January 18th, 2000

Don’t Beleive the Hype: Aveeno Shave Gel

by Ellyn Kerr • in Beauty

Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel

First off, straight up: I don’t much buy into the beauty hype. “Beauty” magazines I read only when suffering from the restlessness of serious illness; I’ve never purchased an alpha-hydroxy acid product; I can’t seem to prioritize my spending to include the “newest shades” of cosmetics in ranges even Pantone couldn’t keep coming up with each fashion season; and my idea of a regular good skin care regime is to wash your face with water only, exercise and cut down on sugar.

My definition of genuine beauty is the spontaneous laughter of a sassy woman or man at something just a bit crazy. Fifth Avenue chic — striking though it may often be — is not the pinnacle of beauty.

That said, please accept these humble offerings towards the construction of a universal aesthetic that gets to the roots of what the multi-billion dollar beauty conglomerates only wish they could sell you: real human beauty, chaos and imperfections included.

this week: Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel

I have a friend who has much to place her on enviable ground: she is a successful financial analyst, well-educated, tall, exotically beautiful. But during a walk with her one day years ago, while we drifted from a conversation about lost youth to a frivolous comparison of our respective workday-morning self-preparations, she brought herself down to human level when she said one of those things that will forever strike resonance with my silly streak:

“All I do is shave, pluck, wax…”

I recognize the humour of this will likely here be lost. You were not, you see, privy to the sudden, utter, complete, familiarly weary exasperation which entered her voice within the microsecond after the conversation turned to the subject of hair removal.

I laughed boorishly at the time, but memory of the event turns rueful when, say, summer approaches and I am left once again debating whether to:

”¢ wax (leaves one hairless, or at least more so, for longer periods of time, but requires endurance of pain and the willingness to put up with the folliculitis — those pimply bumps of ingrown hairs);

Ӣ shave (quick, easy, but necessary too frequently; also leaves those damned bumps);

Ӣ use a depilatory (similar advantages to waxing, without the pain; but even with the new formulations, faint noxious fumes are ever so detectable; and again with the bumps!); or

Ӣ dream about being able to afford electrolysis.

Though I despise the required regularity of it, I more often than not resort to shaving. The trick to a good leg shave (and if this grosses anyone out, grow up: except for a freakish girl I saw once at the McGill gym, everyone I know has body hair. The rest of you can go hang out with the other Chrysalids characters.)

….Digressing… The trick to a good shave is an excellent, comfortable razor. I recommend Gilette’s Sensor Excel (either women’s or men’s, for use by either gender), or Gillette’s Mach 3 (again, for use by either women or men; that triple blade works wonders). These are the only razors I’ll use, though I admit to having never tried other brands, such as Schick Personal Touch. Try to avoid disposables as much as possible, except for removal of sweater yarn-balls.

The second required component — yes, required — for a good shave is Aveeno’s Therapeutic Shave Gel. This is the company that, for decades, has been producing oat- and tar-containing lotions, soaps and body soaks for unpleasant skin conditions ranging from itchiness to acne; though Aveeno have also tried to market themselves as a more general skin care company.

This shaving gel, along with my Fudge Hair Putty, is one the few personal toiletry items I will not do without. I have been known to make panicked requests of friends coming from Canada to visit New York, to transport across the border as many cans of the substance as they think unsuspicious. (To my friends’ chagrin, I’ve since learned Aveeno shave gel is widely available in New York.)

Now I know one gentleman who swears by The Body Shop’s shaving soap and brush. I know others who, for economy’s sake, swear by that cheap Barbasol brand. (Though I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to use that Naked Lunch, orgasming electric shaver which some company marketed in that pre-movie, theatre commercial that bordered on soft porn.) In response, I can only say that my fellow has tried Aveeno, and I don’t believe I’ve seen him purchase any Gilette shaving gels since. I concede this may be due to the Aveeno inventory I now stock at home.

I highly recommend you at least try this product.

The scent is pleasing — just a light, oatmeal-y aroma, which is not as contradictory as it sounds. It has a refreshingly clean, subtle scent.

The thickness of the gel renders an incredible lather, the kind one would imagine in scenes in black and white movies where a seated man, face buried in luxurious foam, listens to the wisdsoms of his local barber. (The key is, after applying the gel, to rub your hands back and forth many times over the surface of the skin to be shaved. How you interpret this is not an iota of my business.) The foam all but eliminates shaving cuts, except, perhaps, when used by the clumsiest.

And finally, this is the only shaving product I’ve used that really reduces the incidence of those folliculitis that occur as hair starts to grow back in. Aveeno prides itself on avoiding heavy oils that are occlusive to the skin, which is why you’ll never see things like lanolin in their ingredient list. Fine by me: leave the sheep oil to the sheep. In those rare occasions when I’m out of Aveeno shave gel, or when staying over at friends’ and forced to use whatever products they have, I know those bumps can return after but one Aveeno-infidelity.

The gel is a mite more expensive than other brands. But there’s a reason for this: you are buying a far superior product. Stock up when it’s on sale: this gel is a must-try.

Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel: 90%
(would get an even higher rating, but who the hell likes shaving?)
US$3.99-$4.99 in the U.S., or CDN$5.99 in Canada.


Christine Millar said:

I couldn’t agree with you more about Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel. My boyfriend has extremely sensitive skin and experiences a lot of tenderness after shaving. I just recently bought a container of Aveeno shave gel and, after hearing about his shaving woes, decided to “loan” him my Aveeno. He tried it this morning and said the tenderness he normally experiences after shaving is far reduced. I don’t have the heart to ask for it back. After regular use, I’m sure he will not have those angry red blotches on his neck anymore!

July 17th, 2006 at 5:47 am

Cindy Vega said:

Aveeno Therapeutic Shave Gel is my husband’s brand. He has sensitive skin too. Almost all of the times after shaving you could see redness in the skin.

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

October 20th, 2009 at 10:14 am

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