Earlier this month, Lance Arthur wrote an article about personal grooming, and Brad Graham posted his own list of recommendations. Both were largely lists of recommended products that fall into the category that I’d refer to as toiletries. I read them with somewhat detached interest, because my grooming habits don’t extend much past cleanliness (I do brush twice a day and floss religiously). Anyway, my own personal list of toiletries is boring — Crest toothpaste, Dove soap, Head and Shoulders shampoo, various brands of anti-perspirant. Like I said, I floss (I have no idea which brand I use) as well.

One area where I have experimented quite a bit is in the shaving cream area. I hate shaving. In fact, I’ve had a goatee for years, despite my growing fear that they’re no longer fashionable. The main reason for the goatee is that it means I can get away with only shaving once a week. Were I clean shaven, I’d probably have to shave several times a week. Also, I shaved off my goatee last year on a lark but grew it back immediately because I didn’t like the way I looked without it, and nobody complimented me on its absence. Anyway, shaving has always left me with painful red marks on my neck for a couple of days after the shave, and I’ve tried to conquer this problem in a number of ways. I’ve used just about all the different razors and shaving creams (or gels) you can buy at the supermarket, with varying results. (For what it’s worth, the Gillette Mach 3 razor is the best, even better than the blue disposable razors I used for a long time, which I had chosen because have incredibly sharp blades.) I had even branched out from the supermarket to use some kind of Clinique gel stuff that you can get at any department store at the mall. The Clinique stuff may have been slightly better than Edge gel or whatever, but certainly was not demostrably superior. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using proper, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy-approved shaving technique for about 10 years, after reading about it in some men’s magazine at a friend’s apartment in the distant past.

Anyway, Brad recommended two shaving creams in his article, and of the two, the one I found online and discovered that I could buy locally was something called Anthony Logistics Shave Gel. The closest place to the house that sells the stuff is Sephora, which is a store I had only ever been to once. That time, my wife wanted to check out some expensive skin cream she had read about in a magazine. The stuff was ludicrously expensive, and came in a big glass jar that turned out to be made of thick glass and had an extremely concave bottom. She didn’t buy it, although she did say it was very nice. We went back to Sephora to buy the shaving cream. I couldn’t find the product on my own, so I had to talk to one of the salespeople. She was very friendly, but as I expected, she asked me some questions, like, “Do you prefer gel or cream?” I was, of course, immediately stumped, and after a short conversation I have already blocked out, wound up with the cream. She then tried to sell me some other products for washing your face, or rubbing on your face after shaving, or something, but I was getting dizzy and managed to escape with a “Maybe next time.” Getting involved in business transactions where I’m totally out of my depth induces panic rapidly.

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that it was all worth it. This Anthony Logistics Shave Cream is great stuff — I’ve been using it for weeks and have not had any of the shaving related problems I have always been plagued with. I’m still not shaving more than once a week, but I could if I wanted to and it wouldn’t hurt. That’s pretty cool. In fact, I was feeling so flush from my success with shaving cream that I asked my barber to recommend a new hair product for me (the hair gel I had been using for years finally ran out), and he sold me some kind of expensive goop, and that works great, too. By this time next month I may be exfoliating, whatever that is.