Hydrolast Review

Discussion in 'General Shaving Discussion' started by atxguy, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. OK - so I do know I am opening that "Method Shaving" can of worms. The problem I have seen is that there is a lack of a longer review of the system as a whole. I would look at the "one shave test" the same as having a few strokes with a blade to review it before even finishing the shave. I am surprised people will test blades for a month but not really try a product that has a learning curve.

    To address a few issues - 1) I am NOT CAR or in any way associated with enchante or hydrolast. I am just a guy who believes that there should be good reviews. I purchased all of my products with the exception of the cutting balm. It was given to me to help learn with GFT soap and avoid nicks and cuts while learning. 2) I am in Austin. I have had quite a few conversations with CAR to get the hang of this system. I will continue to do so and will be happy to forward polite questions to him.

    Third point is a paragraph on it's own. Charles is energetic and can almost be over the top at points. No, he does not shave like in the videos ("That was just showing what the product can protect against" CAR). The videos are made to provoke a reaction, not as a "Hey, hack at your face" thing. When I stumbled into Enchante a newbie without any experience, (I just googled local shaving and went - no idea about the store), he was not pushing his product at all. In fact, he steered me towards a GFT soap and a brush. I asked about all of those bottles of Hydrolast (didn't know he made it) and he said "no, that's for later. You might want to go there later but maybe not. Just learn to be a good shaver first." The only thing he did incorporate in was the cutting balm as "training wheels". He gave me 2 oz at no charge. His explanation of developing the system is that he was tired of people coming in, buying all of the gear for traditional shaving and hacking them selves up, never to be seen again. He said he was tired of half of his initial business walking out never to return. I think his approach was about as far from the "hard sell" and "must have" as it could be.

    4) Hydrolast can be used in any combination you want. It is designed to be able to be customized to the person. I was first using cutting balm with GFT and random creams and soaps. Take what works for you. That is the reason I am sharing my long term review. I need time to learn it and get it set for me.

    I will not use any "jargon" if at all possible. No steel or mantle stuff here. I will use a cartridge (gasp) on occasion as I need to travel frequently for work. I would appreciate not getting flamed with "I hate this stuff" posts if you haven't given it a shot at all. It is not terribly expensive (I think the starter kit is $25). If you have had problems I will see if I have had the same issues and if not I will ask.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  2. OK - so I am two days in to using the cutting balm(shave oil), conditioner (aftershave), paste (just makes it slick) and a block of french soap (not the cube), with the shave cloth. I have been using cutting balm for a while and according to CAR it stays around for a while and takes a bit to build up to maximum effectiveness.

    First thoughts - WOW this stuff is slick. I have to have everything open first or I cant get it open. I use cutting balm after a hot towel and shower, but before applying any cream. I work up the lather and it sure loves a LOT of water. The cloth accidentally slid into the sink (it's that slick) and I thought I would have to start over. Wrong. I just rubbed it around again and poof - more lather. I added a bit of shave oil into the cloth along with the paste. I tried adding the paste after the lather the first day and it collapsed the lather, but get really slick. A splash of water and a rub and it was back. That was yesterday. Today I added it into the cloth and same slick stuff, but no need to work it up again. I am constantly adding water to the cloth. I may try it with a brush later but for now, the cloth works well. Besides, for $10, it's cheap to try.

    The shave itself was with a feather yesterday, and a derby today. I am using a Merkur HD for all shaves as that is the only razor I have (RAD working in though). The feather worked great and I felt no tugging or pulling at all even though it was the third shave for that blade. I have to listen to see if I am cutting at all. I am noticing that I can get long smooth strokes with this. Not sure if this is optimal though. I have to remember to ask. Today was a Derby blade which I haven't tried before. This was OK. Cut really smooth, but left some bumps on my neck that I am not sure was the blade or me. No blood or anything, just red bumps. I will give it another shot though with this blade. Something odd I noticed yesterday and today - I am adding pressure?!?!?! Something here lets me add a touch of pressure, even with the feather, and not get cut. I am sure you could go too far with this, but any extra help is good for me.

    Well, after the first N-S pass I had a SAS. Second pass (form) was in the DFS catagory and after the third pass (third form) was approaching BBS. This is something I expect every single day, BBS is the goal, no exceptions. I used some paste and cutting balm to work out the details and buffer. I did have to splash on a little water when doing this (did I mention this stuff needs tons of water?). Worked great and let me feel for those last few spots.

    I use alum to tighten my whole face and did feel a bit of sting under my jaw. Not really sure why, as it feels fine other than the two bumps. I finished up with the cutting balm (a couple of drops spread on my beard area) and added water. Then I used the conditioner. There is a great scent and tingle to this stuff. I really like this stuff. I then add a cologne to a OTC moisturizer and am done. Total time to BBS, 10 min with letting the post shave work (balm, conditioner, and lotion set for a minute or so to absorb while I get dressed so I am not counting that time). Not bad overall. Smooth and comfortable shave.

    PS - Hopefully the following posts will be shorter, but this one I wanted a bit more detail.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  3. Been hoping for a review like this for a while. Thanks for doing it. 10 minutes is nice, very nice.
    - Would you mind posting pictures? You may have to have someone else take them if this stuff is that slick.
    - Can you describe the scent?
    - Would you mind counting how many uses you get out of the products? If it's a hassle, don't even think twice. I've been marking mine up with ticks from a Sharpie as I use each to get a feel for cost/use.
    - Very well done introduction. I hope this doesn't turn into a flame thread.
  4. If you would add paragraphs to your review it would be much easier to read.
  5. I will work on the pics. If someone has some hydrolast please keeps in mind CAR is always tinkering with them to improve them so they may be slightly different.

    -The cutting balm was 2 oz a month ago. I have about half left. It has a citrus smell that is slight.
    -The soap I am using is the sandalwood scent. This thing is big (3x as big as a regular soap bar from the shower )get so it should be around for a while.
    -The paste doesn't really have a smell at all. I just dip two finger tips in so I am not really using much. In fact, I halve been using what was stuck to the lid for two days. It should last a good while too.
    -The conditioner smells like peppermint and tingles a lot. The scent doesn't stay around to interfere with cologne. It probably will last a few months as I use it all over as a skin toner for my face and I will be happy to add usage notes on occasion.

    Thanks for the support as this is my first long term review and I think I picked a controversial one. I am hoping this doesn't devolve into flaming also. After all, it is really a product that is being reviewed and no more.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  6. Also, I update using my phone so I will keep an eye on auto correct. It does strange things sometimes.
  7. Kingfisher - Done deal. Thanks for the input. Any other thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. I am also open to suggestions to try with the products, as long as it is within limits (my face after all). So no obsidian blade shaving or using a grinder for my buffing - not that adventurous :scared:
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  8. I have some of the conditioner, it is amazing stuff. It is a bit pricey at $35.00 but I have been using it every day since I got it on X-mas and have barely put a dent in it. The one I got smells kinda like peppermint, my sister said he custom mixed it right in front of her.
  9. So I finally got to my travel destination. I am wondering if that Derby blade is even working. I have a LOT more to shave tomorrow morning than I thought I would. I can say that the stubble is visible and not near the level of what the feathers gave. I will give the Derby another shot when I get home so I can see if maybe it is a first shave thing or maybe bad technique today. BTW - those red bumps on my neck are still there too. I am not feeling them, but they are sure there.

    Tomorrow is going to be fun. I am not sure if this is a first, but hey - why not try! I am on the road and TSA security somehow frowns on sharp blades so I am using the Hydrolast system with a Mach 3. :confused1

    Before anyone asks - I cannot check my bag and I would go bonkers trying to mail blades to myself. I work for a major airline and have to have my bags with me at all times so checking them is out. Also, mailing them is mostly out, since my schedule changes frequently.

    On the upside, I noticed something different today. My skin was smooth and took on a "shine" of sorts on the areas I shaved. Not an oily look, just sort of polished. Not sure what to think of that so far. I will keep an eye out for that in the next few shaves.
  10. Thanks for doing this. I only know the bare basics about Method shaving, but it's interesting to at least know someone is out there still trying to hone the technology of shaving with a DE.
  11. This morning (sort of morning - we got to the hotel about 2 am last "night") I did my least favorite chore - using the Mach 3 while on the road.

    I started with normal prep and went from there with the Hydrolast products. I mixed the cutting balm and shave paste together in the cloth and went at it. This was a new Mach 3 cartridge that I remember being "so nice and smooth". Um, not so much. Don't take me wrong, it wasn't bad, just more pull than I am used to. I did get BBS in 10 minutes with the normal mice scents that I like with wet shaving.

    I used 3 passes and finished with blade buffering to get close. I did think at one point I was on the edge of irritating a few areas that are always sensitive, but turned out OK. I used alum to check for irritation/micro cuts and just felt the coolness of the stone. Not a bad shave overall.

    The slickness of this stuff continues to surprise me. I was wishing for a better grip surface on the razor. It really wasn't in any danger of slipping, just felt slick. I can say that applying some DE techniques to the carts has made a strange difference. First, I think that any wet shaving lather will make a cart work better, particularly vs foam in a can. The goos are workable, but a lot of them numb your face so you can't feel the ouch... also lets not forget the carcinogens and waste that are in them.

    Something that I did notice is that the stubble from this morning (the Derby blade) was closer to 48 hours with the feather than 24. I couldn't skip a day and still look nice and presentable. I will give it one more shot and if it doesn't improve I will go back to the Feather.



    I am thinking of adding a few more comments about method shaving itself, but leery to do so because of the "passion" some feel about the issue. I mean CorCat87 accidentally stepped in it just asking a simple noob question (note the sign up time of under a month) about opinions on method.

    Boy, they came. If you read this thread (http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/277889-What-does-everybody-think-of-Method-shaving) you might notice what I did - the vast majority of responses can be summed up like this

    1) They were turned off by CAR's videos (ie personality or technique ie speed). If that is the case Manic has some videos that show real world use, not abuse of the product/technique
    2)Most never tried the product. In that case, how do they know they don't like it. Seriously.
    3)They don't like the price. OK - I can see that. I am not really concerned about that one - these are similar priced to other premium brands.

    This type of "I don't like it even though I haven't tried it" just drives me crazy, which is why I am tentative to add more into this about method at all. In fact I am avoiding it intentionally to get the personal issues gone and address the products themselves.
  12. Sir thank you very much for doing these!!
    I was hopping some one make a review of the products and technique of Method Shaving
  13. $2012-02-23_12-13-46_86.jpg
    OK - so here is the basic kit on the road. It packs well overall.

    View attachment 223350
    This is a 2 oz bottle of cutting balm (sorry it's sideways :oops:) I can't seem to turn it. This bottle is almost a month old with daily use and is half full.

    This is the conditioner/AS. Nice peppermint smell and tingle. I really am liking this stuff.

    This is the paste. I think it is the middle level. Sort of a milkshake type consistency. This adds a lot of the slickness to the lather.

    OK - this is the french soap I am using (as recommended). I may go with the Hydrolast to give it a try later (AKA the Cube), but for now this works fine. The quarters and EJ alum bar are for reference. The bar is about a US quarter and a half thick. This is one hefty bar of soap and should last a long time.
  14. Quick note on today. I am in Vancouver BC and spent all day out in the wind. My face feels great.

    One SWMBO from work commented how "I don't know how to put it, your face sort of has a nice glow and looks really healthy." I asked for a "touch test" (I am single so no opinions from the wife here) and she is now interested in getting this for her husband and brother. She said it was the smoothest she has seen and the skin feels really nice and healthy. All that with a mach 3 today. Just thought I would add that.
  15. Thanks for posting these experiences and trying to evaluate the method and products on their own merit.
  16. I was going to comment on your shine thought earlier, but looks like your wife already had a similar observation..
  17. Well, I got in a huge hurry for an early flight today and just grabbed the machine 3 in the shower. I did feel really dry and used some of the conditioner during the flight. Other than that there isn't too much to add today.
  18. So I can say for certain that there is a distinct difference between my mach 3 and the feather. I feel a two day pattern this evening from the mach 3 after shaving 15 hours ago. The feather gets me an extra 12-24 hours versus the gilette. I cannot believe I used to think that this was close. On the upside I had a 7OClockmessage blade donated in Vancouver so as soon as it arrives I will check it out with this setup.

    FYI -- I mailed it to myself so it will take a bit from Canada to the US
  19. Great review!

    We need more people to judge a product or system by actual merits instead of by what they THINK it is like.

    Thanks so much for your time in doing this!



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