Over the last few years I’ve found myself increasingly averse to strong artificial scents, especially those in perfumes and colognes, shampoos, soaps (less so) and worst of all, body washes. I say “averse” rather than allergic because the latter term is so overused and abused that I avoid it. I’m not allergic to any of these things in the sense that I don’t break out in rashes, congestion, wheezing, or go into anaphylaxis. But I just don’t like them and they make me feel slightly nauseous.

Natural scents such as lavender, lime, rose, etc., don’t elicit the same response, unless they are very strong. But in general, if I combine a natural scent on a foundation of strong-smelling shampoo and bodywash, the effect is overpowering and quite unpleasant.

In the early 1980’s, when I first discovered that I had to take better care of my skin, especially in our long dry Winters, the first product line I turned to was Clinique. They had a men’s grouping of products, all unscented and very effective at each of their respective tasks.  But it was also very expensive both to purchase and to use, i.e. the stuff didn’t last too long. Since I wasn’t averse to scents, over time I migrated to other brands, many of them off-the-shelf in pharmacies and grocery stores, and later on-line.

Last week, I went back to Clinique. I must admit, their stuff is still very good, especially their face-soap, shaving cream (for cartridge shaving only), deodorant, and M-Lotion facial moisturizer. Funny enough, shaving with a good scented “traditional” cream or soap is now much more pleasant; it seems to me that it’s the overall “scent load” that I find unpleasant rather than any one specific product.

Today’s shave with Palmolive shave cream worked up in my handmade Dan Capshaw brush, carving a three-day beard with the E.J. Chatsworth razor and a Treet “Black Beauty” blade, was wonderful. The Palmolive (in a green tube from Belgium – not the stuff from India) has a terrific clean “soapy” smell. And as usual, a DE shave is entirely different from even the best cartridge shave (I use a Schick Hydro 5 when in a big hurry).

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