Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old Spice - Take A Look What You've Done

Earlier this month, Old Spice reached out to me to see if I was interested in doing a sponsored feature on their line of hair care products. At first I was hesitant, as I strive very hard to maintain the integrity of our reviews here. Regardless of what we get for free, get paid, or who sponsors us, we keep our writing 100% objective and would never recommend a product or service we wouldn't use ourselves. That in mind, I was worried I would be obligated to endorse a product against my better judgement. The response from Old Spice was great, and triggers my first recommendation for them as a company with some of that fore-mentioned integrity. Not only would they give me full creative control over my article and it's conclusions, they even offered to send the products with no guaranty of any article at all.

So, I figured, "What the hell? I may as well give this a try." I thought, worst case, I'd have a box of hair care products that I wouldn't use, no one the wiser. Best case, I'd find something worthwhile to pass on to you readers, and in fact, I was able to do just that.

First, a quick summary of the products they sent:

WOW. So. Much. Hair care. There's even more buried underneath....see the whole line here.
Basically, I was provided with two types of products: washing products, and styling products. We'll take a look at the washing products first. These included a variety of shampoo and conditioning treatments. Actually, all but one were 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner combinations, with the last being just a shampoo product. I'm not really sure why that one was set up differently, but there you have it.

So what did I think? In general, I was actually pretty impressed, and for two main reasons:
  1. Right off the bat, I was impressed with the scents. Now, I do use Old Spice deodorant already, so I'm not opposed to the scents themselves, but in my past experiences, shampoos such as these, or perhaps those from Ax, or any other brand specifically marketed towards men, are so overpowering. Again, the scent might be pleasant, but the crazy doses they throw at you definitely aren't. Not so in the case of the Old Spice hair care. Instead, the scent was very subtle. While you definitely get a good whiff of it while you lather up, by the time you rinse and dry, there is just a pleasant lingering fragrance. Well done, smell-engineers, or whatever you call yourselves.
  2. Second, I almost always veer away from 2-in-1 hair care products. While the concept is great and time/space-saving, and my hair needs don't require individual specialty shampoos or conditioners, I've found that combo products really struggle to get the ratios right. Either there's just shampoo and hardly any conditioner, and your hair feels like it only got hit with the first, or the conditioner is so heavy that by the time you get enough shampoo for a healthy lather, your hair comes out almost greasy. Again, Old Spice surpassed my expectations, as the 'Swagger' combo (my favorite scent, and the same one I use for deodorant) gave me the perfect amount of each. I came out with soft, clean, silky smooth hair that has been pretty well prepped for any type of styling I have in mind.
Which brings us to the second round; the styling products.

Here, I was a little less impressed, but still managed to find a bit of a gem. Why not impressed, you ask? Mainly, I just didn't get the described effects on 4 out of 5 of the products. High hold was damn near impossible to find, and while I did get some varying amounts of shine, nothing held up to the high shine, medium hold that I prefer for my day-to-day grooming. Even the pomade, which by name should have been a thicker, sleeker product, was a bit weak and lackluster.

Now, having said that, I did find a product that I will be using well into the future. I usually style my hair with a classic side part. I use pomade for medium hold and high shine, and give it just a bit of lift on top. This has worked for me for a long time, and on my day-to-day, I don't have much desire to change. However, there are some days where I don't want to look quite so put together and business like, instead opting for a more casual, laid back, almost 'thrown together without a though' type of a vibe. In this case, I want a hair product that will look like I didn't put anything in it - natural, low shine, flexible - but with just enough hold to keep everything out of my eyes. This has honestly been a damn tough product to find - and every time I'm on to something, my barber stops stocking it, or the brand changes their formula, and I'm back to square one.

Lucky for me, the 'Cruise Control' forming creme did that exact job perfectly. You can actually see me with this stuff in on one of my more recent outfit posts. See how the part is there, and the hair is out of my face, but it looks 'naked' and blows in the breeze. Fantastic.

Bottom Line:

So what's my overall conclusion here? For the money and the reputation of brands in it's league, I think Old Spice does a darn good job. If you have found your niche product and love it, I doubt there is much here that will pull you away. However, if you need something to shake things up here and there, Old Spice makes a relatively effective and very affordable option. 

And for me? I'll keep using the Swagger shampoo/conditioner, as I'm getting really attached to the ease and feel. As for the styling products, most days I'll be sticking with my Baxters of California Soft Water Pomade (more here), but when I want to kick back and keep it casual, I'll have a tube Cruise Control handy to do the trick.

Oh, and let's never forget, the real reason I agreed to do this post, was this lady. Can't you just feel the anguish in her cry of 'OLD SPIIICE'? I can...pulls at the heartstrings:

This was a sponsored article, and the products reviewed were provided to me free of charge. The article, however, remains objective and unbiased and is published without prior editing or review by Old Spice. While I love to be given products to review, don't worry, I will never endorse a product I wouldn't wear myself.

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