is covered in lather, wipe of excess lather from brush handle, and let it stand on counter top for 4-5 hours (some people leave the brush to stand overnight). This process transfers some of the conditioning properties of the lather to the brush. Thereafter, rinse all the lather from the brush and leave to dry. 

An important thing to note during this process is that your new brush will always shed a few stray bristles. This is not a cause for concern and is quite normal. The brush will stop shedding excess bristles after about a week or so. 

Your new brush should now be conditioned and ready to give you many years of good service. 

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