I like absinthe. I really do. No, it doesn't make you hallucinate, it won't make you want to cut off your ear, and you should never, ever, set it on fire. The luscious herbals and strong anise combine to create a strong, but memorable, drink.
It's also great for your beard.
Yes, you read that right.
Now, I know what you're thinking, Scott's been having a bit too much of the Green Fairy (La Fée Verte, as absinthe is sometimes known) and clearly isn't rowing with both oars in the water...but hear me out.
Two weeks ago if you would have said "Hey, Scott, how about an absinthe shave?" I'd have cocked an eyebrow at you curiously (ala Spock) and suggested that you, too, were being most illogical.
But it turns out that Korres Natural Products has gone ahead and created an absinthe shaving cream known as "Absinthe Men's Shave Cream." During one of her shopping adventures, Nicole happened across this concoction and in a fit of encouraging me to write for Bagful of Notions again, procured a can for me to try out. She really liked the smell of it in Mecca where she found it, and was pretty certain I'd like it as well. (Which isn't to say Nicole's suddenly decided she'd like to share a glass of absinthe anytime soon...)
First things first, here's a picture of the box, because, um, you know, boxes!
And the box wasn't empty, look what was inside!
I must admit, I really didn't know what this was going to be like. Some friends of mine and I are quite the fans of a good absinthe (or four) and know that the aroma can be quite powerful. Many a hotel in many a land has smelled altogether different after we break out the Green Fairy - so some sort of a shaving cream which is meant to contain absinthe - in any form - was something that I was somewhat dubious about.
So, let's jump to the important part: Does this stuff smell like I fell into a vat of 1797 Roquette?
In short: Not even remotely.
Indeed, I wouldn't so much call this an absinthe shaving cream as, perhaps, absinthe inspired. A hint of the herbals, the vaguest whiff of a familiar beverage, but by no means will you reek of wormwood or anise.
What's also important to note is that this is not a foaming shaving cream, nor does it require a brush to apply (but, I do love my brush & cream set Nicole bought me for Christmas). The consistency is quite creamy...I'd actually say it's more like sour cream than Barbasol.
Since the product itself isn't foamy, the container operates more like a pump to get the shave cream out. I'm still working on the right number of pumps for the perfect shave, but yesterday and today I went with 3 and that seems to be pretty close to it for my beard & face. The instructions say to apply a "thin layer of cream to wet skin" but don't provide much more guidance than that.
What I was quite surprised about was just how slippery the cream was. It provided superb lubrication for using my Panasonic LV-81 electric razor. Because the consistency was so much creamier than the typical shave foam, it also felt like I was wasting a lot less product; with a lot of the foaming shave creams you end up with way more on the face than you're really going to need, unless you're trying to get rid of months or years of growth.
- Got a bit of warm/hot water to wet my face
- Three pumps of Korres into the palm of my hand
- Used both hands to create the thin layer
From there, it was as easy as grabbing the Panasonic and buzzing away the overnight growth. No rash, easy glide, and a very pleasant and only slightly herbal smell.
The pump container comes with a tiny plastic cap which partially peels off the pump itself to cover the spout - I sense that if you don't do that it could dry up and clog the opening, so I was sure to cover it back up once I was done.
Korres claims that their Absinthe Shave Cream contains a milder pH than traditional creams, which helps to prevent skin roughness. Having used it two days in a row, I'd agree that so far all of the results have been fantastic.
There's one other interesting result I've found by using this shave cream: It permits a shave that's only slightly longer than my typical morning dry-only shave, and not as long as the brushed wet-shave that I treat myself to every few weekends.
Because the cream isn't as messy as standard foamy creams, I also don't leave the bathroom looking like the final scenes of Ghostbusters where the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man met his timely demise.
Yeah, for some reason the Stay Puft man was in Melbourne next to Crown Casino a few weeks ago. No idea why.
Anyway - the Korres Absinthe Shave Cream lubricated nicely into my skin, didn't make a mess in the bathroom, smelled great, and did a superb job of dealing with my overnight beard.
As for the price, well, this was a gift, but, my lovely wife forgot to remove the sticker off the back of the box, so I can tell you that it was $49.95 Australian for 150mL. I'm not yet sure how many shaves that will equate to, but, as I'm only using three pumps at the moment, I'd like to think this could go several months of daily or near daily use.
I can't really give this a Bagful Breakdown as that's Nicole's thing, but, if I did have to rate it out of 10, I'd give it a solid 8, possibly even an 8.5 if it ends up lasting as long as I hope it does!
[ Update ] Okay, this was my third morning using the product, three pumps again, and thanks to the digital display on my Panasonic razor, I know that my shave was completed in two minutes and twenty seconds. That's typically on the very short side, even for a dry shave. I didn't check how long the previous shaves were, but this definitely made the wet-shave experience a workday possibility! Thanks Korres!