I’m not a man who uses a lot of fancy personal hygiene products.
Oh sure, I wash my hair, put on deodorant, and apply a soothing green tea mask every night, but a paraffin foot spa? Forget it. Never going to happen. (Also, for the record, I have never applied green tea to my flesh if not through the tragicomic spilling of a mug of tea upended as I absentmindedly checked my wristwatch. Ha, what a humorous tableau!)
Seriously, though, I’m not big on using lots of products. I bathe often (twice daily, which some say is too often…) and clean myself thoroughly when so doing. And I use sunblock when it’s sunny. That’s about it. When it comes to shaving, I’ll use whatever cream or shave gel comes first to hand, so usually it’s some pleasantly-scented whatnot surreptitiously pulled from my wife’s side of the drawers.
And for years, that served me fine. Hopefully the fact that I am not a man who has used a lot of beard balms and shaving powders and face tonics will help you believe that I mean it when I say holy shit, the shaving oil and shaving soap offered by Primitive Outpost are damned fine products.
A few months back, I switched from a three-bladed razor produced by a corporate juggernaut (that will go unnamed, but which sort of rhymes with “fillet” assuming you don’t know how to pronounce that word from the French) to a razor from Vikings Blade called The Chieftain.
This throwback-style razor gives a closer, longer-lasting shave the that three-blader ever did, and ironically its single blade does so in fewer passes. The Chieftain leaves my face feeling smoother for longer than my other razor ever did, too. But it also cut the hell out of me. Yes, this is still technically a “safety razor,” but it nonetheless nicked my (prominent) Adam’s Apple, sliced my jawbone, and generally left lots of little red spots needing toilet paper applications.
Then I was put in touch with Paul Koutras from Primitive Outpost, and we got to talking about a couple of their products. First, in their own words, here’s what their company “does,” if you will:
“We produce handmade, natural products that we truly believe in and stand by. We don’t use any synthetic ingredients or toxic chemicals. Instead, we opt for natural waxes, oils, clays, and butters. We firmly believe that people should be able to take care of their bodies without using things like parabens, artificial scents, and petroleum.”
Paul recommended I try two of their products, the shaving oil you see above, and their shaving soap. I said something along the lines of “Sure, sounds great,” and committed to trying out new — gasp — products. And I’m glad I did, initial skepticism now far aside.
Primitive Outpost’s Vitality Shaving Oil is lightly citrus-scented, highly-moisturizing, and protects your skin against cuts. I know all this because I have now used it many times. A nickel-sized amount in the palm of the hands rubbed about a moist, warm face is all it takes.
After I let that fine manly-smelling oil sit on my whiskered face for a time, I follow it up with a lather of their shaving soap, also called Vitality and also citrus-scented. It is made using more than a half-dozen oils, Rhassoul clay, orange peel extract, and other whatnot. The soap does not seem to lather much in your hands, but once applied to facial hair, it froths up and provides great coverage.
And when you start shaving, if your experience is anything like mine, you will find your razor cutting longer, cleaner swaths and leaving much less irritation and few if any nicks and cuts. The oil/soap combination leave a thin sheen on the face that allows for follow up shaving with no new lather applied, and that rinses off easily after the shave, leaving behind just the subtlest lovely –er, manly — scent and skin that is soft and hydrated. But still manly.
So, should you ditch your old blade and your old shaving cream? Yes, yes you should.
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