In terms of formulation, Face Moisturizer includes shea butter and soybean oil to moisturize; shea butter is something I often look for in products for dry skin because it's so hydrating. I was surprised to see it here since my experience is that shea butter products are a bit heavier, yet this moisturizer feels pretty light. Polyacrylamide is second in the ingredients list behind water; this is a "film-forming" agent with water-binding properties. The latter third of the ingredients lists Betula alba (birch bark) juice and Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb) flower/leaf/stem extract. I wasn't able to find anything about specifically birch bark juice, but there is a study here about birch bark extract improving the skin barrier. Willow herb extract has anti-irritant and antioxidant properties. There's other antioxidants in the formula with the presence of retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C), and tocopherol (vitamin E). Since antioxidants are sensitive to light and air, the opaque tube packaging helps keep the formula stable and effective.
|Balsem Shave Cream and Face Moisturizer, pictured with return instructions that include sudoku grids :P|
We debated the merits of a $24 CAD shaving cream. On one hand, since he only needs to shave every few days, he might as well spend a little extra on a product that works well, right? On the other hand, if he was someone that had to shave daily, then maybe he should be using a product that takes better care of his face anyway? In the end, the answer was the same regardless of whether he shaves daily or not XD
|Balsem Face Moisturizer / Balsem Shave Cream|
FYI Balsem products all carry the same signature scent: a lightweight crisp, woodsy, conventionally-masculine scent. Bf and I like it, but it may be a turn-off if you are sensitive to fragrance (scent-wise or to the added ingredient itself), or if woodsy scents just aren't your cup of tea.
Available at Frank & Oak online and in-store: Face Moisturizer ($28 CAD / 2.6 oz); Shave Cream ($24 CAD / 3.8 oz)
Face Moisturizer ingredients: water, polyacrylamide, cyclopentasiloxane, C13-14 isoparaffin, laureth-7, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cococaprylate/carprate, glycerin, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, Glycine soja (soybean) oil, dehydroacetic acid, sodium benzoate, fragrance, Betula alba juice, Epilobium angustifolium flower/leaf/stem extract, phospholipids, retinyl palmitate, tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, beta-carotene, EDTA
Shave Cream ingredients: water, stearic acid, glycerin, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, trimethylolpropane triethylhexanoate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceral stearate, PEG-100 stearate, polysorbate 20, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cocamidopropyl betaine, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, triethanolamine, hydroxyethcellulose, caprylhydroxamic acid, caprylyl glycol, sodium hydroxide, Epilobium angustifolium flower/leaf/stem extract, allantoin, EDTA