For the ecologically-minded and ingredient-concious men of the world comes Rehab London’s comprehensive range of male grooming lines. Following the trend kicked off by Body Shop in the 70s, Rehab’s products are not tested on animals, come stamped with assurances that they’re made with 95% naturally derived ingredients, are delivered in recycled packaging and are free from a raft of nasty sounding chemicals; parabens, diethanolamines, silicones and the big bad sodium lauryl sulphate.
Presented in snazzy black packaging with suitably snappy sales spiel, Rehab give a flavour of rock and roll cool, a measurable aspirational shift from the days when bewildered Alan Sugar-a-like Victor Kiam appeared on the box to tell us he’d bought a company.
It seems that with the advent of the metrosexual ideal that the stony macho crag-face has been smoothed and moisturised, signalling to men everywhere that not only is it acceptable to use product on your skin, but that it’s also fine to be discerning about that product’s provenance, brand ethos and label identity.
Never wishing to appear the slightest bit uncool I naturally took to the challenge when Express asked me to review Rehab’s Men’s Complete Grooming Pack. Here’s what you get;
A set of three complimentary grooming products to let you shave and look like a boss, bundled together with a prestige flannel.
Personally I’m a reluctant shaver, mainly because my skin flares up bad at the ministrations of the razor blade, leaving me pink-faced and stinging. Whilst I haven’t stuck my neck out and bought a man-moisturiser I do currently use a post shave balm to ease the burn. Look in my bathroom cabinet and you’ll find that my current shaving products are chemical based, these being most affordable to me. In a more affluent world I would gladly ride the ‘right-on toiletries’ train but currently let the higher price to lower volume ratio of naturally sourced brands dissuade me to try.
So will Rehab have me digging deeper in future? Here’s what I thought.
‘Four easy steps to the perfect shave’ reads the tagline on the box of our grooming kit, Seeing only three products in the pack I assume stage four is the use of the prestige flannel, perhaps accompanied by aloof, cavalier posturing.
Step one is uncharted territory for me. Men’s Scrub Up Daily Detox, an exfoliating daily facial scrub. In the context of shaving perfection this is intended to remove dead skin and ingrowing hairs readying the field for battle. This said, you get double value as the detox scrub also serves to ward off unsightly blemishes as part of your daily grooming routine.
Not having exfoliated before I can’t make a point of comparison here. In the using however the scrub smelt clean, wasn’t too oily on the skin and had some chunky man-sized grit. Rehab have gone far to source this for us, bamboo medulla granules and exotic volcanic sand from Tahiti, adapting to the larger pores of men.
With the scrub washed off and my face ready for the real work I opened up the Cold Turkey Shaving Gel, ‘For a Shave Worth Having’. Ingredient savvy groomers take note, Rehab use Argan oil in this little number, derived from a North African tree saved from endangerment as cosmetics companies discovered it’s powerful antioxidizing and skin nourishing qualities.
It does a good job too. A fairly small amount was needed and the gel goes on the skin clear allowing you to see what you’re shaving. On first application you’re roused with a menthol zing, working well as a pick-me-up. At first the gel warms the skin, a bit like a less stringent Deep Heat, the sensation isn’t uncomfortable and soon dies down. Setting to work with the razor I found that the gel held it’s viscosity well, keeping the blades lubricated as they travelled about my face.
On completion my face was showing some redness (as is to be expected) but I didn’t feel too much sting, a thorough rinse and I could already feel the muted burning dying down.
Impressed I moved straight onto the Men’s Calm Balm, travelling now to Hawaii where the water algae is said to aid cell renewal. Coming in an Earth-friendly pump applicator it takes a few vigorous pumps to get at your Calm Balm, with a small amount in my palm I noticed a fresh, mineral-like fragrance reminding me of so many generic men’s mainstream scents.
Rubbed into the skin the Calm Balm works quickly with all redness and sensation gone within 5 minutes or so. The finishing flourish to the perfect shave leaving me with skin that felt soft, smooth and moisturised without having to undergo an additional rinse to get rid of oily residue, something I’ll often need with my previous post shave balm.
For men used to shaving through a white mask of lather, using the Rehab alternative will be a new, and one hopes, pleasant experience. I found the results at least equal to the foam method. I found the Cold Turkey Gel and the Calm Balm worked particularly well together and given that relatively small amounts were needed for both it may well be that they’ll last out longer, time will tell.
I’d definitely shave again with the Rehab kit, I’m convinced that it works for me and I can trade off the additional expense of future purchases against the notion that I’m voting for better ethics with my cash.
All in all I give the Rehab kit 4/5, the perfect shave may well be the stuff of fantasy but this certainly comes close.