Shaving is all about removing unwanted facial hair which inherently involves a very sharp blade. Running a sharp blade against the skin can result in undesirable consequences to the skin. This is why we have aftershave balms and lotions to soothe irritated skin. Most shaving companies include an after shave balm as part of a total product line of shaving supplies. Among others Gillette, has an upscale line called Labs and one of their products is an after shave balm, AKA GilletteLabs Fast Absorbing Moisturizer.
Gillette, the world’s largest shaving company, decided they wanted to produce a line of premium products which would command premium prices. Not wanting to lose the familiarity of the Gillette brand while at the same time seeking to differentiate from its mass market pedigree, it came up with the scientific sounding “Gillette Labs” (Labs). One of its first products was the ridiculously priced heated razor cartridge system. Then came the less ridiculously priced but still expensive razor with an exfoliating bar as well as a foaming gel in a pressurized can and a post-shave moisturizer. Mantic 59 has previously reviewed the razor with the exfoliating bar and this review will focus on the moisturizer.
Gillette Labs Moisturizer
It comes in a very small jar because it is only 2 ½ ounces by weight but that can be deceiving. When you open the jar the contents look almost cloudlike. Although it is described as a “gel” it feels like the lightest substance that can be called a gel. It feels so light and fluffy it can barely be felt. Even comparing it in substantiation to highly whipped cream it still feels much lighter than that. I don’t think I have ever felt something so light.
Yet when you apply it to your face it instantly liquefies leaving no remnant of its former state. It is not sticky or oily, it is just there. Of course it spreads very easily and one runs the risk of applying too much because of the way it instantly spreads over your face.
The fragrance is light and pleasant and is described as “cedar wood and orange peel”. I must say that the Mrs. and I did not detect any cedar wood nor orange peel, just a nice light slightly sweet fragrance.
Performance And Comparisons
But how does it work? Big G asserts it contains no alcohol, parabens or dyes and not only that but the jar is made from “infinitely recyclable” plastic. Ingredients:
Water, Glycerin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Niacinamide, Isohexadecane, Isopropyl Isostearate, Dimethicone, Stearyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Sodium Polyacrylate Starch, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Behenyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Dimethiconol, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Laminaria Saccharina Extract
They have only stopped short of saying it will help you lose weight and look ten years younger. But how does it work? To justify its price (a little on that later) I compared it to other post-shave moisturizing products I just happened to find in my drawer.
Mennen Afta Aftershave
First up was the cheapest, Afta, by Mennen aftershave balm was applied to the left side of the face and the Labs on the right. Lacking any concrete criteria I ran my fingers over my face after applying the balm, then after one hour and then four hours. I made an assessment as to which side was smoother and felt more moisturized. It was clear to me that the Labs balm even after four hours was noticeably smoother and appeared less dry. Not a big difference but a difference nonetheless.
Next up was Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Balm, which is my usual, which comes out as a very thick lotion. After shaving, the Nivea was spread over the left side of my face and the Labs on the right. At the time they both appeared similar. It was not until they both dried that I was able to make a judgment.
Admittedly, it was not possible for me to quantify the effect each had on my skin so what follows is my honest, but subjective evaluation. After a half-hour the Labs side felt a little smoother and felt more moisturized to my rubbing finger. It wasn’t a great deal smoother but it was a little smoother. The same response was achieved an hour later and four hours later.
Pre de Provence
I then decided to go high-end and tried PRE de PROVENCE (PdP) no. 63 After Shave balm. Of course I switched sides of the face to avoid a cumulative bias. The Labs moisturizer went on the left side and the PdP went on the right. Voila, this time the Labs did not win. The clear winner in smoothness and moisturizing was PdP. If price was not an issue the smoothness champion was PdP.
Price And Conclusion
[Ed. note: Geni.us links are affiliate.]
Pricewise, The Mennen Afta goes for about seven dollars but if you want to buy nine Amazon will sell it to you for $3.63. The Nivea Lotion goes for $8-9. The Gillette Labs product lists for $17.99 but Amazon and Walmart sell it for $14.18. If you are quick or lucky Walgren’s is closing out this line and will sell it for 75% off at $4.49. The Pre de Provence No. 63 was the eventual winner and you can get a tube of this for a mere $35. I’ve been using the Nivea balm for years and bring out the PdP for special occasions such as knighthood, Nobel Prize for Peace, or a date with Taylor Swift.
The GilletteLabs Fast Absorbing Moisturizer is a quality product that soothes irritation and moisturizes the skin after it has been brutalized by a shaving blade. It has come down in price a bit making its purchase a reasonable idea.