Hydrolast is a brand of shaving products developed by Charles Roberts and used in Method Shaving. The goal of Hydrolast products is to create a layer on the face that keeps water in contact with the skin during the shave, also called a "wet mix." The products differ from traditional brands in that no standard soaps or creams are made. Hydrolast products are sold exclusively through Enchante in Austin, TX.
Current Hydrolast ProductsThe Hydrolast line of products is almost constantly in flux, with multiple products having been created and discarded over the years. At present, the lineup consists of:
Cutting Balm - an oil that is used to add a thin layer of protection to the wet mix during the shave. It is also effective as a pre-shave treatment.
Primer - a block of soap that is lathered to produce the base of the wet mix. Two main kinds of soaps are offered: an olive oil soap made by Charles Roberts, or over-the-counter blocks/bars of French soaps. The olive oil soap is generally considered to create a mix resulting in a more aggressive shave.
Shave cloth - a loosely-woven hand cloth used in lieu of a shaving brush to build up the wet mix, but not to lather the beard.
Shaving paste - a thick paste that offers further protection for the skin by being applied to the face or added to the wet mix. Shaving paste comes in three grades, with #1 being the most protective and #3 being the least.
Activator - a clear liquid solution that adds to the aggressiveness of the shave. Activator comes in five grades, with #1 being the most mild and #5 being very aggressive.
Tonic - a spray used as a post-shave treatment to tone and sterilize the skin. Various scents are offered.
Conditioner - an after-shave balm. Various scents are offered.
The products are designed to be used together and exclusively in a Method Shave. However, some shavers find that Hydrolast products can be used in conjunction with other brands to enhance a shave. For example, the cutting balm and conditioner are well-regarded as pre- and post-shave products for any shave.