About the Item:
Shave the Planet Shaving Cream
$14.95 for 3.5 oz or $22.95 for 8.8 z
The Official Lush Website say that this nutrient-laden goop “has super stubble-stopping strength yet leaves skin silky-soft. Soothing bamboo infusion and anti-oxidant açai juice fight aging while vitamin-rich pumpkin seed and rosehip oils calm skin.”
This item contains: Bamboo Leaf infusion (Bambusa arundinacea), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Goji Berry Decoction (Lycium barbarum), Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Organic Acai Juice, Triethanolamine, Fresh Sugar Cane Juice, Lavender Oil (Lavandula augustifolia), Fennel Oil (Foeniculum vulgare), Rose Absolute (Rosa damascena), Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil (Rosa canina), Organic Wheatgerm Oil (Triticum vulgare), Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita pepo), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Cupuacu Butter (Theobroma Grandiflorum), Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia cerifera), Cetearyl Alcohol, Benzyl Salicylate, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.
Several years ago, my loving and ridiculously supportive grandparents, Anahid and Vazken (check the former out on annbandazian.com) imbued me with the privileges of Carte Blanche with regards to the many antiques, curio and objet d’ar in their beautiful revolutionary-period brick home. Of course I always ask politely before exercising this power, and in turn they have always indulged my requests for little trinkets found around the attic or in the barn. So of course, on a routine Thanksgiving visit several months ago, when I spotted a long-retired, vintage Gillette “Fatboy” double-sided safety razor in the wash room, they were happy, once again, to oblige my curiosity.
I’ve been struggling ever since, through trial and error, razor burn and uneven stubble, to learn the art of the traditional wet shave. I bring this up only because, as anyone who has ever shaved in this manner knows, the line between a painful, bloodied, irritated face and a smooth, clean, healthy one is often drawn by quality of one’s tools. Mine, therefore, is a more discerning crucible than most when it comes to the trial of a shaver’s most important piece of software: the cream.
So far I’ve been somewhat under-whelmed by Lush‘s shaving products. I went through a full tub of Prince (see my earlier review), which was fine, but didn’t really blow me away. And then… well I guess that’s it, but there are only three of them (Prince, S.T.P. and Razorantium) and as far as I can tell they’re all virtually the same thing with slight variations on tertiary ingredients and viscosities. I’m disappointed that they have never made an actual shaving soap or lathering cream. Believe me, I’m drafting a letter proposing a solution to this concern, which will hopefully be named after yours-truly when and if it hits the shelves. Until then, cream/moisturizer based shaves will have to suffice.
Enough exposition. Let’s get down to business shall we? The first thing I noticed upon unscrewing the tub was the distinct color, texture and aroma of Shea butter. I was not surprised to find that this was a major ingredient, second only to Bamboo leaf infusion (what’s up with that?). Its thick, rich consistency, high fat content and great moisturizing properties make Shea butter an ideal base for high-end shaving creams. Also the nutty, chocolatey aroma mixes very well with the rose and lavender undertones in S.T.P. which I actually prefer to the smell of both Razorantium and Prince (both very similar. Citrusy with a hint of sex pollen)
I applied a large dollop to my face after showering and cleansing with hot water to get my skin nice and supple. S.T.P.’s viscosity is somewhere between Prince, on the runny side, and Razorantium, on the cold-butter side. It spreads nicely and melts slightly with body heat due to its high fat content. Trust me, this is a good thing when it comes to shaving. Purified plant fats are excellent moisturizers and they provide a smooth lubricant for your razor. In addition to Shea butter, S.T.P. contains a potent arsenal of moisturizers and emollients including glycerin, lavender oil, fennel oil, rosehip oil, wheatgerm oil, pumpkin seed oil, Jojoba oil, cupuacu butter and candelilla wax.
The moment of truth: I put a brand new razor into my Gillette Fatboy, adjusted the settings and set about shearing off the patches of stubble in quick, short strokes, switching sides and rinsing the head with each new pass. I did my first round with the grain, which usually doesn’t cause any major problems. So far so good. The second round however, which always goes against the grain, is a constant source of irritation for me, especially on the left and right sides of my neck where the skin dips down before meeting in a point along the ridge of my vocal cord. I lubed back up with another thick dollop of S.T.P. and prepared myself for the harsh, scraping sound and that tell-tale tugging feeling that precedes the raw sting of razor-burn. To my surprise, the razor glided almost effortlessly through the stubble left over from my first round. Flawless. I did the rest of my neck, including the woeful valleys and peaks and was absolutely blown away. Up until now, I’ve always had to either avoid those tough spots and end up with a rough, patchy area left over, or accept the pain of razor-burn as the price for a close shave. For probably the first time ever, I had the best of both worlds.
The only thing I can think of to explain this phenomenon is that the hair follicles were somehow softened, made easier to cut by some magical secret ingredient. That’s not to say I felt no resistance, but it was significantly less, so much so that I noticed an immediate difference. In my experience, I have never come across a substance that would have this effect apart from maybe a strong acid. All I know is that a good shaving cream needs to have lots of fat and a few extra ingredients to soothe the skin (which this stuff does have, by the way; lavender and rose hips primarily). Now there are a number of ingredients in S.T.P. that do not fall neatly into either category, but may have some medicinal properties, unknown to me, that would accomplish this “softening” phenomenon. Goji berry and Acai, famed anti-oxidants, are two such mystery ingredients.
Now, I don’t really buy the whole “anti-oxidant” thing. I get that anti-oxidants are good for you and that they help to prevent cancer, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there and a hand full of straight up mysteries. It’s safe to say that at this time, we don’t really understand the full effects that anti-oxidants have on humans, which means that marketing stooges get to make up whatever they want about them. To my knowledge, there is no evidence to suggest that anti-oxidants help you loose weight, give you more energy or magically soften your stubble. They do repair and prevent the oxidative damage cause by normal cellular functions. Perhaps one could build a case for how this “fights aging,” but my guess is that something you apply to your face and then scrape off with a razor four or five times a week is not going to make a significant difference in the fight against Father Time and his infernal, elephant-eared progeny, Baby New Year.
Oh well. Chalk this one up to mystery I guess. I think I can live with that for the time being if it makes my grooming more pleasant. I’ve shaved three or four more times with S.T.P. and can say that I am quite pleased with the product. One major pro that often goes unnoticed with cream shaves is that they don’t dry out your face like most shaving soaps do and a little bit will go a looong way. There are so many moisturizers and emollients packed in there, you don’t have to do that much in the way of aftercare. Just rinse off (cold water only), throw on a balm or aftershave and you’re good.
My advice, buy this stuff if you value your face.
Bang for Your Buck Rating: $$
Overall Rating: 5