April 22, 2009

Oooh. Oily. Part 2.

Shaving Test 1: Oil Mediums
(Step Two, Face)

Mineral oil (baby oil if a scent is added) is a fairly safe substance. It's used around eyes, in ears, and can even be taken orally as a laxative. But years of reading women's magazines as a teenager enforced this, among many things, on me: oil on the face is a Big No-No. It felt absolutely mad to pick up a bottle of baby oil, squirt a bit on my fingers and squelch it onto my jaw and chin. I thought, "I am gonna regret this." But, in the name of experimentation, I sacrificed myself.

Things I liked:
  • It's a far more pleasant scent than any of the flowery women's shave gels.
  • Sometimes when I have a day off I stay in my room to work and let my face go for the day. It allows more of the stubble to clear the skin so I get less irritation the next day. Doing it with a fresh razor and mineral oil gave me one of the best shaves I ever remember.
  • It ever so slightly reduces the amount of dry skin, meaning an ever so slight increase in the ease of applying make-up.

Things I didn't like:
  • It's still mucky. Sticks in the sink and around the sink and in the razor.
  • I had some of the worst nicks in my chin. The razor glided differently, or sometimes not at all. I was bleeding for an hour. And my towels are white.
  • For some reason, I could not get a close shave on my chin. No matter how many times I went over it, I could still feel a prickle.

And it absolutely did not cause pimples. Perhaps it's not comedogens I'm susceptible to, after all. A lot of my skin troubles really do seem to stem from ingrown hairs, which wasn't notably reduced by the oil, but it helped the dry skin just a little bit. While that impressed me, I could do without having to bleach my towels every couple of days.

There was an inconstant variable I didn't calculate initially. I had considered the eventual wearing down of the blades each week, the changing volatility of my skin at different times of the month. But not that I wouldn't be able to find my favorite razors after I ran out. I had to buy the version for men, which apparently feature a strip of pre-shave oil rather than shea butter. Wouldn't you know it makes no difference so far. Black razors are pretty kick-ass looking, though, compared to purple ones. But anyway.

Is mineral oil an overall improvement over shave gels? For me, not really.

Do note, my dears, that oil can sometimes cause folliculitis--oil can make infection in ingrown hair follicles worse. Be prepared for anything if you're going to try it.

Now, I was in a Rexall the other day and have never seen such a varied selection of shaving products. It was great. I knew I'd have to be testing something else, soon, so I picked up my first men's shaving foam. Put it next to the till, a little nervously, with my nylons. The girl didn't seem to look twice as she rang it through. So that was my adventure. In a couple of weeks, I'll have a new experiment for you.

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