Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sowing My Wild Oats

I’m not someone who is big on labels, which is only part of the reason I wouldn’t call myself a metrosexual. I like to look and smell good, but not too good. Given that I live in Los Angeles, I’d hate to intimidate all the movie stars with my debonair style, rugged good looks and emerging pot belly. But when it comes to grooming, I take things a little more seriously. One reason is because I live in a place where there are 300 sunny days a year and I don’t want my face to resemble an old catcher’s mitt as I age.

So I’ve always tried to take care of my skin. I have very sensitive skin on my face and shaving really irritates it, so I always use decent razors, gels and creams to minimize the red bumps, razor burn and general discomfort that shaving imposes on my delicate punim. I’ve always shaved only once or twice per week to alleviate the unpleasantness. Besides, I look studlier with a chinful of stubble. Or at least that’s one excuse for not shaving.  

For the last few years, I’ve used some pricey shaving stuff from Kiehl’s, which is a fancy-ish brand. Mrs. Dude had a friend who worked there and gave me a bunch of samples to try many years ago and I was hooked, except on the price. But the resulting minimized bumps and burn on my freshly de-follicled neck made subsequent purchases worthwhile.

So when I was asked recently to try out Aveeno’s new Men’s Line (which consists of a Face Wash, Shaving Gel and After Shave), I was skeptical if anything could be better than Kiehl’s for my fancy skin. Given my high brand satisfaction, I normally would have just declined the offer, but there was one reason I didn’t: My wife.

Mrs. Dude has long sworn by Aveeno products for her own use and we’ve used Aveeno baby bath stuff for both the Little and Littler Dudes since they were born.  And since all three of them are completely adorable, I figured that maybe I should see if I was missing out on something and try out the Men’s Line.

Aveeno’s big claim to fame is that they use oats in their products, which is supposedly good for cleansing and moisturizing skin. I don’t know about that, but I do know oats taste great in cookies, so I figured it was worth the gamble. Especially since they sent me the products free of charge.

But before I tried the Aveeno line, I tried the Kiehl’s stuff one more time, to have a baseline reading on the inevitable post-shave redness level of my cheeks and neck:

Four days later, to make sure my skin had fully rebooted itself, I busted out the Aveeno Men’s products.

First I washed my face with the Face Wash (duh), then I followed my normal pre-shave routine that includes putting a wet hot washcloth on to loosen up the hairs. I pumped out some of the Shave Gel into my hands and spread it onto my face. It has a scent, which I suppose is “oaty”, but smells kind of like cherries to me. Either way, it’s not nearly as cringe-inducing as the menthol-scented shaving creams I used to use in my teen years.  Who decided menthol was a desirable smell anyway?

As I followed my normal shave routine, I noticed that I could hardly feel the blade against my skin, which is very unusual. Once finished, I noticed that my cheeks felt softer than usual and my neck wasn’t on fire, like it usually is post-shave.

But the real test would be the next day, when I skeptically expected the worst. Shockingly, there was not one bump, bruise or cut. I haven’t had that in a very long time. I checked again the second day after shaving and found the same thing.

Figuring this must be a fluke, I tried shaving 3 more times with the Aveeno products over a couple weeks and these remarkable results held up. I never found even one bump, which had never happened before in my 25 years of shaving. Given that the Aveeno products’ retail cost is about one-third as much as the Kiehl’s stuff, I seriously considered hopping aboard the USS Aveeno. But then inspiration hit me.  If the Aveeno products were so great because of the oats, why couldn’t I just make my own shaving cream (of wheat)? We have plenty of raw oats in the house for cooking, so I figured I could save even more money by doing it myself. So I made a bowl of oatmeal to shave with. Seriously.

And the amazing thing was that it actually worked.

It wasn’t the best shave I’ve ever gotten, but it wasn’t bad. It was, however, the messiest shave I’ve ever had. My sink and t-shirt were covered in oats and that was a bad combo.

The oats worked fine for the cheeks, but not so great around the chin and more sensitive areas, so I decided to switch back to the Aveeno shave gel mid-shave to finish the job off right.

As someone who has worked in sales for a long time I’m not easily sold on new products because of bells and whistles, and I have another blog post coming soon that will prove that, but this Aveeno stuff rocks. The three products’ average cost is about $5.00 each, so I could get the whole set for less than one bottle of the Kiehl’s stuff I had been using. My only complaint about the Aveeno line is that there is no everyday-use facial moisturizer. Or if the After Shave is intended for this purpose, I think it should have SPF15 in it. Otherwise, I’ll need to use two products on my face, and that is just a bit too much for this quasi-metrosexual. I need to keep my street cred somehow.

Disclaimer: Aveeno Men’s provided product samples free of charge and compensated me for this post, but the opinions expressed are completely mine, for better or worse. Also, RIP to the bowlful of oats who gave their lives for the betterment of my skin. 


  1. How awesome it exceeded your expectations! You must be happy. I love Kiehls but yeah, cha-ching!

  2. They make good stuff!

    Try shaving with the raisin and walnut oatmeal next time, the roughage gives you traction.