Chemical shaves. What do you think of when you hear that? I just tried a new depilatory (chemical shave) formulated especially for the needs of Black men. Generally, I do not recommend depilatories for shaving the face. Black men who have problems with razor bumps have turned to depilatories in the past to avoid the horrors of the razor blade. But, these depilatories have been even harder on the skin than the razor. Products like Shaver’s Choice and Black Opal for Men have made it possible for men who could not shave before to control the razor bumps and get a good shave.
Recently, I became aware of a product called Formula 103
. Formula 103 was specifically formulated to be a skin replenishing ointment as well as a depilatory. The product was designed to be extremely sensitive to skin and actually comes in two strengths. We grilled the manufacturer. We were assured that Formula 103 was different than what was on the market and had been tested, reformulated, tested again and reformulated again until they got it right.
I did a patch test on my arm to make sure there was not an allergic reaction. It’s wise to do a patch test on any product you ‘re going to put on your face or on your head. While the chances of allergic reaction are extremely low, they are always there. People are allergic to all types of normally benign things (wheat, milk, peanuts). If you’re going to have a reaction to something, better to have it on a 1” square of your arm than all over your face or head. I’m not allergic to anything. But, I thought better safe than sorry. The patch test turned out fine. All systems go.
As you can see from the before picture, I put Formula 103 to a pretty serious test. I’m pretty sure my beard was over the 1/8th inch they had on the instructions. I wondered what would happen. I skipped washing my face this morning, grabbed my camera, took a few shots and applied the cream to my dry face. The aroma of the new formula is actually quite pleasant. I remember my uncles using Magic Shave® back in the day. That stuff would stink up the whole house. There was just a slight tingling as I applied the product. Nothing unpleasant. No burning or severe itching. I’ve done microdermbasion on my face several times. This reminded me of that feeling. I don’t suffer from severe razor bumps. But, I do get small ones occasionally. I had one that was healing and I wondered if this stuff would dig down in there and burn me up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it did not. While it did remove the scab that had formed, it did not burn and I am no worse for the wear. When it was time to remove the cream (I used the stronger formula and left it on for about 10 minutes while I checked email), I grabbed a damp washcloth and got ready for the reveal. Before beginning the removal of the cream, I looked and thought “It didn’t work.” What was weird, is the hair looked like it had been permed. It was all laying down, smooth. But, I couldn’t tell if it was ready to come off. I gently rubbed with the washcloth (very gently) and some came off. I rubbed just a little harder and it all began coming off. After just a couple of minutes, my face was completely clean. After removing the cream, there was a little tingling. Maybe for 5 or 10 minutes. I really didn’t notice how long it lasted. I didn’t apply any moisturizer or after-shave to my face afterwards and a couple of hours later, it still feels smooth. I experienced no adverse after effects at all.Here’s more on Formula 103, including answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to see close ups of the pictures, click here:BeforeDuringAfter