Retro-revival brand Soap & Glory have recently released a fully-fledged men’s grooming line and they very kindly sent me a few of their products to test out.
The packaging and ad-campaigns are always interesting and I really wanted to like the products. Unfortunately this line offers far more misses than hits for me, in fact no real hits at all. Overly scented and minimally effective, this is exactly the kind of grooming line I tend to steer clear of.
So what exactly makes me dislike grooming ranges like this one? Read on!
|Packaging is cool if you like the retro thing…|
I’m just going to get this out of the way first because i’ll just be repeating myself through all the reviews. The first thing that struck me with all of these products was the fragrance. Every product in the line is overloaded with fragrance and it’s all very cheap-smelling generic stuff. You know that horrible bottle of no-brand cologne your grandad has knocking about in a cupboard somewhere? That smell. I can appreciate a very heavy, musky, ‘manly’ fragrance even if it’s not to my taste but this just smells cheap.
Three problems with that. Firstly, large amounts of fragrance are likely to irritate skin quite a bit. Now men’s skin may be a little thicker than women’s but they’re actually more prone to irritation thanks to the constant stripping away of skin due to shaving. That’s why you’re seeing more and more grooming lines offering ‘unscented’ versions of all their star products.
Secondly, men have varying tastes in fragrance and most tend to have at least one bottle of fragrance that they like to use for work/play. Using strong-smelling products such as these ones will only serve to interfere with whatever aftershave or cologne you’re wearing.
And finally, if you’re going to overload your products with fragrance, at least make it a soft or neutral scent!
Now I’ll admit I’m not sure how much it costs for a brand to add fragrance to products (perhaps that’s how Soap & Glory keeps the price point at around £3.50 for each item) but I have a suspicion that it’s not THAT expensive. Either way, if you can’t afford a palatable scent – just go unscented!
This isn’t a problem limited only to Soap & Glory, a lot of high-street grooming brands like Gillette, Nivea and L’oreal tend to add far too much scent to a lot of their products and i’m hoping it’s a dying trend. It’s all well and good to smell like we were dipped in Lynx/Axe during our teens but any older than that and it’s a no-no.
Right, with that rant over, let’s get onto the reviews!
Al Fresco – Deodrant Body Spray
They say ‘This scent has been formulated to send women into a tizzy’. It smells like citrus air freshener. On the plus side it works perfectly well as a deodrant; keeps you smelling…well not smelling like B.O anyway. This isn’t an anti-perspirant mind you, they have a separate spray if it’s sweat you need to deal with.
A Man’s Got to Dew – Facial Moisture Balm
This is meant to be an anti-stress moisturiser to be used post-shave. The texture is light and non greasy but that’s pretty much where the compliments end. This contains a ridiculously large amount of fragrance and unfortunately the scent doesn’t seem to dissipate through the day (which means you’re going to smell like a leery stripclub patron all day). Used after shaving, this made my skin look very blotchy and red in places. It calmed down after a few hours – not what I’d call anti-stress. Think of this as less of a post-shave moisturiser and more of a gel-cologne.
A Shave to Love – Shave Gel
I know I promised not to repeat myself but, the smell! This is an average shaving cream, smells strong and the combination of fragrance and alcohol leaves your skin feeling quite dry and raw by the end of your shave. Other than that, it does give you a decent shave (until you come to wash it off, that is).
Billy Wildhair – Hair Sculpting Putty
To be fair to Soap & Glory, this stuff is scented but no moreso than any other hair product out there – i’ve definately smelled worse. Having said that, it still smells like cheap cologne and I wouldn’t want my head smelling of this stuff all day. This is a thick ‘cream’ type of hair product that provides enough hold for medium length hairstyles and a healthy looking sheen. The point between ‘healthy looking sheen’ and oily hair is a fine one though, use too much of this and you’ll look more slimeball than dreamboat.
Knock Your Spot Off – Instant Spot Fighting Gel
Even this has an annoying smell but it’s the least scented of the lot. This Gel comes in a squeezy tube and is basically an alcohol/astringent combination designed to dry out spots and ingrown hairs. It does a decent job of dealing with errant zits but a benzoyl peroxide, sulphur or 2% BHA product does the same thing and twice as fast.
So, that’s all from my disappointing foray into the world of Soap & Glory. I say disappointing because I know from my female blogger friends that they can make some decent products from time to time. I say that if you’re curious about the line, have a sniff of the men’s stuff and take a gander at the regular ‘female’ skincare too. Remember, skin is skin – there’s no such thing as gender-specific skincare (unless you’re talking about hair removal or things like pregnancy mask).
If you’d like me to review some of Soap and Glory’s regular line just let me know and i’ll head over to Boots, pour over some ingredients lists and buy a few things.
As for this particular line though, thumbs firmly down.
Now I need to get some fresh air because I had to smell this shit again for the review. Ugh.